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Randy
6-Mar-2017, 07:08
Back story: I used it back in the 90's for 8X10, 4X5, 120, and 35mm. I must have been satisfied with the results (and the economy) because I kept using it. Then who ever I was ordering it from (probably B&H) tacked on a hazardous materials fee that was more then the cost of the little jar of concentrate, so I switched to HC-110. Then a year or so ago it got more costly to order HC-110 so I ordered a couple bottles of the Adox Rodinal. Not long after I got those I was given a unopened bottle of Agfa Rodinal (I guess it was bottled not long before Agfa stopped making it). I have been using up the bottle of Agfa and have not opened a bottle of the Adox yet.

I have not been happy with the results I am getting. I have processed some 35mm Ilfords, some Foma 120, and just yesterday, 9 sheets of Arista Ultra EDU 100 shot at 100. I processed in trays 1:50, 7 minutes at 68.

My complaint is grain. The 4X5 I just did yesterday is obnoxiously grainy (for ISO 100 film) - and I was expecting it to be (but hoping for a miracle) because that has been my experience with everything I have processed over the past year since I started using Rodinal again.

I guess my question is - is there any hope of getting a negative with "acceptable" grain from Rodinal? If yes, how? If not, is there a comparatively economical option that will give less grainy negs?

uphereinmytree
6-Mar-2017, 07:29
I use rodinal 1:25 and 1:50 with efke IR820. I'm able to maintain the often blown out highlights that Ir film can have when exposing for shadow detail which can often be very empty with IR film. I process 2 4x5 sheets at a time in an 8x10 tray. agitation is lifting the neg out, letting it drain a moment, and setting it down once per minute. Grain is noticable, but not objectionable in 16x20 prints. I've used d76 with IR820 efke and had less grain, but often too much contrast so it's a trade off in my case.

Greg
6-Mar-2017, 07:39
Old way of taming Edwal FG-7.... instead of water use a 9% solution of Sodium Sulfite. Same applies to Rodinal. Developing times seem to vary greatly with photographers processing diluted Rodinal in a 9% solution of Sodium Sulfite. I think the biggest variable is accurately diluting Rodinal. I personally have settled on using a 1:75 ratio. Suggest shooting 4 sheets of film of the same scene at manufacturer's ISO/ASA. Process together pulling sheets for development times of 5, 10, 15, and 20 minutes.

DrTang
6-Mar-2017, 07:59
I like the grain... that's what I use it for

it's more apparent on Ilford products than kodak.. and I wouldn't use it on 35mm... but I like the grain

koraks
6-Mar-2017, 08:27
Arista Ultra EDU 100 (Fomapan 100) can indeed be quite grainy in Rodinal. I don't mind this in 4x5 personally, but I can see it's not to everyone's taste. The loss of speed is a dealbreaker for me, though. There's sufficient choice of developers not to stick with something that doesn't do what you want it to do. I personally like Foma100 in Pyrocat, but there's many combinations to choose from.

As for Rodinal, I quite like what it does to TMX. Grain is not an issue with that film, particularly in 4x5.

locutus
6-Mar-2017, 08:30
I do 5x4 Ilford FP4 at EI 100 in Rodinal 1+50 and i have been very happy with the results although i only print ~8x10 sized.

For 35mm Tri-X in 1:50 at EI320 works nice too but it *is* quite grainy, for me this works and is part of the aesthetic i want.

So all in all, yes for both those cases it works for me, extra benefits are longevity of the chemistry and ease of use.

Randy
6-Mar-2017, 08:32
When I was a young USAF photographer in the late 70's and thru the 80's, we used HC-110 and D76. I always preferred the results I got with D76, straight especially, but 1:1 was good also. I was not crazy about HC-110 but since Fred Picker swore by it I figured I wasn't doing something right.

Back to the drawing board...?

