It’s so gloomy and depressing these days. The pandemic is still ongoing, the weather decided to catfish us into hoping for snow, I’ve gained some pandemic weight and they discontinued my favourite 120 colour film recently. So this week’s film will perhaps help channel that dismay.
Ilford Delta 3200 is their high speed, low light monster of an offering. If you went back in time to 1947 and showed someone this film, they would be blown away. In an era when 400 ISO is the high speed film, 3200 ISO would be mind-blowing. But don’t let the number on the box fool you. This is an ISO 1000 film that is designed to be shot between 1600-6400.
It has been around a very long time, and is part of Ilford’s Professional line of film. It uses tabular grain technology in an effort to reduce grain as such high sensitivity. Not to say that it isn’t grainy. Delta 3200 is very grainy, almost like an impressionist painting. It’s so full of emotion, with an intensity that few other films are able to emulate. Something like HP5+ will give you more greys while the contrast with Delta 3200 will hit you like the Trump-Biden debate.
And how liberating it is to have so much speed at your disposal! Shoot at f/16 and 1/1000th in daylight so you can zone focus! Shoot a concert from a distance! Go find a riot to take dramatic photos of while running around. This is what you can call the ultimate run and gun film. Some people are obsessed with having the finest grain as possible with the least amount of contrast. To those people, I say what are you doing shooting film? Embrace the grain! Eat grain for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If that is too much for you, go drown in some digital noise instead.
So how should you shoot it? Delta 3200 will take most things you throw at it. You can expose it at anywhere between 400 and 6400, and even all the way to 25000 provided you do text exposures. And of course, the developer you use will help determine how the grain is conveyed. HC-110, for example, seems to give a smoother image than Blazinal/Rodinal, which gives it a grainier, chunkier look. The grain will especially be apparent when the photos are underexposed.
It happens to be the fastest film you can buy in 120 format too. So tomorrow and Saturday only, it will be 10% off in both 35mm and 120! In the meantime, here’s some shots Nicole and I have taken on both 120 and 35mm.
Mustafa in 35mm:
Nicole in 120: