Making the Most of Rodinal
My developers are XTOL/D76 paired with Tri-X and FP-4. In the past I would occasionally use Rodinal with both MF films. My results with Rodinal have been unsatisfactory 60% of the time. Negatives tend to be underdeveloped/underexposed or have sagging mid-tones.
I'm calibrating my film/developing time/agitation to achieve consistent results using Rodinal. I'm using the guidelines found in Popular Photography, Dec 1979, by Bob Schwalberg.
The image qualities I'm looking for are sharpness, ability to separate highlights, increased brilliance vs a general purpose developer. Increased developer shelf life is a positive.
I'm trying HP-5 due to its acutance. The last roll I shot was HP-5, rated at 200, metered with an incident meter set at 160, shot with a 1956 Rollei F/2.8 and light yellow (factor 1.5) filter. Souped at 14 min, 8cc Rodinal with 17oz of water, agitate 1st 40 sec, agitate each 60s (3 inversions in an oversize metal tank), 1 inversion each 30s for first 7 min. After 7 min reduce agitation to 3 inversions each 60s. Light conditions were full Central Oklahoma Nov sunlight with wispy clouds. Light intensity similar to upper Midwest in summer. 120 negatives were slightly thin only achieving an acceptable print contrast on E-maks G3 if toned. Enlargement 8x6 on 8x10 paper.
How much should one derate Tri/X or HP-5 to achieve full film speed when using Rodinal? How can I improve low tone/mid tone separation? Would it be helpful to extend development by 1 min without agitation hoping to bring up low tones without building density in the sky area?
Just looking for advice on optimizing Rodinal for landscape images.
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 11-14-2011 at 08:35 AM. Click to view previous post history.
When I use Rodinal, I rate films 100 speed and slower at box speed. When I shoot 400 speed, I rate it 1/2 box speed, my normal filter for B&W is medium yellow(factor 2). I use the MDC recommended time for 1+50 @20c. I agitate for 1st 30 seconds, then 4 inversions per every 60 seconds. My normal printing filter is grade 2.5, but I like lots of contrast in my prints. I could actually print these negs at grade 1.5-2.
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If I read your post correctly you metered with a 160 ISO setting on your lightmeter but developed the film like it was exposed at 200 ISO and used a non standard dilution sorry but it's no wonder you didn't get acceptable results. The standard combination for HP5+ in Rodinal is E.I 200 ASA dilution 1+50 500ccm of Water + 10ccm of Rodinal for 10 to 13mins @ 20°C (depending on your enlarger) . Under harsh sunlight I would recommend using Rodinal 1+100 Stand developed for an hour 20°C.
Good Luck Dominik
Your EI seems okay but I followed the agitation scheme as according the link below.
3 inversions at the beginning, again 3 inversions @5th min and @10th minute. I pour out at 16th minute + Stop bath + Fix for PanF+ @25 ISO.
For small Jobo tank, I found 6ml developer + 300ml water is sufficient for a roll of 35mm film. I shot some portraits and foliage with K2 filter and negatives look beautiful.
One thing which frustrates me is that my dark room is not ready, so I cannot tell about the paper and the print yet.
Additional info regarding grain(Rodianal + HP5+)
skahde : Comment is rather interesting.
I presume results which I got would have been the same if I rate that film @box speed.
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In my experience Rodinal delivers 1/2 to 2/3 box speed.
Without a darkroom or densitometer, you can not do film calibration.
There is tons of misinformation about how to develop film on the internet. You do not know if the persons thermometer is is correct, water quality, tank type, enlarger type , and contrast of his enlarging lens, if his paper was fresh, or even if the paper curves matches the film or if his safe lights fog the paper.
My results match Kodak and Ilford recommendation to the second. Yet other places are far off. The only conclusion I can come to is test you own.
Ron, I agree there are many variables. Comparisons are difficult. One has to do the work oneself. You always hope for a shortcut using others experience.
An incident meter is generous in its recommendation. The yellow filter is -2/3 of a stop. I normally shoot ISO 400 film at EI 200 to lift shadows off the toe. So using an incident setting of 160 ISO my film speed with filter was more like EI 250. I find using an EI of 200 with ISO 400 developing times with D-76/XTOL or Rodinal does not blow out highlights. I'm easy with agitation.
My dilution was close to 1:75, a little stronger due to our Fall light. Frankly, It was easier to measure 8 CCs vs 7 CCs of developer when mixing the ratio. Recommended times are out of Popular Photography. BTW, the referenced article written by Bob Schwalberg is of historical interest. The photo magazines in the 60s through 70s were great resources of info. Full staffs doing experiments. The hay day of photography.
In the past I found Rodinal provides a slower film speed than D-76 1:1.
I'm close to getting better negatives. I am not convinced Rodinal won't sag mid-tones. Sometimes the images look different and better, and other times the negatives fail to print easily.
Is there anyone dedicated to using Rodinal and what are your thoughts?
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 11-14-2011 at 07:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.
If you use Rodinal with 16°C, you can reach 1/3 ... 1/2 stop more and so coming closer to the bos speed. The reason may be that the developer has mor time to reach and develop the deeper emulsion parts.
The time is 1.6 times longer, that means 21 mins instead of 13.
Thanks for the thread. Addresses one of my observations on mid tones.....highlights are affected first by compensation but mid tones are also affected by exhausted developer. Looking at my reference print perhaps 1:50 would have been a better choice. With Rodinal you have options which end up being variables which make it a more difficult developer to master.
This is why I always ignore those who scoff at Agfa's specified minimum of 10ml concentrate per 80 square inches of film. Most of the time, following manufacturers' instructions avoids problems.
Originally Posted by Richard Jepsen