Horrible result with Rodinal

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Todd Adamson, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Todd Adamson

    Todd Adamson Member

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    I've been doing some of my own developing now for several months, using rodinal. It's pretty dependable, seems like I can't really screw it up. Til now, the only minor issue I've had was getting the fix level a little low, so I had some edge effects, but they were no big deal. But I developed a roll last night, and the scans are all messed up.....very posterized. I'm hoping someone has seen something like this and can tell me what the problem is. I guess it's possible it's the scanner, but I suspect the developing process somehow. It was Rodinal 1:25, for 10 minutes, with agitation for 5 seconds every minute. I've done this many times, and never seen anything like it. Same bottle of Rodinal, always. The film is LegacyPro 100, and is from a 12-pack out of which I've used 7 or 8 rolls already, with no issues.

    This was done just the same as the last few times I've done this, except for a couple of differences I would have assumed to be minor:

    1. The tank and reel. I've been using a cheapo plastic setup, but I got a Kindermann stainless steel tank with two reels on eBay this week, and used those. The tank and reels arrived clean, but were obviously not new. I washed them thoroughly in soap and hot water, then rinsed them thoroughly before use. Any possibility the new tank could have anything to do with this?

    2. Possibly old fix? I'm using Clayton RF19 Rapid Fix. The stuff I used as been recycled for at least 4 or 5 rolls, and this recycled dilution has been stored for 2 months or more. I don't time my fix, but rather I just fix a scrap of film concurrently in a small dish, then let the roll in the tank fix for a minute or two longer after that's done. This time I noticed the fix seemed to take longer.....maybe 3 minutes or more for the scrap. But it did ultimately clear, so I wasn't too worried about it.

    I've included a sample from this roll, along with a close crop.

    Anyone seen a similar effect before, or have ideas?
     

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  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Either underfixed or film touching in spiral, or exposed to light before fully fixed. Possibly a refix could correct. If not, it was exposed to light.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Well it's NOT the developer no film developer would cause that, sounds like incomplete fixing.

    You need to fix for double the clearing time.

    Ian
     
  4. Todd Adamson

    Todd Adamson Member

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    Thanks for the fast replies, guys. :smile: That may well be my problem. As I said, I fixed for longer than the clearing time, but only by a little. I certainly did not fix for double the clearing time, and the fixer was most definitely losing its efficacy. So, assuming it wasn't exposed to light (and I'm fairly confident it was not), you think a refix might help? I will try that!
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    What sort of agitation regime do you use when the film is in the fixer? If some of the fixer is getting trapped adjacent to certain parts of the film, it may become exhausted, leading to localized under-fixing.

    In any event, Ian is right - you need to fix for at least double the fixing time - with adgitation.
     
  6. Todd Adamson

    Todd Adamson Member

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    Thanks, Matt. My agitation, once each minute, was five inversions. I'm not gentle, but I'm not really shaking it up hard, either. Just go from one hand to the other, with a small twist each time, so that by the time I've done five inversions, the tank has been rotated fully, if not more. This is how I've always done it, in my limited time doing this. I have only used Rodinal, and I've only developed twenty or so rolls, with more than half using a stand protocol, unlike this time. But that's the agitation I use for the developing.....I've been much less rigorous about fixing

    So based on the replies here, I'm definitely going to be more careful about fixing, both making sure the fixing time is double the clearing time, and also paying more attention to thorough agitation!

    In this case, my first serious issue with development, the fix was potentially more dated and more used than in other cases, but it's still the first time this has happened, which leads me to ask the question:

    Is there a difference between the steel reels and the plastic ones with regard to "access" of the film to chemicals, and need for agitation? In other words, even though this may have been caused primarily by old fix, is it possible I would have seen no problem, or less of a problem, had I used the plastic reel?
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    With 35m steel reels yes the film is wound tighter in the spiral, it's never cause me a problem but if fixing's borderline it would be an issue.

    Ian
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Todd:

    Depends on the reels and tanks.

    For instance, did you use less chemistry in the steel reel tank? If so, it will exhaust more quickly.

    Also, some reels are designed for use with longer films. They do that by providing a narrower space between each layer of film and steel in the reel. So if you don't get the film correctly into the reel, it is more likely that two layers will contact each other. In addition, with each layer of film being closer to the next, there is of course less room for chemistry between them. So if any chemistry is being trapped, it will exhaust more quickly.

    By the way, you may want to consider continuous agitation for the first 30 seconds of fixing. Kodak at least recommends that, plus further agitation at 30 second intervals.
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Here's the $64,000 question though, which nobody seems to be asking - when you look at the negatives themselves, do you see anything abnormal in them, or are you relying on the scanner to tell you what's normal and abnormal? I'm not saying you shouldn't apply greater rigor to your fixing regime (and start by replacing your fixer more often - chemicals are cheap by comparison to the images captured on the film, which may be irreplaceable), but have you looked into what could be going wrong with your scanner? Any deeper discussion of scanning issues is better handled over at Hybridphoto.com, the APUG sister site. There are some really skilled folks on that site who could provide you with immediate diagnosis if there is any scanner issue.
     
  10. GumPhoto

    GumPhoto Member

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    I'm not buying it. In 25 years of committing every kind of silly darkroom mistake imaginable, I've never seen anything like that. In 10 years of playing around in digital, I see that effect often. I'm betting it is in the scan.
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Ah, the well-known Phantom of the Opera effect... :wink:

    [​IMG]

    Yep, looks like scan posterization. If that's it then turn off IR cleaning (ICE) and increase bit depth.
     
