Will the real Rodinal please stand up?

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dougla...@gmail.com

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Mar 2, 2020, 12:54:46 PM3/2/20
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After a long hiatus, I realized that by some quirk of nature, film is "cool" again and process supplies such as film, chemistry, etc. are now easier to find than they used to be.

I've been trying to refresh my knowledge since until last night, I hadn't developed film in at least 10 years. In that pursuit, I've been reading accounts about Rodinal that make zero sense to me such as claims of sudden death (short shelf life), that it's a solvent developer, etc. Greg Mironchuck says it's "highly unstable" over on his website. I've watch YT videos where "influencers" complain their "Rodinal" suddenly went bad.

All of this makes zero sense to me. The Rodinal I've known was lauded for its nearly legendary shelf life and non-solvent, high acutance properties, which is why you get grain the size of boulders with fast, smaller format (135) film.

One thing I've noticed is that almost all of the modern complaints come from people using Rodinal clones such as "Blazinal" or R09. Am I on the right track in suspecting those clones are from a much older published formula that is not the same as "legit" Agfa Rodinal?

I just developed Tri-X (120, 6x9) with Agfa branded Rodinal from a bottle that was opened at least 10 years ago last night. Aside from looking like cherry cough syrup in the bottle, it passed the clip test with flying colors and did a fine job @ 1:50, 71F, 12m, agitation every 60 sec (I'm still dialing everything in).

Given the above, would it be fair, if not safe to say that Adox Rodinal is the only formulation that can be trusted to reproduce Agfa's final formulation before their demise? I'm going to eventually run this old bottle out and want to replace it with whatever is as close to the real thing as possible.

Also, before someone types the inevitable "Why don't you use X developer instead?" post, I'll respectfully add that Rodinal and HC-110 are my favorite developers for a myriad of reasons and intend to stick with them until they're no longer available or I'm dead.

Thanks

Krzysztof Gajdemski

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Mar 2, 2020, 2:14:38 PM3/2/20
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Jest Mon, 2 Mar 2020 09:54:45 -0800 (PST), dougla...@gmail.com pisze:

> I've been trying to refresh my knowledge since until last night,
> I hadn't developed film in at least 10 years. In that pursuit, I've
> been reading accounts about Rodinal that make zero sense to me such as
> claims of sudden death (short shelf life), that it's a solvent
> developer, etc. Greg Mironchuck says it's "highly unstable" over on
> his website. I've watch YT videos where "influencers" complain their
> "Rodinal" suddenly went bad. All of this makes zero sense to me. The
> Rodinal I've known was lauded for its nearly legendary shelf life and
> non-solvent, high acutance properties, which is why you get grain the
> size of boulders with fast, smaller format (135) film.
>

Of course you are right. Rodinal is old and well known developer
suitable for low speed films (it's grainy but sharp, has nice tonality
and of course lasts forever). To be honest, I've always used original
Agfa product and switched to another (fine grain) developer when
Agfaphoto ceased production.

> One thing I've noticed is that almost all of the modern complaints
> come from people using Rodinal clones such as "Blazinal" or R09. Am
> I on the right track in suspecting those clones are from a much older
> published formula that is not the same as "legit" Agfa Rodinal?

[ … ]

> Given the above, would it be fair, if not safe to say that Adox
> Rodinal is the only formulation that can be trusted to reproduce
> Agfa's final formulation before their demise? I'm going to eventually
> run this old bottle out and want to replace it with whatever is as
> close to the real thing as possible.

Never used myself but I've heard people achieving excellent results
using Adox Rodinal/Adonal ("Blazinal" is the same Adox product BTW,
distributed in Canada under another name due to legal issues) or Foma
Fomadon R09 replacements. I don't believe these are prone to "sudden
death syndrome". People are claiming such things about near every
developer but usually fail to prove these claims in controlled
environment (lets forget about the infamous Xtol problems…). Go for
Adox IMHO.

k.
--
Krzysztof Gajdemski | songo (at) debian.org.pl | KG4751-RIPE
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Szanuję was wszystkich, którzy pozostajecie w cieniu - Snerg

dougla...@gmail.com

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Mar 4, 2020, 8:41:40 AM3/4/20
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Thanks for reinforcing that my somewhat ancient understanding of Rodinal and its behavior is correct. I'm beginning to suspect that claims of "sudden death" are from people observing the inevitable color change it undergoes without understanding it's almost completely irrelevant.

Dimitris Tzortzakakis

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Mar 5, 2020, 10:00:59 AM3/5/20
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Well, I don't know about Rodinal, but I used to like Rodinal *special*
an excellent fine grain developer!Now I use mostly ID 11 or D
76.Developing a dozen of films each year. For stop bath I use chemist's
acetic acid.

Graeme

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Oct 26, 2021, 5:17:25 PM10/26/21
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I have used Rodinal which was probably 30 years old, no problems.

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