Old R09 and new Rodinal

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by marek sramek, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. Moderator's note: This thread has been locked from futher participation because some people seem incapable of confining their commentary to strictly photographic subject matter. In order to protect what valid information there is contained within the thread I've locked it and edited out, insofar as is possible, any potentially offensive comments that are not inextricably intertwined with photographic topics.

    If anyone has any truly new questions to ask or information to share related to this topic please feel free to start another thread, observing the usual photo.net guidelines for participation. That means leave out any remarks related to nationalism or those of a personal nature.
    Lex Jenkins
    B&W Photography forums moderator, 10/2/04


    The original initiating post for this thread follows:
    I wonder what is the difference between chemical formula of the old
    pre-war Rodinal (Calbe F09, Fomadon R09) and its comtemporary version
    made by Agfa. Does anybody have any idea? Why did Agfa change the
    formula? Is it because of there new modern emulsion films? Thanks.
     
  2. Rodinal has changed at least twice in my time, and I'm not particularly old(!)

    The formula was probably changed to make it cheaper to make, as was the Agfa Viradon toner which recently had its most expensive ingredient removed (selenium)
     
  3. That's curious...I recently picked up a new bottle of Rodinal, and my AGFAPAN 100 came out terrible! I did not do anything different that I haven't done for 15 years. At first I thought it was the "new" APX 100
    but perhaps it was the Neo Rodinal. I'm going to buying some RO9 from J and C to find out.
     
  4. db1

    db1

    Of late, I have been using APX 100 (@ iso 100) with Rodinal 1+50 for 13 minutes at 68 degrees. Film comes out rather nicely.
     
  5. I've used both recently. With the slow Efke films, there is not a lot of difference, in fact I like R09 better. With Tri X, modern Rodinal seems to produce negatives with more contrast. Those developed in R09 look muddier. Rodinal works well for dilute stand development; R09 does *not*, not at all.

    Does anyone know how long R09 lasts in a partially-used bottle? Rodinal seems to last almost forever, or at least a year.
     
  6. The term "new Rodinal" is a relative term, since the developer is over 100 years old (introduced in 1891). Although a few minor changes have been made to the formula over the years, I was not aware that any changes were made recently. In "The Film Developing Cookbook," (Anchell and Troop, 1998) the authors state that the changes made over the years “are not photographically significant.”

    The main reason that R09 is different than the current version of Rodinal is that Rodinal was originally patented and the formula was published. Once the patent expired, others are free to copy to the original published formula. No one knows exactly what the new Rodinal formula is, so it is difficult to exactly copy.

    Some people claim that R09 is superior to the current Rodinal, but I very much doubt that.
     
  7. I've used Rodinal now for twenty years and can't say I've noticed any changes other than the bottle. I have recently used it with Agfa APX 100 and, while the grain was quite visible, it was crisp and the tonality was good. I may try APX100/Rodinal in medium format.
     
  8. " Once the patent expired, others are free to copy to the original published formula. No one knows exactly what the new Rodinal formula is, so it is difficult to exactly copy. "
    Calbe is the current name for the chemical unit in Calbe that supplied VEB (People's Own Company) OWRO --- ORiginal WOlfen)--- which is the original Filmfabrik AGFA Wolfen--- In a 1964 settlement the company agreed to remove Agfa from their name. All the original formulas and intellectual property developed by Agfa before the war were in the Wolfen plant and continued to be held there following nationalization by the German Democratic Republic--- it should be recalled that Agfa was part of the I.G. Farben conglomerate that provided not just Kylon-B for the gas chambers, heavily active in exploting concentration camp slave labour but also the Bush family fortune.
    The West German Agfa ("Agfa AG fur Photofabrikation" in Leverkusen) was founded in 1952 (via the Bayer I.G. Farben connection) and created what they could but many of the Agfa surviving scientists--- one needs to recall that Agfa before the war had many Jewish researchers and was as Aktien Gesellschaft Fur Anilin Fabrikation founded by Paul Mendelssohn-Bartholdy who although converted and assimilated was (as was Felix) considered Jewish by the Nazis--- did not defect.
    If one is looking for the "original" Rodinal with a clear and direct heritage to the Rodinal of 1891 then it would need to be the Calbe and NOT the Agfa Leverkusen production--- which is the one that started off as a development from the published formulas.
     
  9. Edward, I don’t believe that what I said contradicts you.

    I agreed that R09 is the original formula. I said that Agfa has made some minor changes to the formula over the years since 1891 that are not "photographically significant" according to Anchell and Troop. I also said that the current Agfa formula is not published and therefore is difficult to copy.

    There is no evidence that I have seen to suggest that the original Rodinal (or R09) is better than the current Agfa Rodinal. There is no evidence that I have seen that Agfa Rodinal has changed any time recently. If someone has solid information on that, I would like to see it.

    Unfortunately, I fear that this discussion is deteriorating into some kind of political debate.
     
  10. "Edward, I don?t believe that what I said contradicts you. "
    The innuendo, however, was that Calbe was some East European company that copied Rodinal from the published formulas from before the war. The is completely WRONG and an absurd revision to the history of Agfa and its Filmfabrik in Wolfen.
    "I agreed that R09 is the original formula. I said that Agfa has made some minor changes to the formula over the years since 1891 that are not "photographically significant" according to Anchell and Troop. I also said that the current Agfa formula is not published and therefore is difficult to copy."
    Again... Calbe IS Agfa! Agfa is a West German company founded in 1952 which won a case in 1964 against Filmfabrik Agfa Wolfen over the use of the Agfa name. The intellectual property that Agfa Leverkusen got from I.G. Farben was the name. The intellectual and physical property (factory, machines etc.) remained in Wolfen.
    "There is no evidence that I have seen to suggest that the original Rodinal (or R09) is better than the current Agfa Rodinal."
    Again you are assuming that Calbe's R09 is identical with the published Rodinal formulas. It probably is not as your Troop reference suggests.
    "Unfortunately, I fear that this discussion is deteriorating into some kind of political debate."
    There is no way to discuss Agfa without a clear understanding of its history.
     
  11. Historical I'm confused.

    According to an ad in "Wilsons Photographic Magazine,1898" -
    Actien=Geselischaft fur Anilin=Fabrikation (A.G.F.A.)
    Photographic Department
    Berlin, S.O.
    was the birthplace of Rodinal.

    How does ORWO and Calbe fit in the timeline?

    and where is the original formula publish at?
     
  12. Agfa was founded in 1873 by Paul Mendelsohn Bartholdy--- son of the composor Felix and grandson of the philosopher Moses--- in Berlin. Their site on the Spree river soon was too small and the company needed to find more suitable location. In 1909 through the initiate Franz Oppenheim (1853 - 1929), Generaldirektor of Agfa, they started building the Filmfabrik in Wolfen--- 15 years earlier they already built the Farbenfabrik there. By 1920 the complex in Wolfen already ranked, behind Kodak, as the 2nd largest maker of photographic materials in the world. By the end of the 1920s even the Berlin research departments ("Wissenschaftliches Foto-Laboratorium" founded in 1919) moved to Wolfen and the Technisch-Wissenschaftliche Laboratorien were founded in 1929. It was here that the Agfa-color was developed. This, other bits of intellectural property as well as over 40 engineers and scientists were among the war booties siezed by US forced in 1945.
    With Wolfen now in the Soviet sector which became the German Democratic Republic. The finanical interests of I.G. Farben, due especially to its role in National Socialism, war and slave labour and extermination in camps, were--- as one might imagine-- not high on the list. The factories were nationalized. Bayer which was in Leverkusen-- another part of the I.G. Farben empire-- which was in the American sector (near Cologne) was a natural location to try to continue in the tradename. Both Bayer and the Agfa Filmfabrik in Wolfen claimed rights to the Agfa tradename and following a series of international suits the company in Wolfen agreed in 1964 to drop its claim and change its name. The trademark ORWO means original Wolfen, a name placing a strong claim that its the rightfull Agfa Filmfabrik. ORWO was a largescale company that went beyond just Wolfen into Bitterfeld and the region. The chemical plant (making developers etc.) was located in the town Calbe.
    Following the collpase of the German Democratic Republic and "unification" the ORWO industrial entity was dismantled. Few of the 15000 (that's 15 thousand) jobs survived. The few companies that emerged from the rubble were Calbe (the chemicals), ORWO/PixelNet (processing services), FilmTec (film),......
     
  13. Moderator's note: I've already deleted a somewhat similar thread that deteriorated into politics that are irrelevant to photography, as well as to some bickering. Let's leave this thread as-is unless we can leave out the politics, partisanship and ill-will. Otherwise this thread will also be deleted, which would be a shame due to some of the informative content.
     
