Rodinal or DD-X for Delta400 & TMAX400

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by cam_shaw, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Hi all,

    Sorry for the newbie question, but I have recently bought some Rodinal at the recommendation of a friend and I've never used it before. I usually use DD-X.
    I have two rolls of 35mm I recently shot on a bright sunny day. One roll is Delta 400 and the other TMAX 400. I shot both of them at ISO 200. The reason for choosing these films is they were what I had left in my box and I needed to go to an event! I would normally have used FP4+ or PAN F
    I was going to develop them as normal in DD-X, but my friend suggested Rodinal, so I got some. My questions are:
    Will the Rodinal at 1:25 possibly give too much contrast with these films even though I'm pulling them a stop? Would I be better with 1:50 or would you recommend I stick to the DD-X?
    This is also the first time I have shot Delta 400 so I'm not sure how it compares to TMAX 400 as they are both T-grain. I usually just experiment by changing one variable at a time, but I have changed a few here so I just wondered what you knowledgeable people thought.

    Does not matter massively if they don't come out perfect as they are not mission critical. I do like a scene with a nice even contrast spread though, not just lots of mid tones and also not mostly black with completely blown highlights if you get what I mean.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. SCL


    I can't speak for the DD-X. Rodinal, as you know, tends to give sharp edges to the grain, and may or may not give good tonality, depnding on how you develop your film. Since the roll doesn't have significantly important shots on it, it seems to me to be a potential candidate. My experience with Rodinal, after a gazillion years of D-76, initially was fairly disappointing, as I went thru the usual different dilutions, agitation variations, working with mfr ISO, higher and lower. Finally I hit on a technique which produced consistently exactly what I wanted on the films which I use, it was using Rodinal in a stand development as shown here: . I admit that it seemed contrary to the chemistry techniques I had been familiar with for over half a century, but I did get hooked and am quite glad I gave it a try.
  3. Hello everyone. For the novice starting to work with Rodinal, the link is great. I stumbled upon it about 5 years ago and "learned" about semi-stand developing after 25+ years of using Rodinal in some outrageous ways.
    Use the 3.5 ml of Rodinal per roll (135-36 or 120) in whatever liquid volume you will be developing with. I use 450 ml Nikor tanks, so it's 3.5 ml. The amount of Rodinal per roll, not the dilution ratio, is key. Smaller tanks produce weird developing artifacts, so I have phased them out.
    You have two rolls for the introduction. I would do one at a time and see how it went. Remember that 3.5 ml / roll figure. You will find it also applies to numerous other developers which are ahead of you. I use 3 pyro-staining developers and each is 3.5 or 3.0 ml. Enjoy, Bill
  4. Hi Stephen thanks for the reply and the link! Brilliant! I love the explanation of the darks 'catching up' in semi-stand development leading to a more even tone. Makes total sense. I had read about stand developing before, but I was a bit wary of the results, but it seems plenty of people have had good results from it. I guess if I tried 'standard' developing and the tonal range was too contrasty (too many darks and highlights) then semi-stand is a good way to even things out. That's really good to know, so thanks for that.
    Also very interesting in the link, that the speed the film is shot at and the ISO rating does not seem to matter??? Mind blowing stuff.

