When Rodinal goes bad...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by kavandje, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    Received wisdom is that Rodinal and its relatives (R09, APH09 etc) is virtually immortal.

    But after being away for a few months, I have returned, and I've run three films though using developer from my trusty about-a-year-old bottle of APH09 (I have an unopened spare, never fear...) which is stored in a dark cupboard at room temperature, and all three films came out almost completely clear!

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    At first I thought it was contamination from fixer residue in the tank, but I gave the tanks a thorough scrubbing, so that ought to be eliminated. Then I thought it was the water, but I've been checking the ph, and it's normal. Also, I've used a different developer (Moersch Finol), which is just as dilute (1+1+100), and it's come out just fine. So it's not the water. It's not the fixer either: fresh batch from powder, and it's worked fine with the Finol-processed film.

    So, what's happening here? Any theories?
     
  2. drazak

    drazak Member

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    Well, I'd either shoot a test roll, and do a clip test with it in the APH09 and Finol, or, put the whole test roll in the APH09, just to make sure there was nothing funky going on. What colour is your APH90?

    Ben
     
  3. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Unusual ...

    Is this the result of one (1) batch of diluted APH09?

    There are a number of errors that can result in "almost completely clear" film. Are the edge markings visible?

    I would suggest the "back-to-basics" clip test; Expose a strip of film to ambient light, beyond its "saturation" (a couple of minutes should be more than ample). Place it in the prepared developer and observe the time to "what happens". A starting point for developing time would be half of the time necessary for the film to turn black... "Max density".

    If it doesn't achieve a "Max black", then the developer is not developing. Possible - but that would be a surprise to me.
     
  4. abeku

    abeku Member

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    I've also experienced having a RO9-bottle going bad whereas my original Rodinal always has been capable to develop film after film - even when it is several years old. The RO9/APH09 is based on the Ur-Rodinal recipe and the Rodinal has been modified by Agfa during the years - so they are different. I pressume the immortality therefore is true for the Rodinal only. After my RO9 experience, I bought the A&O Rodinal and never have had a problem since then.
     
  5. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    The first two films were developed in the same tank, at 1+100 dilution (which is my usual; I'm a whore for the acutance); the second was at 1+50; in both cases, non-expired Tri-X from a Hasselblad which has not given me any trouble so far. Presoak in tap water (ph about 7 according to a re-purposed swimming pool test strip kit) for about a minute.

    The developer is stored un-diluted in a glass bottle in a dark cupboard; this has not given me any trouble in the past. Time to re-asses? Marbles?

    Development at 20˚C using Massive Dev Chart times which have worked for me in the past. Agitation 30 sec constant to start, then 5 sec every thirty, letting stand for the last minute.

    The edge markings are not visible.

    The colour of the developer is dark brown, but not, as far as I can tell, darker browner than usual. I did notice a slight blue-ish irridescence when the sunlight from the bathroom window caught it which I had not seen before, so I don't want to exclude the possibility that the developer is somehow either oxidised or contaminated.

    Never done a clip test before. What's the exact method? Is it simply 'dump a piece of saturated film in a jar of developer and observe'?

    Thanks for help so far!
     
  6. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    The first two films were developed in the same tank, at 1+100 dilution (which is my usual; I'm a whore for the acutance); the second was at 1+50; in both cases, non-expired Tri-X from a Hasselblad which has not given me any trouble so far. Presoak in tap water (ph about 7 according to a re-purposed swimming pool test strip kit) for about a minute.

    The developer is stored un-diluted in a glass bottle in a dark cupboard; this has not given me any trouble in the past. Time to re-asses? Marbles?

    Development at 20˚C using Massive Dev Chart times which have worked for me in the past. Agitation 30 sec constant to start, then 5 sec every thirty, letting stand for the last minute.

    The edge markings are not visible.

    The colour of the developer is dark brown, but not, as far as I can tell, darker browner than usual. I did notice a slight blue-ish irridescence when the sunlight from the bathroom window caught it which I had not seen before, so I don't want to exclude the possibility that the developer is somehow either oxidised or contaminated.

    Never done a clip test before. What's the exact method? Is it simply 'dump a piece of saturated film in a jar of developer and observe'?

    Thanks for help so far!
     
  7. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    You method appears correct. Your developer is suspect. Do the clip test to confirm.
    If I recall correctly (never a given!), I have heard that R-09 and the others do not have the longevity of the latest transmogrifications of Rodinal. Because of that, I put most of the contents of my bottle, when opened, in a whole bunch of cute little 10 or 20 (I do not recall which and they are in the cupboard downstairs) milliliter, dark-brown bottles.

    BTw, is it true there is a street in Windhoek named after Herman Goering's father?
     
  8. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    OK, so I am performing a clip test (using method cleaned from here) as I type.

    The dilution is 1+50 -- 4ml of solution to 200ml tap water at about 22˚C.

    The film strip is about 10cm of Rollei Retro 400N from my bulk roll (how convenient is that?), exposed to direct sunlight for about 2 minutes. Pre-soak in 22˚C tap water for about a minute; back of film turns from dark gray to pale blue.

