Developing Adventures · film photography · Film Processing · film review

Developing Adventures – Pushing Ilford Delta 400 to 3200

In todays Developing Adventure, I wanted to talk about pushing Ilford Delta 400 to 3200. I liked my results at 1600, and was afraid pushing it further would introduce more grain and contrast than I like in my work.

In some instances it was very much like Ilford Delta 3200 for obvious reasons. You can see below there is a lot of grain in the picture of my Avocado tree growing from a cup. It gives it a look of a drawing in my opinion. I like it, but not for my everyday family photos.

Hasselblad Ilford Delta 400 at 3200
Hasselblad Ilford Delta 400 at 3200

I developed these rolls in Kodak D76 stock solution for 19 minutes. That is a long time for me, so I would classify that as one of the cons.

Hasselblad Ilford Delta 400 at 3200
Hasselblad Ilford Delta 400 at 3200

If you compare the picture above to the one below, which is shot at 1600, you can see that pushing it to 3200 did give me the ability to shoot wide open with lighter speeds handheld. The above shot you can see the items on the counter in the shadows, but below they’re still pretty dark.

Ilford Delta 400 at 1600
Ilford Delta 400 at 1600

While it does have more grain than HP5 pushed to 3200, it doesn’t have as much contrast but the difference is so tiny. See below what I mean.

Pentax 67 Ilford HP5 400 AT 3200 1-11-21Rolleiflex Automat Ilford Delta 400 at 3200
Left Pic: Ilford HP5 400 @ 3200
Right Pic: Ilford Delta 400 @ 3200

It doesn’t seem to have as wide a tonal range as HP5. Shadows are black and it doesn’t seem to hold up in lower lighting as other stocks I have tried so far. It did however hold up better than Kodak P3200 in the same subject settings.

Kodak TX 400 @ 3200Rolleiflex Automat Ilford Delta 400 at 3200
Left Pic: Kodak TX 400 at 3200
Right Pic: Ilford Delta 400 at 3200
Rolleiflex Automat Ilford Delta 400 at 3200
Rolleiflex Automat Ilford Delta 400 at 3200

A roll of 35mm Ilford Delta 400 costs about $7.99 right now while a roll of Ilford HP5 400 goes for $5.99.

Hasselblad Ilford Delta 400 at 3200
Hasselblad Ilford Delta 400 at 3200

Since it is so similar to Ilford Delta 3200, and if you tend to shoot that film, you may want to consider just pushing Delta 400 instead. You will get it at a cheaper price but keep in mind like I said, it will take longer to process.

Hasselblad Ilford Delta 400 at 3200
Hasselblad Ilford Delta 400 at 3200

Final Thoughts

This quest to find an affordable film to shoot handheld has become pretty difficult because in a lot of cases the differences are very minute. I still love Ilford Delta 3200 shot at 1600. It’s like a habit I can’t break LOL. I was hoping that Delta 400 pushed to 1600 would be the same, ironically it is not. It has more contrast than shooting Delta 3200 at 1600.

When looking at it from an affordable aspect, Ilford HP5 400 is still the most affordable. I think that since the difference in my experience between the two films is so small, that I would probably still reach for Ilford HP5 400 film at this point.

My quest will continue. I have been enjoying doing this, and I hope it has helped you all in some way as well if you were wondering what these films looked like when you push them. I have a list of films I am going to test out and then at the end I will do a compilation of my favorites to go head to head and hopefully help me make my final choice. Stay tuned. Make sure you are signed up to get my articles in your email.

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Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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