  14. Thank you, Edward, for the history information!

    now does anyone have the original formula and/or patent # so I can do a search?

    yours in the library hunting mood
     
  15. You can get the formula in "The Film Developing Cookbook," by Anchell and Troop, Focal Press 1998, page 117. However, I hope your are not planning to mix some yourself, because even if you have the chemicals, it is relatively difficult for an amateur to make and some of the raw chemicals are a bit toxic.
     
  16. "now does anyone have the original formula and/or patent # so I can do a search? "
    The formulas for Rodinal, resp. R09 (1964 to present), have never been published. The patent is for Paramidophenol developers and there are many recipes making the rounds since the late 1800s. One of the most famous is attributed to Eder. From my copy of Spörl and Neumann, "Fotografisches Rezeptbuch" 1943 edition, p.50):
    N16:
    • Paramidophenol 50g
    • Kaliummetabisulfit [Potasium Metabisulfite] 150g
    • Wasser 625ccm (ml)
    • Then a solution of
      • Ätznatron [Sodium Hydroxide] 215g
      • Water 500ccm (ml)
    • is slowly added untill the cloudyness breaks. According to the book it says this is typically around 350ml.
      Then the solution is diluted with water to make 1 liter.
      I need to check my copy of Eder (a quarter of a century older than the above book) to see what formulas he publishes.
      Current Rodinal uses Potassium hydroxide instead of Sodium hydroxide as an accelerator.
      As a curiousity.. my "ORWO Rezepte" of 1964 lists a Paramidophenol developer as ORWO 10 (p.21) as a normal portrait developer using alongside Paramidophenol a solution of Sodium Sulfit and Potassium Carbonate.
     
  17. I just pulled out my copy of Eder ("Rezepte und Tabellen"... of 1921) and he lists as a Paramidophenol developer basically the ORWO 10 as developer K. Developer L is Rodinal which he says is "Paramidophenol, Ätznatron, Sulfit" but does not give a recipe. He mentions that its powder form is Unal.
     
  18. "You can get the formula in "The Film Developing Cookbook," by Anchell and Troop, Focal Press 1998, page 117"
    This is NOT and never was the recipe for Rodinal. From what I've heard he merely publishes a version of the developer attributed to Eder. Rodinal has used various accelerators over its 100 year history and while currently using Potassium Hydroxide (and not Sodium as in the Eder brew) previously, according to my recollection, used Lithium Hydroxide. Rodinal also contains a few other chemicals including Potassium Bromide, Benzotriazole and probably some sodium hexametaphosphate (calgon).
     
  19. Rodinal formulaation is proprietrary so far as I know.
     
  20. Edward, I am not sure I understand what you are saying. In "The Film Developing Cookbook, " they give a formula and detailed mixing instructions (provided by Dr. Elie Shneour) for what they call “Traditional Rodinal.”

    Anchell and Troop acknowledge that the there have been many different versions of the Rodinal formula that have been published over the years. They make no attempt to give a formula for “Agfa Rodinal.” The formula and instructions are not provided as a historical document applicable to any particular period in the past, rather it is meant to be used by photographers who want to make their own Rodinal today.

    The ingredients that they list for Traditional Rodinal seems to be identical to the ones you listed (assuming that p-Aminophenol hydrochloride is the same as Paramidophenol), but there is a difference in the amount of sodium hydroxide used. Also, the concentration of the final solution appears to be slightly different.

    My understanding is the Agfa Rodinal is proprietary only because it is not a published formula. I don’t believe that the formula is currently patented (presumably because of its age).
     
  21. "for what they call ?Traditional Rodinal.? "
    They can call it Coca Cola--- another trademarked product--- but it still would neither be Rodinal nor Coke(tm).
    Since Ansco and Rodinal fell under Alien Property Custodian Act and a lot of intellectual property was siezed following the war, pre-war Rodinal is perhaps "proprietary" but not top-secret.
    "Anchell and Troop acknowledge that the there have been many different versions of the Rodinal formula that have been published over the years. "
    Again. There have been several publications of Paramidophenol developers and there have been several recipes making the rounds that claim (most as Anschell and Troop incorrectly) to produce Rodinal but there have never been to my knowledge a publication by Agfa of the formula for Rodinal.
    "The ingredients that they list for Traditional Rodinal seems to be identical to the ones you listed"
    Close. Its, as a wrote, a well known Paramidophenol developer attributed to Josef Maria Eder. Since it is not in his books (I did not find it in the 1921 edition of his most relevant handbook, the "Rezepte und..." whose first edition appeared in 1892) I could imagine that he either mentioned the recipe to his students in Vienna or its a formula devised following or paying homage to his comments on Paramidophenol developers and is not really attributable to him. The developing mechanism (photochemistry) is indeed quite similar to Rodinal but its NOT Rodinal and probably never was.
    They do NOT match either of Calbe R09 or Agfa Rodinal.
    This discussion highlights the kind of Internet disinformation or poor research that makes the rounds. Neither Anchell nor Troop, given some inquiries, appear to be familiar at all with the German literature and its doubted if they, at all, can read German. This makes for a rather poor foundation given the overwhelming significance of the German pre-war literature. I see time and again, incorrect attributions, wrong formulas etc. making the rounds like lice in a kindergarten. I do not have a copy of their cookbook but from the formulas I've seen attributed to have been copied from that book I suspect they did not do their research well. The Beutler High Acutance Film Developer too comes to mind. Not only do I think, based upon multiple citations to the Cookbook, they considered "their" formula to be for Neofin Blue (which it is NOT) but they did not even correctly present the recipe as published by Beutler in his book. I don't think I've yet seen on these American web sites a correct presentation of Beutler's recipe but, time and again, the same reductio.
    Such a book as the "Cookbook" does have its place but the "research" I strongly suspect was Usenet, Web and hand-me-downs with the accademic rigeur of the National Enquirer.
     
  22. Well if you like, I can give you Steve Anchell's email address and you can correct things. He is at present into a revision of his cookbooks, and would probable welcome the contributions.
    I know I appreciated you information on Agfa History and your previous translation on Beautler.
     
  23. I have seldom heard such ranting and raving in my entire life (except when we discuss dry-mounting).

    Anchell and Troop, and the vast majority of the people who read “The Film Developing Cookbook,” are interested in making photographs today, and not concerned about the historical accuracy of what exact Rodinal formula may have been used in the past.

    The formula they printed (which is very close to the one posted by Edward) is for those people who want to mix up Rodinal themselves to develop negatives, not necessarily using the exact Agfa Rodinal formula, nor the exact Cable formula, but a version of Rodinal that produces good results that is reasonably close to one the packaged varieties. Despite what was claimed in a previous post, they did included detailed mixing instructions with their formula (not nearly as simple as mixing up some D-76).

    The “Traditional Rodinal” formula printed in “The Film Developing Cookbook” has been used and tested by many people as a reasonable alternative to the packaged Rodinal formulas, and is not just a piece of academic research from the Internet or a tabloid. Being a long time Rodinal user myself (since the mid 1970’s), I am perfectly happy with the Agfa version, and I have not “noticed” any changes since I first started using it.
     
  24. "Anchell and Troop, and the vast majority of the people who read ?The Film Developing Cookbook,?"
    Sounds like a lead-in defense for boulevard pulp (once called "yellow" press).... or worse... some populist political figure grinning away..
    "are interested in making photographs today, and not concerned about the historical accuracy of what exact Rodinal formula may have been used in the past"
    That's right.. Lets not worry about accuracy. You have claimed in these forums that the formula published in the Cookbook is for "historical Rodinal" and even went one step further and alleged that it was the basis for Calbe R09. What's that popular American one liner "Don't confuse me with the facts, boy"?
    I think, on the contrary, many of the readers of that Cookbook expect it to be correct and just don't know better. It sort-of like watching the evening news on television. While some realize its propaganda many expect it to be "unbiased journalism" (a contradition in terms).
    The developer claimed here to be Rodinal was probably (I could say never) the Rodinal sold in shops by Agfa. Nowhere in the historical literature I have is Eder's Paraminophenol developer called Rodinal. The developer published by Troop is misleadingly called Rodinal. Its stretching things to even call it "Rodinal like". It does not act the same as Rodinal and is not as flexible. The Eder formula has, as some here might have discovered "the hard way", a few problems with dichroic fog. Rodinal contains a restrainer (potassium bromide) in concert with a more potent accelerator and also probably a very small amount of Benzotriazole. The Eder Paraminophenol developer--- and again, I'm calling it Eder since it has been in the literature attributed to Eder but since its not in Eder's book its neither confirmed nor refuted--- is quite usefull, as are many developers, but its not a replacement for Rodinal. In this vain it is interesting to note that some 80 plus years ago Agfa recomended for their photographic plates either Rodinal 1:20 or, alternatively, a Metol Hydrochinon or Pyro Soda--- but not for the Chromo Iso-rapid plates--- developer and included recipees.
    If one considers that, on the whole, the current state of the art in monochrome is decades old then history fails to be "bunk".
     
