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Ilford Delta 100: Perfect for My Russian Lenses!

I love to take images in black and white, especially for street photography and public events. My preferred film brand is Ilford, and I use mainly the classic FP4+ and HP5+ films. Sometimes, I love to use the fine grain Delta 100, especially when I want to avoid grain, when I need to print in large size (20x30cm or more) and in situation of high contrast.

I use mainly 35mm cameras: rangefinder (Fed and Zorki cameras or a Canonet), or a Praktica SLR camera. As lens, I love to use the Tessar scheme (four lenses in three groups) like in the Industar lens, (Russian copy of the famous Leitz Elmar). This optical scheme allows you to obtain a crude contrast with a sharp grain, together with a very sharp image, especially in the center of the photo. If you use this lens with a classic film like an FP4+ or an HP5+ and develop it in a high acutance chemical (like the Rodinal R09 One Shot), you can obtain a pleasant and “dry” grain like in the photos of Robert Frank (The Americans). But if you prefer to avoid grain, and you need a more smooth image with less contrast, you can use the Ilford Delta 100 developing it in a fine grain chemical, like the Ilford Ilfosol 3. Here an example: no visible grain, smooth grey tones, very well suited for a photos of children in joyful company!

Photo by sirio174

Here another example from a street artist performance, another pleasant result:

Photo by sirio174

The negative seems more “flat” than a classical FP4+ negative. Remember that this is not a disadvantage, because a flat negative is more easy to print: you have details both in sunlight that in shadow areas!

Photo by sirio174

The first six photos were taken using Fed and Zorki cameras without exposure meters using only the F16 rule.

Photo by sirio174

As you can see the film tolerates well the little errors of a eye-estimate exposure. The lens used is an Industar 26 (50/2,8, Tessar scheme).

The next photo was taken with a Fed camera using a lanthanum lens, the Industar 61 L/D. Another Tessar scheme, but more recent and more contrasted. As you can see, the good pose latitude of the film allows you to obtain still printable photos even in high contrast situation.

Here are two images taken using a Sonnar scheme lens, a Jupiter 8 mounted on my Zorki 4 camera. A less contrasted lens, with a different greytones result. The two images below are less contrasted than the previous

The last two photos were taken using an Helios lens (a Zeiss Biotar copy) on a Praktica MTL camera; this is another great combination between a well contrasted (and very sharp) lens together with this fine grain film!

This photo was made using a yellow filter mounted on the Helios lens:

To obtain the best results from this film, avoid high acutance developer like Rodinal (or R09); use instead a fine grain developer like the Ilfosol 3, great for low ISO films. This films is great at its normal sensitivity. Avoid to pushing it at higher ISO!

Ilford Delta 100 35mm is a film that offers superior depth and dimension, even in low-light conditions. Check it out with the rest of our black and white film selection.

written by sirio174

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