Andrew Tymon
6-Mar-2017, 08:43
I have used Rodinal 1to 50 for years in various formats 35 mm through 4x5 and never found it grainy until I started rotary processing sheet film. The grain was terrible and switched to Pyrocat M. I found this article http://phototechmag.com/film-overexposure-increases-or-is-it-decreases-print-graininess/. I never exposed my film at box speed Fp4 @80 and T-max 100 @50 . Reading the article seems like I have been pulling the film all this time. Randy maybe you can try rating the Arista at 50 to see if it makes a difference. I never found the Arista to be a fine grain film to start with.

karl french
6-Mar-2017, 10:27
I love it with at 1+25 for Ilford FP4+. I only make contact prints, so grain is not really an issue for me. The negatives seem very sharp with a pleasing tonality.

Yes, definitely lower the EI on your Arista to something like 50. I shot a box of 8x10 Fomapan 100 a couple years ago. Processed in rodinal at 1+25 and Xtol 1:1. In the end I was most satisfied with the sheets rated at 50 processed in Rodinal.

SergeiR
6-Mar-2017, 10:31
Yes. I use it as 1:75-1:150 and i would not trade it for anything else. Consistent results. Good shelf life. Cheap.

Randy
6-Mar-2017, 11:12
Thanks for all the input, I am going to go back and re-read over it all.

Is simply adjusting the ISO I rate my film, and / or adjust the dilution (1:25, 1:50, 1:75, 1:100, etc, etc, etc) I process at - is this going to make the grain less pronounced? I remember (if I remember correctly) long ago, when I used D76 or Microdol-X, if I processed straight (no dilution, for less time) I would get slightly more pronounced grain, but I got better tonal values (better shadow and highlight detail) or I could opt for less pronounced grain and dilute 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3 and process for longer, but I lost the smoothness in the tones.


Good shelf life. Cheap.I agree - but my problem is, that has been my sole motivation for using Rodinal (and HC-110) - the cost factor.

I guess, with the type of photography that is important to me at this point, my priorities are (in number of importance):

1 - Smooth tonality
2 - Minimal grain
3 - Economical, safe, and easy to use
4 - Full box speed

Leigh
6-Mar-2017, 11:20
I've used Agfa Rodinal for many decades, and have enough 500ml bottles to last several lifetimes.

I only shoot slow films, below 100ASA (including FP4+ @ 100), from half-frame 35mm through 8x10.
I've never found the grain to be objectionable even in 35mm.

YMMV I've never tried the ADOX replacement.

- Leigh

Sal Santamaura
6-Mar-2017, 11:23
...is there any hope of getting a negative with "acceptable" grain from Rodinal?...Yes.


...If yes, how?...Use it to develop APX-25 film. Good luck finding some. :D


...is there a comparatively economical option that will give less grainy negs?At least 10ml of Rodinal concentrate is required per 80 square inches (one roll) of film. Given the current price ($16) for a 500ml bottle of concentrate, ignoring shipping and tax (if applicable), that works out to 32 cents per roll, regardless of working solution dilution.

100ml of XTOL stock solution is capable of fully developing 80 square inches of film. At the current price of $10 for a five liter package, ignoring shipping and tax (if applicable), cost per roll is 20 cents, regardless of working solution dilution.

XTOL is not "comparatively economical," it's more economical. It results in negatives that are not only orders of magnitude less grainy than Rodinal-processed ones, they're sharper too. There will be those who now chime in to claim XTOL is unreliable and dies suddenly without warning. I suggest paying such claims no heed, since they are based on improper handling of the product.

Simply deal with XTOL as follows:


Mix with distilled (real steam-distilled, not merely filtered and labeled "for distilled water uses") water
Store the five liters in 20 250ml glass bottles with teflon-lined caps
Use one 250ml 'dose' -- or more if necessary for a batch that exceeds 200 square inches -- one-shot when developing film
Use a coffee filter before processing film to remove the white, filamentary precipitate that forms in stock solution.


Following this protocol, I've measured no sensitometric performance difference in film developed with freshly mixed XTOL and stock that's up to one year old.

