General Rodinal Discussion

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by noacronym, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    I went against my 40 year hate affair with Rodinal and actually recommended it to a buddy today, knowing he was interested in 2 1/4 and sheet film and the keeping qualities of the stock chemical. But actually I know zilch as to its uses (or lack of same) on sheet film particularly. Perhaps if someone might know a useful thread on here to bone-up. Or your experiences here. Development times, mixtures, for Tmax 100, 400, whatever sheet films and 120. Thank you. I'll watch and see if something comes of this.
     
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  2. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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  3. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    For years i tried to make Rodinal work for me. I would develop a roll and then move on. i was not successful until i varied development of 6 rolls of FP-4 and found a match to my enlarger and paper. Any times I provide are only good for my film EI, enlarger and preferred paper.

    Here are observations. Rodinal is sensitive to agitation. A general purpose developer like D-76 is more forgiving. Derate your film speed 1 stop. I got better negative contrast with a stronger 1:50 dilution, less agitation and 5 min of stand development. Rodinal will lower a mid tone while allowing a zone 6 or 7 to print easily.




    .
     
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  4. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    I am certainly not an expert on this but I am using Rodinal a lot and am beginning to understand how to use it to get different effects. I have also found that Rodinal is best adjusted through modifying the agitation. I use Rodinal a lot with T-Max 100 and Efke 25 and I have found that I can easily adjust contrast and midtones through both the number of agitation as well as how vigorous I am. Since I have very little experience with other developers I do not know how that compares.
     
  5. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Rodinal is good but I only like the grain it produces on certain films, I mostly use xtol for the vast majority of the films to develop. Often I like to use it as a stand developed at high dilutions and at low temps over an extended period of time, it helps with the grain. Sometimes I do semi stand and do an agitation somewhere in the middle but it doesn't really need it. using it this way is time consuming but lets you multitask and stretches out that bottle a long way. it also allows you to place different types of films and develop them together even if shot at different EI's, which also allows you to shoot at a wider range on a single roll too if you wanted because of the compensating effect from the high dilutions.
     
  6. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    A lot of people mention high dilutions. I was stubborn and would develop using 1:75. The negs would be too low in contrast and I would move back to my base developer. Only when I limited my developer to Rodinal was I forced to keep tweaking until I got it right. Using one medium to low speed film is recommended.

    Prints look different as the tone distribution is bent.
     
  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    With such a thread title it is a pity that Momme Andresen cannot chime in.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have his book, unfortunately can't speak German :D I can decipher the formulae though :smile:

    [​IMG]

    Rodinal had a revival as it's particulary good with films like APX100, Tmax etc giving exceptionally fine grain. Some of the best 35mm work I've seen in terms of fine grain, good tonal range and sharpness, have been made with APX100 or Tmax 100 and Rodinal.

    Ian
     
  9. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    I used to use Rodinal, I find it uses the speed about a 1/3 of a stop less. I love the crisp grain though. I found I got a speed gain with APX100. Personally for me one of the best combinations. It is all one family. With APX100 I got a speed of about 125 - 160.
    I do not know if it is in the Publication of Ian. But in a few old publication there is written Rodinal should be used at 15-16°c to get the best results.
    A few people here in Germany are actually trying this. I have no Idea of the outcome. Claiming fine grain etc. etc.
     
  10. dorff

    dorff Member

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    I personally use Rodinal with Acros where the grain is not an issue at all, and I also like the results with FP4+ and PanF+. I have developed just about everything in it: HP5+ and TMax400, TriX and Rollei RPX400, ERA 100, Lucky SHD100, Neopan 400. My feeling is that the faster films are better in TMax developer or D76, and in some cases I have had good results with Caffenol H. I do not like Rodinal with Rollei RPX400, as it produces a lot of fog. I have found that Rodinal tends to let the shadows crash if a film is slightly underexposed. This is especially true of "over-rated" films such as Foma 100. In such a case I would definitely rate N-1 (eg EI 50 for Foma 100), and develop normally. I use 1:50, with very gentle inversions every minute. Generally, Rodinal is not a good developer for pushing films, as the shadows just won't come to life for me. TMax dev or Xtol are a lot better for that. But exposed well, and developed with care, Rodinal negs can print really beautifully. Parodinal is exceedingly easy and cheap to make, so Rodinal in that form is very accessible, and certainly worth trying with films such as TMax100 and Acros. If you are interested in the Parodinal instructions, this thread explains it:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/110084-pa-rodinal-calculator.html

    As explained, this formula should last quite long on a shelf, and is used in identical fashion to Rodinal. I'd appreciate feedback if you have tried it.
     
