Film Simulation Review: Light & Shadow with Ilford Delta Push-Process


Chair & Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Photography is about light. Without light there are no photographs. Great photographs require great light. What “great light” is depends on the picture and circumstance, and what’s great for one image might not be for another. Great light can be found anytime of the day or night if one looks hard enough for it.

This series of pictures demonstrate the play of light and shadow in an image. It features instances of bright highlights and deep shadows together. It’s the contrast between illumination and the absence of it. I needed a dramatic film simulation recipe to capture these pictures. I knew that it would need to be black-and-white because these pictures aren’t about color, but light and shadow. Color would only be a distraction to the point. But which black-and-white film simulation recipe should I choose?

There are several options for dramatic black-and-white that I could have chosen, including Dramatic Monochrome, Monochrome Kodachrome, Agfa Scala, Ilford HP5 Plus, Ilford HP5 Push-Process, X100F Acros, X-T30 Acros, Acros Push-Process, and Tri-X Push-Process. Any of those recipes would have worked, but each would have produced a different result. Some have more contrast, some less. Some have a greater dynamic range and others a more narrow. Some are brighter, some darker. Some have more grain and other less. I could have picked any of them and gotten interesting results, but I went with Ilford Delta Push-Process instead, partially because I had been using it for other pictures during this time. It turns out it was a good choice, because it seems to have the right contrast, tones and grain for this series. Sometimes luck plays a role. What I know now is that the Ilford Delta Push-Process recipe is a great option for dramatic light situations like these, and I will choose it again for similar situations in the future. I captured these pictures on a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it.


Suburban Shadows – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Seat Back Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Chair Details – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Girl Ghost – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Sunlight on the Kitchen Floor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Don’t Step Into Darkness – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

[Not] My Fujifilm X-T30 Ilford Delta Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe


Boy in a Chair with a Phone – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Ilford Delta Push-Process”

When I shot film, Ilford Delta was my go-to for black-and-white photography. Sure, I used other films, but Ilford Delta was what I most often loaded into my camera. For fine-grain, I used Delta 100. For situations other than bright daylight, or if I wanted more contrast and grittiness, I would choose Delta 400. For dim light, I would on a rare occasion use Delta 3200. Sometimes I would push-process the Delta 100 and Delta 400 a stop or two. I actually still have a couple rolls of Delta film sitting around, although I haven’t shot much film in the last few years. The last roll of Ilford Delta that I shot was Delta 3200.

Something that people might not be aware of is that Delta 3200 is actually not an ISO 3200 film, it’s actually rated at ISO 1000, but has “built-in” push-processing to ISO 3200 (labs know to increase the development time unless you specify otherwise). Ilford Delta films have a lot of latitude and flexibility. There’s a lot that one can do in the lab with any of the Ilford Delta films to customize the contrast and grain.

Fuji X Weekly reader K. Adam Christensen shared with me his film simulation recipe for Ilford Delta 3200, and I really like the way that his recipe looks. It’s a great black-and-white recipe! I made a couple of small tweaks to it, nothing big. Adam uses this recipe on his X100V, and he sets Grain to Large, which is an option on that camera, as well as the X-Pro3 and X-T4, but not on my X-T30. If I could set Grain to Large I would, as that would better mimic Delta 3200. Without it, perhaps these settings more resemble Delta 3200 shot and developed at ISO 1600. It reminds me of Delta 400 pushed one stop or maybe a stop and a half.


White House Beyond the Thistle – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Ilford Delta Push-Process”

I have the ISO on this recipe set at 12800, which makes it difficult (but not impossible) to use in daylight situations. It’s a little easier on X100 cameras that have a built-in neutral density filter. If you need to drop the ISO, you can go as low as ISO 3200 and still get good results, but for best results keep the ISO at 12800 as much as possible. All of the pictures in this article were shot at ISO 12800.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +3
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
Sharpening: -3
Noise Reduction: -4
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO 12800

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Ilford Delta Push-Process film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:


FED 5C & Industar 69 – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Phone Numbers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Girl, Smile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Broccoli – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Faux Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Glass Bottles with Stems – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Flowers Waiting to Pot – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Potted Tulip – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


White Tulips at Night – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Outdoor Shelf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Dirty Feet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Roller Skating – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Skates – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Girl Outdoor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Two Feet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Chair Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Blackberry Vine on Concrete – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Watering Plant – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Wet Handlebar – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Raindrops on a Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

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