Night photography with Ilford Delta 3200 film

Today’s digital cameras can shoot good images at crazy ISO’s with excellent noise control. So, what’s the point of using a fast 3200 ISO film like Ilford Delta these days? For me, quite a lot! This film has given me some of my best night images with the look that only a silver halide emulsion can provide.

Delta 3200 is actually a 1000 ISO film, which is designed to be pushed at 3200 ISO very easily. I have also shot it at 6400 and 12500 ISO, but the high grain and heavy decrease of tonality make it a choice for very specific (or artistic) images.

My favorite developer for this film (and for many others), is the Ilfotec DD-X. I usually set the camera ISO to 1600 since I have found that in this setting I get the best out of this film.

(Leica M6, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5, Ilford Delta 3200)

I shoot at night mostly with a Leica M, due to fast lenses I have for this mount. At f/1.1 or f/1.4, you can easily get a decent shutter speed even at very low available light. At some cases I have also used the Plaubel Makina 67. The f/2.8 lens of the Plaubel (combined with the very narrow depth of field, since its a medium format 6×7 camera) make it a more challenging camera with more limitations at night compared to the Leica, but the large negative has a much finer grain, so I can push the film to 6400 if I want to, and still get good images most of the times.

(Plaubel Makina 67, Ilford Delta 3200)

Trying to meter with a rangefinder camera at low light, can be quite tricky, due to the more center weighted kind of meter they have. After many rolls of film, I have learned to use it to my advantage, since you can aim near light sources in order to get a good exposure.

(Leica M6, Ilford Delta 3200)

When you shoot film, many times you don’t know exactly how the picture will look when you develop and scan it. At night, this is more evident, especially at difficult light situations. There are many occasions when I got a very different photo than the one I had anticipated, and most times this was a pleasant surprise.

By looking at these images which are 1-3 years old, I really get motivated to load a Delta 3200 film in one of my film cameras and get out at night for some more snapshots.

Enjoy the rest of the images.

(Leica M6, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.4, Ilford Delta 3200)

(Leica M7, Ilford Delta 3200)

(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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2 Responses to Night photography with Ilford Delta 3200 film

  1. Anastasios says:

    Καλησπέρα, θα ήθελα τη γνώμη σας, χρησιμοποιώ μια Leica M3 και μια Praktica NovaB, πρόκειται να χρησιμοποιήσω για πρώτη φορά Delta3200, για απογευματινές και νυχτερινές φωτογραφίες, χρησιμοποιώ t400cn kodak, σε asa1600 με ποιό τρόπο θα πρέπει να ρυθμίζω κλείστρο και φακό? για τη πρώτη φορά δεν έχω ιδέα για παράδειγμα εαν είναι ευαίσθητο σε ορισμένα είδη φωτισμού (π.χ. λάμπες στο δρόμο ή φώτα νέον), εαν για παράδειγμα απόγευμα με ηλιο ρυθμίσωf2,8 και ταχ. 30-60 θα έχω αντίστοιχο αποτέλεσμα υπερέκθεσης (όταν φωτογραφίζω με φιλμ iso400)


    • kbesios says:

      Το Delta 3200 το χρησιμοποιώ σε ρύθμιση 1600 asa. Λογικά, σε σχέση με το T400CN στα 1600, θα έχεις καλύτερους τόνους (με τη λογική ότι εφόσον πουσάρεις το φιλμ 2 stops, ανεβάζεις το contrast, ενώ το delta ειναι τραβηγμένο κοντά στο φυσικό του 1000 Asa). Το ίδιο κάνω κι εγω μερικές φορές με το TRIX-400 (στα 1600). Στη φωτομέτρηση δεν νομίζω ότι θα έχεις διαφορές, φυσικά ειναι διαφορετικά φιλμ, οπότε το καθένα θα έχει τα δικά του χαρακτηριστικά.

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