I was disappointed with the photos from my first roll of Ilford Delta 100.
As much as possible, I want to get the photo right in the camera. That didn’t happen on a single frame of this roll — every shot was at least too light, and several were washed out. Still, after considerable Photoshoppery many nice images emerged. I was astonished by how many. Not this one, however; it’s the worst of the lot. This photo has an interesting ghostly quality to it, but that’s not what I was going for.
I used my Nikon F2AS and my 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E lens for these photos. The F2AS’s meter is dead on accurate and wonderfully sensitive, and I had ISO dialed in correctly. On the next roll I shot, however, my batteries were dead, dead, dead. Perhaps weak batteries are to blame for these misexposures.
Fortunately, most of the time detail was not lost, it was just hidden. This photo is the poster child.
I adjusted brightness and contrast considerably and got this, which looks much more like my memory of the scene.
I took this photo looking up while standing in my driveway. It’s my favorite shot from the roll — I like the crisp tree branches against the mottled gray sky.
Bringing these shots back to life in Photoshop revealed good contrast and decent tones.
I started this roll on my trip to Rose-Hulman back in October. That day was sunny, and the campus is heavily wooded, leading to lots of light/dark contrast. I couldn’t fix a few of those shots, but this one of White Chapel turned out.
I did a lot of Internet searching for user experience with Ilford Delta 100. Reports varied. Some people call this a surefire, can’t-miss film. Some say that it offers high contrast with little in the way of middle tones; one fellow in some forum called Delta 100 “chalk and soot.”
A few reports called Delta 100 fussy in processing. I sent this roll to Dwayne’s, as I do with almost all of my black-and-white film. I get great results from Dwayne’s when I shoot Tri-X or T-Max. Now that I think of it, I got blown-out highlights from a roll of Kentmere 100 that Dwayne’s processed, too. Hm, maybe weak batteries weren’t entirely to blame. Perhaps Dwayne’s is set up for best success with Kodak black-and-white films. I’m guessing wildly here.
This experience has me thinking again about processing my own black-and-white film; maybe I can learn what chemical soup is best for each film I shoot. Or maybe I should just stick with T-Max and Tri-X. I know what I’m getting with those films.
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