  25. Edward, I am sorry you don’t like the names Anchell and Troop, but just as a matter of historical accuracy, they are the authors of “The Film Developing Cookbook,” and it is not appropriate to criticize them for what their names sound like. Please show me where I said that the formula published by Anchell and Troop (in “The Film Developing Cookbook”) was the “Historical Rodinal.” They used the words “Traditional Rodinal” in their book. Anchell and Troop never claimed that the Traditional Rodinal formula they published was the same as Agfa Rodinal. Whether it is the original formula or the current Agfa formula is irrelevant. They acknowledged that there have been over a hundred different Rodinal formulas published, and that they did not claim theirs was more accurate than the others. They also pointed out that the Agfa formula has changed over the years, although they did not think the changes were “photographically significant.” The Rodinal formula they publish is widely in use for those who want to mix up their own developer. If you have a better formula then please let us know. Or you can contact the authors so they can include in the next revision of their book. If you do have a better formula, I hope it has been tested with chemicals widely available today, and is not merely “historically accurate.” I never said that history is bunk. I said that the authors were trying to help people (right now) who want mix their developers from scratch, regardless of whether the formulas they publish are historically accurate.
     
  26. Mark: "I am sorry you don?t like the names Anchell and Troop,"
    I never expressed a preference.
    " but just as a matter of historical accuracy, they are the authors of ?The Film Developing Cookbook,?"
    I never suggested to the contrary.
    Mark: "Please show me where I said that the formula published by Anchell and Troop (in ?The Film Developing Cookbook?) was the ?Historical Rodinal.?"
    In this thread and others you have, time and again, suggested that Calbe R09 is based upon some published formula: "The main reason that R09 is different than the current version of Rodinal is that Rodinal was originally patented and the formula was published. " If its not the Eder developer (as published in that Cookbook) then which publication did you have in mind? Whatever that is you also say "the current Agfa formula is not published and therefore is difficult to copy.". Is this not implying that:
    1. Calbe R09 is based upon a published formula
    2. Agfa Rodinal is proprietary. Calbe R09 is not.
    • You also state in passing "Some people claim that R09 is superior to the current Rodinal, but I very much doubt that." Is this not an implicit-- given that you have not used R09-- suggestion that the Agfa product has some proprietary improvements over that fictive formula that you have explictly suggested that Calbe took?
     
  27. Herren und Damen:

    Why all the fuss over a developer that's really not all that good for modern films?

    Jacobsen and Jacobsen's version:
     
  28. No, Edward. I suggested that the Rodinal patent has expired, or never existed, or it can no longer be patented because of the number of years the product has been in use. Obviously, any changes made by Agfa or Calbe are proprietary if they are successful in keeping it a secret, without the benefit of patent law.

    What I did say is that there have been changes over the years made to Agfa Rodinal (and I presume Calbe R09 and almost every other photographic product), but Anchell and Troop claim that any changes to the Agfa product have not been photographically significant.

    The implication has been made by some on this forum that the Agfa version has somehow been compromised over the years and the Calbe R09 product is better because it is more faithful to the original formula. That is a claim that has been routinely made by those who have tried to promote Calbe R09 on this forum.
     
  29. Another version, from 'Photographic Facts and Formulas'.
     
  30. More from 'Photographic Facts and Formulas', next page:
     
  31. "Why all the fuss over a developer that's really not all that good for modern films?"
    I would actually disagree. Its somewhat ironic but that statement could well have been exclaimed 70 years ago. Rodinal made, in fact, its comeback with the development of "modern" thin emulusion films in the 1950s. Rodinal might "highlight" the grain but it does not create it. Grain is intrinic to the emulsion and thin emulsion fine grained films will have finer grain. In today's digital imaging 10+ megapixel-- and rising--- capture crazed world, the kind of effects one gets from Rodinal and other high accutance developers is more in line with the direction that silver based photography is taking: Monochrome and a bit of grain is hip! Rodinal is, even forgeting the Zeitgeist, not obsolete as its quite low contrast and used in high dilutions is suited to things like micro and document films (Copex, Ortho25, TechPan etc.).
    Among the class of ready mixed, commercial, Paramidophenol developers alongside Agfa Rodinal, Calbe R09 and FOMADON R 09 another to mention is SPUR SLD. What is also quite nice about these developers--- beyond what they produce--- is the amazing shelf-life.
    The worse enemy of Rodinal, I think, is Agfa itself, a company that seems to be reacting--- including discontinuing the production of sheet films, cut RA-4 paper and in the very near future all fixed grade monochrome papers and who knows what else--- and not acting.
     
  32. Edward Zimmermann , dec 07, 2003; 04:46 a.m.
    "Why all the fuss over a developer that's really not all that good for modern films?"

    'I would actually disagree. Its somewhat ironic but that statement could well have been exclaimed 70 years ago. Rodinal made, in fact, its comeback with the development of "modern" thin emulusion films in the 1950s.'

    Edward:

    The advances made in devloper composition are quite significant. Rodinal is certainly adequate for the slower films, such as 25-50 ISO group, but developers such as FX-39 for tabular-grain materials, Acutol for conventional ones up to 400 ISO, and Aculux-2 for all of them, eclipse Rodinal on speed, sharpness, and tonality. Rodinal is quite old and the newer films require specilaized devlopers individually tailored to each film group. This Paterson has done. Rodinal is not even close to the Paterson products on any count.

    Pan-F would be better in Acutol or Aculux-2

    FP4 would be better in Acutol or Aculux-2

    HP5 would be better in Acutol or Aculux-2

    Delta would be better in FX-39 or Aculux-2

    T-Max would be better in FX-39 or Aculux-2

    Neopan would be better in FX-39 or Aculux-2


    Hans Beckert
     
  33. "The advances made in devloper composition are quite significant. "
    From when are we talking about are these "advances"? From the 1920s? Seriously... modern (thin emulsion) films are nearly 50 years old... even the latest T-crystal emulsions (Kodak TMax, Ilford Delta) are already decades old... and are all the "state of the art" microfilms like Copex, Imagelink and sibling products... old stuff.. In the 1950s it was already quite common in amateur circles to underdevelop films like AgfaOrtho for pictorial applications to get higher resolution... Which takes us to developers.... One of the last great developments was probably Marilyn Levy's Phenidone developer (going on 40 years old)-- the H&W Control patents were really based upon this "prior art". And what is that Phenidone developer? Its state-of-the-art.... end of the 1800s! Despite not being widely available until the 1950s, the Ilford research on Phenidone put it firmly on a timeline as hardly newer than Rodinal..
    Most of the newer developers (Technidol etc.) or even kits like Gigabyte are based upon these. Granted, some like SPUR Nanospeed have solved some of the problems but the advances are evolutionary and nothing that could not have been done a few decades ago--- and nothing that might not have been done a few decades ago.
    The last time I think one could have talked about "advances" for monochrome in a contemporary sense was maybe the 1960s. But already by then the attention was shifted to...
     
  34. T-Max developers are new since only 15 years
    Paterson FX39 and FX50 developers are new since only 10 years or so. Paterson Acutol is from 1961
    Xtol is new since 11 years
    HC110 is relatively new, from the 1960's

    All of these developers are far newer than Rodinal, which dates from 1891.
     
  35. Well you are correct, Hans. Those "formulas" are all "newer" than Rodinal. But Their "ingredients" have been known since the 1930's. An their ancestors, various combinations and substitutes, also can be traced back to these days.
    I think we are getting far afield of the original track of the poster question- the difference between 09 and todays Rodinal. A question ultimatly only solveable with a set of head-to-head tests.
     
  36. Garry D. Lewis , dec 08, 2003; 01:34 p.m.
    "Well you are correct, Hans. Those "formulas" are all "newer" than Rodinal. But Their "ingredients" have been known since the 1930's. An their ancestors, various combinations and substitutes, also can be traced back to these days."

    Of course all current films are **somewhat** similar too. Tri-X is not all that much different from Super-XX. But of course the point is that these newer formulas (Xtol, FX-39, FX-50, etc.) were developed specifically to work well with the latest generations of films, wheras Rodinal has had no such refinement. It is really a fairly primitive developer and I do not see why the tiny changes that may have been made to it should elicit such concern. It's still a paraminophenol developer with caustic accelerator.
     
  37. Alerted by a kind reader, I write in profoundly pained response to some of the things that Edward Zimmerman (whoever he may be -- could someone please reliably enlighten me?) has written, in this thread, about me and my book, the Film Developing Cookbook.

