Blank neg -- Rodinal failure?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cinefane, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. cinefane

    cinefane Member

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    I've been using Rodinal for about a fortnight. Today, I decided to give Neopan 1600 a go in it.

    Rating the film at 800, I shot half a roll of grey card and finished it off with a few snaps around the house. As a start, I mixed the Rodinal 1:50 and gave the film 8 minutes @ 20C with two inversions every half a minute. I stopped, fixed, and washed as usual.

    The result was completely against my expectations. The roll came out entirely blank. There is a whisper of density on the piece of film that sticks out of the cartridge but otherwise there is nothing; not even a trace of edge numbering.

    I'm 100% positive that I didn't confuse the developer with the fix. The Rodinal is only a couple of weeks old. (It has become dark brown. Is that usual?) I've developed over half a dozen films using the exact same bottle without a problem. (Yes, I use it as a one-shot.) What the hell happened? I didn't think Rodinal was prone to failure. I was under the impression that it lasted forever.

    The only cause I can think of might be that the cylinder I mixed it in might have been contaminated with fixer. It was last used the other day to mix a fresh batch of Ilford Rapid Fix. I can't remember rinsing the cylinder before mixing the Rodinal but it's a procedure I usually carry out so I'd be surprised if I didn't. Besides, the cylinder would have been completely dry and I'm sure that any trace of fix would have been insignificant. Perhaps I'm wrong.

    So, any ideas? Has the Rodinal given up? Could the faintest trace of fix spoilt the developer? Might the problem have been with the film?
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    The absence of edge numbering and film type info indicates a complete absence of development. The darkening of the film leader can just be a slight physical development from having been exposed to light; or perhaps some effect of the anti-halation backing. The experts would have to comment upon that.
    The dark color of the stock solution should not be construed as any problem.
    I suspect the fix went in first. Contamination? Perhaps.
     
  3. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Happened to me once with Rodinal, unfortunately with client film. Mine was dark dark brown and opened up 6 months prior. However that was an older version of Rodinal and apparently the stuff you get now is more long lived.
     
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    cinefane

    cinefane Member

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    I'm sure the fix did not go in first. When I mix the developer, I pour it into a bottle which I leave until its temperature settles. I always use the same bottle. It is distinct from the fix bottle. I would have noticed immediately if I had confused the two.
     
  5. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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  6. OP
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    cinefane

    cinefane Member

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    I probably left it an hour or so. I always follow the same routine.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2009
  7. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Timing won't matter. Rodinal is not prone to this kind of failure. I agree with Anscojohn on being fixed first somehow. Consider that film will fix much faster than it will develop, so if you had some accidental mixing of fixer and developer, the fixer will win. Label bottles & shrug it off.
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Snip test some of the Rodinal. Mix a tiny bit up, put a clip of film in it in a lit room, agitate intermittently, and see if it turns black. If nothing happens after several minutes you know it's bad. If it turns black, your problem lies elsewhere.
     
  9. OP
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    cinefane

    cinefane Member

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    I've just done a clip test and it seems that the developer's working properly. I believe that the solution must have been contaminated in the measuring cylinder.
     
  10. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Hi Dennis, it doesn't matter whether Rodinal was made in 1492 or 1992, it always works. I recently finished a bottle from 1968. It was blacker than Texas Tea and had all kinds of gunk in the bottle of the bottle. Worked just fine, tho'.
     
  11. OP
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    cinefane

    cinefane Member

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    ...I've just checked the dry negative on a light box. There's the faintest of density on some of the frames -- much lighter than what I'd expect zone I to be. With this in mind, is fix contamination still a valid suspect?
     
  12. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Fix contamination is a suspect.

    Leaving the working solution for an hour will certainly cause some oxidation, which may have contributed.

    I agree that Rodinal stock solution is nearly immortal, as long as it doesn't get contaminated. My stock solution must be at least five years old, and it works just fine.
     
  13. neelin

    neelin Member

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    There are monobath developers that combine developer & fixer together, so they work against each other to completion. So I would think if it is fixer contamination it is IN A BIG WAY, not just a bit of residual in the graduate. The exposed leader portion of your negative would probably run way ahead of any fixer contamination, and build a significant density.

    How do you feel? Did the Coca-cola you had in the darkroom taste funny? :wink:

    To other's: Wouldn't an acid (i.e. Coca-cola :wink:, stop bath) kill developer WAY faster than a dose of fixer?

    Robert
     
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  15. dpodeath

    dpodeath Member

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    I have to disagree. I blame the film. I shot a roll of Neopan 1600 rated at 400 and decided to develop it with HC-110 at 1:99 from the syrup for about 30mins stand development at 78 degrees(5mls to 495mls). it seems nothing got developed passing zone 8. and negatives were really thin. I came to the conclusion that you shouldnt use this type of film with diluted developers. I developed other films (tri-x) with the same combo and they all came out fine.

    If im wrong i would like to know the mistake i made.

