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Thread: Old Rodinal

  1. #1
    rmolson's Avatar
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    Old Rodinal

    Rodinal

    This morning I ran off a series of shots to use as clip tests. And then developed short strips first in fresh Rodinal and then from the old bottle I had that had given me such poor results.. Using the recommendation that rjs003 gave I shook the bottle vigorously before mixing. It was as he stated the solution had separated and shaking recombined the elements,. The results showed equal activity They [the results] are no way an accurate measure of the film or developer normal results. But do show that the developer activity is fine. I was frankly surprised that shaking solved the problem or that liquid developers could separate like that. Thanks for the advice

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    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Realistically speaking, Rodinal doesn't go bad. Seriously. Yes, I can believe if it sat for a very long time that components would separate, but with vigorous mixing, it'll be good to go. I had a bottle that sat, 80% empty, and NOT hermetically sealed, for a good 7-8 years. A good shake, and I developed a half-dozen rolls with the tar-looking substance in the bottle, and they came out perfect.

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    I have a half bottle left and still going strong after ten years, but it does reveal I only use it on the odd occasion and I only keep it for the odd experiment with film or dilution.

    Steve
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_barnett/

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    landscape photographs in and around the Peak District National Park, UK.

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    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Question, how long does Rodinal have to sit before it's at the stage it needs to be shaken? 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? just in general, how long would it take? good to know for the future ya know?
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

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    erikg's Avatar
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    No harm in shaking every time, or at least if it has been sitting for weeks/months certainly years!

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    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikg View Post
    No harm in shaking every time, or at least if it has been sitting for weeks/months certainly years!
    Well I've never shaken mine before, also wouldn't shaking it every time introduce more unnecessary oxygen that normally just sits at the top of the bottle? I always pour a full bottle of new Rodinal into one of those amber bottles when I open it (because the Adox Adonal lids on their plastic bottles suck) and then have a smaller bottle I work out of for convenience, so the larger bottle sits in the basement a few months at a time undisturbed. So that's why I asked, but when I pour off into the smaller bottle, I haven't noticed that my images have suddenly lost quality on account of pouring off the top without shaking... so that's why I asked.
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

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    heterolysis's Avatar
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    I've had a bottle for a year that doesn't seem to have (visibly) separated at all.

    I always heard rumours that the stuff never went bad, and I just thought people meant relative to other developers... but 7-8 years? Wow!

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    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heterolysis View Post
    I've had a bottle for a year that doesn't seem to have (visibly) separated at all.

    I always heard rumours that the stuff never went bad, and I just thought people meant relative to other developers... but 7-8 years? Wow!
    I've heard stories about 30 year old Rodinal that was still good. In a time test, I don't know if HC-110 or Rodinal would win but both will really last longer than the time it takes to use them, even if you develop only a little bit a year. FWIW HC-110's expiration date says "indefinite" haha
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

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    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    I have a bottle I bought in the mid 80s, I think it was, developed a couple of rolls in, couldn't get results I liked, and gave up. I can give it a try when I get a chance.

    I didn't like it then so I'm not sure what to expect, but I can certainly tell if it still "works" and is in the ballpark for contrast given a reasonable development time/temperature/dilution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heterolysis View Post
    I always heard rumours that the stuff never went bad, and I just thought people meant relative to other developers... but 7-8 years? Wow!
    It is not uncommon to hear of 30 to 40 years old Rodinal working as when new. My own experience is with 25 yo stuff, still have some of it. What would be awesome, is someone finding old full bottles pre WWII and developing film with that!

    I have found Parodinal to be long-lived as well, provided it is prepared with the correct chemicals at the correct concentrations. My oldest samples are now two years, and showing no signs of deteriorating.

    Edit: BTW the reason why shaking up the bottle helps, is maybe because it re-dissolves some of the crystallised aminophenolate, i.e. it replenishes the active developer in solution. Good Rodinal must always have a few crystals lying in the bottom of the bottle, and when decanting into other containers, one must transfer the crystals too. Otherwise, the developer will crash sooner. If you suspect oxidation, one should not use only the top layer of the liquid. Diffusion in a viscous liquid such as Rodinal is very slow, and it can happen in reality that the replenishment simply does not take place via diffusion over the time frame you mention through a liquid column a few inches high.

    Rodinal proper contains at least two salts, namely potassium sulphite and potassium aminophenolate, in addition to potassium hydroxide. There could also possibly be chloride and bromide, depending on the formula. Two things are important: The aminophenolate in solution must be close to or exceed 0,5 moles/L, and the sulphite must stay in solution. To get this, sodium cannot be totally replaced for potassium, and the most one can get away with is ca 1 part of sodium per one part of potassium. I don't know what the current R09 formula contains exactly, but I am pretty sure it is based on potassium chemistry. The DIY formulas such as in the Darkoom Cookbook suggest using 4-aminophenol hydrochloride, and sodium hydroxide with potassium metabisulphite. This results in an additional amount of chloride in the developer, but that is of course greatly diluted in use. In the Parodinal formula, it is not chloride, but acetate that forms. In metonal (from metol), it is sulphate. In practice, I have found as yet no effect on how and what forms the main constituents are added, as long as they are there in the final product. In other words, after all reactions have taken place (acid-base neutralising etc) there should be excess hydroxide, sulphite and aminophenolate. The extra baggage of chloride, acetate or whatever else, is mostly inconsequential. When using sodium hydroxide, the sulphite must be potassium. And vice versa. One should not filter home preparations. Rather, one should strive to get the quanities of chemicals correct, and leave the precipitate to form and stay there, as it is responsible in part for the longevity.
    Last edited by dorff; 07-30-2013 at 03:48 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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