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  1. #1
    keyofnight's Avatar
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    Problems stand developing Tri-X at box speed.

    I stand developed a roll of Tri-X shot at 1600, and all the shots came out amazing! Souped the roll for 1 hour in Rodinal diluted to 1:100. I inverted the tank repeatedly for the first 10 minutes, and then I inverted the tank three times at the 20 and 40 minute mark. The roll came out nice and contrasty. I didn't even have to adjust the levels much (if at all) when I scanned the pictures. Here's an example:





    I, confident as hell, went on to try stand developing another roll Tri-X shot at 400 with the same process, the same diluted developer from the same bottle. The roll came out underdeveloped: the emulsion was a lot thinner than it should be. I'm not sure why. I know temperature shouldn't effect development too much (at this dilution). Did I forget to shake my bottle of mixed Rodinal, and all of the developer settled to the bottom? Should I have agitated it more? I would've presumed a roll exposed at 400 would need less agitation, not more—but I'm new to all of this.


    Here's an unadjusted example of my failure:




    Any thoughts would be appreciated. (:

  2. #2

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    You mentioned having a mixed bottle of Rodinal but this developer is normally used one shot. If you were reusing it, especially at high dilution like this, then it would be very exhausted after one use. Reusing it would not work well.

  3. #3
    MDR
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    Higher speed films like Tri-X usually prefer a little more than 1 hour. Simon is also right Rodinal is one shot reuse won't work. Temp below 18°C reduces the developers activity. . With your inversion regime the film should be overdeveloped not underdeveloped. Furthermore what you did was not stand but semi stand (you inverted the film for the first 10 minutes and more often then the norm for stand, stand from 8sec - 1 minute max continous at the beginning, maybe 3 times at half time). Could you post a non inverted scan of the neg, maybe there is a problem with your scanner.

    Dominik

  4. #4
    keyofnight's Avatar
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    Whoops! I made a few mistakes in this post.

    (1) Yes, you're right…this is semi-stand, and I should've made that clear.

    (2) I didn't agitate for the first 10 minutes, I agitated for the first 10-12 seconds. Sorry about the typo. I do 10 agitations (inversions), tap the tank on a table (to get rid of air bubbles), walk away.

    (3) The scanner is fine. I use my university's Flextight X1, and I used it to scan a few other rolls the same day. The dark rolls came out dark, and the bright rolls came out bright. (; The big problem is that there is a lot less emulsion on the film than other rolls.

    (4) Also: I didn't reuse my developer. I mixed up a big accordion-style bottle of developer at 1:100—about 1500mL worth. Instead of mixing up a new batch before I develop, I just use some from my accordion bottle. And, of course, I dump what I use down the toilet. After two rolls, I'm down to 500mL of mixed developer.

    The problem is: I don't think I shook my accordion bottle last time I grabbed some, so I think all of the Rodinal settled at the bottom of the bottle. I think, then…that means there wasn't much Rodinal in the last tank. That also means there's a ton of Rodinal left in the accordion bottle. Maybe I should just mix up a new batch and just be more careful in the future?

    Does Rodinal (mixed in water) settle at the bottom of a bottle this easily? Or is there some other problem I'm overlooking?
    Last edited by keyofnight; 10-30-2012 at 10:11 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Rodinal uses up the oxygen in the air and in the water, thus exhausting itself even if kept in an accordion bottle. As such, you should be using up what you mixed at the time - thus, mix up 500ml and use it and discard the rest. Mixing up 1500ml and using 500ml mean the 1000ml of the developer is rapidly losing strength, even sitting in an air tight bottle. This is unlike most standard developers - once the water is added, it should be used within hours, not days.

    The picture is under-developed because the Rodinal did not have enough strength left to fully develop it. The Rodinal does not settle to the bottom, it just exhausts itself.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  6. #6
    Patrick Robert James's Avatar
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    1) You have to mix Rodinal right before you use it, not ahead of time. If your mixed developer stood around, even in your accordion bottle, for more than a few hours it will go bad.

    2) Stand development is not a magical panacea. It can work fine on higher contrast subjects but when the contrast range of a neg is small it will look like crap. I really don't know why people keep trying to use these obscure methods when they don't work as well as the simple plain Jane ones. If you would have simply developed the film according to the instructions on the box bot negatives would have turned out fine.