    I have shot some different rolls recently, but if I could pick two fims at the moment that stand out for me it would be FP4+ for bright sunny days and Tri-X for dim overcast days or indoor. Also, although I'm used to using DD-X, sometimes I want more sharpness from the FP4+, so I think Rodinal might be a good match for that. Perhaps use the DD-X mostly for the Tri-X? where the grain will be lessened slightly. Unless of course I have shot some Tri-X and I want it as sharp as I can, then I think Rodinal and stand develop to avoid too much contrast? Have I got that right?
    Bill, thank for the reply. I have got a single roll paterson tank (300ml) which I use for 35mm and a twin roll paterson tank (600ml) which I use for 120. I guess I could use the 120 tank. 3.5ml per roll! I'll remember that!
    Thanks again guys. Very helpful.
  5. Hello again. Give all the above a try Cam. Yes, do use the larger tank. Figure out some way to center the reel in the tank. For my 450 nikors, I re-purpose some orange juice bottle screw-on caps.. lot's of 1/4 inch holes to allow the liquids to move about.
    Rodinal also works very well in "standard" agitation developing. As you noticed some films you want a bit contrasty. Rodinal will work here. On dull, overcast days here in the Seattle area, I use 400Tmax (35mm) and use 3.0 ml of Rodinal in the 450ml tank for 22 minutes. Three (3) min pre-soak in DI water, drain and add developer solution, 30 seconds gentle over & back agi's, with (1) over & back on the minute marks until the end. Enclosed pic is a nice example of the increased contrast in the tones.
    Again, have a blast! Bill
  6. Note that Rodinal is essentially a non-fine-grain high acutance (edge sharpness) developer - note above all that Rodinal does not give full emulsion speed (it gives about 2/3 of a stop less than box speed). If you select a development time recommended for box speed, this is effectively push development and may result in excessive contrast. Some people use stand development regularly, for me it's an emergency rescue technique to get higher effective speed without excess contrast or to reduce contrast. In around 60 years of developing film, I have found no reason to depart from D-76/ID-11, mostly used 1+1. This is a good balance between fine grain and sharpness (true fine grain always involves a solvent action to reduce granularity, which also affects sharpness).
  7. For what it's worth, I tend to use Rodinal for normal lengths, but with quite little agitation (less than half of the usual 10sec/min), and very gentle agitation - it helps keeping grain somewhat under control. I quite like Rodinal with Tri-X, yes it's grainy but it's got something.
    Never used it with the films you mention. It works brilliant with Delta 100, but as that's very grainless in itself, you mainly get the benefits of Rodinal without the negatives, so to speak.
  8. Hi Bill,
    I will certainly give all of the above a go although it might take me a little while to go through all the permutations I have in my head at the moment! Also, I'm not developing for a particular medium, i.e. wet printing or scanning. I intend to wet print some frames and scan some, so I want to eventually end up with the best possible negative so I can do both and do as little post processing / contrast adjustments in the darkroom as possible. In fact while experimenting, I'll scan the negatives in and note on average how much contrast / exposure tweaking I have to do to get the desired result and try to apply those corrections to the development and see if I can bring things closer to the results I am after. That may take me some time and film but it's all good fun isn't it?
    I have three patterson film reels, so I can load one and put an empty one on top to fill the gap in the 120 tank. The only downside I can see is that I'll have to use double the amount of fixer, but I can re-use that so it's not the end of the world. Again, thanks for all the advice. :)
    David, I was aware of the high acutance nature of Rodinal, which is really what's attracting me to it, but I was not aware of the fact that it does not give full emulsion speed! Thank you for pointing this out. Given that fact, it makes sense that folks use stand or semi-stand to reduce the contrast. I have no experience of D76 but it seems on the face of it to be in the 'middle' of DD-X and Rodinal. Maybe when I run out of my current bottle of DD-X I should try some and see what results I get. I was looking to run two developers - fine grain and high acutance and use them depending on what results I am looking for but a compromise between the two is interesting. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Wouter, Hmmm. ok, reducing the agitation reduces the grain, but how does that affect the acutance and contrast? presumably reduces both? have I understood that properly?
    Seems to be that I can use the Rodinal with 'normal' development for a light grain film but use either DD-X or Rodinal with stand or semi-stand for a grainy film, unless of course I'm after a very grainy, gritty scene. I hope I have understood that correctly! Thank you.
    Thank you all for your comments and advice, it's certainly given me lots to think about and lots to experiment with. It might take me some time, but I'll have fun in the process!
  9. ..reducing the agitation reduces the grain, but how does that affect the acutance and contrast? presumably reduces both? have I understood that properly?​
    If there is one problem I haven't had so far with Rodinal, it's getting contrast.... It might reduce it, but there is plenty to start with. Acutance, since I use rodinal mainly with Delta 100 or pushed Tri-X, it's rather hard to say as one has plenty, the other situation isn't much about it.
    Nonetheless, quite possible Rodinal is a not the ideal all-round developer, and my experience isn't vast enough to claim otherwise. But it's worth trying it out. One of its advantages is its shelf-life and low price, so having it around as the "eternal backup option" isn't all that bad (as I happened to realise this week with a half bottle of completely wasted perceptol I did not use fast enough).
  10. Hi everyone, just to confuse you all I have just developed a 120 roll of tmax 400 in 1:25 rodinal 4'15" at 22 deg in a Rondinax 60 tank, which needs continuous agitation. I've got some pleasing results.
    Normally I use Hp5 or FP4 and I have tried 1:50,1:100 stand and 1:25 dilutions, both 35mm and 120. My go to tanks are the Rondinax type, I've even done the stand dev in these. I reduce dev times by 15% from the massive dev chart for continuous agitatation.
    Whichever way I chose Rodinal delivers, My only failings are my sunny 16 guestimates using my Rolleiflex or Ziess Ikon Nettar, are sometimes way off!
    In summary in my experience and reading everyone elses experiences, Rodinal just 'works'. Its very forgiving and even has a great shelf life. I'm glad I found it!
  11. I have used DD-X on both films and my results have been substantially less grain than rodinal. As a matter of fact I now use TMAX400 most of the time and for 35mm and 120 would not think of using anything else than DD-X. If I am developing 4x5 I use HC-110, mostly for cost reasons.
  12. Thanks for all the information you guys. Brilliant! Lots to think about there.
  13. Hi all!
    Just an update. I have not developed the rolls I first spoke about, but I have been playing with FP4+ and Tri-X in Rodinal and DD-X
    I like the results from them all to be honest, but could do with better eyes than mine
    Using FP4+ I have developed a roll in DD-X, Rodinal (1+25) and Rodinal (1+50). I think the DD-X looks cleaner but I have not noticed an increase in sharpness with the Rodinal and I'm struggling to tell the difference between the two concentrations. I know the 1+25 is supposed to be sharper but I just can't see it. Maybe you can?
    Using the Tri-X I have developed a roll in Rodinal (1+25), Rodinal (1+50) and Rodinal (1+100) using semi-stand (the Ted Forbes method). I have yet to try the Tri-X in DD-X which I may do this week time permitting.
    I scanned the negatives on an Epson V800 using the Epson software and unsharpening mask set to medium (the default).
    These scans are straight out of the scanner, no post at all (please excuse any stray dust).
    Could you knowledgeable people have a look for me and see what you think. Are the results acceptable and are the differences between the Rodinal concentrations small or is it just me!
    Below are the links to the full size (54mb) .TIFF files scanned at 4800dpi (35mm).
    Thanks in anticipation!
  14. Here are the small resized (700 wide - 100mb max) images.
    The above image is FP4+ in DD-X
    The above image is FP4+ in Rodinal (1+25)
    The above image is FP4+ in Rodinal (1+50)
    The above image is Tri-X in Rodinal (1+25)
    The above image is Tri-X in Rodinal (1+50)
    The above image is Tri-X in Rodinal (1+100) Semi Stand - the Ted Forbes method.
    FYI - all shot with a Canon A-1 and 50mm f/1.8 lens

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