Looking into trying Rodinal and have a few questions.

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by xypex982, May 20, 2010.

  1. xypex982

    xypex982 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Southern, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'm tired of throwing half used bottles of developer so I am looking into trying Rodinal as I know it has a long shelf life so I can shoot as I please and not worry about my developer. To give you background about what I shoot and prefer before I ask any questions I will say that I shoot mainly 35mm but do a little 120 usually Tri-x @400 in 35mm or shanghai @100 in 120 and I don't mind grain and like the "vintage" grain structure of Tri-x so I know that Rodinal showing the Tri-x's grain wont be a problem. I don't push often and if I do it may just be a stop. Lastly I do like to dabble and throw in some dollar store Memories or Samsung 200 iso c-41 film in my BW chems for a little experimentation.

    So my questions

    1. Since it isa so hard for me to find online is this r09 stuff really the same?

    Foma Fomadon R09 Film Developer - 250ml (Similar to Agfa Rodinal) | Freestyle Photographic Supplies


    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/9721-Compard-R09-Spezial-film-Developer-125-ml-Agfa-Rodinal-Special?sc=24100

    2. Any special advice a first time user of Rodinal?

    3. Whats the difference other than dev times between a 1+50 ration and 1+100?

    That's really all I can think of at this point, thank you for any help.
     
  2. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    400
    Location:
    L.A.
    Rodinal is a high acutance developer (loosely, that means it promotes
    acuity or what we perceive as image sharpness) and it provides its own
    unique and beautiful tonality. It's also the oldest continuously produced
    developer, being over 100 years old. (It's not the oldest developer, as
    some mistakenly say, but it is the oldest that is still being sold.)

    In film developing anytime you increase sharpness you also increase the
    visibility of grain so bear that in mind. If you use a fast film (300+ ISO)
    you're liable to get pronounced grain. I usually use Rodinal with slow to
    medium speed films but, if you're going for a grainy effect, use fast films
    with it too.

    In my opinion it is also best used with "traditional" type B&W films, that is,
    not with the newer technology T-Max or Delta films. This is because of
    Rodinal's unique tonal characteristics. But, again, this is just my opinion.

    Rodinal is what you might call a "cult developer" as it has a very devoted
    following. There's even a Flickr forum devoted to its use here:
    Flickr: RODINAL

    There are different ways of using Rodinal including different dilutions and
    different agitation methods including no agitation at all (called stand
    development). Some also mix Rodinal with other developers. I suggest
    reading the posts at the above forum and study the pics posted there for
    more info as well as general searching on the web for "Rodinal" for more
    info from users. It's a pretty big subject in itself. Mostly, though, you
    can best learn by using it yourself and experimenting with it.

    To give perhaps an over-simplified generality, the higher dilutions and/or
    stand development technique tend to promote more subtle tonal effects
    and edge effects which you have to see to appreciate. A picture is, as
    they say, worth 1,000 words.

    As for R09, I just bought a bottle of it myself a few days ago. I was in
    Freestyle and they were out of Rodinal. I haven't tried it yet. I understand
    it is the same formula or virtually the same. The label on the bottle says
    "Sold as Rodinal" for whatever that's worth. I believe Photographers Formulary
    also sells a Rodinal developer (or, at least they once did).

    BTW, another developer with a long shelf life is Diafine. It is also re-usable
    many times while Rodinal is a one-shot developer (use once only). The
    two developers are different though. Diafine is a push-process, compensating
    developer (increases film speed while helping tame contrast).
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    478
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    So than what would be the best combination for acuity as far as a film/developer combination goes?
     
  4. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    400
    Location:
    L.A.
    I assume you mean what combination would give the greatest acuity?

    Super, super high sharpness isn't my thing so I've only dabbled with the
    highest acutance developers (higher than Rodinal) but my bible for such
    things is The Film Developing Cookbook by Anchell & Troop.