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  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The issue with Rodinal is the hydroxide in the developer, this can soften the emulsion particularly the surface and then with poor temperature control you get micro reticulation which is a surface effect on the surface of the emulsion, this leads to a greater apparent graininess in prints or scans.

    The reason for working at lower temperatures is you reduce the swelling of the emulsion and as a consequence are less likely to get this surface effect.

    I've never had a problem with Rodinal and any films including EFKE (which has poor hardening), however some people using Neopan 400 have had full reticulation and even emulsion lifting off the base with Rodinal.

    Ian
     
  12. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    Magic with Rodinal is to develop at low temp < 20 deg C and longer. Also film may require to expose a stop slower than box speed.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I used Rodinal extensively from 1986 until about 7 years ago and never had any problems at 20°C, sometimes a bit higher in the summer. All it needs is good consistent temperature control thoughout the cycle, but then that goes for any developer if you want the best results.

    Ian
     
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  15. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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  16. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    What does this mean ?
     
  17. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    [QUOTE
    Originally Posted by Richard Jepsen
    Prints look different as the tone distribution is bent.
    What does this mean ?][/QUOTE]

    Rodinal can sag mid tones especially with high dilutions. Imagine a zone 4 to 5 dropping a 1/2 zone lower on the tonal scale. Now imagine a highlight that prints well surrounded by darker than normal mid tones.

    image.jpg

    This print has a Rodinal look. The print is rich in tone, hard to tell on the thumbnail. Posters float off a darker background. The window light is not blocked up. FP-4, EI 50, Rodinal 1:65. Straight print on Galerie grade 3.

    Rodinal has a romance to it. A love hate relationship with me. But renewing my commitment to one film, developer and paper, I believe our relationship will grow.

    Don't blind date Rodinal. I recommend the inexperienced double date with a general purpose developer like D-76/ID-11 or XTOL. Establish a standard to compare Rodinal to. Rodinal is a special purpose brew to control contrast. For me I like the occasional surprise. It has a different look. Maybe others can describe it better.
     
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  18. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    thanks Richard, that's much clearer now
     
  19. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    In The Film Developing Cookbook by Stephen Anchell and Bill Troop write, "Rodinal negatives possess a beauty and impact that is recognizable their own." "Among commercially available developers Agfa Rodinal offers gradation that cannot be obtained otherwise." Rodinal offers good but not high acutance. The practical working speed of Rodinal according to Troop is slightly lower than D-76.

    My guess is the comment about "commercially available developers" is a reference to staining/tanning agents.

    I interpret Troop's comment concerning "impact" to be the tonal brilliance exhibited by correctly exposed and developed negatives with a lack of fog.
     
  20. dorff

    dorff Member

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    Not really. That is a good description. I would say printed Rodinal negatives have an old-worldly quality. The shadows are darker, which for some things can be problematic. The mid-section of the tone curve has a steep slope, so tonal separation there is excellent. Depending on dilution and agitation, the shoulder may be very gentle or slightly steeper, but it does provide the opportunity to develop for softer and printable highlights. This is why Rodinal negatives produce such punchy prints usually, without nuking the highlights, and the picture you provide is a good example, where the outside seen through the window still contains visible tones. It produces great negatives for softer lighting, if the exposure is dealt with correctly to achieve the best possible tone separation. With slow and fine-grain films such as Acros it produces wonderful negatives with superb accutance. Those negatives still can be printed with the "old-wordly" look, with grain conspicuously inconspicuous.

