How cheaply can you develop a film? Ten cents a roll? One cent???
I usually develop film in Adox Rodinal (now five years old) diluted 100:1 in water at 15-24 degrees and stand developed for one hour – twenty inversions of the tank at the start and go away for an hour. Stop-wash in plain water, fix, wash as usual. I had read that it could be used at 200:1, even 300:1, and the same batch of developer could be re-used on the same day. I was interested in trying this out, and seeing how far it could be taken.
I had a roll of FOMAPAN 100 Classic which had been rewound into the canister before exposure (user error). After getting serious with the canister I managed to retrieve the leader at a cost of some light leaks. I loaded the film into my Leica MP and shot local images with my 50mm Zeiss Planar and 15mm Voigtlander lenses. The first half was shot in good weather while the second half were shot on a dull and wet day.
After exposure I counted twenty five turns of the Paterson reel and cut the film, setting the remainder aside in a dark place until the first half was developed. Incidentally if your plastic reels stick on loading film it’s probably due to a build-up of wash aid – wash the reels in hot water and they will work like new again.
I mixed 3ml Rodinal in 600ml of water at 16-17 degrees and stand developed the film for two hours with a single inversion after one hour. For certain developers it’s necessary to break the micro-layer on the surface of the film with an aggressive movement of the liquid in order to bring fresh developer in contact with the film – hence the inversion rather than a gentle swirl.
After completing fixing and washing the first half I loaded the second half of the film onto a fresh reel. I had saved the developer I had used on the first half, poured 300ml away and added 300ml water. The developer was now 1.5ml once used Rodinal in 600ml of water – 400:1 dilution. I then developed the second reel for four hours with a single inversion after two hours.
Of course I could expect reasonable images from the fresh 200:1 dilution the real question was ‘how good or bad would the second batch be?’.
The featured image (of the viewpoint) was developed with fresh Rodinal at 200:1. Grain, what grain? I was surprised at how little the grain is visible – possibly down to cooler water than I had used recently, possibly the dilution. The Japanese Elm is also from the first half.
The following images are all with the ‘second-hand’ Rodinal at 400:1.
It is hard to compare the results from the two dilutions directly because of the very different lighting. I can say I am very pleased with the 200 dilution, and the “Space” image is also better than one taken in virtually identical light a few days ago on delta 100 developed in Rodinal at 100:1, so that gives me confidence in the 400 dilution.. Anyway I shall retake some of these images in a contrasty light.
Stand development in Rodinal 100:1 costs a little over ten cents per roll, at 400:1 dilution used to develop four rolls the cost drops to a little over one cent per roll. But this test has raised another question – if the grain is less apparent at low dilution or low temperature does this mean the developer is showing less acutance? Oh dear, more testing! This is going to work out expensive after all…
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