Why Delta 400?

Delta 400 comes in all sizes from 35mm to 4x5, you can find it at here.



Delta 400 is a mid to high speed film made by Ilford in the UK. Considered a professional B&W film it is well regarded as a high quality film that produces consistently good results.

Delta 400 was the second B&W film I ever used after having a bad experience with its sister product HP5. At first I didn’t like the grain structure of HP5, too clumpy and not sharp and defined, I like my films to have a high level of grain sharpness so that it doesn’t detract from the image; only heightens the tones and lines of the negative.

So I was recommended Delta 400 by a fellow film shooter who had had an excellent session with it and gave it glowing praise. So I decided to give it a go, and man was I amazed.


Delta 400 at Box speed, Leica M3

The first thing I noticed about Delta 400 was the sharpness, it’s absolutely incredible! For a 400 speed film it was simply mind-blowing. The grain was minimal when factoring the speed and it preserved all the tones and details I could ever want!

Other Ilford films such as FP4 have been criticized for blowing out highlights and losing detail when not pulled to lower speeds (Many recommend shooting HP5 at 320 iso rather than 400) but at box speed I had all the detail and tones I could ever want, with subtle contrast to boot! Give the photo above as an example, it is both sharp as a tack and has lovely tonal range, a true professionals film. The first roll simply got me hooked so to speak. (I’ve shot over a dozen rolls of stuff in 35mm and 120!)


Delta 400 pushed to 800, Pentax ME

Why Delta 400?

  1. It is sharp as a tack. The Delta range are renowned for their sharpness and this does not disappoint!
  2. Its accessible. Most camera shops will stock it, and so does filmneverdie.com!
  3. You can push it as much as your heart desires.

Pros VS Cons

Many B&W photographers I know live and die by HP5, they cling to it as it’s a gift from the heavens, they praise how it renders skin tones, and that it pushes amazingly well.

To an extent they are right, HP5 does have these qualities and is unique in its ways. But Delta can do all these things and more. Delta 400 pushes to both 800 and 1600 amazingly well, with very little change in grain structure or its sharpness and it keeps its great tonality if not enhancing the blacks! I love it for night stuff, it keeps the blacks where they should be and enhances how the light falls. However, it is more expensive than HP5 but I stress that it is worth the additional cost, in my opinion Delta 400 is worth its weight in gold, so to speak


Where to shoot Delta 400?

Delta 400 is an incredibly versatile film, being perfect for just about anything you throw at it. it’s fine tonality captures everything you could imagine and more.

My favorite uses for it are,

Portraits being a sharp film with fantastic tones, it is ideal for doing portraiture work as even with a lens wide open it keeps the important details and allows for the idea skin tones and rendition for a B&W film.

Nighttime photography Delta 400 is able to be pushed to speeds of 1600 and above so it’s a perfect film for nighttime photos, especially street photography at night, it really excels and if you were to tell me to do a nighttime B&W shoot, Delta 400 is already in my bag. Even at 1600 tones are preserved and the sharpness is simply unreal.

Action Photography.

As Delta 400 is a mid to high speed film it is great for capturing the action just where you want it. Especially in daylight its high box iso and ability to push allows for high shutter speeds and large depth of field on a sunny day. Ideal for a sports game, cyclists or just subjects that are moving!



To summarize go and pick up a roll at https://filmneverdie.com You won’t regret it!

Contributor: Spenser Paul

Spenser Paul is a casual portrait photographer on the Mornington Peninsula and throughout Melbourne. Find him at his Instagram @spenser_paul or at his Tumblr nikolayprzhevalsky.tumblr.com

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published