When it comes to photography, and especially film photography, black and white never fails to make a powerful and emotive impression, except when it falls completely flat with an extremely narrow tonal range. A lover of B&W since I first began to dabble in photography, I've experimented with almost every film out there! Yet time after time I find myself coming back to Ilford Delta 400! Now why is this?! Let's see shall we?
Ilford is truly one of the forefathers of photography, a favorite by both professionals and amateurs alike for decades now. In our ever increasingly digital obsessed world, this exquisite film does not receive the revered appreciation it once did. The digital era threatens to blow conventional silver-based film out of the water, yet I find it refreshing to know that good old-fashioned tools of the trade, like black and white emulsions, are continually being revamped and improved.
For roughly 6 years now I have been working with Ilford Delta 400 as my main 35mm photography stock (and Ilford Delta 100 for my medium format). It goes without saying this silky soft film comes with a bit of a price tag but let’s see if it’s worth it.
Unlike the old-fashioned Kodak Tri-X, the 400 ISO Delta always produced flawless results for me. Where Tri-X would blow out and produce spectacular washed out highlights, Delta held. Where Tri-X fell into inky blackness, Delta retained detail. The push-processing capabilities of the new Delta 400 are nothing short of spectacular.
This high speed film gives images with extraordinary depth and dimension, Delta 400 provides an almost unrivalled combination of speed and sharpness with a width of tonal range that retains subtlety and detail. The liberating speed of Delta 400 allows fast action to be frozen, great depth of field, excellent results in low lighting conditions, the freedom of a handheld camera and yet still provides the fine grain and level of detail normally associated with ISO 100 films.
I am constantly delighted with my results, and find that Delta 400 is great to experiment with the zonal system for extra added impact with a kick of punchy contrast or soft airy midtones and high tones. No matter what result I want to achieve, Ilford Delta 400 hasn’t failed me yet!