After the essay on choosing a B&W film, I decided that I had perhaps been unfair towards slow films, and that I should give them another shot. Working from the premise that more – in this case more slow- is always better, I decided to try Delta 100 pulled back to 50. I’ve not been disappointed.
Finding a time and temp for Delta 100 @ 50 in Tmax Developer was fairly simple; the instructions were right on the Delta box. Working with my normal extra diluted Tmax solution (1+5), I developed for 5.5 minutes at 68 degrees, with 10 seconds agitation for every minute. Halfway through I’ve been giving the film a couple of inversions in an attempt to combat what appears to be occasional uneven development. Five and half minutes turned out to be just right, yielding good shadow detail and easily handled highlights.
The overall look for this combo is a little more Tgrainy than Delta 400. There’s something about the shadows that reminds me of Tmax or Fuji Acros. Both are fine films, so that’s no bad thing. There’s also a hint of that slow film shot through Rolleiflex look, whatever that means. Although there isn’t much more detail than Delta 400, the tonality seems a lot smoother, much more like medium format. I’m intrigued by this. Shooting such a slow film has many of the same limitations as shooting medium format, so perhaps shooting some will be a good way for me to get into the medium format frame of mind without investing too much capital.
I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with different films lately, but Delta 100 @ 50 is the only experiment that seems to offer something definitively new for me. Because of the limitations of such a slow film, I’m finding that I’m choosing my shots more carefully, and I’m consequently looking at different things. For what it’s worth, I’ve already ordered more.