Homebrew Rodinal

Last week I started making homebrew Rodinal developer. For those who don’t know Rodinal was patented in 1891 by Dr. Momme Andresen, it is the longest contentiously produced photographic product. Originally produced by Agfa. In November 2005 the plant was sold to a&o Imaging Solutions GmbH in Koblenz, Germany, who continued the production of Rodinal. In 2008 it was sold again to Connect Chemicals (Ratingen, Germany.) Today Rodinal can be obtained from ADOX Fotowerke Bad Saarow, Germany. It is now called ADONAL.
Over the years a number of Rodinal recipes have been leaked (the most famous of which was liberated by the Allies during WWII). The original recipe is now public domain, there have been many tweaks to the original formula over the years.
Rodinal is a compensating developer, which enhances perceived sharpness. Compensation occurs when bromide is released in areas of heavy exposure, where development is rapid and continuous. Bromide slows the development of the high values (zone VII and above), preventing them from becoming too dense to print. High dilutions also enhance adjacency effects, which are produced when areas of high density adjoin areas of low density. Unused developer from low density areas diffuses over to the edge of high density areas and increases density even more, while bromide released by intense development in high density areas diffuses over and helps prevent development on the edge of low density areas.  Adjacency effects markedly enhance perceived sharpness.

The attached photos are developed in homebrew pa-Rodinal at 1:50 for 12Min, Kodak Tmax-400, Leica M6 w 50mm F2 Summitar.

 

Here are some of the variants of the Formulae, and the one I used at the bottom. Note the main difference between the original formula and the paRODINAL formula is the lack of hydrochloric acid.

With Rodinal becoming a bit harder to get (at least harder to ship) these days, making your own is rewarding and cost effective.

Original Laboratory Formula (1891)

Water (125F/52C)- 750ml
Sodium Sulfite (dessicated) – 50 grams
Sodium Hydroxide – 25 grams
p-Aminophenol Hydrochloride – 5 grams
Water 1000 ml

After making the formula, there is not enough p-Aminophenol to give good overall development and contrast. It is recommended that 7 grams of p-Aminophenol be used.

Rodinal Production Formula (1893-1896)

Solution A:
Water (125F/52C) – 250 ml
Potassium Metabisulfite (dessicated) – 50 grams
p-Aminophenol Hydrochloride – 5-7 grams
Potassium Carbonate – 25 grams
Sodium Hydroxide – 25 grams
Cold water to make 500 ml

Decant the Solution into a clear glass capped bottle, shake the bottle, then loosen and re-tighten the cap and allow the solution to settle. The complete solution should age for 72 hours in dim or dark place, yet after the first 12 hours of settling, filter it through a sheet of white linen, re-bottle and then allow it to settle for the remaining 60 hours before use.

Rodinal Production Formula (1897-1915)

Solution A:
Water (125F/52C) – 800 ml
Sodium Sulfite (dessicated) – 150 grams
p-Aminophenol Hydrochloride – 20 grams
Potassium Carbonate – 25 grams
Citric Acid – 10 grams
Lithium Hydroxide – 8-15 grams
Cold water to make 1000 ml

Decant the Solution into a clear glass capped bottle, shake the bottle, then loosen and re-tighten the cap and allow the solution to settle. The complete solution should age for 72 hours in dim or dark place, yet after the first 12 hours of settling, filter it through a sheet of white linen, re-bottle and then allow it to settle for the remaining 60 hours before use.

NOTE: Solution B is presented for historical purposes only. It is optional, but should only be included if you are using p-Aminophenol instead of p-Aminophenol Hydrochloride. Solution B has no active function and is used as a coloring agent only.

Solution B:
Water (125F/52C) – 20 ml
Eosine – 10 ml
Cold water to make – 50 ml

Mix Solution B on the second day of the aging process. Allow Solution B to settle for 20-30 minutes first, to become uniform in color, then slowly add to Solution A until you see a color change of your liking.., then stop. Re-cap bottle and let stand for the remainder of the 72 hours.

Rodinal Production Formula (1924-1940)

Solution A:
Water (125F/52C) – 250 ml
Sodium Sulfite (dessicated) – 50 grams
p-Aminophenol Hydrochloride – 5-7 grams
Potassium Carbonate – 25 grams
Cold water to make 450 ml

Solution B:
Water (ice cold) – 50ml
Lithium Hydroxide – 8-15 grams

Slowly mix in the caustic solution (Solution B) with Solution A until the precipitate appears and then dissolves. If you have reached the end of the solution B on hand before the precipitate dissolves, continue to add the caustic material until the precipitate in Solution A is dissolved.

Now decant the Solution into a clear glass capped bottle, shake the bottle, then loosen and re-tight the cap and allow the solution to settle. The complete solution should age for 72 hours in a dim or dark place, yet after the first 12 hours of settling, filter it through a sheet of white linen, re-bottle and then allow it to settle for the remaining 60 hour before use.

Rodinal Production Formula (1941)

Solution A
Water, 165F/75C 150 ml
p-Aminophenol Hydrochloride 20 g
Potassium Metabisulfite 60 g
 
Solution B
Cold Water 150 ml
Sodium Hydroxide 25 g
 
Final Mix
Cold water to make 1L

 

pa_Rodinal film developer

Water 250 ml
p-Aminophenol 30x 500mg tablets
Sodium Sulfite (anhydrous) 50 g
Sodium Hydroxide (anhydrous) 20 g

Mixing instructions: Add chemicals in specified sequence. LET STAND IN SEALED CONTAINER 72 HOURS BEFORE USING

Dilution: as Rodinal

Starting point development time: as Rodinal

Notes: Keep crystals from bottom of container with liquid when decanting, stir before drawing off concentrate for dilution. Use within 30 mins of dilution. p-Aminophenol is sold as Paracetamol or Tylenol and is available from any pharmacy. It is claimed the shelf life is 90 days, but many people have reported using this as old as 5 years.

Special thanks to KennyE at the filckr Rodinal group, he is the resident expert on all things Rodinal

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