    >Such a book as the "Cookbook" does have its place but the "research" I strongly suspect was Usenet, Web and hand-me-downs with the accademic rigeur of the National Enquirer.<

    Mr. Zimmerman. First of all, the word academic is spelt with two c's, not three. Second. Have you read my book? Had you even glanced at the four pages of acknowledgements, you would see that the manuscript had been read and critiqued by, amonng others, Grant Haist and T.H. James. I defy you to find me two greater figures in the entire literature of photographic science. My friendships with such seminal figures in modern photographic science as Haist, James, H.D. Russell and Dick Henn form the basis of my knowledge, which was distilled for general readers by me and Steve Anchell in this book. (Let me also not fail to mention those comparative youngsters, Silvia Zawadzki and Dick Dickerson, who have been so helpful to me, and who continue to be helpful, and of course Geoffrey Crawley.) Nobody has ever before impugned my writing as you have. Yet it seems you have done so without even having read my book. Yet you do not seem to be the kind of person who would criticize a book without reading it. What, then, could possibly account for this strange lapse? I can only think of one thing. If, by some unfortunate chance, you are unable to afford even a discounted copy from Amazon, please write to me and I will send you a copy.

    >Neither Anchell nor Troop, given some inquiries, appear to be familiar at all with the German literature and it[']s doubted if they, at all, can read German. <

    Ah. You've made some inquires, and IT is doubted if "they" can read German. Forgive me if I begin to suspect that you love hyperbole more than you love truth. From whom, Mr. Zimmerman, did you make these inquiries -- could you tell me that? I haven't received any. Nobody I know has received any. And I am one of the most accessible people in the US. My German is now rusty compared to what it was, but I did live in that country for some time, and my accent was, I blush to admit, praised fulsomely by Winifred Wagner when I was twelve and made my first visit to Bayreuth. (My voice was breaking at the time, and I was then able to sing every note from soprano to bass. I will admit that when I sang, unaccompanied and from memory, a substantial part of the third act of Götterdämmerung for a group that included the great soprano Frida Leider, Mme Leider, almost beside herself with mirth at my childish audacity, gave me several pointers.)

    Mr. Zimmerman -- how good is your German? I like to practice mine whenever I have the opportunity. So when, or if, you apply to me for your copy of the FDC, perhaps you would be so sporting as to do it auf Deutsch?

    I think it must be recognized by everyone who has read my book that I really did, over a period of many, many years, try to gather and to bring forth the best information that anyone possibly could, that would be helpful to people who wanted to know more about film developing. That I can have done this for any motive other than profound love of the science and the art is inconceivable. FDC is, I am told, Focal's most successful book in this field, but the royalties since it was published a few years ago would not even cover my phone bills from the years when I was researching it.

    I do not even mention my experience in formulating some interesting and innovative photographic chemical products for Photographers Formulary and others. What are your credentials Mr. Zimmerman?

    I really think I have the right to demand an apology for these caddish remarks. Were it possible to challenge you to a duel I would gladly do so. Failing that, I am willing to wager a quarter that I can recite more (let us say) 18th century German verse than you can.

    Finally, since Dr. Elie Shneour's reputation has come into this discussion (as it was he who provided us with the particular representative formula of what we call "traditional Rodinal" in the book) permit me to state that Dr. Schneour is a distinguished biochemist and is (or was) the Director of the Biosystems Research Institute in San Diego. Dr. Schneour did not just pass along a formula to me. He has been obsessed with Rodinal for decades, even going to so far as to commission spectographic analyses. (And by the way, Dr. Shneour also read and critiqued my book.)

    I have written somewhere -- maybe in my book -- that we all came very close to learning a lot more about Rodinal when Bob Schwalberg got Agfa to agree to publish all formulas for Rodinal except the current one. Unfortunately, his premature death frustrated that long-cherished project. I have made some efforts to revive it, but they have not met with success. Apparently, only Bob, who had known everyone of significance at Agfa, down to Koslowski and Weyde, could have pulled it off. It would be nice to tell Bob's anecdote about Frau Weyde's dress, but this has gone on long enough.

    -- Bill Troop
     
  38. "Edward Zimmerman (whoever he may be -- could someone please reliably enlighten me?)"
    I am Edward Zimmermann, son of David.
    >Such a book as the "Cookbook" does have its place but the "research" I strongly suspect was Usenet, Web and hand-me-downs with the accademic rigeur of the National Enquirer.< "Mr. Zimmerman. First of all, the word academic is spelt with two c's, not three. Second. Have you read my book?"
    If you can read it was clearly pointed out that I do not own your book nor have I read it.
    "Had you even glanced at the four pages of acknowledgements, you would see that the manuscript had been read and critiqued by, amonng others, Grant Haist and T.H. James. I defy you to find me two greater figures in the entire literature of photographic science."
    I am nearly speechless. Are you quite serious?
    Haist and James were, at best, what I'd call American educators. They, within the literature of photographic science, are amongst the students and not masters. You want two figures? I'll give you two of my favorites (among many): Emannual Goldberg and J.M. Eder. Eder is responsible, among many things, for the development of "Gaslight Paper" (Clorsilver-Gelatine development paper) and just a simple list Goldberg's accomlishments, publications and patents would fill pages (from sensiometry to microdots). Both too were also quite significant educators: Eder in Vienna and, following exile, Goldberg in Israel. I can, of course, list 100s if not 1000s. Among educators (or book authors) I'd have to say that I can think of many that have had more significant impact--- just perhaps not upon you.
    "My friendships with such seminal figures in modern photographic science as Haist, James, H.D. Russell and Dick Henn form the basis of my knowledge,"
    Osmosis at work? But seriously. However, grand figures Haist, James et al. might be considered its irrelevant. I had a show at the AFI back in my teens together with Louis Malle-- who decades before was the wunderkind in Paris. Does that make me a great filmmaker? No. I'm clearly not. I don't even make films.
    " Yet you do not seem to be the kind of person who would criticize a book without reading it."
    I have not critized your book. I have commented upon recipees that you apparently published in your book (Rodinal, Beutler). As you know, your book and formulas are widely cited in hobby circles.
    (Edited.)
    Now the questions:
    • Have you consulted the pre-war German literature?.
    • In talking about Beutler's developers have you consulted his books?.
    • Have you gone into the research stacks to trace some of the original publications or just books that have cited same?
    • "I think it must be recognized by everyone who has read my book that I really did, over a period of many, many years, try to gather and to bring forth the best information that anyone possibly could"
      If you would change "anyone" to "I" as in the best that you could, I would see no reason to continue to challenge. Its the anyone that smacks of arroagance and easily disputed.
      "I have written somewhere -- maybe in my book -- that we all came very close to learning a lot more about Rodinal when Bob Schwalberg got Agfa to agree to publish all formulas for Rodinal except the current one."
      But what you published is not and (probably) never was Rodinal but a developer attributed in the literature to Eder. While not perhaps your intention, calling it Rodinal has mislead some to think that its the formula for Rodinal--- and in one case to suggest it was the formula for what some here considered clones in the likes of Calbe and Foma developers.
     
  39. Mr. Troop, thank you kindly for your contribution to this thread.

    Mr. Zimmerman, kindly stay on topic.

    --Lex Jenkins, moderator
     
  40. I have asked Dr. Schneour to read this thread and he has asked me to publish the following:

    I have read the exchanges about "Rodinal". These consist mainly of flailings about its formula (actually a whole bunch of them) which in the last analysis mean nothing in today's world. There are at least two outstanding issues regarding "Rodinal". One of them is the variations in the actual early formula which were made almost continuously and thus it is today difficult to discern which of these variants was the actual "original" formula. The other issue is that one of the remarkable properties of "Rodinal" was its long life before dilution for use. The caveat to this long life was (and is) that its developing properties change importantly but subtly as a function of time and storage conditions, to say nothing about the quality of the water used in the dilution for use. The formula I have settled on and which is listed in the now classic Anchell & Troop "The Film Deevloping Cookbook" is stored at about 15 degrees Celsius after compounding and is "marinated" for six months before first use. When compared to an old version (about 1936) it is undistinguishable for my uses. The conclusion must be that the arguments about "Rodinal" and its successor(s) will remain controversial because there are so many versions and so many usage and storage variations as to make any emotional discussion about that developer unproductive and a total waste of time. Instead, if you work with monochrome photography, make or buy the stuff, work out your best combination of variables and be productive rather than engage in idle chatter signifying nothing.