  12. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    If film strength fix is taking 3 minutes to clear bw film, it is seriously fu**ed. And then only add just two minutes? Though could be a bad scan.
     
  13. HollyGettings

    HollyGettings Member

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    What does the negative look like?

    Do you see the posterization in the actual negative? I've never seen anything like that out of Rodinal or any other developer. I'm inclined to believe it's the scan. If you can't see the posterization in the negative on a light box with the loupe, it has to be the scan.
     
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  15. Todd Adamson

    Todd Adamson Member

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    Everyone: thank you so much for taking the time to reply. :smile:

    Matt, though I didn't mention it specifically, I did actually agitate for about a minute at the start, as I always do. Here, from the last time I did this, are more details on the protocol, as well as the result I was expecting:

    http://no-exif.com/2011/09/15/neopan-400-pushed-two-stops/

    Using the metal tank did indeed mean I was using less of the chemical. But at 1:25, that means I went from an absolute amount of 16 ml to 12 ml, so I wouldn't think that could be the difference with Rodinal, which works in stand protocols with 5 ml developer in 500 ml total volume.

    Regarding the scan, I forgot to mention that I did indeed examine the negatives very carefully with a loupe, and I can easily see the "posterization" edges, so it's not the scan.

    Based on all the information I'm getting here, I'm leaning toward this: my fixer was marginal, I didn't fix long enough or agitate well, and in combination with the decreased access space in the metal reels, that killed it for me.

    More experiments on the near horizon should support or refute this. :smile:
     
  16. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    it´s the spark plug!
     
  17. Todd Adamson

    Todd Adamson Member

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    LOL :D

    Well, here's the first scan from the roll developed today. I guess it's probably the fix, because that's the only thing I changed here.....I didn't have the benefit, when I developed this roll this morning, of this thread, so I was still being kind of sloppy about the timing and agitation of the fix. But with fresh fix, I guess I can get away with it (not that I'll be trying that! From here on out I will be more careful with my fixing procedure). This was a different film (Ilford FP4), so it's still formally possible it was an issue with the film, but that seems doubtful.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    When fixing film, I treat it like developer for agitation. Thirty seconds initial followed with 5 seconds agitation every 30 seconds. I use TF-4 fix, and it clears most films in under one minute, even still I use a minimum of three minutes. Tabular grain films get at least six minutes in the fix.
     
  19. Todd Adamson

    Todd Adamson Member

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    Thanks, Rick. I shall definitely follow a similar procedure henceforth. :smile:
     
  20. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Todd,
    welcome...I recognize you from FM. :smile:
    You have come to right place for analog.
    While there are a few knobends around here :whistling: you'll find this place quite respectful and most certainly helpful (not that FM isn't, just quite a few more tossers)

    Let me make a recommendation considering you seem new to film.

    Get in the habit of consistency in your processes NOW.
    You will find good technique in the darkroom (like anywhere else)will come as second nature if you drill it into yourself at this fresh stage.
     
  21. Todd Adamson

    Todd Adamson Member

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    Heya Bruce, nice to see you here!

    LOL at "tossers.":tongue: I actually got a fair amount of amusement out of some of those over at that other place, but eventually left for other reasons. Haven't looked in there in...oh, I guess maybe a year now. In addition to film, I am also shooting a lot with Pentax lately, so there's not really a "club" I can join for that over there. :wink:

    I appreciate the advice, and it makes a lot of sense. To be honest, I'm fairly methodical in a lot of things (comes from being a biochemist), and I have been very careful with my developing process....I time things very tightly and I record everything in a database I created for my iPad. However, for some reason, I just got in the mindset that once developing was done, I could relax a little, and I just never carried over the methodical part to my fixing. Obviously, now that I've been given cause to see it, that didn't make much sense.

    I am indeed very new to analog. Having started with digital and stuck there for 7 years or so, I only last year decided to see what film was all about. At the outset, I was completely clueless, and never even considered developing my own film until I got some encouragement from a guy at the local shop. Glad he pushed me into it! I'm having a blast, but still obviously have much to learn.
     
  22. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Todd, good to see you here. With all due respect all the rodinalites here, pray tell why are you using Rodinal for your workflow rather than, say, a staining developer?
     
  23. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Todd, yea you can relax a bit on temperature after development but not too much.
    Consistency is the key to this stuff so you can get repeatable results.

    Once you get more familiar with a certain emulsion you will be shifting things like iso and development times to suit the light so a good database is a great idea.
     
  24. Todd Adamson

    Todd Adamson Member

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    I don't even know what a "staining" developer is. I did a little research when I started playing around with development, and I decided to try out Rodinal for a few reasons: It's cheap. It's easy...nothing to mix. No powder. It's reputed to be not very sensitive to temperature considerations. And perhaps most importantly, the stuff can apparently sit on the shelf forever. Since my film explorations will be somewhat unpredictable, I didn't want to buy a bunch of some chemical that would go bad on my shelf if I took a break from shooting film for a couple of months. Additionally, I was interested in the compensating effect, and the fact that I could do stand development for long times with dilute solutions. Most days, I'd rather pour in developer and walk away for two hours than have to stand and babysit a tank for even 10 minutes.

    I really want to try some other chemistry, but I truly love the results I have been getting with Rodinal, and not having time to get up and running with something else, I've been content to stick with it. For now.
     
  25. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Yep, I think it's a d******l/ scanner thing..
     
  26. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Glad you like the results you're getting, that's the main thing.

    But... whenever you have time or courage: staining or "pyro" developers have many advantages, particularly if you are scanning. Let me suggest wd2d+ in particular. Buy the liquid stuff, it comes in two bottles. You mix that with water and voila. Keep forever. Excellent results.