Randy
6-Mar-2017, 12:21
Sal - thank you. I have used XTOL only once, probably 12 or more years ago, when I first heard of it. Just didn't continue with it, probably because I just didn't want to mess with powered developers. I think I'll try per your instructions.

locutus
6-Mar-2017, 12:25
And there comes the Easy-of-use-argument for Rodinal, no need to have 20 bottles around. Just mix it up straight before use and discard after development.

Personally I find your proposed XTOL scheme far to demanding to work with, sorry.

Leigh
6-Mar-2017, 12:40
Personally I find your proposed XTOL scheme far to demanding to work with, sorry.
+1 ^^^

Yeah, what he said.

I don't have the empty space to store 20 extra bottles.

- Leigh

BetterSense
6-Mar-2017, 14:10
I use only HC110 and Rodinal, both 50:1. I will use Rodinal on 35mm only if it's slow film or I actually want conspicuously grainy results. I find HP5 particularly grainy in Rodinal (still beautiful otherwise), while Tmaxen are not too bad. I prefer the Rodinal because---I'm not afraid to admit it---its even easier than HC110 because of how fast it mixes. HC110 on the other hand truly lasts forever, where Rodinal will go bad once opened in partially full bottles. I basically use HC110 for my 400-speed 35mm work and Rodinal for everything else, just based on the grain factor. I do have a tendency to think Rodinal "looks better", but I also think that differences between any developers are small.

The only other developer I use is Xtol. I think it's probably the best developer I have used based purely on technical results. But at my current volumes it is not convenient.

Sal Santamaura
6-Mar-2017, 15:19
And there comes the Easy-of-use-argument for Rodinal, no need to have 20 bottles around. Just mix it up straight before use and discard after development...Yup. Quick and easy grain. :)

Sal Santamaura
6-Mar-2017, 15:20
...I don't have the empty space to store 20 extra bottles...If you don't have space for 20 250ml bottles, you must live in a tiny house. Where do you fit the rest of your darkroom equipment? :D

Jac@stafford.net
6-Mar-2017, 15:41
[... paring post to pertinance....]I was given a unopened bottle of Agfa Rodinal (I guess it was bottled not long before Agfa stopped making it). [...]

So our first assumption is that the Agfa Rodinal is fresh. We cannot presume that is true. There could be degradation caused by storage.


I have not been happy with the results I am getting. I have processed some 35mm Ilfords, some Foma 120, and just yesterday, 9 sheets of Arista Ultra EDU 100 shot at 100. I processed in trays 1:50, 7 minutes at 68.

My complaint is grain. [...]

To close on the issued, a couple questions. How did you evaluate the grain? By a loupe, by printing in the wet darkroom or by scanning. The point - has anything changed in your process from the last time you recall?

Has your water changed? Moved? Ph levels make a difference.

Have you tried HC-110 with your current methodology?

more questions remain.

Randy
6-Mar-2017, 16:20
So our first assumption is that the Agfa Rodinal is fresh. We cannot presume that is true. There could be degradation caused by storage.I opened the plastic bottle a year or so ago. No special storage, just in a bedroom with all my other darkroom supplies.


How did you evaluate the grain? By a loupe, by printing in the wet darkroom or by scanning. The point - has anything changed in your process from the last time you recall?A lot has changed since the last time I used Rodinal, since it has been a good 12+ years. My evaluation was by loupe, though I have not pulled out any negs from years ago to compare - but they would be from a different film anyway.


Has your water changed? Moved? Ph levels make a difference. Yes, but Just to many variables to narrow down, different water, film, developer could be old, etc, etc.


Have you tried HC-110 with your current methodology?I have not processed Ultra EDU in HC-110.

Kevin Crisp
6-Mar-2017, 16:34
Neither here nor there, but once when I had time to test things out of curiosity I developed identically exposed Tri-X 4X5 negatives in D76, HC110 and Rodinal 1:50. I then cranked the enlarger up to what would have been a 20x24 print more or less, and exposed each negative to give me a test strip of the grain out of a middle grey area. The Rodinal grain actually wasn't meaningfully worse than the others. Not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting noticeably worse grain. I was using a relatively fast film, after all. The result surprised me.

