Ilford Delta 400 is relatively new to me. I typically shoot Ilford HP5+ (ok, actually it’s about 95% of what I shoot), but I wanted to try something different. And you know what? I love it! And yes, Delta 400 is different from HP5+. Very. (Find Ilford Delta 400 on Amazon)
Ilford Delta 400 is a black and white film that comes in 120 or 35mm formats. It’s a fine grain black and white that responds well to all lighting conditions. In other words, it’s a forgiving film.
Shooting Ilford Delta 400 at Box Speed
It dawned on me that I had never shot this film at box speed. I absolutely love pushing my film and almost always do. But I figured a good frame of reference for 400 speed would be best. Here are a few images shot at box speed. Notice how crisp and basically grain-less the images are. It’s pretty amazing for a 400 speed film if you ask me.
But as I mentioned, pushing film might be one of my favorite parts about shooting film. Probably – mostly – because you’re asking the film to break all the rules. Which, usually, invites grain (yes, usually – but again Ilford Delta 400 pushed doesn’t produce as much grain as you’d expect with other film stocks). The results are amazing. And super fine grain considering they were pushed one and two stops.
Pushing Ilford Delta 400 One Stop
For this next set of photos, I pushed the roll to 800 and shot it outside. There is definitely a little bit of grain, but it’s not overpowering. And the reason the grain is noticeable is likely because there is so much negative space in the images.
Pushing Delta 400 Two Stops
With this roll, I shoot indoors right next to a large floor to ceiling window on a sunny day. I probably could have gotten away with only pushing the film one stop, but I like to live on the edge and tend to like my photos on the brighter side, so I shot it at 1600.
With this set, I was shocked. I was expecting all kinds of grain. Afterall, it was pushed two stops. TWO. But it’s not. The images are still clear. The blacks are deep and the grain is so fine.
Ilford Delta 400 is a film stock everyone should give a try. I know grain can be scary for some people, so if that’s you, then you definitely need to try it. And push it.
A note on pushing: make sure you write on your film roll or canister when you’re done shooting so you know how many stops you pushed it. You’ll need to let your lab know or remind yourself if developing at home.
Details: first set was shot using a Fujifilm GS645S and the second and third sets where shot using a Mamiya 645 1000s. All film developed and scanned at home.
Thank you so much, Jennifer! Jennifer is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out her other articles here. You can also check out more of Jennifer’s work on her website and Instagram.