Sunday, March 16, 2014

Emulating Delta 3200 Film Look in Lightroom

I've been shooting real Ilford Delta 3200 film in my Leica M4-2 recently. I've been using it at live music events, and really like the look, especially shooting it at iso 1600 and developing it normally (at
I've been interested in emulating that look with digital files, specifically with shots from my Leica M9, shot at iso 1600. Now that my M9 is back from Leica Service, I will likely carry the M9 and M4-2 together to some shows.
First, I decided to try the preset in Nik software's SilverEfex Pro. I didn't find it to be particularly comparable to my film results. So, I decided to work through adjustments in Lightroom 5 until I got something closer and save them as presets. I've now done that. Here's an example of a shot made with the M9 (at iso 200 in this case). The first version is what I would normally do to process this type of image from the M9 in black and white. The second is done using my Delta 3200 presets.
Charlie - "Normal" versus "Delta 3200" Versions, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 v.3 Lens
iso 200, f1.4, 1/125 sec.
For this particular shot, I strongly prefer the "Delta 3200" version.
I made two separate presets. Here are the adjustments I made in each.
Preset #1 - Delta 3200 Contrast Settings 
Contrast = +38
Clarity = +18

Preset #2 - Delta 3200 Grain and Sharpening Settings

Sharpening Amount +2
Sharpening Radius 0.7
Sharpening Detail 25
Sharpening Masking 0

NR Luminance 26
NR Detail 50
NR Contrast 0

Grain Amount 60
Grain Size 17
Roughness 94
I find it very interesting that adding this amount of grain and removing gray levels (in the form of increased contrast) can actually improve some images.
I hope others find the settings useful.