Leigh
6-Mar-2017, 16:35
Where do you fit the rest of your darkroom equipment? :D
In the space that would otherwise be taken up by 20 redundant bottles. :p


- Leigh

Greg
6-Mar-2017, 16:55
Lot of talk about grain without consideration of the light source in the enlarger. Way back when I was printing professionally we had 3 light sources for the Durst: Pinpoint, Condenser, and Diffuse.

Pinpoint for glass plates taken with an Electron Microscope where maximum detail needed to be had.
Condenser for printing Kodalith negatives
Diffusion for everything else, and was my favorite.

Long, long time ago took a darkroom workshop given by George Tice. He was a master of a darkroom printer and remember him talking about how much the light source in the enlarger influences the appearance of grain on the print.

Sal Santamaura
6-Mar-2017, 17:54
...Where do you fit the rest of your darkroom equipment?...


In the space that would otherwise be taken up by 20 redundant bottles...Whatever make and model it is, your enlarger must be the very definition of 'compact.'

Leigh
6-Mar-2017, 18:10
Whatever make and model it is, your enlarger must be the very definition of 'compact.'
A Beseler 45MX does not fit my definition of "compact".

- Leigh

angusparker
6-Mar-2017, 18:46
I've always heard that Rodinal was really a LF developer because of the grain - that's how I use it. So I'd use it for 4x5 and up but not 120 or 135.

Leigh
6-Mar-2017, 19:31
I've always heard that Rodinal was really a LF developer because of the grain - that's how I use it. So I'd use it for 4x5 and up but not 120 or 135.
As I stated earlier, I've used it for all formats for over 5 decades.

It's meant to be used with slow films (<=100).
If you use it with fast (400+) films you'll probably be disappointed.

- Leigh

Nukatpiat
6-Mar-2017, 19:36
I have those chemicals so I popped out in my driveway and took a shot on Arista Edu Ultra 100 4x5 just at sunset tonight. I developed it in Rodinal 1:50, agitation for first 45 seconds and then every first ten seconds thereafter, 68 degrees F working temp.
Film and R09 are both fresh.
I attached a reduced version of the whole picture and an extract of a scan at 3200 spi. I sharpened heavily in lightroom to help bring out the grain. How does this compare to the grain you are seeing?

162290
162291

Ron789
6-Mar-2017, 19:45
Grain... I love it! To me it's an essential characteristic of analog photography.
Kodak Tri-X 35mm in Rodinal 1+25 or 1+50, normal agitation (= NO stand development) = the best analog B&W photography can bring!

Fred L
6-Mar-2017, 20:09
It can be tricky with fast films like Tri X but it does have a look some like (iow, not very fine grained). I find Acros shines in Rodinal as well, almost like they were made for each other.

Randy Moe
6-Mar-2017, 20:57
Very happy with Rodinal by any name.

TF5 is a great fixer.

stawastawa
7-Mar-2017, 00:09
Nukatpiat, curious that the bark right next to the sharp branchlets looks out of focus. Is it a fairly flat negative?
thanks for running a quick test!

IanG
7-Mar-2017, 02:21
Rodinal needs tight temperature control particularly with softer emulsiosn. Because it contains some free hydroxide it has a tendency to soften poorly hardened emulsions making them more susceptible to shifts in temperature particularly between process steps. It's not unheard of for Fuji Acros to reticulate in Rodinal and emulsion to lift from the base, that's the extreme and not common, the film uses a different gelatin to most other films.

Typically temperature variations unless severe just affect the top surface of the emulsion, the gelatin super coat, it causes surface artefacts sometimes called micro or incipient reticulation, this doesn't affect the grain structure of the film but when printed or scanned gives greater apparent graininess.

Many of us remember the days when all film emulsions were very much softer, in my case it was FP3, HP3 and before that Verichrome PAn, these films would reticulate badly if temperature control was poor. Hardening improved with FP4 &HP4 the HP5, and the improved Kodak, Agfa etc films to the extent that most modern films are extremely robust. However their are/were emulsions that are significantly softer, the softest were the EFKE films, followed by Forte and Foma.

