Beach #3: Delta 3200 Grain on Screen and in Print

The last beach scene from the test shots from Barcelona with Ilford Delta 3200 in 35mm format, shot at EI 1600 and processed in Microphen stock for 6:30 at 24c.

This was shot at the end of the Rio Besòs in very bright light using the M7 and 50mm Summilux stopped down to f11 and fitted with a deep red filter. The “glow” around the water highlights is surprising, as the lens was stopped down probably to around f11.

The negatives were “scanned” using an Olympus E-M1.2 and macro lens, using the 80MP raw files possible with the sensor shift “hires” mode. The only sharpening applied was diffraction compensation in Capture One 10. With these settings, the Olympus images are normally quite soft (especially compared to the in-camera JPEG results), but even so the gain is very prominent.

Here is a crop from around the boat near the centre of the image:

And a much more extreme crop showing approximately 0.1% of the image area to show the grain structure:magnification:


Of course, “grain-peeping” is not how you should usually view a photograph. The above crop is equivalent to pixel peeping the RAW file at 250% magnification, and while it is fun to try this, it tells you very little about how the image might be perceived when viewed normally.

In fact, the images print really well even using our budget Canon all-in-one inkjet. Using A4 Epson matt photo paper, the print gives the impression of an incredibly detailed charcoal drawing – possibly helped by the inherently lower contrast when compared to the images seen on a screen:

It is difficult to show here, but I really like the printed result, which has a sense of texture and character that is refreshingly different from the hyper-sharp and hyper-detailed output that most of the camera industry is chasing today.

1 Comment »

  1. Nice print! When I try printinhg with my cheapo Canon ip7250 printer (it costs less than a new set of ink), I get a strong purple cast, even when setting the darn thing to b&w…

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