    (Prof.) Elie A. Shneour
    Biosystems Research Institute
     
  41. "I have read the exchanges about "Rodinal". These consist mainly of flailings about its formula (actually a whole bunch of them) which in the last analysis mean nothing in today's world."
    While within the big picture of "today's world" it is indeed all wack and wank, so is the whole of any of this thing we call photography. So?
    "There are at least two outstanding issues regarding "Rodinal". One of them is the variations in the actual early formula which were made almost continuously and thus it is today difficult to discern which of these variants was the actual "original" formula."
    This is not the issue. I have not claimed anything to be the original formula but have questioned that the recipe published as "original" is original, any original. To the best of my knowledge this is NOT the case.
    "The other issue is that one of the remarkable properties of "Rodinal" was its long life before dilution for use. The caveat to this long life was (and is) that its developing properties change importantly but subtly as a function of time and storage conditions, to say nothing about the quality of the water used in the dilution for use. The formula I have settled on"
    Which I would consider a perhaps reasonable and well-tried Paramidophenol developer. It is none other than the one attributed in the literature to Eder. It is NOT Rodinal and was not during the period of the publications of that brew.
    "When compared to an old version (about 1936) it is undistinguishable for my uses."
    This is, for a trained scientist, not a very scientific statement. I must stress your words "for my uses". You were I imagine, "for your uses" (whatever that may be) comparing the effects-- what effects?-- of a well-over half century old bottle of Rodinal with a brew of Eder's developer? What tests? What film stocks? What concentrations? The literature on Eder's Paramidophenol (again, its been attributed to Eder but within Eder's work I've found no reference to confirm that its correctly been attributed) developer do indeed show that it did (and does) have some problems in high dilutions with dichroic fog.
    "The conclusion must be that the arguments about "Rodinal" and its successor(s) will remain controversial because there are so many versions and so many usage"
    Again I would not find dispute it the brew was called a Paramidophenol developer. I would not mind the reference to Rodinal as a branded name of a Paramidophenol developer. I must stress, however, and the response I see as a reinforcement of my view, that it is entirely misleading to call such a brew Rodinal, original Rodinal or even a Rodinal.
    If you wish I can suspect that Mr. Troop was just mislead. Maybe we should call the brew not "Original Rodinal" but "A Paramidophenol developer that Elie Shneour and others think is for their uses indiscernable by them from a 1936 bottle of Rodinal". Remember those "sound alike" music cassettes? Or how about those generic perfums ("Just like Chanel #5").
    Now, Mr. Troop care to address my few direct questions above?
    Please NOTE: In my previous statements the (edited) was NOT my editing but a censorship by Lex. It is no longer a correct and complete representation of my intellectual content.
     
  42. So much fuss over a really unimportant distinction and such an inferior developer defies belief.

    1. Rodinal was one of several paraminophenol developers marketed long ago under the names Rodinal, Azol, Activol, or Certinal. The published formulas are approximations of at least some of these, to be sure.

    2. Rodinal has acquired a mystique entirely disproportionate to its quality, so who cares whether there is much difference between the published paraminophenol hydroxide developers and the brand name 'Rodinal'? The formulae for Coke and Pepsi have changed over the years, and no doubt that for 'Rodinal' has evolved a little as well. Manufacturing in 1891 was surely not what it is today, so it is certain that no two batches were the same anyway, so the notion of an 'original' Rodinal is problematic in the extreme.

    3. Rodinal almost certainly has had NO changes for newer films, but some changes perhaps for manufacturing consistency or pollution standards.

    Hans Beckert
     
  43. Zimmerman who, if may lightly rephrase the poet, weißt wohl nicht, wie grob er ist, repeats some pointless questions about the depth of my research. These are adequately answered in my book, and I repeat my offer to send the fellow a copy if he is really too destitute to buy a copy for himself, and I repeat my demand for an apology. I really don't know what I have done to deserve such hate-mail!
     
  44. Mr. Zimmerman, you are on the verge of spoiling a largely informative thread that could be of great value to the archives. Please refrain from further comments irrelevant to strictly photographic issues so that I will not be forced to invoke that photo.net policy which could, unfortunately, result in editing some or all of your remarks.

    I won't debate whether this equals editing, deletion or censorship when the remarks are entirely off topic and you choose to phrase them in an inflammatory manner.

    I respect your knowledge of photographic issues and urge you to stick to them in the B&W Photography Forums.

    (FWIW, it is well known that I have urged photo.net administration to create a forum for off topic discussions, which is standard practice on many forums. However lacking such an off-topic forum I am obligated to enforce this website's policy regarding keeping the photo-related forums ON topic. Please understand that my personal opinions and my duties as a volunteer moderator may differ. So be it.)
     
  45. Bill Troup sniped "Zimmerman who, if may lightly rephrase the poet, weißt wohl nicht, wie grob er ist,"
    To parapharse the response from Baccalaureus: Only liars are polite!

    "These are adequately answered in my book, and I repeat my offer to send the fellow a copy if he is really too destitute to buy a copy for himself,"
    I don't need a copy of your book. My library includes copies of, for my needs, rather extensive collections of formulas and recipes including historical and scientific treatises on photochemistry and photographic technology--- and deep in my bowels amongst my serendipity of education I suspect I was at one time a qualified chemist (over 20 years ago I seem oddly to have been recogized as a chemistry teacher when I lived in London).
    Felix Klein was rumoured to have once been asked how is it that he is such a good mathematician to which he quiped "I learned from the masters and not their students".
    As I commented in Re: Gesucht: Historische Entwicklerformeln (Phototec Forum) about Dominik's search for books to translate for you with some idea of a translation of your Cookbook into German: Sowas ist wie Amerianische Budweiser Bier nach Budvar zu importiern!"
    I had not elected to review your book--- I tend not to review books--- nor have I the call to editorial review. Or is this a request, camouflaged by ego, that I review and edit your book?
     
  46. Hey, Lex, Actually it's kind of fun listening to these two guys go at it. I'd leave their full posts up unless they get too personal. Maybe something will come out of the discussion. And as far as Rodinal goes I think the main misunderstanding is that the often repeated longevity of Rodinal might be true, however I think the casual reader/hobby photograph might not realize that even though it keeps that it changes character over time. So maybe your development times will drift over time. I for one tried Rodinal and didnt like it since I use mostly higher speed films.
     
  47. Mr Zimmerman:

    Who cares? I do not use this inferior developer, and why should anyone care at all if the formula has been tweaked? Modifed junk is still junk.
     
  48. GEE BOB, if he don't want a copy, can I have it? It will save me from buying one more Xmas present for myself. }:^)
     
  49. "I do not use this inferior developer"

    Thank Goodness! More for me! F09 is great stuff.

    Marek - Aside from dilution strength to acheive the same results, I notice no difference between Rodinal & F09. The reason I use F09 is because I buy it from the same place I buy my film (J&C).
     
  50. The choleric Zimmerman gains points for managing to research a passable answer to my little test of German culture, but for little else. He asks metaphorically if he may sweep my chimney when he says he wants to review and edit my book. God in Heaven forbid it! I don't allow such people in my house! I don't need his help and would not dream of soliciting it. I want him to have my book because I know he will enjoy it and learn from it. I suspect he wants to write such a book himself and can't. The reason is pretty obvious. The information required to write a meaningful book about practical photochemistry is not now and never has been contained in other books. It requires experience in the field and the active help of collaborators active in the field. Zimmerman's personality problems as evidenced here clearly preclude his being able to work with anyone.

    Russell Brooks enjoys the spectator sport aspects of this slugfest. I don't, and I don't think it is in the least productive. Someone who wants a slugfest should go to a football game, and stop trying to encourage a poisonous discussion thread. That said, I must admit that in all the years I have been on discussion forums, I have encountered very few where good information was exchanged. The threads always seem to degenerate into armchair violence. This particular thread, since Zimmerman's presence, seems to me to resemble more a particularly unpleasant group therapy session, rather than a civilized place for the exchange of reasonable ideas.

    I suggest that Zimmerman (1) either buy my book or accept my offer to give it to him, (2) do some useful research about Rodinal himself instead of yapping like a dog getting a flea bath and (3) see some kind of experienced professional who can help him with his uncontrollable frustrations and give him the attention he seems to need. Zimmerman's odd but ultimately uninteresting pathology is clearly revealed by his wish to discuss my book without having read it.

    Nobody can expect me to continue to participate in this discussion unless the parameters are changed. The very obvious thing for Zimmerman to do is to go out and find the people who can tell him more about Rodinal. The challenge for him will be to get himself into a state such that people will be willing to talk to him. I think that's a challenge worth undertaking, and it would be a shameful waste of his intellect if he didn't do it.

    I would really like to say that if Zimmerman really does wish to find out more about Rodinal and doesn't know how to reach the surviving circle of old scientists associated with Agfa, I would gladly supply him with some contact information. But on the personality evidence before us, I wouldn't dare.

    In the meantime, if he has a shred of ethics left, he knows that he must stop discussing my book without having read it. He must also realize that his credibility as a commentator will be zero until he has done so.

    I am still waiting for his apology.
     
  51. Matt:

    Have you tried Paterson Acutol or FX-39? They smoke Rodinal, in every way and on any criterion.
     
  52. I've not tried them, but thank you for the suggestion. I just read this, so I probably won't be trying them any time soon.
     
  53. This is irrelevant. The differences between the primitive Rodinal and state-of-the-art developers is significant, especially for small format users.
     
  54. "This is irrelevant. The differences between the primitive Rodinal and state-of-the-art developers is significant, especially for small format users."
    Rodinal is, interestingly a favorite in sub and ultraminiature circles (for instance 16mm, Minox etc.). Its typically used with either a heaping of sodium sulfite or in ultra high dilutions (1:100 and even 1:200).
     
