Forgive me Roger. It is late and I am a little ornery tonight. What I should have written was- Rodinal has its following because it is a high acutance, low fog developer that lasts forever and is easy to use. It is also unique because it has a high pH and is still a clean developer thanks to the characteristics of the p-Aminophenol. Off the top of my head I can't think of another developer that has these characteristics. I have made other developers with a high pH but inevitably fog creeps in and a restrainer needs to be added. In any regard Rodinal has it's own tonal characteristics which make it somewhat unique and loved by the people who use it including myself. The only possible downside to Rodinal is an increased possibility under certain circumstances of exaggerated edge effects which is why I won't use it as a stand developer. There are really only a scarce few developers that are good as stand developers though.
You asked about Rodinal being used as part of a mixture - When it got too hot to work in the garden I found the reference - Barnet Book of Photography 1898, Portraiture Chapter, Harold Baker p89 - However, with today's printing materials I can see no point in mixing it, but here it is
RODINAL AND HYDROKINONE
Sod sulphite 1oz
Citric acid 1 crystal
Pot bromide 1 dram
Hydrokione 2 drams
Pot Carbonate 2oz
Rodinal 1 fl oz
Use 1 part A, 1 part B and 1 part water
I will continue with my now over 26 year old deep tank of D76d, which started life as Agfa 17 in 1985 and has transmuted over the years - I use a very careful replensihment system and a densitometer - So like me it improves with age
I repeat, Rodinal is not a high acutance developer. It is somewhere between mildly diluted solvent developers and acutance formulas. It should be used for it's tonal properties, not as a high sharpness developer. If it's high sharpness people want, there are sharper developers which also produce tighter grain patterns.
Originally Posted by M. Lointain
No problem and thanks for spelling it out this way. I knew of those characteristics, and I have to agree I don't know of another developer that combines them all in one developer. (I also confess I tried it in the 80s and again in the 90s and was unable to get results I liked, making me scratch my head about its popularity. Don't ask for details because I have only vague memories, which is part of why I'm willing to try again.)
Originally Posted by M. Lointain
I also notice Thomas in another thread talking about it being a great developer for TMY while others didn't agree. Provided one can get tonality they like on it, it would seem to me a great match for modern T-grain films. The biggest downside others have often had with Rodinal with conventional films was that it was a bit grainy in 35mm. TMY has such fine grain that shouldn't be an issue (TMX even more so of course, and even the Deltas, which are grainier than the T-Max films, are finer enough compared to old tech films that they should yield good results too)
I still think the church/cult thing is more than a bit over the top, fine as a joke but it's almost like some folks take it seriously. I really don't think a photograph succeeds or fails due to the developer used. There are some "semi-exceptions" mainly with developers for pushing for low light shots, but even then there are others that will do close enough to make the same photos possible.
My inclusion of D76 in the developers I use was precisely because it's "boring." It works well, is easy to use, and has no real vices. I could say the same of Xtol if it didn't come only in such large sizes and die suddenly without warning sometimes - pretty big drawbacks for my amount of usage. I keep it on hand as a secondary developer to T-Max RS mainly because every film in the world has published data for it, so you can get a starting point that gives printable negatives the first time, and refine that to what you need within one or two rolls. It's nothing to do with the developer itself, it's just so standard. It's sort of the opposite of a church or cult I guess, but then again I'm always a champion of the common folk.
That reminds me of an old girlfriend...
Originally Posted by Roger Cole
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I think one of the reasons Rodinal has a sort of cult status is that it retained its popularity even through the times where 35mm was king and minimization of grain was the difficult to attain goal of many darkroom workers.
Back before the T-Grain films and the modern, lower grain versions of traditional emulsions came into being.
A choice of Rodinal with old Tri-X was a serious statement, especially when compared with old Tri-X with D76 stock or, wait for it, old Tri-X with Microdol-X.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I first seriously tried Rodinal with T-Max 100 when the film was first introduced. I liked it because it would give a bit more edge to the T-Max, which has very high resolution but lacks the "bite" of older emulsions. I've since stopped using either and joined the Church of Pyrocat. This after many years in the HC-110 congregation. Call me fickle.
I find Rodinal a very interesting developer. With the 1970s Tri-X, it gave an almost square-looking grain. Very crisp and snappy. I have an unopened liter of it in my friend's darkroom right now just waiting for the right project. It certainly has its own look, especially with traditional film emulsions.
I would love to hear from where you get your information.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
Its formulation, articles by Gainer, Darkroom Cookbook etc, substantiated by my own subsequent tests of it with various films in comparison to both diluted solvent developers and true acutance formulas such as (T)FX-2. Rodinal is indeed sharper than solvent developers at mildly diluted working strengths, which is to be expected. However it is not a true "high acutance" developer. It is somewhere in between. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Rodinal. It's an excellent developer and has its own look, prized by many practitioners. But I also believe in trying to be as accurate as possible with descriptions of working properties so that less experienced darkroom workers can make informed choices.
Gainer's thoughts on photochemistry were to put it most politely rather quaint.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery