Trying Rodinal

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by joe_hodge, Nov 17, 2021.

  1. Just for a change of pace, I decided to give (Adox) Rodinal a try instead of the HC-110 I normally use. Here's a shot from the first roll. It's a bit grainy, but not in a terrible way at all, IMHO:


    100% crop:

    This is Tri-X developed for 7 min in Rodinal 1:25@20C, agitation by inversion 5 times/minute. Scanned at 4000DPI, with no adjustments other than a very basic contrast curve. I probably wouldn't go this way for portraits of people, but I like it here.
  2. SCL


    In my experience a finer toning may be achieved by higher dilution and fewer agitations. Also what ISO did you use for Tri-X?
  3. Doggy seems to be longing for some human kindness.
    luis triguez likes this.
  4. Have no fear - that’s my neighbor’s dog, and they’re good people. She just likes to hang out in the back yard and gather pets from passers-by.
    Mary Doo likes this.
  5. I had very good results with Ilford Pan F+ ISO 50 developed for 15 minutes in Rodinal 1 + 50 @ 68 F. Very sharp images and low grain.

    One of the best films in Rodinal was APX-100, but it is no longer made. Those two were literally made for one another.
    luis triguez likes this.
  6. FWIW. You can make your own Rodinal from cheap Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) caplets, caustic soda and sodium sulphite or sodium metabisulphite. Sodium metabisulphite is commonly used as a food or wine additive. So all the ingredients should be readily available, and cheap.

    Paracetamol is Para-aminophenol - the developing agent in Rodinal - with the addition of an acetate radicle. Caustic soda detaches the radicle to form sodium acetate + para aminophenol.

    The amounts used are:
    7 gms Paracetamol / Acetaminophen - that's 14 x 500mg tablets
    10 gms Sodium Hydroxide
    13.4 gms Sodium Metabisulphite
    All dissolved in as little water as possible ~ 150ml.

    In this formula the caustic soda does double duty by also converting the metabisulphite to sulphite.

    I gave the full method of preparation in this thread. 2nd page and about 3 posts down.

    The resulting solution is slightly weaker than commercial Rodinal, by about 20%. So add a fifth more time or reduce the dilution ratio from 25:1 to 20:1 (50:1 to 40:1, etc.)

    Most pharmacists and general stores have generic 500mg Paracetamol caplets in packs of 16 at a very low price and sodium hydroxide is commonly sold in packs of 500g pellets as a drain cleaner. So this Rodinal substitute is dirt cheap to make.
  7. I shot the Tri-X at EI 320 (which is what I normally do). I'll probably try a 1:50 dilution next.

    Interesting, and something I may try at some point. Not that Adox Rodinal is expensive - US$11:50 for the 500ml bottle from Freestyle, but it might be fun. The Paracetamol is readily available as 500mg caplets in quantities from 50 - 1000(!) from the local drugstore. The rest I'd need to source, but it couldn't be that hard.
  8. Way back, When Agfa announced discontinuing Rodinal, I bought a bunch of bottles. Now down to the last few. One advantage of Rodinol is that it seems to last forever. After Agfa discontinued, there were several versions of Rodinal on the market. Having my own cache, I didn’t pay much attention to the differences. Nowadays, which one is closest to the Agfa version? And how close is the above formula?
  9. Close enough!
    At one time there were about half-a-dozen different Rodinal clones on sale from different companies. One called 'Certinol' springs to mind.

    The formula for all of them, along with the result, was practically identical. Consisting of Para-aminophenol - or its hydrochloride - sodium hydroxide and sodium or potassium sulphite. That's it. Just 3 ingredients plus water.

    The peculiarity of Para-aminophenol is that its keeping qualities improve with concentration, and also that it's fairly impervious to oxidation. However, there's a limit to how concentrated you can make the stock solution before it crystallises into a solid mass at low storage temperatures.

    The genuine Rodinal formula overcomes this by using a mixture of potassium and sodium salts to reduce the separate ion concentrations in solution thus preventing crystallisation. Whether potassium or sodium hydroxide or sulphite are used makes no difference to the developing action, but the availability of potassium salts to the general public is somewhat restricted. So it's easier to just use sodium salts and put up with a slightly more dilute version.

    FWIW, I tried to squeeze the above formula into a 100ml solution, only to find that it had crystallised solid in its plastic bottle in winter. It was still usable after heating it in a microwave to redissolve the crystals. But why risk that inconvenience? And a glass bottle might well have burst.

    P. S. This article makes interesting reading.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  10. I am a fan of stand or semi stand development for ISO 50-200 films using Adox branded Rodinal at a 1-100 ratio. The stand is for 1 hour with some agitation at the start. For semi stand I have adopted a 30 minute routine with agitation up front and 10 inversions every ten minutes.
  11. I haven't tried stand development. Is it still important to maintain a constant 20C? If so, how do you manage that for an hour? For the 7-10 minute development times I normally use, a water bath at the correct temp is enough to stay within 1/2 a degree or less, but over an hour I think it would drift quite a bit.
  12. Joe I keep the temps near 20c. I have read some variation matters little but I would rather be safe. I have a fair sized screw top water jug that I will fill with 20c water then place the development tank in that. If not a large bowl of water with the tank placed inside won't vary much in temperature if in a climate controlled environment.
  13. AJG


    If you can find a Zone Vi development timer you should be able to finesse the inevitable variations in temperature that a water bath will have. This timer has a probe that sits in a water bath or print developer tray and runs faster if the temperature increases or slower if the temperature decreases. I have used one since the 1980's and it really helps with getting consistent results. It wasn't a problem to get 10 matching prints even if the temperature of the developer was dropping in a cold darkroom, and I found that negative development with a water bath was very accurate as well.
  14. I've only tried stand (semi stand) development a few times so far, but I've been impressed with the results - I bring the room temperature up to 20 degrees and everything appears to hold that quite comfortably over the course of an hour, no reason why it shouldn't. I leave a thermometer in my jug of wash water as a control.

    (Development on my dining room table)
  15. Do you not notice an exaggerated edge-effect or streaking?
    Because, regardless of the developer used, I've seen some pretty dreadful results from using very dilute developers with no agitation.

    Stand development was probably OK back when quarter-plate was considered a small format, but emphasised edge-effects on the 35mm format are very noticeable and objectionable. There's a good reason for using agitation!
    I suspect that most of the density is acquired in the first 10 minutes or so. A very dilute developer quickly runs out of 'steam' as the small amount of developing agent is used up and oxidised. So it doesn't make a lot of difference if the solution gets cold or not.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021
  17. Joe, just a word of warning. I once shot Tri-X at ASA 800 and developed in
    Rodinal. I overdeveloped, as I always had with over-indexed shots. The result was awful. I have never seen a worse grainstorm. The shots were useless.

    HC 110 was always great.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2021

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