  55. Edward:

    I am aware it is popular, but the Paterson products are clearly superior in every way. This says more about Paterson's lousy marketing than Rodinal itself.
     
  56. How are the keeping properties of the Paterson developers? The shelf life of opened bottles of F09/Rodinal are phenomenal. Some developers can get expensive if you have to dump them because they've been sitting around for too long?
     
  57. Keeping? they come in 500ml and 1000ml bottles, dilution is 1+9 or 1+14, so if you develop much you won't have to worry. I keep mine in the refridgerator and that keeps it fresh. They carry expiry dates of about 3 years. Similar to other concentrates. Cost is VERY reasonable too.
     
  58. "The reason I use F09 is because I buy it from the same place I buy my film (J&C)."
    In your next order give the SPUR SLD a test.. See http://www.excellent-photography.de/download/EdlesGran.pdf for a few pictures.
    Although somewhat biased I think Schain's developers are really quite good--- I did not care for T-Max untill I tried it with SPUR HRX.
     
  59. Bill grumbled "a passable answer to my little test of German culture,"
    More travesty in the style of a Franz Liebkind from "The Producers"? Was not one of your previous companies called Addict.. A slapstick reference to Eva Sonnemann's husband? Your texts do indeed smack (pun intended) of a self-effacing style of radical humour down to the extreme megalomania. Another gay romp with Winnie, Eva and Leni in Bayreuth... Bill and Sigfried on a messianic fight to save the photographic world... A crockbook of such purity that only true genius could pen? If your book is as shrill it may be more valuable-- its photographic related content, inconsequential--- then I had imagined.
    The carefull reader will have quite noticed that I've never critized your book. My critique has been of a few of the formulas that have crossed by path--- such as Rodinal or Beutler's developers (the s is, as I've pointed out elsewhere, significant in understanding his model)--- and the need for a translation into the German language.
    The question is, of course, what is practical or pragmatic.. what are the goals? If its just "practical work", the standard in the German language is clearly the "Das große Agfa Labor-Handbuch".. a handbook intended for drugstores in the 1930,40s and 50s to help them equip, manage and operate their smallscale print businesses... back in the days before mini-labs and large scale processing streets with 4 cent prints a lot of work was done by local drugstores.. and enlargers like the highly regarded Focomats were actually designed to help improve productivity... Most of our darkrooms, with only a few minor, mostly evolutionary changes (objectives, some electronics and processors), are quite similiar those half-a-century ago.. more has remained the same than changed.. And in the days of digital a lot of people have even taken a large step back.. the so-called "Alt Process" scene.. and what better sources of information on these than historical books from the days when it was more "state of the art" than retro.. And lets face it.. popular books like Spörl's "Rezeptbuch", Croys or Windisch's series of books were intended for a large general readership, are highly pragmatic and tailored to amateurs of the era--- granted also their aesthetic tastes (see, for instance, Croy's Colour Portrait book from the early 1940s for not just a painfull reminder, p14 and p.15, but also for some insight into the basis for much of the post-war aesthetics in the rest of the book). Eder's reference is, of course, a bit more comphensive but still.. it was part and parcel of education of decades and today still an excellent source for today's hobby enthusiast..
     
  60. You guys are really making me tired. If I start snoring someone poke me in the ribs...I don't mind sleeping through the bickering but I don't wanna miss any actual useful information.
     
  61. All this Kindersprache is frightfully dull, Lex, I agree. So may I make a suggestion? Ed, write your next post in mediaeval German, in strictly rhymed couplets, and I will try to respond in kind. I only insist on one rule: no rewriting of Gottfried!
     
  62. Could we discuss something else, such as the original topic, or drop it? Lieber Gott in Himmel!
     
  63. Well Hans, I've heard you're quite a mediaevalist. Couldn't you get us started off in Nibelungen strophes?
     
  64. This is what we know about Agfa Rodinal today:

    1. it contains exactly 3% potassium hydroxide
    2. it contains otherwise

    water 55-60%
    potassium sulfite 30-40%
    potassium bromide 1-5%
    p-aminophenol 1-5%
    the pH is approx. 14 (http://intranet.risd.edu/envirohealth_msds/RISDStore/AgfaRodinal.pdf, for what it is worth)

    It is therefore manifestly clear that other ingredients below 1%, which do not have to be listed on the MSDS, are present, because otherwise the formula would not be sufficiently active to support dilutions of 1:100 or higher. Most likely, given the huge amount of research resulting in dozens of papers by Agfa-Gevaert scientists (particularly Willems and Van Veelen) during the 1950s and 60s into p-aminophenol derivatives and superadditivity, Agfa now uses a proprietary developing chemical which is strongly superadditive with p-aminophenol, permitting substantial economy in manufacture over the traditional formula. Supporting this suspicion is the fact that the level of restrainer and developing agent in the MSDS are both given as 1-5%! This is a strong clue that a powerful unlisted developing agent is included in the formula. Needless to say, p-aminophenol produces low fog; a developer containing just that agent would not need an antifoggant, which would serve to decrease speed. The greatest probability is that Agfa Rodinal now contanins a strongly superadditive secondary agent.

    Haist writes (v. 1 p. 521) "The classic concentrated developer is Rodinal, a sodium hydroxide solution of p-aminophenol which is usually diluted with 20 to 100 times its volume of water. ... The preparation of the Rodinal-type developer was known for many years before 1920 when W.F.A. Ermen gave this preparation for the concentrated developer ...." and that formula is substantially the same as what I published in FDC except that it is weaker. Nearly all of the formulas for what we designated in the book as traditional Rodinal have 1 part p-aminophenol to 3 parts potassium sulfite; what differs is the amount of water. I have always favored the formula that gives 100 g p-a-p and 300 g potassium sulfite to 1/L water because it is the strongest. Schneour recommends a maturation period of 6 months; Crawley has pointed out (BJ 60/61) that fresh Rodinal, by which he means "traditional Rodinal" used within a few weeks of making up) has somewhat higher activity.

    It would be nice to resolve the lingering mystery, but the fact is that anyone who wants to achieve an authentic Rodinal experience has only to make up the formula we give. I have yet to encounter a photographic chemist who does not believe that the various "traditional Rodinal" formulas approximate closely enough the commercial product as it was known until relatively recent decades. To that end, I will try once more, a little harder, over the next few months, to find someone at Agfa who will part with reliable information, or someone at a reliable competitor who will part with a reliable analysis. It may be too late. If I learn anything I am allowed to publish, I will naturally share the information.
     
  65. Thanks to all of you gentlemen for constuctive contributions, especially Mr. Troop. I did not know that the whole issue with Rodinal formula is such an enigma. Interesting reading, thanks.
     
  66. >If I learn anything I am allowed to publish, I will naturally share >the information.

    An ,given their recent track record, right after you tell us- they will discontinue it. }:^)>
     
  67. > I did not know that the whole issue with Rodinal formula is such an enigma.

    Therein lies its allure. Official confirmation would cause us to lose interest straightaway. As regards Rodinal, I think we know enough for all practical purposes. We do not need to economize by adding a secondary agent, and most photographers seem to prefer the older versions. However, as regards Kodak High Definition Developer, I would like to know more. Crawley published his strongly educated guess at a substitute formula in his 60/61 papers, and I included this in FDC. However, Crawley's guesses at Microdol and Microdol-X were, though ingenious, so widely off the mark that I cannot take his formula for HDD as definitive. (With Microdol, he deduced that the additional weight of the formula must be due to sodium sulfite; instead, it is due to sodium chloride. However, Henn's patents for antistain agents were not published until 1964, and van Veelen and Peelaers did not publish their study of sodium chloride-containing developers until 1967. Personally, I would never have made the connexion between Microdol, the Henn patents, and the Agfa research, had I not been given a strong push in the right direction by Haist. None of this is obvious. On the other hand, anyone who could afford a competent analysis would know what was in the products, as Ilford illustrated with Perceptol, which is a truly based on the Microdol technology.)

    The two unexplored technologies I find of most interest today are both due to Haist. (1) his monobath-incorporated papers, which are developed and archivally fixed, without thiosulfate, after a minute in sodium carbonate and a few minutes of washing; and (2) his ideas for using colour coupling technology to develop films to low contrast both from the macro contrast point of view and, much more significantly, from the micro contrast point of view. This would be of particular value with tabular grain films, and Haist did this work in response to these films. Whenever I try to get more information from him, Haist just says, "Well, Bill, you ought to be able to figure it out." But I haven't. One of these days . . . .
     
  68. I was going to chastise (facetiously, of course) Mr. Zimmerman for using the word "vain" instead of "vein" in one place until I found the unforgiveable error of using 2 c's where one would have been correct. This comment may seem to be completely off topic, but no more than most of what I have read. Now that I look back, I think perhaps "vain" was the correct word after all.
     
