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  1. #1

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    When Rodinal goes bad...

    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. #2

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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. #3
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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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.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  4. #4
    abeku's Avatar
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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.
    - You will develop when you become an analog photographer / Exposed Material / Monochromes

  5. #5

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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. #6

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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. #7
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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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?
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  8. #8

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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. #9

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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. #10

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

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