    They list the highest acutance developers to be:
    FX-1
    Kodak High Definition Developer (HDD)
    Beutler
    Neofin Blue
    and "some pyrocatechin developers"

    The book gives the formula for FX-1 or you can buy it from Photographers
    Formulary (PF). The Beutler formula is also in the book as are a number of pyro
    developers, some of which are also available from PF. Neofin Blue is a
    commercial product available from Tetenal. The formula for HDD is
    available on the web if you search for it. Ingredients to mix your own
    are available from PF or from Artcraft Chemicals or other sources.

    Per the above reference Rodinal is not in the highest acutance group nor in
    the second highest group. It's in the 3rd highest group. To give you an
    idea of the scale of things.

    Also note that in photochemistry everything is a trade-off. To gain
    something you always have to trade something for it. These super
    high acutance developers also give highest grain and poorest gradation.
    They are also mostly speed enhancing developers too so they do
    give about a one-stop push whether you want it or not.

    Personally, I value gradation and I find Rodinal to be as high acutance
    a developer as I usually need or want.

    As for which film would give the greatest acuity with these developers, I
    don't know. I haven't explored that. If I wanted to go that way I would
    probably start with Rollei Tech Pan.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,796
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I had a Rodinal phase. I developed an awful lot of Tri-X in highly diluted Rodinal using Bill Pierce's methodology as put forth in some old articles he wrote back in the late to mid-1970's, using 10 second "roller pin" agitations in between 60-second standing times. I would agree with compur's experience that Rodinal is best-suited to traditional B&W films, and is no great shakes whatsoever on newer T-grain type films.

    While Rodinal concentrate does have good shelf life, I'm not sure that it is any better, or even as good, as Kodak HC-110 as far as shelf life. As far as the acutance issue with Rodinal goes, I honestly think that the effect is over-portrayed with modern (1970's and later) B&W films...maybe when film sucked Rodinal made sense, but on 35mm Tri-X or Plus-X, I think the acutance benefits of Rodinal are largely mythical, left over from much earlier films of the 1930's and 1940's, and that a better result can be obtained with a better, high-grade condenser enlarger, like the Leitz Focomat, and a good enlarger lens. I think that with Tri-X HC-110 produces an overall "better" negative than Rodinal when handled similarly--the HC-110 negative has finer grain, longer tonal range, and prints better overall when developed in HC-110 Dilution B versus Rodinal at 1:100.

    Rodinal may have high acutance, but to me that's code for "excessively grainy-looking" when the film being souped is 35mm Tri-X or Plus-X. However, some people do like that look. Rodinal-developed Tri-X does not scan worth a darn, IMHO. It wet prints better than it scans. Here's a scan of a full-frame 35mm negative that I souped in Rodinal at 1:100 back in the mid-1980's. Caution: implied nudity

    R59-15A-Dana_Tri X1986.JPG photo - Derrel photos at pbase.com
     
  6. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    478
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    GAH


    SO basically alot of acuity, means alot of grain. Kind of like oversharpening.


    Than is it even at all possible to shoot an image on say 4x5, print 24 inches wide, and not have any objectionable grain with ridiculous detail?

    You look through the galleries and there are these huge prints with insane detail, with no grain. And they were definitely not shot digitally.



    I'm a LOUSY film shooter. But when I shoot film, i'll usually shoot 35mm Delta 100, Develop in D76 (undiluted to shave off time [yeah, i'm that lazy]), and then printed 8x10, looks like ISO 25,000 dog sh*t out of my DSLR, except with real contrast.

    i'm just curious as far as a good balance between detail and tonality, what the best combination and methods would be.

    People say that film has more detail than digital, but i've printed 20x30's off my D700 at ISO 400 that smoke similar sized prints i've seen from 50 speed medium format in terms of both detail and tonality.

