T-MAX P3200 vs Delta 3200 – Side by Side Comparisons

Now that Kodak reintroduced their TMAX p3200 35mm film, the question is how does it compare to Ilford Delta 3200?

We shot both side-by-side with the same camera/lens combo, same settings at box speed – metering for the shadows. While both are high-speed B&W 35mm film stocks, they do have some noticeable differences:


The main difference is the contrast – TMAX p3200 has much more contrast which makes it pop a little more than the more subtle contrast of Delta 3200.


TMAX’s grain seems to be much finer than Delta’s larger, more noticeable grain.


Both have great exposure latitude and we recommend metering for the shadows. Both do well with overexposure, but TMAX seems to be a little more versatile because unlike Delta, it’s less prone to get muddy in underexposed parts of the photo.

Overall both are great film stocks. It all comes down to what you prefer. Delta is much more subtle in every way, has better detail in the shadows, and has a classic black & white look, while TMAX is more dynamic with its strong contrast, rich tones, and very sharp grain. One advantage of Delta 3200 is, unlike TMAX p3200, it is made in 120 as well. TMAX is only sold in 35mm format. See our Ilford Delta 3200 35mm and 120 film format comparison

What’s better: TriX pushed 3 stops to 3200 or TMAX 3200 at box speed?
In our opinion, TMAX p3200 is the best way to go. Depending on the light, TriX 400 pushed 3 stops to 3200 can have too much contrast which will blow out your highlights. In the same situation, TMAX p3200 will have less contrast giving you better detail in the shadows.

See our T-Max P3200 photo test

T-MAX P3200 vs Delta 3200 Comparison

Kodak TMAX p3200
Ilford Delta 3200
Kodak TMAX p3200
Ilford Delta 3200
Kodak TMAX p3200
Ilford Delta 3200
Kodak TMAX p3200
Ilford Delta 3200
Kodak TMAX p3200
Ilford Delta 3200


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15 replies on “T-MAX P3200 vs Delta 3200 – Side by Side Comparisons”

Very helpful information-thanks!
I use and enjoy both types of films.
Any particular reason why the Kodak Duaflex Was chosen for the test? I didnt realize their lenses were sharp enough for testing film characteristics.

If you want to test films, you should run trials with various development times so that you can get them to the same contrast. Your comparison is invalid, because it’s obvious you didn’t do that. I have done this sort of comparison, and the results show that the T-Max grain is slightly finer. Bot films were exposed at around EI800, the films’ true speed.

Wayne: The photos are *of* a Duaflex, which means they presumably are taken *with* a different camera.

Will: Box speed is the number printed on the box by the manufacturer, not the actual physical ISO of the film. In this case that would be 3200 for both.

Enver: A comparison shot at 800 isn’t particularly useful since the films are designed to be shot at 3200. If you’re going to shoot at 800 you can save a bunch of money by shooting tri-x or hp5+ instead.

And on to a comment on the article: it seems strange, given that this is a lab, that there’s no mention of the development process? With these high ISO films, the differences between developers seem to become more drastic.

I have carefully compared these two films, developing them to the same contrast. You didn’t do that. Both of these films are about ISO1000. They can be used at higher speeds, but that’s because of their design. Films such as Tri-X and HP5 + are not so designed, and cannot be used at higher speeds at all. In fact, I expose all 400 speed films at EI 250. ISO speeds for B&W films are too high.

I worked for kodak (Kodak Pro the team was named) in the 90s. Tmax (much like delta) wasn’t designed to be shot at 3200, that isn’t it’s box speed. That is a film that is actually
meant to be rated 800-1250 and designed to be pushed up to 3200.
Similar story with Tri X. Whenever I hear the young hipsters who’ve latched onto film for the youtube likes say “I just went ahead and shot my tri X at box speed, so 400”

I immediately think “you don’t know what you’re talking about”

Tri X is a 250-320 box speed film. Shoot at 250-320 and process normal.

This trend is hilarious to me.

I like the grain to Delta but the contrast of Tmax.
I have used both though and I can say they are both amazing in use.

Delta 3200 looks like it has more real speed, which is really what this is about. The low contrast is what makes Delta 3200 so pushable.

hey, i just did a similar test like this myself, and was at first surprised that delta 3200 had less density and contrast, while also having more shadow detail, but i wonder if it can be attributed to delta 3200 having a base ISO of 1000, while tmax 3200 having a base ISO of 800, it’s a small difference. that could also be a slight grain difference too.

but also for me, the grain difference is much less noticeable than on your examples. mine are dev’d in xtol, in a dip n dunk machine at a pro lab. xtol is more of a fine grain developer, which helps for high speed film.

the area where delta shows more grain is also in the shadow areas, where it is also having more detail, so maybe that correlates… like would you rather have more shadow detail even if it’s grainy, or have it go to black instead of be grainy…

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