  7. #7
    keyofnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler View Post
    Rodinal uses up the oxygen in the air and in the water, thus exhausting itself even if kept in an accordion bottle. As such, you should be using up what you mixed at the time - thus, mix up 500ml and use it and discard the rest. Mixing up 1500ml and using 500ml mean the 1000ml of the developer is rapidly losing strength, even sitting in an air tight bottle. This is unlike most standard developers - once the water is added, it should be used within hours, not days.

    The picture is under-developed because the Rodinal did not have enough strength left to fully develop it. The Rodinal does not settle to the bottom, it just exhausts itself.
    Whoa! I had no idea! Thanks! I allowed my mixed batch of Rodinal to sit for a week before using it again. I guess I'm lucky I got any images at all!

    I'm going to ditch the accordion bottle, and I'm going to start mixing up batches of developer for each tank of film. This should give me the most consistent results possible.

    Should I be careful about how I store my Rodinal too? I was told that it's a good idea to put glass marbles in the bottle of Rodinal so that it's not exposed to so much air?

  8. #8
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James View Post
    2) Stand development is not a magical panacea. It can work fine on higher contrast subjects but when the contrast range of a neg is small it will look like crap. I really don't know why people keep trying to use these obscure methods when they don't work as well as the simple plain Jane ones. If you would have simply developed the film according to the instructions on the box bot negatives would have turned out fine.
    well said.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  9. #9
    keyofnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James View Post
    2) Stand development is not a magical panacea. It can work fine on higher contrast subjects but when the contrast range of a neg is small it will look like crap. I really don't know why people keep trying to use these obscure methods when they don't work as well as the simple plain Jane ones. If you would have simply developed the film according to the instructions on the box bot negatives would have turned out fine.
    I don't think it's a magical panacea, but I did shoot a lot of high contrast subjects: dark bus when it's bright outside, inside a museum with very bright lights hitting dark fossils, a few night shots, and so on. I picked a method that went along with things I typically shoot and my skill level—stand development is pretty low-stakes. My first roll was a smashing success, after all, so I think I made the right choice.

    If I developed the negatives according to the instructions on the box, I'm not sure it would've come out well. It wasn't stand development that got me into this, it was that I mixed the developer ahead of time and didn't know it was a problem. Either way, I'm developing my own film because I want to learn lots of different methods of making an image. What you take as an "obscure" method is just another method I want to master, and that's why I decided to shoot film in the first place. I could just as easily argue that we should shoot digital because it's—in a way—simpler and less obscure. We're all doing something obscure for the sake of the supposed benefits of obscure methods, joy from the sheer experience of them, the resultant understanding that comes from going through a new process, and so on. These reasons are justification enough, right?

    This is all, of course, off-topic.

  10. #10
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyofnight View Post
    Whoa! I had no idea! Thanks! I allowed my mixed batch of Rodinal to sit for a week before using it again. I guess I'm lucky I got any images at all!

    I'm going to ditch the accordion bottle, and I'm going to start mixing up batches of developer for each tank of film. This should give me the most consistent results possible.

    Should I be careful about how I store my Rodinal too? I was told that it's a good idea to put glass marbles in the bottle of Rodinal so that it's not exposed to so much air?
    The accordion bottle has nothing to do with it, I use them for my fix/stop and they work well. Glass marbles are good and bad things - Rodinal will naturally turn more brown with age and it is amazing how dark it gets before it stops working (mine looks like weak coffee and works wonderfully). As long as the bottle it comes in is sealed properly, I don't think you have to worry about the minute amount of air in the bottle making a difference. The most consistent results I get are from pouring water into my mixing container, letting the water sit for 2-3 hours and then adding Rodinal and stirring briefly a couple of minutes before adding to the film for developing. (My brother works at a water plant and explained to me they inject air into the water in order to lower the density of the water and have it move more freely through the pipes; letting it sit for a couple of hours allows the air to dissipate.)

    I am not a big fan of glass marbles (over stainless steel ball bearings) since I had a marble break once and some glass shards scratched the film to pieces - I didn't know the marble was broken until later. Alternatively, use an accordion bottle which is easier.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

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