Much as I favour Ilford Pan F+, FP4+ and HP5+ over most black and white films for the combination of their look, flexibility and cost, I’m not averse to trying out new films. Also I’m still looking for a “go to” colour film – much as I love Fuji Velvia, it starts to struggle when confronted with a high contrast scene, so I’m trying to shoot some rolls of as many different colour negative films as I can. So what I tend to do is whenever I getting a load of supplies, I’ll add on a couple of rolls of different films to shoot off and compare the results.
A few months ago, for example I tried out Rollei Ortho 25, and really liked the high contrast, and high resolution. More recently when I was getting the supplies together for darkroom printing again, I added a few rolls of ADOX CHS 25 ART and Kodak Ektar 100. On top of that I also acquired a couple of rolls of expired Kodak Portra 400VC from a friend, and a single roll of Ilford Delta 3200. Now I’ve finally shot and processed them all I figured I should do a quick write up on each.
So let’s start with the Delta 3200. I wanted to try this film out because I’m not a fan of flash and don’t have any easy way to use one with the Bronica anyway. But the fastest lenses I have for the Bronica are f/2.8 so even bright interiors can be too dim for most films, so I end up using a tripod, which can be awkward. With Delta 3200 on the other hand, the nominal ISO 3200 rating allows much more flexibility and hand holding the camera in almost any light becomes possible.
This kitchen shot was 1/60th at f/2.8 where the only light was from the cooker hood and from an open doorway at the other end of the room from the camera. Now 3200 is supposedly pretty pushable so presumably this could be taken even further, but that going to take a bit of experimentation with more rolls of film and different development methods. On the subject of development, for the first roll of any film I always stick as close to what the box says as possible to both ensure that at least something comes out of the roll, and to establish a baseline for comparison. So this first roll Delta was processed in Rodinal diluted 1+25 for 11 minutes (at 20°C). I have to say, I like it a lot. There’s still plenty of subtle detail in there – the steam rising from the saucepans for example is nicely caught.
The grain isn’t as bad as I was expecting, and what is there looks really nice. The way the out of focus areas blend together in a sea of grain is just lovely to my eyes. I’m not really used to seeing grain in photos from the Bronica, so this is a nice effect, like HP5 in 35mm.
This corridor shot was taken with daylight filtering from the far end, but mainly fluorescent strip-lights, and was 1/250th again at f/2.8 – no problems hand-holding at that shutter speed. Now, I’m not sure how often I’ll ever need this kind of speed or rather, how often I’ll need a whole roll of this speed, but it certainly seems like available light photography in 120 formats is never going to be a problem so long as I can get some Delta 3200.