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Ilford Delta vs. FP4plus


vhfreund
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Like Gary I switched to Rodinal for the past few years for its convenience for doing a roll every week or so (in a single reel tank), and I love the tonality of PanF in Rodinal. However, I haven't been impressed with the Delta or TMax films in it - though the Delta seem better than TMax.

So I decided to try the DDX that Ilford recommends. I've only done one test roll of a Delta 400 today, but I'm very pleased with the results. It's only diluted 4:1 for 1-shot use, and shelf life sure won't match Rodinal, but I think I'll get a bulk roll of Delta 100 and see how this liter does as I get used to it.

Edited by TomB_tx
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Cheers Tom, I'll be keen to hear how you fare.

Let me stress, Rodinal/R09 will always be my everyday developer, simply from the convenience side, when I have a roll a week or so.

But with a mass processing mission like I figure I'll have (hopefully), I am keen to try something "better" or more suited, if this is the case.

Let me know your thoughts on the Delta 100 in DDX please.

Gary

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The combination R09/Rodinal and Delta is not good at all. DD-X is far superior due to the technique in Delta films. A para-Amino Phenol developer creates grain and is not suppressing it which Delta films are made for. Further the already mentioned speed loss.

You can keep DD-X 1  1/2 year in a half opened bottle. Of course less then any R09 clone for 4-5 years.

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The combination R09/Rodinal and Delta is not good at all. DD-X is far superior due to the technique in Delta films. A para-Amino Phenol developer creates grain and is not suppressing it which Delta films are made for. Further the already mentioned speed loss.

You can keep DD-X 1  1/2 year in a half opened bottle. Of course less then any R09 clone for 4-5 years.

Thank you, exactly the sort of information I was after. I've been studying DD-X, and will try some.

Gary

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reading this discussion with interest - I made the decision to try FP4 Plus next after I experimented with Tri-X, HP5+, Delta 3600, TMax 100 and 400, XP2. So far my order of preference for 35 mm B&W film is as follows (top being my preference):

 

HP5+ 400: found it the best compromise so far between sharpness and amount of grain. Use a two-step development method with Rodinal (1:100) and Xtol here to achieve the best outcome.

XP2: uses C-41 process for development, but sharpness is superb, it can be used at different ISO on the same film. Very low in grain. Sort of digital look.

TMax films: what I really dislike about them is the purple dye wash-off. A pain in the neck!

Tri-X: I have tried many attempts to like this film. But I simply don't. No matter which developer I use, it gives too much grain. Advantage of it: it can be nicely pushed to high ISO.

Delta 3600: I tried it, and I won't use it again. The same high ISO can be better achieved with pushed Tri-X if really needed. Too expensive for what it delivers, too.

 

Just my 2 Cents, personal preferences might vary. And yes, before all the comments come like "HP5+ is as good as Tri-X", I certainly don't agree here. IMO HP5+ is steps ahead, and Tri-X lives by its reputation from its old time. Maybe the old and no longer available formulation had something I never experienced with the new one.

Edited by Martin B
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It is Delta 3200, however superiour on iso 1600 in DD-X. (But it is expensive).

Tri-X 400 is a very flexible film, however indeed grainy. I am using the cine variant Kodak 5222 Double-X iso 250 (however usable in the iso 100-800 range), great film (before the $-Euro went out of range) for it's price Eur. 1,20/m.

Edited by fotohuis
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It is Delta 3200, however superiour on iso 1600 in DD-X. (But it is expensive).

Tri-X 400 is a very flexible film, however indeed grainy. I am using the cine variant Kodak 5222 Double-X iso 250 (however usable in the iso 100-800 range), great film (before the $-Euro went out of range) for it's price Eur. 1,20/m.

 

I state corrected, yes, Delta 3200 is what I meant. Never heard of this cine variant of Tri-X, interesting!

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Reading this discussion with interest - I made the decision to try FP4 Plus next after I experimented with Tri-X, HP5+, Delta 3600, TMax 100 and 400, XP2. So far my order of preference for 35 mm B&W film is as follows (top being my preference):

 

HP5+ 400: found it the best compromise so far between sharpness and amount of grain. Use a two-step development method with Rodinal (1:100) and Xtol here to achieve the best outcome.

XP2: uses C-41 process for development, but sharpness is superb, it can be used at different ISO on the same film. Very low in grain. Sort of digital look.

TMax films: what I really dislike about them is the purple dye wash-off. A pain in the neck!

Tri-X: I have tried many attempts to like this film. But I simply don't. No matter which developer I use, it gives too much grain. Advantage of it: it can be nicely pushed to high ISO.

Delta 3600: I tried it, and I won't use it again. The same high ISO can be better achieved with pushed Tri-X if really needed. Too expensive for what it delivers, too.

 

Just my 2 Cents, personal preferences might vary. And yes, before all the comments come like "HP5+ is as good as Tri-X", I certainly don't agree here. IMO HP5+ is steps ahead, and Tri-X lives by its reputation from its old time. Maybe the old and no longer available formulation had something I never experienced with the new one.

