Rodinal: A couple of questions before taking the plunge.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Max Power, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I picked up a bottle of Rodinal on the weekend and am itching to test it out. I just want to make sure that I understand the key points of what has been said about it elsewhere on APUG.

    Firstly, I will be trying it with FP4 and Delta 100 in 120 format. I will be 'testing' mostly out of doors in the bright sunshine and snow; thus looking for wide latitude between shadow and highlights.

    If I understand correctly, I ought to first go with the standard temp EIs and dev times for these two films. At 1+50 I will get better contrast and flexibility than at 1+25.

    I usually use ID-11 at 1+1, and really like the crispness of the negatives, especially with the Deltas. What can I expect with Rodinal?

    Does anyone have any suggestions or tips?

    Thanks a bunch,
    Kent
     
  2. JackRosa

    JackRosa Member

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    I am sure that there are members of this Forum far more knowledgeable about this topic than I am. My two cents are:

    I find the Rodinal-published development times to be a bit ong. For example, they publish 8 minutes at 68 degrees F for HP5+. I rate the film at EI = 240 (vs. EI =400) and develop for 6.5 minutes, instead of 8 minutes.

    I LOVE the results with this developer. The only other developer I would recommend over Rodinal is PMK <pyro>. I also like the higher dilutions (1+50 or even higher) and prefer reduced agitation and longer development times.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    Doesn't that mean you are over-exposing and under-developing the film? It will work of course, but does that negatively (ouch :tongue: ) affect the grain in the negative?
     
  4. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Well, I personally like Delta shot @ ISO 50 and developed in Rodinal 1:50 for 8 minutes (@ 68degF). But DocMorten (or resident Doctor of Rodinal) recently did some testing with Delta shot @ ISO 100 and developed in Rodinal 1:50 for 13.5 - 14 minute. I tried this on a roll of 35mm and it worked nicely.
    I read in Les' book that there is a difference between times for development of 35mm negs and 120 film. So that's something to consider, too.
     
  5. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I prefer FP4+ rated at 64 in Rodinal 1+100 for 15 mins at 20C. Invert for first 30 seconds and then invert once every 30 secs.

    Jeanette beat me to posting Mortons times for Delta 100 - I think he's in the darkroom today lucky man :smile:
     
  6. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yes, you're right about the Agfa published times being a bit on the long side. However, I've found that the negatives print fairly well if you are using a diffusion type enlarger. If you find that you are consistently getting too much contrast, needing a grade 1 filter to print well, cut your development times about 20%. Personally though, I don't really like Rodinal with more modern emulsions like the Delta and TMax films, and especially not with fast films. It works best, IMO, with slow and medium speed films like Plus-X, FP4, APX 100, and PanF+
     
  7. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I like Rodinal with APX100 and with the EFKE films.
    I think it makes an excellent companion for the Ilfords FP4+ and D100.
    As it has been stated I generally use the reccommended times minus 10%, and agitate only once per minute
     
  8. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Thanks for the answers to date everyone, I appreciate it!

    But this brings up a question...How do the film and chemistry manufacturers arrive at EIs and dev times which are too long?
    What I mean, is, wouldn't all of their tests etc lead them to the conclusions that photographers arrive at? For example, Titrisol has stated that the dev times are overstated by 10%. Jack Rosa rates D400 at 240 instead of the official EI of 400! What leads the manufacturers to over-rate EIs and dev times?

    Kent
     
  9. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Their testing method is based on a ISO standard.
    Our testing method is based on real life.
    And usually what works for me won;t necessarily work for you.

    Each of us has to determine a Ei or develpment time for ourselves in order to get consistent results.
    No matter if yo downrate the film or develop for less time, or agitate more or less that anyone else as long as you get consistent results, that give good images, with the effect you look for.
     
  10. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Wow, thats a huge difference ebtween the two of you!!!!!???????

    I have an unopened bottle and look forward to using it with APX 100 and the like for street images......
     
  11. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Regarding Rodinal's long-ish development times....

    Agfa publishes their times for a gamma of about 0.65. Depending on who you talk to you will get two explanations for this rather odd choice of gamma:

    a) That gamma is typical for a diffusion enlarger
    b) That gamma is close to the ISO gamma for testing film speed

    IIRC, every box of Rodinal has a data sheet that includes dev times for APX 100 and 400 for gammas of 0.55, 0.65, and 0.75 for Rodinal 1:25 and 1:50.

    I've found that a time for a gamma of 0.55 minus about 7% works well for Rodinal 1:50 on APX 100 with a fairly contrasty subject when I print on a condenser enlarger and Forte Polygrade V.
     
  12. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Not at all - in fact I think Agfa may be the confused party! An "average" (typical?) gamma of 0.7 sounds about right if you're developing to a CI around 0.50 or a bit higher with something like Tri-X in 35 mm.