  69. GREAT GOBS OF GOOGLEY GOO!
     
  70. The possibilty exists that too much attention is being paid to this issue. AGFA barely registers on most photographers' consciousness these days. Their color films are certainly adequate, but no-one recommends them for nature work in the forums. If Rodinal were discontinued, no tragedy.
     
  71. Hans, Hans, where's your German sentimentality? Your German pride? If Bayer (still Agfa's corporate parent?) could spend $1 billion (or was it 2B?) to get the Bayer name back (and then unsuccessfully sue for overpaying), do you really think the manufacturer of the "world's oldest continuously manufactured developer" is going ever to discontinue it? Besides, lots of us like the Rodinal look. I certainly think there's a place for it. I'm sure even Geoffrey Crawley would be distressed if Acutol (which is, by the way, FX-14) and FX-39 were the only two b/w developers available in the entire world. And have you tried Ultrafin on T-grain films?
     
  72. Bill Troop "Hans, Hans, where's your German sentimentality?..." (Excessive quotation excised.)
    Not since years have I used Ultrafin, and that was on films of the previous generation. The Ultrafin was good enough, but the Paterson proved itself better. Rodinal has its place, but on slower langsammer materials.
     
  73. Bill

    Is there an FX-14 formula or is it just another name for Acutol?

    Thanks,
     
  74. FX-14 is the internal designation for Acutol (see Crawley 60/61) but the formula has never been published. FX-15, now published, was marketed as Acutol-S. I was convinced for years that FX-14 was an MQ formula, but in fact it contains phenidone or some derivative, as Crawley informed me. Bob Schwalberg called it historically the first sharp PQ developer which I think is probably true. It is amazing on the films it was intended for: slow and medium speed conventional films. It should be used as fresh as possible.
     
  75. Acutol does contain metol, according to their literature. It may also contain phenidone.
     
  76. Just guessing:

    Bill - it contains phenidone

    Hans - it contains metol

    Acutol-S = solvent = FX-15 (that contains metol, phenidone and 100g sulfite)

    Acutol = FX-14 => FX-15 with less sulfite???
     
  77. Acutol is nothing like Acutol-S. Completely different ingredients other than phenidone and metol.
     
  78. An interest mystery! I pulled out my saved labels book ,from 1975, and looked at an old Acutol label (This is back when they were distributed by Braun North American). It says it contains- 7 1/2% methyl alcohol, hydroquinone, and Metol. So why would Crawley say it contains Phenidone?
     
  79. Garry

    Let's see: Metol, hydroquinone for sure. 99% probable it has sulfite, but less than 100g/L (Bill's comment on better use it fresh, high definition Crawley). Maybe the phenidone was not cited because it's a small ammount, as usual, and the alcohol is there just to help it to dissolve (it does).

    All we have to find out is the alkali/buffer. Anyone with a good pH meter?

    Not so different from FX-15, is it?
     
  80. Jorge,
    Might be a good possibility with the alcohol ingredient.
     
  81. >Acutol is nothing like Acutol-S. Completely different ingredients other than phenidone and metol.

    The _ingredients_ could be the same; it is the proportions that would differ.

    >It says it contains- 7 1/2% methyl alcohol, hydroquinone, and Metol.

    Crawley advocated alcohol in the 60s as a preservative; by now he would have discovered more sophisticated methods. Alcohol may also help speed slightly, and does help dissolve some chemicals. I did not realize that so much was used, though. In 60/61, Crawley advocated the use of alcohol for most concentrated developers, but it was usually I think 50ml/L if I recall correctly, or 5%.

    >So why would Crawley say it contains Phenidone?

    Because it does. (Unless he is fibbing, which seems terribly unlikely.) The question then becomes, "why doesn't the label say that it contains phenidone?" and the answer is the same as for why the label for HC-110 and a hundred other developers don't say then contain phenidone: because it is (a) generally considered harmless (by comparison with other developing agents, though there is now some disagreement on this point as mentioned in FDC) and (b) because it is generally used in amounts under 1% and does not have to be listed on the MSDS or its precursor. Finally, manufacturers like to keep as much of their trade secrets as possible, and the fact is that most use Dimezone or some other phenidone derivative, other than the parent phenidone, because it lasts longer in alkaline solution. If I recall that conversation with Crawley correctly, he stated that phenidone, and not a derivative, was used. However, I don't remember that particular point.

    >All we have to find out is the alkali/buffer. Anyone with a good pH meter?

    The buffer system has always been described by Crawley as "sophisticated". However, it is probably borax and carbonate. If there is borax, there will certainly be potassium bromide. I had always guessed that some system not using borax would be used in Acutol, given all the bad press Crawley gave borates as alkali in high definition developers. I still would guess a carbonate/bicarbonate buffer to be more likely. Obviously, the pH will be higher than FX-15's. I have never measured the pH of either FX-14 or 15, or of FX 1 or 2, for that matter, and it would be interesting to see the results, keeping in mind the difficulty of reliable pH measurements.

    >Not so different from FX-15, is it?

    Well, they both had the same trade names, Acutol, and Acutol-S. It's interesting that no manufacturer has tried to clone Acutol, but nobody has tried to clone HC-110 either. In any case, their utility with the most modern films is not optimal.

    This might be a good time to remind interested people that the formula for FX-37 was misprinted in the first printing of FDC, despite having been proofread by Crawley. (see www.graphos.org for a correction) FX-37, designed 35 years after Acutol, can be expected to work better with contemporary films.
     
  82. Bill

    Thanks for the posting.

    It's much more likely it's phenidone and not dimezone or alike - otherwise, keeping propieties would be better.

    I think you're very close re borax and carbonate as a buffer - all Crawley's high acutance are more alkaline than borax would allow for and a restrainer is in line with Crawley's other formulas.

    Now, re FX-37 and modern films - maybe for tabular ones; for old style emulsions (new PX and TX) IMHO a low sulfite phenidone/ascorbate/borax is much better...
     
  83. I know that Crawley was having a lot of fun when he was designing FX-50 and trying to solve the conundrum of the ascorbate's instability which at one time he thought might be related to light exposure. I don't know what he ultimately discovered, and he probably wouldn't disclose it, but obviously he solved the problem to his satisfaction because the product was released. If it is really true that, in general, a moderate pH, low sulfite, phenidone-ascorbate developer is ideal for modern films, then that is a serendipitous discovery. I don't think that either Crawley or Zawadzki thought they would get such good results when they started their research.

    I would like to consider another point: Crawley writes, regarding tabular films in solvent developers, that "If grain is too fine, light scatter in the negative increases when a negative is enlarged, reducing edge contrast." -- as I quoted in FDC. Looking at this now, I see that as potentially desirable. For me, that is one of the problems with tabular films -- that the edge contrast is too high.

    I don't like the "flavor" of the edge contrast in tabular films. How to quantify that? Only extensive MTF analysis could tell, but I would guess that it would be excessive contrast at middle and high frequencies. By contrast, I would guess that with a film like Verichrome-Pan, which was specifically optimized to look sharp with low resolution lenses of the 1960s, what was done was to increase contrast in the low frequencies at the expense of the high frequencies. But I am very, very far from being an expert at this kind of image analysis.

    As a footnote to the ascorbate theory, I suppose it is possible that density growth, shape of the grain, etc. -- the entire process of development with ascorbates and the tabular films is somehow visibly different than with other developers. And, keeping in mind that Zawadzki believes that ascorbate and not phenidone is the primary developing agent in XTOL (a point I have found difficult to accept), I suppose it is just possible that there is something that just "works" really desirably when the two are put together.
     
  84. Bill:

    How do FX-37 and FX-39 differ? What do we know about FX-38? Was it a failure?
     
  85. Bill, I don't know if when your said:

    "If it is really true that, in general, a moderate pH, low sulfite, phenidone-ascorbate developer is ideal for modern films, then that is a serendipitous discovery. I don't think that either Crawley or Zawadzki thought they would get such good results when they started their research."

    Was related to my post above.

    My point was that for 'new' old style emulsions (PX, TX) ascorbate is better than FX-37. Haven't been lucky at all with tabular films, never tried them with an ascorbate dev.

    Here are some intersting curves for many devs (FX-39, Xtol, Rodinal, etc):

    http://www.fotoimport.no/pg02/PG02-1-1.htm
     
  86. Hans: re fx-37 v. 39, nobody seems to have done any extensive tests facing them off. Undoubtedly, 39 has some advantages -- obviously, Crawley will hold his best cards for his commercial developers. However, that best card may merely constitute additional stability, or more flexibility with certain films. He goes to lengths to say that 37 is not a substitute for any commercial developer, but an independent formula. Crawley is as committed as he always has been to providing excellent public domain formulas. This he has done with 37. That said, probably only Crawley knows what the differences are. I'll try to speak with him about this in a few days because it's an interesting question, as is the question what is FX-38?