When I first started using EFKE films in the 1970's the hardening was almost non existent, I added hardener to my developer just before use but by the 1990's hardening was better. I had no problems developing EFKE PL25 in Rodinal, I always keep process temperatures including washing to within +/- 1C of my chosen process temperature which has always been 20C with Rodinal.

I use a lot of Fomapan 120 and 5x4 also 7x5 but I stopped using Rodinal and switched to Pyrocat HD about 12 years ago, the Foma emulsions are softer not as soft as EFKE but you still need to treat them carefully, having said that I process them at 26 or 27C when I'm in Turkey where it's very easy to keep the process temperatures closer to +/- 0.2 of 27C as that's the ambient water temperature 9 months of the year.

Ian

bobbotron
7-Mar-2017, 06:01
Rodinal is great. I really like it with a number of Rollei films - Retro 80s, RPX 25 and Superpan are all fantastic with it.

Randy
7-Mar-2017, 07:02
I guess there is the distinct possibility that I am just being over reactive, seeing "large" grain that I assumed would not be "large".

Here is one example:

https://s19.postimg.org/yy1xojatv/grain1.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/6xxu497db/)[/url]

https://s19.postimg.org/h9a6wwz2r/grain2.jpg (https://postimage.org/)[url=https://postimage.org/app.php]

This is the EDU 100@100 in Rodinal 1:50 68 for 7 min. in 1500ml, 8X10 trays, processed 9 sheets, 2 min. water pre-soak, careful shuffle thru the stack, let sit for a minute then shuffle again, water stop for two shuffles, fix for about 6 minutes, wash by soaking in tray and shuffle every couple minutes, refresh water about every 5 minutes, for about 20 minutes.

Jac@stafford.net
7-Mar-2017, 07:49
I see reticulation.

IanG
7-Mar-2017, 08:06
Last time I saw an issue like that was a few years ago with 120 Tmax 400. A friend shot some images for a magazine of me out shooting with my Wista, I was shooting Tmax 400 in a Leica, Tmax 100 with the Wista. He processed the film in my darkroom using my replenished Xtol, stop then fix, the graininess was excessive, I processed my 35mm Tmax 100 same developer. stop and fix, my negative were normal quite fine grained as expected.

I'd noticed he was careful with the initial developer temperature but realised he didn't bother checking the stop, fix and particularly wash water and I commented at the time, it was early Spring so the tap water was very cold. The 2 rolls of 120 Tmax 400 he'd shot were from a large batch I'd bought, there were no issues with any I shot before or after. So in this case the huge increase in apparent graininess was down to poor temperature control.

Ian

IanG
7-Mar-2017, 08:11
I see reticulation.

That's how micro reticulation looks, it's not classic full blown reticulation rather surface artefacts that increase apparent graininess in prints and particularly scans.

Ian

Randy
7-Mar-2017, 08:22
I see reticulation.

"Reticulation is the distortion of the emulsion layer of a film, caused when it is taken from one bath to another that has a dramatic difference in temperature. If for example you take the film from a warm developer to a cold fixer or from a warm fixer to a freezing wash the film may reticulate."There may have been a temp difference between my dev and wash, of a degree - perhaps between my wash and fix of a couple degrees.
My experience with reticulation (the rapid swelling and contraction of the emulsion due to extreme temperature differences) is intentional. I shot a roll of Panatomic X 35mm many years ago and after developing the film I soaked it in ice-water for a few minutes, then soaked it in very hot tap water, perhaps 140 F, for a minute - then hung to dry. I got reticulation, but I did not get increased grain.
I don't think a temp difference of a few F is going to cause reticulation (just my experienced opinion).

I think what I am going to have to do is shoot a sheet of EDU 100 and a sheet of FP4, same scene, and process in Rodinal 1:50 and see how they compare.

Willie
7-Mar-2017, 09:55
My Uncle is the one who has used and tested a lot of stuff and I know he used Rodinal with Sodium Ascorbate to help control grain. Online articles should still be up on it.
He switched completely to Pyrocat HD after Sandy King came out with it. I know he even sent Sandy a thank you for his coming out with the Pyrocat HD developer and that is all he uses these days.

