I recently acquired the Hasselblad 500C and was itching to have a crack at ILFORD Delta 400 Professional (recently expired) at box speed after having tried Bergger Pancro 400 in my search of an ISO 400 film to be part of my kit. Armed with the Hasselblad, light meter and tripod, I headed south, out of Kuala Lumpur, to the royal town of Seri Menanti in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Seri Menanti has a population of around 3,000, and is located in a valley.

The centre of Seri Menanti is actually the roundabout. It has the main palace, the old palace museum, a mosque, royal mausoleum, one row of shophouses, a police station, a clinic, post office, fire station, two schools, a hotel, and an eighteen-hole golf course most of which have been well photographed in the past.

All the shots were taken on the same day, just before noon, worried that the monsoon rain clouds were bearing down into the valley. It turned out to be somewhat bright with some clouds.  All the settings were either 1/250 or 1/500 @ f/16 as a result of the midday conditions, I wanted a deep depth of field to capture the background.

I was not disappointed with the results. The grain is to be expected, and I have come to love the grain. I avoided using filters but regretted not doing so as the sky looked fairly blown out and I was metering for some of the detail in shadows. I felt the contrast was good, but I could have done the film more justice by using perhaps a green filter to bring out the vegetation a little more. I am going to have a go at the Kodak T-MAX 400 / ILFORD HP5 PLUS and hopefully I will land somewhere in the ISO 400 medium format world.

The one other fear I had was dreaded sticky backing paper problems that I experienced with the ILFORD Delta 100. That did not happen here. Having a good black and white ISO 400 film parked in your bag makes complete sense. For now, the Ilford Delta 400 and Pancro 400 are level pegging, for me at least. And will look at buying the Acute Matte D screen to improve brightness in the viewfinder.

The film was processed by Darkroom 8 in Kuala Lumpur.

~ Fawzy

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  1. An orange filter is indispensable in the bright ambient light of the tropics. “Never leave home without it”. Or alternatively, a polarizer.