Black and white film photography is my favorite. I feel fortunate that I was able to learn my favorite art form in a dark room. The ambiance of the amber lights, the smell of chemicals, and the sound of running water against your favorite music are second to none. I soon began experimenting with various black and white films and developed an affinity for contrast. And it did not take long for Ilford Delta 100 to become my top choice.
Ilford Delta 100 is a medium-speed black and white film with fine grain and excellent sharpness. It is a beautiful choice for portraits, travel, and street photography. Even inexpensive cameras with plastic lenses can create detail-rich images with this film. Is it still a good choice for modern photography? Absolutely! Keep reading to find out more.
The Big Picture
Ilford Delta 100 is a superbly sharp black and white film with fine grain and beautiful contrast. It creates gorgeous fashion images when paired with a Hasselblad 501cm in the studio. The film is so sharp that it is also an excellent choice for an inexpensive 35mm point-and-shoot with a plastic lens. It is perfect for portraits, landscapes, travel, and street photography.
The medium-speed film will require either a tripod or lighting in lower light. Don’t worry. It is worth the hassle. The finished results will remind you of why you fell in love with black and white photography in the first place.
Pros and cons
- Beautiful gradation
- Wonderful sharpness and detail
- Plenty of contrast
- Fine grain
- If you don’t have steady hands, you will need a tripod in low light.
We tested 35mm and 120 Ilford Delta 100 film with a Hasselblad 501cm, Kodak Ektar H35, Sekonic light meter, and Broncolor lighting. The film was developed and scanned by Blue Moon Camera in Portland, Oregon.
Ease of use
I photographed with the Ilford Delta 100 at box speed. A few frames captured with the Kodak Ektar H35 were slightly over-exposed or under-exposed as the lighting conditions changed. There is only so much you can control with a point-and-shoot camera like that. It is an easy correction with photo editing once you get your film scans back if you choose to fix it.
The 120 film exposures were excellent in natural light and studio settings. Most images will come out nearly perfect when using a light meter. Ilford Delta 100 is still as malleable as you remember. Feel free to push it to 400 with the confidence of knowing you will still enjoy its lovely contrast. It is why I have such an affinity for both Ilford Delta 100 and 400. You can test the limits, and it always delivers.
We shipped the film to Blue Moon Camera for developing and scanning. They always do an excellent job, and I eagerly await seeing the scans.
One of my favorite things about Ilford Delta 100 is its fine grain. I prefer that look over the likes of TMax. The film is very sharp with ample contrast and is striking in harsh light. It does not produce the same punchy blacks as KONO! Monolit 3, although it can create lovely shadows with hard light. The images produced with the Kodak Ektar H35 are a testament to its sharpness.
The combination of Ilford’s Delta 100 and Hasselblad 501cm creates beautiful frames with excellent gradation. I can only imagine what beauty could be created with a Leica M6 and Summalux lens.
extra image samples
From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the product can do. These photos are completely unedited.
who should buy ilford delta 100?
Anyone who enjoys black and white photography should buy this film. I’d also recommend purchasing Delta 400. Ilford is an excellent choice for anyone who appreciates contrast with tones that hit every zone of the zone system. If you have access to a dark room, I recommend pairing it with your favorite Ilford pearl paper.
Ilford Delta 100 can create deep, velvety blacks with proper lighting. The film is excellent for portraits, travel, cityscapes, and landscapes. A 36-exposure roll of 35mm film is priced at $10.25, while the 120 option is $7.80. And we are glad to see Ilford keeping film photography alive.
Tech specs are from the manufacturer’s website.
35mm, ISO 100, medium speed, exceptionally fine grain, black & white film. Ideal for uncompromising image makers who want to capture maximum detail and sharpness.
- Medium speed ISO 100
- Superb image quality
- Core-Shell™ crystal technology
- 35mm, 120 Roll & Sheet Film available