Jac@stafford.net
7-Mar-2017, 10:43
There may have been a temp difference between my dev and wash, of a degree - perhaps between my wash and fix of a couple degrees.
My experience with reticulation (the rapid swelling and contraction of the emulsion due to extreme temperature differences) is intentional. I shot a roll of Panatomic X 35mm many years ago and after developing the film I soaked it in ice-water for a few minutes, then soaked it in very hot tap water, perhaps 140 F, for a minute - then hung to dry. I got reticulation, but I did not get increased grain.
I don't think a temp difference of a few F is going to cause reticulation (just my experienced opinion).

The kind of emulsion & choice of gelatin makes a difference.

IanG
7-Mar-2017, 11:18
The kind of emulsion & choice of gelatin makes a difference.

Very definitely, and it only needs quite small variations between temperature. I should add (for Randy) that micro/incipient reticulation doesn't increase the grain size at all, it's the effects of the surface artifacts that give the increased graininess in enlargements or scans. It only affects a small number of films, most are so well hardened these days.

This effect caused major issues for Kodak with the first digital minilabs as it shows up more with scanning. Kodak colour films had a much higher graininess than the better hardened Fuji colour films, they did a lot of research into improving hardening with their emulsions, their newer films being sold as more scanner friendly.. You can see the same effect with RC papers were the Glossy type can go dull and sometimes have a patchy surface. With paper steaming restores the gloss.

Ian

plaubel
7-Mar-2017, 15:16
my priorities are (in number of importance):

1 - Smooth tonality
2 - Minimal grain
3 - Economical, safe, and easy to use
4 - Full box speed


If someone is looking for a lot of grain in using large format, Fomapan 100, rotation development, and warm Rodinal are the best choice.

I am using large format, so normally grain is not a big issue to me.
But after fiddeling for a long time with Fomapan (100), I didn't get my desired results concerning tonality very often, neither in Xtol nor in Rodinal.

Comparing both results I have had more luck with Xtol, but I subjectively decided quitting Fomapan for more equal results.
Next I will quit Xtol, preferring a sharper developer.


I have done some side by side comparisms with both of "my" films Ilford FP4plus and Rollei Ortho 25, developed in Xtol 1+2 and Rodinal (from 1:60 to 1:100), further also comparing rotation and tray development.

Comparing FP4plus and Ortho 25 developed in Rodinal and rotation, ( I am using Maco/Compard Rodinal, is it called R09?), yes, a bit of grain is visuable, but for me, normally it doesn't matter.

If I don't want to see grain, I would develop both films in Xtol.

If I want to get sharp negatives, I would develop both films in Rodinal, in trays or tanks, and as slow as possible.

I don't know about your market situation overthere, but concerning film development up to 12x16" in trays with 2000ml/3000ml , I like the idea of using a less expensive developer, and in our country only water is cheaper than Rodinal.
3000ml / 25Euro.

I have no need to fill 3000 ml into tiny bottles, so I only use one 1,5L PE water bottle and 3x 500 brown glass bottles.

I fill my fresh Xtol into 3x 1.5L PE bottles, too, it's good enough to me and my Xtol, which I don't use very often, and after one year my Xtol works best.

Regarding the dilutions, I have no great experience with roll film but some experience with sheet film.

Xtol is my developer for rotation only, and here I have to fill in 100ml, plus 200ml of whater.
One or 4 sheetfilms are no problem.

With Rodinal, after some bad experiences with exhausting, I start every development with 5ml (one film 4x5" or 5x7").
Double sided Xray film gets 20ml of Rodinal; this seems to be much less than 5ml for 4x5", but it works fine.

I find Rodinal very easy to use.
My darkroom is not dark, but cold in the winter; after bringing my whater to the needed temperature, some added drops of Rodinal will not change much.

Reaching 20 degrees Celsius with 100 of cold Xtol and 200ml of heated whater is an adventure to me, I don't get the math behind.

Ritchie