Rodinal Agitation - The Definitive Thread

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by streetshot, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. streetshot

    streetshot Member

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    For what seems like weeks I have combed the APUG archive researching Rodinal agitation schemes. I've learned lots and have made some adjustments to how I handle Rodinal and Tri-X (35mm). Thanks for all who contributed through their posts.

    For myself, I've learned for the six years I've been using Rodinal seriously I've been over-agitating the h*ll out of my negatives. And I knew for some reason I was not "connecting" with Rodinal and now I understand why...thanks to APUG and all of you. I earn my living with photography and for over 20 years my standard Tri-X developer had been D-76 1:1, then came curiousity and desire to make a more soulful image, Rodinal seemed (and still seems) to be the answer.

    From what you all have said over the years, this is a developer that has many faces and agitation is a key to Rodinal's many masks...in a good way.

    What I thought might be useful for the future is to put all Rodinal agitation experience into one place...here.

    Please post what you've found.

    Again, thanks for this amazing space.

    Michael

    Michael Hintlian
     
  2. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Please post what you've found.

    Sigh.

    Why not consolidate what YOU'VE learned instead ?
     
  3. streetshot

    streetshot Member

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    Hi DF...

    Your response has me wonder if I am out of line here? Your contributions in the past have been among if not the best of all that I've read...I am in your debt. My only intent is to have one place where as much that is known about agitation can have a home. If this is troublesome to you and the community I am sincerely sorry.

    Michael
     
  4. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Michael,

    I have used Rodinal 1+25 with agitation "by the box", 1+300 semi stand and 1+100 in a Jobo. I like them all, but none have created any magic for me. What I have found over the years is that while I do enjoy the subtle changes between developers (especially the first time I try them:>) ), I am "picking the fly poop out of the pepper" when I compare them honestly.

    Neal Wydra
     
  5. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I use Tri-X 400 135, exposed at ISO 250, developed for 11 min in APH 09 1+40 or Rodinal 1+50 with two gentle agitations at the beginning of each minute. I started out at 13 minutes but in hindsight I think the agitation, combined with the longer time tends to blow the highlights. I am still working on it and I am getting closer now, I think.

    I have been using the ISO 250 as a ballpark figure, but honestly, I should do a test to find my EI. One of these days... :smile:
     
  6. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    I develop all my films in Rodinal 1:25. By hand it's what's on the massive dev chart with constant agitation for :30, four inversions every :30, and constant for the last :30. With a processor I constantly agistate for :30 under the chart's suggestion.
     
  7. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    1:25, 15 slow inversions at start then five slow inversions every minute or so. five inversions last 30 seconds. I usually shoot box but extend time about a minute for most subjects.
     
  8. applesanity

    applesanity Member

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    1:25 + tri-x at EI 400, at 20C/68F, 2 slow gentle inversions + taps every 30 seconds, for 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Super grain, strong accutance.

    1:50 + tri-x at EI 400, at 20C/68F, 2 slow gentle inversions + taps every 30 seconds for 11 minutes. Grain much smaller, accutance not as strong, but there's a "glow" to the pictures.

    Stand development gets super glow.

    Also, I almost always use a #8 yellow filter and always overexpose by a half a stop on a center-weighted metered camera, if that matters. Metal tanks, small.

    The size of your metal tank matters. Then again, with a development time of 6 minutes, all sorts of stuff can make the whole process change.

    I would like to start pulling my film, but I can't find any reliable numbers out there for 1:25 with pulled Tri-X.
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    "If this is troublesome to you and the community..."

    not at all to me, and I'm sure not to the community,
    but without CONTEXT,
    the conversation can only result in a list of every conceivable way to agitate film.

    It's like asking, "What should I eat for lunch ?"


    By offering a context for the thread, you can guide the discussion,
    and by setting some of your own findings on the table,
    help somebody who could use a hand.

    d
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    For my own purposes, to make the grain look its best, and to get razor sharp prints, and finally to get the midtone qualities I want - intermittent agitation.