    I have to be wrong somewhere.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,796
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well, personally, I think the ideal balance between acutance and smooth tonality is HC-110 Dilution B, developed with 10 second agitation at each minute, at 68 degrees. I think D:76, diluted 1:1, not straight, is a very reasonable developer as well, on "traditional" B&W emulsions. 35mm film is quite small in image area; a 24 inch wide print made from a 4x5 negative is a very small,minimal enlargement, like a 5.5x enlargement, whereas with a 24x36mm frame, the same print size is quite a stretch, in a relative sense.

    I don't know Delta 100 film at all. Film versus digital resolution comparisons depend on a lot of factors. Kodak's Technical Pan in 35mm size could resolve the individual fibers that made up a woman's veil, back in early Kodak literature: that film could resolve detail beyond the level of basically, I think, any non-process-camera lens. 4x5 sheet film can resolve superb detail; even average-grade medium-format film of the 1950's can resolve excellent detail. But when we look at say, medium-speed or high-speed color negative film of the mid-1990's versus a Nikon D700, the comparison shifts to digital in terms of resolution and overall picture quality. Just the other day, I happened to find some high-rez, film publicity shots from the Cameron Diaz film "In Her Shoes". Ugh! NO comparison. Digital from many d-slrs could and does create a better image.

    35mm looks pretty good in Panatomic-X, up to 11x14 or so, but the 11x14 ratio wastes a huge amount of the 35mm aspect ratio...you're throwing away a huge amount of the sides of the image at that aspect ratio. 100 or 125-speed B&W in 35mm looks good, but 6x6 Tri-X Pan Professional looks better, at roughly 3x higher a native ISO rating.

    If you want 35mm negatives to look really good, the developing process needs to be carefully optimized, along with the Exposure Index you shoot at, and the way you meter. A 35mm negative is pretty small. The D700's sensor is awfully,awfully good, even at ISO 400, it looks as good as VPS 160 down-rated to 100 and C-printed. We're really lucky to have such amazing cameras; the first generation of ISO 400 35mm color negative film hit about 30 years ago when I was in high school, and it was crap compared to a D700 at 1600.
     
  8. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    400
    Location:
    L.A.
    Sharpness and grain are two ends of a see-saw. Increasing one decreases
    the other and vice versa. When you make the image sharper you are also
    making the grain that makes up the image sharper and more visible. When
    you make the grain finer you also soften the overall effect of sharpness.

    D-76 was Kodak's big breakthrough developer that provided a good balance of
    the two factors c. 1930s. More recently Xtol is thought to have improved
    upon this ability. But, everyone has their own opinions about which
    film/developer combination is best.

    There is a third factor to B&W images that many seem to ignore (including
    manufacturers' literature) probably because it's harder to define and that is
    gradation or tonality.

    T-grain films (T-Max & Delta) are sharper and finer grained than
    "traditional" films. Few would argue against that but what about their
    tonal characteristics? Many believe (including me) that they gained their
    improved sharpness and grain characteristics at the expense of tonality.

    Something that not many seem to be aware of (and manufacturers don't
    advertise it) is that these t-grain films contain less silver than older films.
    This makes them cheaper to manufacture. It is likely that this reduced
    silver content accounts for the difference in these films' gradation and
    tonal characteristics. Traditional B&W images are made out of silver. Less
    silver means less material to work with in creating the image which means
    poorer gradation/tonality.

    You always give up something to gain something else in photochemistry.

    Well, almost always. You can use a pyro developer such as PMK. Pyro
    actually adds its own image information to the silver image by leaving a
    stain on the negative which enhances image gradation and highlight
    subtleties, etc. A book was written about this type of developer called
    The Book of Pyro
    by Gordon Hutchings.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,796
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    DING! DING! DING! Totally,totally spot-on. Tonality is why so many people like Tri-X. It doesn't have fine grain. It's not high in acutance. It has moderate resolving power. But it has superb tonality! It also has the ability to maintain emulsion speed and create some actual shadow density when underexposed because it has enough silver to do the job...where the new T-grain films have really poor shadow density, and lose effective emulsion speed when underexposed. As far as I am concerned, the newer T-grain type emulsions like T-Max, while they do have finer grain, really are not all that favorable to my own preferences. The even-newer, dye-based monochromatic chromogenic film emulsions are another,entirely different cup of tea--and are pretty good when the B&W work is going to be done via scanning B&W negatives. So, as compur points out, less silver can be bad for traditional printing, less silver, or even NO silver, is actually better for digitizing images from film!