    -charlie
     
  16. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    This may be. But you must be fully aware that Rodinal begins to oxidize immediately upon dilution to a working soup and should be used immediately after mixing. This is according to Agfa's instructions.
    Leaving mixed working solution sit around for one hour is just not, repeat, not the way to use Rodinal.
    You probably had a double whammy; contaminated in the measuring cylinder, completely oxidized working solution.
     
  17. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    A few, I reckon. First, 1:99 is too dilute for HC-110 and Neopan 1600. Try something more conventional like 1+31. That works pretty well. Stand development? Great way to get what's called "bromide drag," essentially uneven development. And for this you somehow blame the film?

    Hey, I screw up too. We all do. I just finished up a roll of 120 in a plastic tank. I didn't measure out enough solution. Half the roll got developed. Oh well... Stuff happens.

    To the OP, AnscoJohn has probably hit the nail right on the head. Rodinal does not last long at all at working strength. I've done stand development with Rodinal with times of 1 hour and 2 hours. Guess what? The film developed for 2 hours looked the same as the film developed for 1 hour. That tells me without a doubt that after 1 hour the Rodinal is completely pooped out. Maybe it happens sooner than that.
     
  18. dpodeath

    dpodeath Member

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    so what your saying is... IM RIGHT? dont use diluted developers with this film? and as for the 2 hour thing.... lets say you use 500mls of rodinal at 1:100 for stand development is that the same as using 1000mls at 1:100 for MORE than one hour? i would think the extra developer makes a difference and the film would continue developing for more than an hour. So then your combo wouldnt be the same for someone else.

    im just trying to suggest answers im still learning on this whole stand development thing. i understand the bromide thing, thats how D23 works as a two chemical developer.. it uses the bromide from the film..

    -charlie
     
  19. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    A small amount of fixer added to developer, such as you might get from incomplete washing of fixer from the tank, may in fact accelerate development. You could try a snip test using that bottle of Rodinal under the same conditions you think occurred. Test it with and without a bit of fixer added to the working solution.
     
  20. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Are you sure the film went through the camera? Sounds like a no-go roll to me. May have slipped off the takeup spool or maybe torn a sprocket hole.

    Peter Gomena
     
  21. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    im just trying to suggest answers im still learning on this whole stand development thing. i understand the bromide thing, thats how D23 works as a two chemical developer.. it uses the bromide from the film..

    -charlie[/QUOTE]

    First of all, as a learner, KISS. All this bull winkle about "stand" development; ultra dilutions, etc. should be left for people who know what they are doing--and probably not for them, as well. I know I got some hoots when I said that in more than fifty years of working in the darkroom, I have never met a working photographer who used "stand" development. But, oh, now, does it not have a cachet.:rolleyes:

    Nothing beats using standard films and standard techniques for 99 and 44 one hundredths percent of what we do. Just look at some of the high quality images in the gallery done with---errr, D76 and TRI-X!. And look at some of the bilge posted that has been done with Esoteric Superpan and highly dilute orange juice:tongue:

    Here we have an OP who simply did not read the instructions AGFA puts on the bottle. Or at least Agfa used to. Nothing esoteric about Rodinal; the directions; or the error. And we all make mistakes--did I tell you about the time I poured fixer into a partially filled bottle of clorine bleach? Then decided to check on what I had done by sniffing the bottle!!!!

    The olde lab rats who were my mentors would doubtless be rolling over in their graves reading some of the Dreck posted on the various websites. I know they gave me a hard-enough time when I was the college kid photographer trying to tell them how much I (thought) I knew. They may not have been compassionate and may have been quite willing to hurt my self-esteem, but they were down-and-dirty working pros who were making a living when "76" (as they called it) was still a young super soup. They kept it simple--their incomes depended upon success. Or, as one cigar-smoking philospher under the safelights said to me, "You think you're bein' creative when all you're doin' is makin' a mess."
     
  22. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    I have had blank film experiences with Rodinal. It turned out to be something in Cleveland city water. If used with distilled water it proved to be reliable and worked as well as it works, which IMO isn't very well. It does seem subject to going inactive in the presence of small quantities of contaminants.
     
  23. OP
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    cinefane

    cinefane Member

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    That's the best thing I've read all week. I'm stealing that for my signature.
     
  24. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Take it from me, it is most effective when muttered by an old lab rat with a cigar butt clenched in his teeth to a know-it-all college kid on the receiving end of the advice.
     
  25. OP
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    cinefane

    cinefane Member

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    Point taken.
     
  26. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Unfortunately I know otherwise. It was in the 1990s and I trusted a very dark Rodinal out of the bottle on some Pan X and got completely clear film. I tested it and it was dead. Recently (maybe 2 years ago) I got a bottle of R09 to test and at the end of the bottle it was losing activity too. The Rodinal I am using now hasn't died but it hasn't turned as dark as in the old days either. I have had my current bottle open for about a year and it is the color of black tea. As opposed to coca cola.