    I develop all films the same way, and they are exposed between box speed and one stop overexposed usually. I hear Foma needs shorter development times.

    30 minutes, agitate continuously by rolling my daylight tank on the floor for the first 90 seconds, then two gentle inversions every 5 minutes.

    Dilution: 1:200 using 500ml per film.
    Temp: Starts out at 70*F, then it depends on the room temperature what it ends up being.

    Rinse and fix. Fully developed shadow values. Glorious midtones. Awesome local contrast. Grain that is beautiful both in 35mm and 120 formats. Highlights that are very easy to control during printing. Basically, it produces a negative that prints easily and is easy to manipulate. To emphasize on Don's 'what's for lunch' analogy - you get a five course meal that you can choose to devour any way you like to. :D

    I have attached a print scan from an Efke KB 100 35mm neg. I used diffusion while printing, so the grain isn't really apparent. Ilford MGWT fiber glossy, developed in Ilford Multigrade 1+9 at 68*F.

    I hope that helps. But I concur with Don - tell us what you have found to give some substance to the thread.

    - Thomas
     

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  11. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    If I may chime in: you said that the archives of APUG are full of interesting information; then you ask other people to post that information.

    If it's already in the archive, why ask people to post again the same information?

    To get things started, you should just make a summary of what you have learned, what you understand about agitation, and this will help get the ball rolling.
     
  12. streetshot

    streetshot Member

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    Fair enough brother...though I thought I had set enough context through the specific problem agitation in Rodinal presents. And yes, my own search through this incredible archive indicates there is wide variation in practice with each film.

    In my experience specific to Tri-X 35mm (exposed at 250-320 iso) I've found harshness at 1+50 and 13 minutes with the traditional, D-76 style agitation (30 secs. in the first minute then 5-10 secs. each minute thereafter). And I have tried full stand versions at 20 minutes, 1+100 dilution with results so unlike the agitated version I double checked to make sure I had actually used Rodinal. The stand version had an amazing range of middle tone and highlights with lots of detail...nice but not exactly what I'm after.

    And so my direction with Tri-X as I learn this developer will be to back off the time to 12 minutes, 1+50 and try much less agitation...like 5 seconds every other minute. I'm expecting the cement mixer style agitation has robbed much of what I have been looking for. We'll see.

    I'm open to hearing more from the group, how you've delt with your agitation practice with 35mm (and 120/220) Tri-X. It would also be great to know how some of the Eastern European emulsions respond to changes in agitation.

    Thanks!

    Michael
     
  13. streetshot

    streetshot Member

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    Michel...Thanks for your input. If you research the archive, and I'm sure you have, you will discover the conversations regarding Rodinal and agitation are all over the map. There is a piece here and a piece there. I've done this work and its very difficult to get more than a sense of the issue and much of what is there is confusing...that is why I created this thread, as an attempt to put this in one place. Is it so much to ask the group to comment on this specific topic?

    I'd be interested in your agitation experience with Rodinal.

    Michael
     
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  15. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    FWIW, I love Rodinal; cheap and very flexible. I like it best on slow films, even with 35mm. It seems to pull out all the exposed silver in a neg; the neg just looks good!

    It is not my favorite for films faster than ISO 50 in 35mm or 100 in MF. It does give me great tonality on s a film like TX, but the grain is just a BIT much, although you have to stand right in front of a 16x20 to see it; I prefer something like D-76, 1+1 for faster films. We are however, talking about degrees here.

    As for agitation with Rodinal, I'm down to one inversion/minute.
     
  16. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Lately I've been using Rodinal 1:200 and stand development - agitate first minute, let stand for the remainder of 2 hrs. For me this has been the ultimate in consistency - I've devved Tri-X @ 250 ISO and 400 ISO, APX 400 @ 250, Fomapan 400 @ 400, Neopan 1600 @ 1600, and Delta 3200 @ 3200. I'm going to be trying some Plus-X shortly as well. All 35mm so far, but I have a couple of 120 rolls pending. (I also previously did some Tri-X @ 3200 in Rodinal 1:100 for 1.5 hrs with somewhat more agitation, but now I don't think that was necessary.) All done @ 20 degrees C.