    As of 6'30", the film has not visibly changed.

    Dumping solution at 10'00"...

    Fixing with 200ml of fresh Calbe A300 fixer. Film immediately goes milky, begins to clear visibly at 2'30".

    Film is almost entirely clear at 3'30", which is about 1/3 my usual fixing time.

    Film is totally clear -- even the 'been exposed to light lots for ages' leader at 5'00".

    Developer isn't.
     
  9. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    Oh, and on the assumption that Hermann Goering's father's surname was also Goering, then no: there isn't a street named after Hermann's father. But the fact that I didn't discount the possibility outright and checked my map says something about Windhoek nonetheless...
     
  10. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    I'm going to have to source little dark brown bottles, aren't I? In this town?? Gah...
     
  11. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    OK, so what's the best way to dispose of rotten undiluted Rodinal? Leave it in the sun to evaporate, then incinerate the bottle?
     
  12. JPD

    JPD Member

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    I read this on the net "until recently Göring Street was the name of a main thoroughfare in Namibia's capital, Windhoek".

    Heinrich Göring died in 1913, so he didn't have the chance to see Hermann become the popular fighter pilot in WWI, and fortunately never knew what would happen in the decades after that.
     
  13. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    Windhoek's main drag is Independence Avenue, which until 1990 was named Kaiserstraße, and before that simply 'Hauptstraße' (Main Steet) or 'Storestraße' ('street where the stores are'). I'm trying to find out what street Göringstraße was -- there's been a spate of 'postrevolutionary' revisionism taking the form of street-renaming in the last few years.
     
  14. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    The title of this thread brought a host of possible Larson..Far Side cartoon possibilities to mind.....Man, I miss him.
     
  15. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    When people speak or Rodinals' Eternal lifespan, they are speaking of the Rodinal made by Agfa and successors, not a 3rd party product. All manufacturers use proprietary items to stabilize their products, and perhaps the Rodinal "clone" does not.
     
  16. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

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    APH09/R09 (Calbe) CAN go bad (after 1 1/2 -2 years) This Ur Rodinal is working in a different way.
    Rodinal, R09 one shot "made in Germany" can not go bad. In the mean time Fomadon R09 (NEW) with the rounded corner bottles is also Rodinal. Foma switched 3/4 year ago from supplier. Rodinal R09 one shot is comming from the CMS plant in Vaihingen-Enz. This is the old Agfa Photo plant.

    Rodinal has very small differences when it's old. Here an example of new Rodinal and 4 y.o. Rodinal:

    [​IMG]

    Rodinal 1+25 new, APX100/Rollei Retro 100.

    [​IMG]

    Rodinal 1+25 4 y.o., same APX100/Rollei Retro 100.
     
  17. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    I think the lesson here is to use "Proper" Rodinal whenever possible and accept no substitute. My current bottle is 14 years old and still as good as the day it was bought.
     
  18. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Any of the "09s" simply do not have the "staying power" of actual-true Rodinal. I've used 11yo bottle with no problems, and I know of others whose film was processed in Rodinal up to 30yo with nary a single hiccup.

    I'd suggest cough up the cost of real Rodinal, and be set. Also, 1:100 never worked to any great advantage for me. 1:50 for 10min is fine enough.
     
  19. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    I may be mis-understanding here, so can I ask if you are saying that Fomadon R09 is now coming from the old Agfa plant and should have the same long term life span?
     
  20. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

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    Yes, that's how it is and Foma confirmed this on the Photokina in Köln/Cologne. The new dilutions of their stuff: 1+25 - 1+50.
     
  21. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I bought mine from an outfit in Chicago, USA called American Science and Supply.
     
  22. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    And with Delta 3200....

    Interesting thread this as I've had similar thoughts. I've been using APH09 to process Delta 3200 and have been very happy with the texture, accutance and sharp grain. The combination of film and dev is very 1950s, just what I'm after and to me even nicer than Rodinal. I worked out a dev time and dilution that worked after a bit of testing. (1+25 17mins I think.) The bottle I've been using is now several months old and every month or so I've processed about 10 rolls of film. (The bottle never seems to go down-they should start making whisky!) I always put one roll through first, 'just to check' and certainley for the last two batches I have had to reduce the dilution and increase the time to get similar results. I've stopped using this bottle now as the negs are not as strong and have gone back to Rodinal. However, I've been trying out some Foma 400 recentley and the Adox 09 is fine giving very bold and contrasty negatives and I suspect if I put through some TriX or HP5 that would work too. Now I know Rodinal and it's ancestors have the repution for longevity so I'm wondering if the apparent oxidation and reduction in it's strength is only noticeable with a film like Delta 3200 which requires one hell of a lot more development than most emulsions. Anyone else tried this combination at all?
     
  23. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    PS

    Oh and I should mention regarding the above post that the work I've been shooting is hand held night/city shots so the shadow detail is pretty weak to begin with.