    Some also use Rodinal to obtain coarse grain with TriX etc. I am torn on this, as I often wonder whether the grain adds to or subtracts from the image. When an image is sharp, and the subject is fairly graphic, then it seems to make little difference whether the grain is very visible or not. However, slight unsharpness, and loads of fine detail (eg landscapes) make me wary of diluted Rodinal with faster films. This is because the large edge effect tends to highlight the unsharpness in a way, and because the grain and small edge effect obscure detail to the point where it lowers the impact of such images. Overall, I am firmly in the "Like Rodinal" camp, but with a measure of restraint. Like Caffenol, it is not perfect for everything, and it is unnecessary to defend it at all cost. It is a useful tool to achieve a certain look or effect, and one that I'd rather be with than without.
     
  21. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    Thanks for your input folks. I recommended Rodinal to a buddy with very little photographic experience, base on its touted keeping qualities. D-76 goes bad before he uses it all. I've now "un-recommended" it, based on what I knew and what you guys have said. It's finicky, it's grainy, and I can see no redeeming properties at all to it. Maybe you can do color, or to lower the contrast on super-slow film, but outside of that, it sounds like a real bottle of worms.
     
  22. dorff

    dorff Member

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    No, it will not do much to lower contrast on technical pan type films. If anything, it might exacerbate contrast. I would use a special low contrast developer for that. If one of the proprietary developers are out of the question, then a developer such as POTA might do the trick, although I haven't used it myself and do not have much info on developing times etc. AFAIK, it is a phenidone-only developer.

    You are over-skeptical about Rodinal. It is very forgiving of highlights being over-exposed, and it produces negatives with beautiful mid-tones. The one thing it does not like is under-exposure, especially of the shadows. For most other developers I would say "expose normally develop normally", but for Rodinal it is "expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights". It benefits from a zone-oriented exposure approach, and I tend to use a hand spot meter for that purpose. If that is out of the question for your friend, then a good alternative is to lower the EI of the film by 2/3 to 1 stops and develop normally or slightly shorter. It would be good to experiment and see what works for him. Obviously, it would be wise to avoid films that aren't good mates with Rodinal, such as Kentmere 400.

    The other thing about Rodinal is that its character is very dependent on agitation and dilution, and it is possible to achieve a wide variety of effects, more so than most other developers. So for a beginner, it would be wise to stick with one technique. I would say 1:50 at 20 C, with one or two gentle inversions once per minute is a good place to start.
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I think you misread things, it's one of the easiest developers to use, gives excellent fine grain and superb tonality.

    Some comments about use at 1:100 are due to use outside the manufacturers recommendations, essentially at that dilution unless you have excess developer volume the developing agent gets depleted in processing and highlights stop developing also and the scale gets shifted, often called compression. It's an unnecessary teqhnique.

    Ian
     
  24. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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  25. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    Thank you folks. But my good buddy is very undereducated and I thinks he's probably bipolar with little patience for learning. I just don't think he can handle this. I'm putting him back on D-76. With that, all you do is follow Kodak instructions, and you get what you get. Besides, I already know it's grainy stuff.
     
  26. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I wouldn't say it's that essential to avoid it. It's a great developer at what it does. It does tend toward the grainy side, but that also means it tends to the sharp side (if the image is sharp, grain is also sharp). It is also nearly immortal which is a huge plus. I use it with slow films and tend to avoid it with fast films, but I recently processed a roll of well-expired HP5 Plus (ISO 400) in it just to see how it would fare. I haven't printed it yet, so nothing to report, alas.

    D-76 and Ilford's nearly identical ID-11 are the starting developers of choice, though. Even though they are more expensive, I recommend the one-litre packs which will develop about six rolls of 35mm film at 1:1 dilution and four of 120/220 film at the same dilution. If you need 300 mL to do a roll of 35mm, take 150 mL of stock solution, add 150 mL of water, stir briefly and away you go. Discard after use. Maximum convenience and consistency, good quality (higher sharpness than if you use it undiluted) and still reasonable cost.

    Ilford used to sell 600 mL packs which I bought religiously. I could do four 35mm rolls with one pack, so it never got old.