    In my opinion, T-grain films suck when you want to do much in the way of minus development; they lose effective emulsion speed very quickly, and their linearity is bad, compared to older-style films with lots of silver,and which can be developed in a lot of developers, across a wide span of time/temps.

    Last night, I was thinking about Sw1tchFX's comments about his unfavorable experiences with big enlargements from B&W negatives, and I got to wondering: how were those negatives translated into large prints??? If they were scanned, and then printed on a modern, digital printing system (Fuji Frontier, Kodak,etc) then that's not quite the same as wet darkroom printing. The thing about traditional B&W film (panchromatic, silver-based stuff like Tri-X, Panatomic X, Plus-X, Verichrome Pan,etc) is that it does not scan very well, so the digitization process can spoil the end result right there, by accentuating grain and ruining the tonality. 1980's-syle T-grain films have less silver, and a softer,lower-acutance look than older style film, and "modern" chromogenic, dye-based monochrome films are dye-based and therefore scan superbly, better than any other type of monochrome films I have used. So, when somebody says they got bad or unsatisfactory B&W results that do not holdup to digital captures, the entire printing-out part of the chain comes into question. Digitizing, and then printing to an inkjet or photo printer is not the way "most" traditional or FT-grain B&W film was intended to be handled.

    Similarly, as I alluded to yesterday, the enlarger has a big effect on the prints, and perceived acutance. I have done most of my B&W work on three enlargers: Omega D2, Besseler 23C-II,and Leitz Focomat II. Of those three, the Focomat's overall system/performance seemed to me to produce the highest **apparent** acutance, as well as the most-contrast per paper grade. Comparing the Focomat's superb, crisp, dust-enhancing (lol) super-efficient condenser system with the Omega or 23C's softer, more-forgiving system meant a different "look" to the prints. So, even in the wet darkroom, the method of printing-out has some type of effect on the apparent degree of acutance that a given film/developer will yield, and what might be good for Worker 1 might not be the best choice for Worker 2, who has a different need for a negative that is more-tailored to his enlarger's tendencies.
     
  10. Ornello

    Ornello TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2016
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    5
    Probably FX-39 and Delta 100 or Acros 100.
     
  11. Ornello

    Ornello TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2016
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    5
    Uhmmmmm....no. This has nothing to do with "how much silver" is in the film. This hoary myth has been floating around for decades now. Film manufacturers cannot arbitrarily reduce the amount of silver used in making emulsions. This is absurd.

    If you figure that silver sells for about $15-20/ounce, and that a roll of B&W film sells for about $6 these days, you can see that silver is only a small part of the cost. Health insurance for the workers probably is a greater fraction of the cost. Tabular film crystals are 'flatter' and are more efficient in gathering photons. Rodinal is one of the worst developers available. Its sharpness is actually poorer than that of D-76! Tonality is determined by a number of factors, but I am not aware that tabular films are any worse than standard films.

    Believe nothing you read on forums about developers or films (except what I write). Most photographers know next to nothing about how film works or is constructed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  12. timor

    timor Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    5,553
    Likes Received:
    797
    Location:
    Toronto ON
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I have to read the whole thread word by word. Will be fun.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
how to use rodinal
,
how to use rodinal developer
,
is rodinal a acutance developer
,

rodinal

,
rodinal developer
,
rodinal developw
,
rodinal film developer
,
rodinal shelf life
,
rodinol
,
tri-x in rodinal