    Jorge, what I wrote _was_ in answer to what you posted but, as you point out, if so, I misread your post. Clearly, for anything that works really well with the reformulated PX and TX, that really would be serendipitous. I doubt, for example, that the new PX/TX were optimized for XTOL. The impression I got was that the XTOL people were not part of that loop, though they have published an evaluation of the new films. The last time I spoke with Crawley must have been already two or three years ago, when he was just in the middle of working on FX-50. I remember him being exceptionally enthusiastic, saying of ascorbate, "it makes beautiful negatives, but stability is a problem." He seemed delighted and quite surprised about the negative quality. It really is amazing how long it has taken to discover that ascorbate is an effective HQ substitute. I recollect that Zawadzki would have liked to design a print developer based on ascorbate, had Kodak given her the opportunity.

    Anyway, it's obviously time I had a long chat with all these people, but this is probably not the best week for anyone.

    The remaining questions most of us have about image evaluation can, I think, only be answered by books from Crawley on the one hand and Zawadzki and Dickerson on the other. But none of them have the wish to do it. They are all very cautious and modest scientists, quite unwilling to make a fuss about what they do.
     
  87. Bill:

    Perhaps someone else could write the book. There are several people who have the knowledge and ability, and are familiar with Crawley's formulas and overall approach.
     
  88. Hans writes: "Perhaps someone else could write the book. There are several people who have the knowledge and ability, and are familiar with Crawley's formulas and overall approach."

    I don't know of anyone else who has the knowledge. I certainly don't. Who else has decades of experience in the micro-sensitometric (_and_ the practical) evaluation of black and white photographic images besides Dickerson, Zawadzki and Crawley?

    In any case, I think there you underestimate Crawley's uniqueness. Crawley's strength is that he is an eccentric and original thinker. The strength of Zawadzki and Dickerson is that in addition to their considerable intellects and devotion to b/w, they had vastly better measuring equipment, and the astonishing resources of the Kodak Research Lab at their disposal. In the end, money counts. I think a Joyce-Loebl microdensitometer, which is a very fiddly and unpredictable device, cost about 10,000 dollars when Crawley bought his in the 60s. By contrast, I have heard that Kodak has spent as much as a million on custom-built microdensitometers, not to mention all kinds of other automated processing and measuring equipment.

    I don't know of anyone else in the field now living who has this depth of expertise in b/w image evaluation. There was a respected professor at RIT, now dead, whose name escapes me now, who spent years just trying to get a low-budget microdensitometer to present repeatable readings. He never got beyond that point.

    One of the reasons why I stopped writing FDC for years was that I did not think it would be worthwhile to do the book unless I had this kind of information to publish. But I never could get it, and ultimately just did what I did, with, of course, Anchell's very practical help. Without his viewpoint I would have been lost in the clouds.
     
  89. Bill

    That's a question just out of curiosity:

    There are nowadays high resolution film scanners (4000 dpi or even more, lots of bits).

    How close would one of these be to a microdensitometer?

    Thanks,

    Jorge
     
  90. Jorge: How close would [high res film scanners] be to a microdensitometer?

    Jorge, that is just the interesting point. I imagine that it should be possible to to use these for analysis with the software, which for all I know has already been written. But I really don't know. It's a point well worth investigating. If it hasn't been done already, it should be possible to do without that much trouble, provided you had a competent programmer and some really good engineers to specify what the program has to do. It might actually be possible to get valid results quite cheaply now. Strange that digital might give us this capability, just as digital taketh away the film itself!
     
  91. For FX 50 independently measured times are given in the previous thread "Paterson FX 50 failures". They are mostly equivalent to about double Patersons standard times,taking account of temperature correction and adding 15% to rotary processing times. It would be helpful if this could be clarified.
     
  92. >For FX 50 ... times are ... about double Patersons standard times ....

    It sounds like ascorbate instability, doesn't it? I must say that in spite of all the interesting work that has been done with ascorbates in negative development, there have been so very many complaints about inconsistency and instablity that you cannot simply dismiss them as typical customer complaints when a new developer is introduced. Based on this, my preliminary impression is that ascorbates do really provide wonderful negative images, but that they are too inconsistent to use in professional negative work. Inconsistency is obviously much less of a problem in a print developer: you can always do something else. But you can't get your negative back. It all makes D-76 sound attractive, doesn't it?

    My question would be, then, would a one-shot ascorbate developer, mixed from fresh powder chemicals just before use, work reliably? This would be terribly inconvenient to use, but wouldn't it be likely to elminate the problems everyone has been experiencing?
     
  93. Well there's this point of view on ascorbate developers--

    http://silvergrain.org/Photo-Tech/film-dev-recommend.html#t005
     
  94. I just found this thread and i can't believe it!!!

    I have always found Rodinal to be a very good developer for films as far apart as Agfa 25 and Delta 3200. Grain is not always the only goal we search for. I use different films and delvelopers because of what they CAN do, not what they CAN'T. I have never liked the T-max films because I thought they were flat. Rodinal is beginning to change my mind. It can work for modern films. I am not doing scientific tests, I just go by what looks good and what works for me.

    I have enjoyed reading "The Film Developing Cookbook" and its pages are now stained and dog-eared from use. I have been enjoying photography for 25 years and thought I was knowledgable until I read that book. In this book, Mr. Troop at least acknowledges where he got his information from. Can you, Mr. Zimmerman, do the same? I think it is well-written and very informative.

    All this fuss over a developer!!!

    Jim (son of Charles) Appleyard
     
  95. Bill

    Do a search for Patrick Gainer´s ascorbic one shot developers and for his propylene glycol based formula (both in photo.net and RPD).
    Also, Ryuji Suzuki, in the Pure Silver list, has some interesting ideas of how to keep ascorbic devs.

    Garry

    Ryuji has posted a new PA formula in the Pure Silver list.

    The searcheable archives are at ebrandi.org (sorry, but I´m away from my computer and do not have the bookmark)
     
  96. At the risk of flogging a dead horse, I have found Rodinal to be a very good developer for films from Agfa 25 to Delta 3200. True, it is not a fine-grain developer, but it never claimed to be and there are other things besides grain in a negative. It is not the only developer that I use. I use different developers for different effects.

    I have also found that "The Film Developing Cookbook" is an excellent source of information; well-written, and in my opinion well-researched. I have been involved in b/w photography for over 25 years and I thought that I knew quite a bit; until I read that book. At least Mr. Troop states where his information came from. Can you Mr. Zimmerman do the same? In writing?

    All this fuss over a few grams of chemicals!

    Jim (son of Charles) Appleyard
     
  97. I would also like to know WHY Mr. Beckert thinks Rodinal is inferior?
     
  98. JIm, no offense, but you seem to have a very short memory.
     
  99. Jim:

    Inferior speed and tonality, excessive graininess compared to other choices, especially those from Paterson. That about does it for me.
     
  100. With regard to developers and tonality, taste is pretty individual, and some photographers like to work with a wide palette. I don't think it's important to worry too much about whether one developer is slightly sharper or finer grained than another. The most important thing of all is work out the best times for your own equipment and practice. Knowing how to use any given developer well is much more important than choosing the "best" developer.

    That said, if you are looking at the range of single solution liquid developers, Rodinal is certainly the most stable of all. There is much to be said for a developer that will always give you the same results from the first drop to the last. There are obviously some variables if you use the commercial product, but it is easy enough to mix from scratch, and doesn't have to be done frequently.

    I find Ryuji Suzuki's work interesting, but I have avoided working with ethanolamines because of their solvent effect, though I can see this might be useful with tabular grain films.
     
  101. Bill:

    Having just completed a series of tests on Paterson developers and several Ilford and Fuji films, I have concluded that a great deal of 'matching' is necessary. For instance, although Paterson does not recommend Acutol with Fuji Neopan 1600, I found this combination FAR better than this film with FX-39, which is far too potent for this fairly contrasty film. On the other hand, FX-39 is splendid with Delta 400, which does not reach full speed in Acutol. FX-39's extra potency also lifts the contrast of this fairly flat film a bit.

    Given the quite varied range of films available, no one developer is suitable for all of them. Some people use only one film, and I could never do that given the variety of work I do. For them, perhaps, one developer would suffice, but even with one film, there are advantages to using several different developers for different purposes.

    The Paterson range provides exactly what I need.
     
  102. Hi to all.

    The correct formula is reported in BIOS/ CIOS and FIAT reports of the end of WWII on IG.Farben.

    The reports are not easy to find and also the indexes are not "user-friendly" but for those who want the correct formulation, this is the ultimate resource and the correct one, since the producer will never disclose the actual formula but at least you will have the formula that was in fact produced during those times.

    Cheers !
    Pedro
     
  103. so according to these sources, what was the formula?
     

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