Like the speed test, I ran on TMax P3200 I decided it was only fair to give Delta 3200 a fair shake as well, but to make things more interesting, I decided to run it through in Medium Format instead of 35mm. After my review last year of Delta 3200, I decided that the film responded best in Ilford Microphen. Microphen has become one of my favourite developers to push or pull processing fast films. Like the TMax speed test, I’ll shoot the film at 1600, 3200, and 6400 and develop each in Ilford Microphen. Note that while I firmly believe that Delta 3200 is a 1600 speed film, I use the term “Box Speed” to mean the speed that is printed on the box, making 3200 the box speed, 1600 a one-stop pull and 6400 one stop-push.
One Stop Pull (1600)
Like before, it was this combination that settled me on Microphen being the best developer with the film at least in my view. The results, especially with the grain and sharpness, is not that different from the results I got with 35mm film, although the grain is far smaller with the bigger negative, I expected that. Now the weather did not exactly lend itself well to photography being dark, grey, and raining. But the film pulled through with decent contrast and tone.
At Box Speed (3200)
Before I start let me take my jaw off the floor. Taking these negatives out of the tank reminds me of my reaction the first time I saw Tri-X in HC-110. I am blown away by the results I got right here and solidified my enjoyment of Ilford Microphen as a developer. I mean you could hold these up to the ASA-1600 examples and not see a difference. Tone, Contrast, Grain, Sharpness they’re all here. I have never seen Delta 3200 look this good before.
One Stop Push (6400)
The images are dark and full of terrors. Okay, not really, but these images are pretty dark. Yes, I was shooting in some of the darker areas of the college. Looking past that there are somewhere the light is full and bright, and the images are beautiful! Again you see little to no grain, decent tonality and a bump in contrast. And yes there is a lot more grain here, but honestly, it doesn’t take away from the overall image quality. While I’m not always one to shoot up to ASA-6400, it certainly helps when you have it run through Microphen.
I honestly think it’s great that we film photographers have a couple of choices in fast films, having both TMax P3200 and Delta 3200 available means that if I need that extra speed boost, I have it available. And I think from now on my developer of choice when souping these films will be Ilford Microphen, yes even on the TMax film. I find the images far more pleasing in every sense. Will I be pushing the film up to 6400, probably not, I think 3200 is my upper limit. But honestly anywhere from 800 to 3200 Microphen will do just fine!