    A "typical" CI for a condenser enlarger and for a 35mm neg could be around 0.5 but perhaps 0.65 or so for a diffusion enlarger.
    The corresponding gamma, I think, would be up around 0.83 or maybe a bit more - so I really don't know why Agfa furnishes that diffusion enlarger explanation. So is that 0.65 really a CI or a gamma as far as Agfa is conerned? Well it seems to provide a plausible CI for a diffusion enlarger but too low a gamma for the same - though it would be in the ballpark for a condenser.

    I placed a call down to Ridgefield Park, NJ to ask them about it a couple months back and I got the "its close to the gamma for an ISO film speed test" explanation. Others on Photo.net recall getting the story about the diffusion enlarger.
     
  13. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I WAS in the darkroom today making the last print for a friend. After that I did some fibre (5x7) to get trained in this. Quite a bit og hassle there.

    But for the stuff in this thread:

    I recommend using it 1+50 to get comfortable times and great contrast. For Delta 100 jeanette published my times (13:30-14:00 in 1+50) and they are correct (of course! Jeanette is from the inner circle in the CHURCH). I have done some further testing and now I find 12:30 quite pleasing with flash heads, but the contrast is on the low side.
     
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  15. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    See if you can find Agfa's numbers for things other then small tanks. I don't know if they still do but they used to publish a bunch of different times for different types of processing. But the easily found numbers were only for high contrast index.

    Is Agfa USA really part of Agfa or a independent group that handles Agfa products?

    http://www.agfaphoto.com/en-GB/prof...photo-chemicals/bw-film-processing/index.html


    Click on data sheet and download it.

    You'll see 0.55,0.65 and 0.75 for APX 100 in rotary drums. Is that symbol contrast index?
     
  16. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Those figures are identical to those included on the datasheet that came with my bottle of Rodinal - save the inclusion of APX25 on my bottle's data sheet.

    That symbol is "gamma" which is a measurement of film contrast as specified on the characteristic curve. It's similar, but not identical to CI.

    Gamma measures the slope of a line tangent to a point on the film characteristic cuve that is part of the straight-line portion of the curve.

    The CI measurement is a bit different - it includes more of the cuve (essentially, most of the toe and the entire straight-line region - which is considered to be the portion most useful to photographer's) in its slope calculation.

    The values for gamma are higher than that for CI because they are a measurement of the region where the slope is greatest whereas CI includes the lower-contrast toe portion of the curve.

    As far as the Agfa data sheets are concerned - we were discussing the validity of Agfa's explanations for selecting a gamma of 0.65 on which to base their film development time.

    A gamma of 0.65 is too low to support the explanation that it is a typical gamma for a diffusion enlarger. Since a CI of 0.65 is quite typical for a diffusion enlarger, I was postulating that somebody at Agfa USA had got CI and gamma confused.

    As far as Agfa USA goes - I imagine it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the parent. I guess we should now be talking about AgfaPhoto USA and AgfaPhoto given recent developments.
     
  17. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    So, if my quick math is correct, the Agfa published time of 16 mins ought to be reduced by about 15% or 144 seconds which gives around 13:30 or so. Aldevo, if I understand you correctly, with a condenser enlarger, this would be somewhere around your recommended time too.

    Again, I want to thank everyone who has helped so far, because what I'm looking for is a springboard; a place to start and experiment from.

    Cheers!
    Kent
     
  18. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    So, have I been overdeveloping then?

    I realise that this is a newbie question, but I am a newbie, and I have nobody but all of you out there on APUG to help me...

    I have been using Delta 400 and 100 in ID-11 at 1+1 developed at the prescribed Ilford times and temp using 4 agitations every minute. My negatives are naturally contrasty, and roughly match a grade 2.5 to 3 filter. In other words, I don't need a filter for most work.

    Why I wonder if I'm overdeveloping is the simple fact that the surrounding frame of my negatives (in 35mm) is always a darkish grey; not black, not light grey, but a solid darkish grey. Without sounding paranoid, have I perhaps been overdeveloping my negatives?

    Thanks, again :wink:
    Kent
     
  19. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Kent, My 35mm surrounds are almost clear except for the grain. If they are black then I'd suggest that they are over-cooked.

    On the subject of times I usually subtract 10% to 15% from the recommended dev time as a starting point. Also I fix for 3 minutes non-delta films and 6 minutes for Deltas.
     
  20. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    To make sure that I understand, most of your work prints well with the equivalent of grade 2.5 to 3? If that's the case then you're doing it right.
     
  21. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Well...I'm not sure where the 15% number comes from exactly. Basically, I've used Rodinal 1:50 w/ APX 100 in some fairly contrasty lighting. When I computed by development time I figured that I'd be conservative (remember, constrasty!) and take a minute off the time published for a gamma of 0.55 - figuring that would be a CI of 0.40 or so. I figured that that CI might work (and, fortunately, it did work ) for my 35 mm negs that were to be printed on Forte Polygrade VC with Polymax filters. Given that most of these negs seem to print nicely with a filter grade of 2 1/2 or 3 - I'd say its been successful.

