My First Processing

by Todd on March 31, 2011

Developing film was completely a black box to me until very recently. I have to thank Dave at University Camera for encouraging me to jump in, and assuring me it wasn’t that hard. After some research, I settled on stand development in Rodinal as my first foray into film chemistry, and this post includes three frames from the resulting roll.

Why start with Rodinal, and with a fairly non-standard protocol? Several reasons. First, Rodinal apparently lasts forever, and I didn’t want to buy a jug of chemicals and only get to use 10% of it before it went bad. Second, it seemed to me like most 10-minute (or so) protocols had a high potential for variability based on how I did the agitation, as well as the potential for me to get distracted and miss an agitation step. I’m not so impatient that I have to have it done in 10 minutes. I’d much rather shake it up once and set a timer, get something done over the next hour, and then come back and finish. Also, Rodinal doesn’t seem to be that temperature sensitive, and you can get by with very small amounts of the developer using a stand protocol. And of course I like shadow detail;  I can always push the contrast a bit in scanning, or even Photoshop, if necessary. So it seemeed almost too good to be true that something this easy and inexpensive would work. I pretty much thought something would have to fail here. I was thoroughly chuffed, and a bit incredulous when I pulled the roll off the reel and saw actual negative images! Amazing! I have no doubt after this experience that I am incorrigibly addicted. Oh well. :) These were all shot with the Nikon F100 (an absolutely wonderful camera that one can pick up for about $100 on eBay) and the legendary Nikkor 105/2.5, mostly wide open. Film was LagacyPro 400 (Fuji Neopan).

The Protocol

Taking steps and advice from several places online, I did the following: rinsed the roll for about 2 or 3 minutes in tap water, then added ~500 mL of Rodinal at 1:100 dilution with distilled water. My agitation was 40 deliberate inversions, rotating the tank 20 degrees or so with each inversion. This took about a minute. Then I let the tank stand undisturbed for 25 minutes. 5 more such inversions, then stand for another 25 minutes. Rinsed twice with tap water. I then dumped the rinse and added 500 mL of fixer at a 1:5 dilution. Fixer was Clayton RF19. I left the roll in fix for 4 or 5 minutes, swirling every 30 seconds or so. Dumped off the fix (saved it actually, for future use). Rinsed 3 times with tap water, then once with distilled water + 2 drops of LFN wetting agent, leaving the film in the last rinse for about 3 minutes. Poured it off and hung the roll up to dry in my shower. Very pleased with these initial result, and looking forward to experimenting!

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