    Some people don't like the way stand dev turns out, others love it, and I'm in the latter camp now - all my negs look great (haven't had a chance to scan/print any yet, though). I will say that a lot of info on doing this isn't formalized (eg, how much time in the developer is really necessary - some do it for 2.5 hrs, others for 2, some maybe shorter), and some of it seems to be trial-and-error, so in that respect I don't mind sharing my own experiences :smile:
     
  17. applesanity

    applesanity Member

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    A person who shares the communal darkroom with me showed off some prints made from Neopan 1600 at EI 1600 using 1:100 stand development at 20C. Agitate gently for all of the first minute, let sit, two inversions at the 25th minute, then let sit until total time reaches 55 minutes. The prints all had a distinctive, exquisite glow with rich midtones and surpisingly little grain. Amazing shadow detail, whereas highlights may have been blown out here and there... then again, burning might fix that.

    Anyone with experience for 1:100 stand development for Tri-X?
     
  18. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    I can't speak for Tri-X, but HP5+ and PanF+ look nice in Rodinal 1:100 for an hour. They seem to imporve with less agitation. I'm down to agitation for thefirst minute and nothing else for the balance of the hour. It's hard looking at a tank of film & devloper and not touching it. Old habits die hard.

    However, exposure is critical. My underexposed negatives looked better than my overexposed negatives. The overexposed negatives were still useable. I also suspect that with some dodging and burning they would print better than they scan.
     
  19. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    For Efke 25, Rodinal 1 + 100 at 20C, constant, slow agitation for the first 30 seconds then five inversions every two minutes.

    Jim B.
     
  20. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Is stand/semi-stand with Rodinal a good way to handle scenes with a lot of contrast between highlights and shadows? The example that comes to my mind is a window-lit room, to keep the windows from blowing out completely.
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Colin, it is one of the best ways to deal with such range of brightness in a scene. Try it. If you look in my gallery you'll see some neg scans from inside the St Paul Cathedral. Sharp window light and dark indoor illumination in the same scene in good harmony. Couldn't have done it without the Rodinal / semistand regimen I used. I would have blown the highlights.
    - Thomas
     
  22. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Colin, dilute Rodinal and stand/semi-stand MAY be one way to get around this, another would be to use one of the pyro devs or something like dilute D-23. Or, the scenc could simply be beyond the range of the film; beyond its ability to record the differences between the dark and light areas.

    Here's a thread that is a fun read:http://photo.net/black-and-white-photo-film-processing-forum/00RQbd
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, Gort seems to have made the OP, but his name was really Gnut. (read "Farewell to the Master" to figure that one out :D ) In any event, I say use what works for you. Not what someone else suggests.

    PE
     
  24. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Semi-stand 1:50, I buy it by the case and I have been using it for over thirty years beginning with Panatomic-X, by far the best combination of all time.
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Very true, the pyro developers are good at extreme compensation too. Pyrocat-MC and HD are the ones I have experience with. They are not that good at stand development, though, in my experience. I had more occurrences of uneven development using Pyrocat for stand (semistand with 3min agitation intervals worked just fine) than with Rodinal.
    I think at least Pyrocat was more designed for continuous agitation rather than minimal agitation.
    Even so, just in normal development schemes, with agitation once per minute, Pyrocat is an awesome developer for compensation.
    - Thomas

     
  26. streetshot

    streetshot Member

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    Thanks for directing me to the source of Gort...very cool...it appears the movie was lifted almost directly from that author's work. I still like Gort the best though (smiling here).

    About your advice above...yes, exactly and its been my path all along. Experiment then print and look then know what works for you. Simple and effective. Did you think PE that I was looking to be told what to do? If so its not the case and not the spirit of the post. :smile:

    Will you contribute your Rodinal experience to the thread?

    MH