Pros and Cons of Agfa Rodinal ?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by russel_grainger, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. So I have been using Agfa Rodinal since I first got into developing like 6 months ago, I have always thought my negs looks good but a little grainy I mostly use Ilford fp4+ and hp5+.
    I am yet to do any big prints, but from my scans I like what I see as mentioned they are grainy (Im not a hater of grain). I rate my films hp5 at 320iso and my fp4 at 64iso, I only use 1:50 dilution in a tank and my process is to invert the tank for the first 30 seconds and 4 inversions (which equals about 10 seconds) every minute.
    A few days ago I was doing some research into times for this developer and films , to my surprise I come across more negative feedback than good feedback. I thought Rodinal was a great developer but it seems people say its give true grain results and even enhances it ?
    I understand that everyone has there personal opinion and preference but the ilford/rodinal combo did not get the rave reviews I was expecting.
    So what are the ideal films to be used with Rodinal ?
     
  2. SCL

    SCL

    My personal experience is that Rodinal works best with slow films (I often use it with Efke ISO 12-25), and in extreme dilutions with faster films (like 1:200). It seems everybody's experience varies. I suggest you just keep experimenting until you find a combination you particularly like with a film you intend to use long term. I've recently been experimenting with Rodinal and Plus-X at rated box speed (because my tank requires constant agitation - an old Rondinax one) the development times and contrast for various dilutions are quite removed from most online charts.
     
  3. Strictly speaking, fine-grain developers are those which have a solvent action - they dissolve away some of the edges of the clumps of silver grain that make up a film image and thus make them smaller, giving finer grain. Rodinal is not a fine-grain developer but gives a characteristically tight grain pattern which some folks like and others don't.
    Plus points with Rodinal - it keeps a long time even in part-used bottles, it can be used at high dilutions so is economical and it gives very low base fog (the areas of the film with no image are very clear). Years ago, people used to use Kodak 2475 recording film when they needed a fast speed - this was prone to base fog, but Rodinal worked very well with it. Rodinal also does not give full box speed with modern films - if you expose a roll of say Tri-X at ISO 400 and develop for this, this is in fact push processing and contrast will rise and may become excessive, giving hard-to-print negatives (if people say they hate Rodinal, it could be because this has happened with their films).
    Best results will be obtained by exposing and developing for 1/2 to 2/3 box speed. Rodinal at extreme dilutions also provides a compensating effect, i.e. development of highlights slows down while development of shadows continues, particularly if you use a "stand development" technique (reduced agitation). Used as a normal developer, Rodinal gives fine grain with slow films and, as I said, a characteristic grain pattern with faster ones.
     
  4. I would try some other developers, like xtol, hc110, or dd-x.
     
  5. I had excellent results with Panatomic X (extinct)....though I've seen it being used currently with X-ray films and with superb results. Pardon, I'm talking about LF and Rodinal diluted to 100 or even 200.
    Les
     
  6. I love rodinal, and with FP4 it is my favourite combo. It's very subjective, and certainly not for those aiming for grainless images. I suspect this is what a lot of the negative feedback related to, it's not for everyone.
     
  7. Rodinal has been my developer of choice for the past 30 years. I use it mainly with FP4 but also with HP5, Fuji Acros and others. I generally downrate films and use Rodinal at 1/50 dilution or even at 1/75 and beyond. It is an acutance developer and therefore does nothing to reduce grain, but since most of my photography is medium format, grain is not an isue.
     
  8. Rodinal is famous for its tonality, sharpness and for its grain. IMO you either like it or not, it's not a standard developer for every situation. I used it for years in my traditional darkroom, but never scanned the negs. Scanning often enhances grain even more, so it maybe a good developer for the analogue process, but not for hybrid workflow.
    Do you know the photography of Ralph Gibson? He used Tri-X and Rodinal all through his life ASAIK and has created a strong body of work.
    http://www.ralphgibson.com/
     
  9. Rodinal is famous for its tonality, sharpness and for its grain. IMO you either like it or not, it's not a standard developer for every situation. I used it for years in my traditional darkroom, but never scanned the negs. Scanning often enhances grain even more, so it maybe a good developer for the analogue process, but not for hybrid workflow.
    Do you know the photography of Ralph Gibson? He used Tri-X and Rodinal all through his life ASAIK and has created a strong body of work.
    http://www.ralphgibson.com/
     
  10. In 35mm Rodinal / R09 o.s. is suitable for slow- and medium speed films. I like the Efke 25, Fomapan 100 and APX 100 in Rodinal. Normally 1+50.
    Going to medium format I also do the Fomapan 200 in Rodinal. Which doesn't mean you can not do this in 35mm but then you have clearly visible grain.
    So in fact sharp negatives, some extra grain and for most films a speed loss of 1/3F stop in Rodinal. But on the other hand an increadible long stable developer to put on the shelf. You can control the grain by keeping the developing temperature not above 20C and with a minimum of agitation.
    Here an example of Fomapan 200 in 35mm and R09. As told visible grain but sharp and a good tonality.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Some also liked it with the older version of TMAX 100 film. With fine grained film this developer is at its best.
     
  12. One of the advantages of Rodinal is consistency. I use it 1:100, primarily with TMX and TMY large format now. But I have used it in the past with 35mm and medium format Ilford and Kodak as well. I have never had a failure due to developer, but only from my own mistakes. Grain is overrated - it is part of 35mm photography and does not make or break a good image.
    Whatever developer you choose, you need to do everything exactly the same every time to get consistent results. When you want to change something, change only one thing at a time, i.e., time, dilution, temperature, etc.
     

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