    I tend to agree with jdef in that your ability to print at paper grades of 2 or 3 (or filter numbers of the same - though VC filter #s and paper grade #s aren't really the same thing) is a good sign that you've matched development time to your subject contrast and materials.

    Just to sum things up regarding all the stuff that flys through my head when I try to nail a development time based on the manufacturer's published time:

    What sort of light source do I have on my enlarger? Is it condenser or diffusion? I figure as a rule of thumb a condenser requires about 20-25% less development time than for a diffusion enlarger. How or even whether you adjust your development times from published figures to account for your light source depends upon which type of light source they used to devise the published times. Very often, incredibly, it isn't listed.

    Not all condenser light sources are the same, but the differences among them don't seem to upset the apple cart all that much.

    How contrasty is my scene? Basically, I use my 35 mm SLR's spotmeter (or wing it if I'm shooting with my Yashicamat 124G for MF) to try to determine the SBR. If the "typical" scene on that roll seemed to include more than 7 stops - I might give it 10% less development time. In extreme cases I'd reduce it more than that but I've yet to encounter any. If its significantly less than 7 stops I might add 10% or even a bit more to the time I devised in the first step.

    Of course, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. If I've got a bunch of contrasty subjects and a few flat ones, the constrast ones win out; or, if I'm really certain that the subject in front of me is a keeper I'll change film rolls anyway to avoid having to compromise. Film is (still) cheap.

    What's the relationship between my film and paper curves? I'm typically going to try to print on Forte Polygrade V and this paper seems to have a fairly lengthy toe. Rodinal is probably going to give me pretty strong highlight separation so I figure its a wash and won't adjust anything. On the other hand, were I printing on a really short-toed paper like Kodak Polycontrast III (dead and buried) I might drop that development time a little bit. If I were going to use a developer that tended to shoulder off the highlights agressively (and there aren't many that will give me any real shoulder in the useful density range with the films I use) and print those negs on Forte Polygrade (long, sweeping toe = subdued highlight contrast) I might increase the development time a little bit.

    In truth, though, I always have two papers in both RC and FB with me in the darkroom. I also make sure I have Agfa Multicontrst papers at hand because these papers seem to have more aggressive highlights separation than the Forte paper and a bit smoother transition to deep shadows. What doesn't work on one usually will do reasonably well on the other. I always start with the assumption that I will print it on Forte Polygrade V.

    I suppose I could add the question of which format am I using to the above. But since I always print on a condenser enlarger, I've found developing to a higher CI for MF vs. 35 mm doesn't really buy me anything. YMMV, of course.

    If this sounds serendipitous - you're not wrong. The Zone System it is not, but I do make an effort to keep notes of what works and what does not. In any event, I don't use sheet film or own transmission/reflection densitometers so a "Cumulative Experience Factor Adjustment System" works better for me.
     
  22. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    We are here to help you any time! :smile:

    I am somewhat a newbie too, and I ask newbie questions, too. But with Rodinal I feel I have something to give, and hope that people can use it.

    The Church of Rodinal is always open, and the priests are ready to help you develop into a state of pure graininess.
     
  23. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    :confused:
    Now you really got me dizzy. All that gamma and CI talk.
    Sticking to dev times and film size. 120 film needs to be developed more than 135, right ?. Is it really that significant ? In the start I had some problems with my devtimes (FP4+) somehow my MF negs printed very easy while my 135 negs still where more difficult. Ok I shoot a wider range of subjects with different contrast on 135 film so thats a part of the problem but does the filmsize matter that much. I think I have my times nailed down about right for my condenser enlarger and my way of printing but maybe it could still be improved.
    Condenser vs Diffused light. It's better to stick to one type when youre a beginner, right ?
    It still seem like the (my) EI setting should be a bit lower than the ISO recomended by ILFORD (and FUJI). But that seems normal when reading through your posts ? I feel some of my negs lack detail in the shadows.
    Now after six month with B&W I might be ready to do some testing of my personal filmspeed and dev times and .... so.......
    I learned something today :smile:
    Regards Søren
     
  24. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I think you are underfixing... how long do you fix?
    Have you ever tried increasing fix times?

     
  25. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Personally...I don't think film size matters very much if we are talking about development times for 135 and 120 B&W film.

    As a beginner, wherever possible, try to stick to one type of enlarger. I think a condenser (just my opinion) enlarger works best for 135 and 120 film. I'm sure some folks will say otherwise.
     
  26. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    I fix for 5 mins using Ilford Rapid fix at 1+4 and 20C. If memory serves, Ilford recommends 2-5 mins.

    I've never thought of increasing fix times, what would you suggest?

    Thanks again,
    Kent