Review: Ilford Delta 3200

To see Ilford Delta 3200 exposure tested and compared with other B&W film, follow this link.

For my medium format cameras, this film has been in pretty heavy rotation for a while as there isn’t much competition for it.  The speed of it makes it pretty attractive when the fastest lenses for my 6×4.5 and 6×7 cameras are f/2.8 and f/3.8, respectively.  When you’re talking about using it in 120 format, it’s pretty sharp and not very grainy.  That’s of course thanks to a unique emulsion making it easy to push without getting crushed shadows.

That said, I’ve shot through only two rolls in the 35mm format and was really disappointed both times.  I got a couple shots I liked out of both but really felt a bit let down – it was often way too grainy to make a decent sized print with and the tonal range is a lot more limited than Kodak’s conterpart.  I’ll continue to keep some in the fridge in 120 but probably won’t try any more in 35mm unless I run across some film on the cheap.

I will say this about Delta that has blown me away – you can overexposue the daylights out of it and it still turns out fine.  The first two shots below were accidentally (yes, accidentally) shot at 400 but still developed at 3200.  For those interested, when you have a Mamiya RB67 with multiple backs and an ever revolving stock of film rotating in and out of it, you sometimes forget what’s in it.  In this case, I hadn’t used it in over a month and had only a few shots left on it when I was about to mail some other film off to the Darkroom Lab.  I thought I had some 400 speed film in it and blew through the remainder of the roll.  I thought for sure they wouldn’t turn out but there they are.

These are some examples of what I got out of some 35mm rolls.  While I really feel attached to some of them, I wish I had taken the shots with some TMax 3200.  Alas, such is the life of a film photographer and I still love it.

As you can see, the grit of the film is a lot greater than the larger negative versions and a bit more gritty than TMax.  I’ve also found that it doesn’t have near as much of an exposure latitude as the TMax.  But then again, this could be my bias towards Kodak talking.