Sunday, 4 December 2011

Have Rodinal, Will Travel

Rodinal Stash

Boxer, 6x7, Kodak TMY2 developed in Rodinal

Brandwag, 6x7, Kodak TMY2 developed in Rodinal
With the demise of Agfa our local photographic dealer who was a loyal Agfa supporter, ended up with a large order of Rodinal. The dealer kindly passed it on to me as I was probably the only person still developing B&W film in the area. Rodinal was the first developer I used and has always been a reliable choice with very few surprises. It's 120 year old formulation has quite literally stood the test of time. As it happens in the darkroom it's almost mandatory to experiment and find one's own special film/developer combination. These recipes had to be tweaked for scanning as dense, overdeveloped negs don't scan well.  Pyro PMK seemed to fit the bill and is currently my favourite developer.

 Having not developed any film for two months (my enthusiasm was curbed by my scanner being hospitalised and thankfully subsequently repaired), I had two rolls of Kodak TMY2 waiting. Only had an hour and after fumbling in the dark, dropping one roll (haven't done that in ages), I decided to go the quicker Rodinal route. TMY2 and Rodinal isn't known as a good combination however the subsequent scan of the boxer yielded a more than acceptable image without blown highlights and suprisingly pleasing grain. Another image from a TMY2 film developed in Rodinal of a local landscape landmark Brandwag (had TMY2 loaded in Mamiya 7 and unfortunately not a slower film) also provided for an excellent quality neg with very little of the notorious golf ball grain. I have tried Rodinal stand development however am not very scientific in making comparisons but not too much to fault with standard rotary development which takes less than fifteen minutes. Pyro PMK still remains my favourite however I think Rodinal deserves a second look.

I haven't done the maths but looking at the roughly 14 litres of Rodinal available it would take a considerable number of years of shooting film to deplete. Time to stock up on film and if only I had the good fortune of having had so many bricks of Agfa APX25 or even APX100! If there's any die hard film developers out there seeking a bottle of the good stuff, don't hesitate asking.

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