Thanks, Martin. Can you please describe the 2-step development process you are currently using on HP5+?

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Thanks, Martin. Can you please describe the 2-step development process you are currently using on HP5+?

 

Sure - it is as follows: 20 deg C water temperature, first Rodinal (1:100, 3 ml in 300 ml water) for 10 minutes with agitation every minute then quick water rinse/wash, followed by Xtol (1:2, 100 ml in 200 ml water) for 6 minutes with agitation every minute. Followed by stopper solution, fixer, and hyper wash, then final water wash. So far I got the best results with this method.

Edited by Martin B
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  • 4 years later...
On 3/29/2017 at 8:02 AM, Martin B said:

Reading this discussion with interest - I made the decision to try FP4 Plus next after I experimented with Tri-X, HP5+, Delta 3600, TMax 100 and 400, XP2. So far my order of preference for 35 mm B&W film is as follows (top being my preference):

 

HP5+ 400: found it the best compromise so far between sharpness and amount of grain. Use a two-step development method with Rodinal (1:100) and Xtol here to achieve the best outcome.

XP2: uses C-41 process for development, but sharpness is superb, it can be used at different ISO on the same film. Very low in grain. Sort of digital look.

TMax films: what I really dislike about them is the purple dye wash-off. A pain in the neck!

Tri-X: I have tried many attempts to like this film. But I simply don't. No matter which developer I use, it gives too much grain. Advantage of it: it can be nicely pushed to high ISO.

Delta 3600: I tried it, and I won't use it again. The same high ISO can be better achieved with pushed Tri-X if really needed. Too expensive for what it delivers, too.

 

Just my 2 Cents, personal preferences might vary. And yes, before all the comments come like "HP5+ is as good as Tri-X", I certainly don't agree here. IMO HP5+ is steps ahead, and Tri-X lives by its reputation from its old time. Maybe the old and no longer available formulation had something I never experienced with the new one.

When processes to the same contrast(!) HP5+ and Tri-X Pan are very similar. Delta 3200 is really a 1000 ISO film. If exposed at that speed and developed properly, it is only slightly grainier than HP5 or Tri-X.

Edited by Ornello
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  • 1 month later...
On 3/19/2017 at 6:42 PM, EoinC said:

It sounds like the Jury has reached a decision!

 

Good move, Gary. Throw sense and sensibility to the wind - You won't be disappointed. When it comes to lumping the SWC around, 'tis better to have shot and lost, than never to have shot at all (My apologies to Lord Tennyson).

'Tis better to have hemmed and hawed than never to have hemmed at all.

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  • 3 months later...
Posted (edited)

So far, no one has pointed out that XP2 can be developed in normal B&W developers. It works well in HC-110 – results are very sharp and fine grained. HC-110 also lasts for a very long time, and in that regard compares well with Rodinal.

 

Results (prints and scans) compare well with medium format negatives.

Edited by Michael Hiles
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I like Delta 100 a lot especially for its tonality and finer grain. I expose it at ISO 80 for development in PMK Pyro with very light agitation. Just bought a 100ft roll it and have started a new album on my most recent Flickr account. If you're interested there's a few scanned prints there (the first 3 images) and more recent negative scans from the last roll I shot: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xicaradecafefilho/albums/72177720298374220

Cheers,

Edit: For a comparison with FP4 and PMK, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xicaradecafefilho/albums/72177720295668592

Although these were probably mostly scanned with with a NORITSU scanner rather than a DSLR, which I've been doing more recently.

Edited by Xícara de Café
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Posted (edited)

I don't see any point in using Ilford's Delta films (at least not the 400). T-Max 400 is finer-grained and sharper. HP5+ and Tri-X are a toss-up, so availability and price become the criteria. I like HP5+ at least as well as Tri-X. I believe Fuji Acros is at least as good as Pan-F or Delta 100, and easier to work with. FP4+, since the demise of Plus-X is great for a lot of uses, but I prefer faster films today.

So, here's my ranking:

  1. T-Max 400
  2. HP5+ / Tri-X
  3. FP4+
  4. Acros 100
  5. T-Max 3200
  6. Delta 3200

I am trying to find ideal developers for each of them; so far, I have found Adox FX-39 is best with T-Max 400. FX-15 (with modifications and dilution) is good with the conventional films.

I see little use for Pan-F+, Delta 3200, and Delta 400. The first two demand special development, and Delta 400 is simply not as good as T-Max 400.

Neither Kodak nor Ilford offers state-of-the-art developers. Geoffrey Crawley's published and proprietary developers are notably superior to anything offered by EK or Ilford.

Since I can make Crawley's FX-15, 21, and 37 from scratch, and given that Crawley's FX-39 is readily available in the market, I have no need for any others.

Those who advocate using one film and one developer are missing out, but I concede that testing even a few combinations is expensive and time-consuming. I hope by reporting my results here to give others some motivation to try Crawley's developers.

Those who use Rodinal have no idea what they're missing.

Today's trial is T-Max 400 in FX-21 at double strength.

 

Edited by Ornello
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