In the analog film world, there are two big high ISO black and white films in existence: Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak TMax P3200. They’re both much different films, but they’re also both black and white. It recently came to our attention that folks would love to see some sort of comparison of both. And so we decided to go through our archives of testing to bring you some of our thoughts.
First off, these are both different emulsions. Ilford Delta 3200 is recommended to be shot at ISO 1600 and then developed at ISO 3200. It’s also very grainy but has a beautiful look to it. The Delta series is known for being very sharp, but I’d say that it’s better known for its grainy look. On the other hand, Kodak TMax P3200 is an ISO 800 film that can be pushed to ISO 3200 with good results. With that said, you can arguably say that Ilford is a bit truer of a film to its marketing. But when it comes to the results, I’ve seen some differences.
Ilford Delta 3200
Despite feeling that Ilford Delta 3200 is the grainier option, I have to say that it is a pretty fine grain for what this film is. One can typically expect a whole lot of grain but in this case it looks very nice. This film is fairly low contrast and doesn’t tend to get a whole lot of details from the highlights.
Kodak TMax P3200
With Kodak TMax P3200, I feel like you’re not only getting a sharper image, but you’re also getting much finer grain. I’ve spoken about it with a few other photographers who describe it to be a bit too high contrast for them. But for me, I’ve found TMax 400 to be more high contrast.