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12-31-2017, 09:13 AM   #1
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Rodinal gone bad

I was developing a test strip of film last week, not a full roll... just 6 frames. 3 frames were shot on one camera and 3 frames on another for comparison. When I pulled the film out after the rinse, I was surprised to see the the film was completely clear. No edge markings.... zilch!

It was as if the film had gone straight into the fixer but I've got measures in place to minimise this happening. The containers used for the the mixed chemicals are clearly marked and whereas the dev and stop bath are mixed in graduated cylinders, the fixer goes into a graduated kitchen jug that has a handle. It's quite distinctive.

The only thing I could think was that the developer was spent. I repeated the test today with another short strip of film and got the same result. My rodinal, or to be more precise, R09, had gone off.

My previous bottle of R09 was in use for a good four years before I thought it best to replace it with the current bottle (I've actually still got the original bottle so I might have to give that a try). The current bottle was purchased in August 2016 so its less that 18 months old. Rodinal is renown for its longevity so I'm really puzzled why this bottle has gone off so quickly.

12-31-2017, 12:08 PM   #2
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I am not confident that any of the many claimed Rodinal clones
have anywhere near the shelf-life of the original AGFA product.

Chris
12-31-2017, 02:29 PM   #3
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What Chris said. My original bottle of Rodinal lasted a lot longer than it ever should have (I’m a bit embarrassed to say how old it was and still being used). Some of the knock-offs I’ve used had diminished results after a year. Enough that I wouldn’t have used them after two.
12-31-2017, 06:15 PM   #4
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I make my own Rodinal. In my early days of post-grad chem glory, I worked as a chemist and I know of reliable chemical supply companies that I can order what I need to make it.

01-17-2018, 11:56 AM   #5
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I have a bit of an interesting followup to my original post.

I disposed of my "less than 18 month old" bottle of R09 as it had obviously gone off. Today I noticed my original bottle of R09 on the back of a shelf in my darkroom. It was a 500ml bottle and was just over half full. I purchased and opened it in 2010 so it is almost eight years old. Just out of interest, I did a clip test using the leader of a film I'm about to develop.

To my surprise the leader came out black. The eight year old developer is still working. Its the same product from the same manufacturer (Compard) as the newer bottle which failed. Either Compard have altered the formulation since I bought the original bottle or.... the bottle material has something to do with it. I've heard that some plastic bottles can be porous over time. The older bottle is clear plastic but quite thick. The newer bottle is white and somewhat thinner. Just a theory I'll be keeping the old bottle of R09 but will remember to do a clip test before using it on anything important.
01-18-2018, 04:39 PM   #6
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In a recent thread in Rangefinder Forum, another photo forum I frequent, similar problems were reported by several R09 users.

Some replies suggest failure was due to user error; I consider this unlikely as like you these were experienced users.
Another possibility was environmental storage conditions. One user who experienced failure lives in a very warm climate.

A single respondent who seemed familiar with the chemistry mentioned the factor of container material.
Perhaps you are on to something. Suggest you report the specifics of your failure to the manufacturer.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 01-18-2018 at 05:08 PM.
01-19-2018, 02:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
In a recent thread in Rangefinder Forum, another photo forum I frequent, similar problems were reported by several R09 users.

Some replies suggest failure was due to user error; I consider this unlikely as like you these were experienced users.
Another possibility was environmental storage conditions. One user who experienced failure lives in a very warm climate.

A single respondent who seemed familiar with the chemistry mentioned the factor of container material.
Perhaps you are on to something. Suggest you report the specifics of your failure to the manufacturer.

Chris
I'm sure I also read the porous bottle theory on the Rangefinder Forum. Its certainly a possibility but my gut feeling is that they must have changed the formulation in some way, either for cost reasons, availability of chemicals or ease of production. One other possible reason is that its not in the manufacturers interest for people like me to buy 500ml of rodinal and make it last for 10 years. I do like a good conspiracy theory

I did do a quick search to see if I could find Compard's website but I couldn't.
01-19-2018, 03:18 AM   #8
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My "ORWO Rezepte" book from 1977 indicates that R09 stock solution stays good "for several months" in an opened, air-tight bottle. It further states that a small amount of white salt forming and an increasingly dark solution would not impacting the development capability.

From experience, storage for even more than a decade, significant amounts of the white salt and a pitch-black solution don't deteriorate it so much that actual R09 wouldn't develop film at all anymore. It either wasn't actual R09 or there was indeed some user error involved.

01-19-2018, 06:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
My "ORWO Rezepte" book from 1977 indicates that R09 stock solution stays good "for several months" in an opened, air-tight bottle. It further states that a small amount of white salt forming and an increasingly dark solution would not impacting the development capability.

From experience, storage for even more than a decade, significant amounts of the white salt and a pitch-black solution don't deteriorate it so much that actual R09 wouldn't develop film at all anymore. It either wasn't actual R09 or there was indeed some user error involved.
I've got 10 years darkroom experience and I tested the defective R09 twice before deciding it had failed so there is certainly no user error. It's Ok for you to quote from your ORWO book but R09 is being produced by several different manufacturers with them all claiming its made just like Rodinal was. Its a bit of a minefield to be honest. If you look at Freestyle's website, they are selling:-

Adox Rodinal where they claim, "It does not get more Rodinal than this.
ADOX works together with former Agfa scientists on all Agfa-replacement products.
If you have used Agfa Rodinal* before you can achieve identical results with ADOX RODINAL. Compared to R09/APH09 Rodinal works more fine grained while still enhancing sharpness and acutance."

and

Compard R09 where they claim, "Compard R09 One Shot Film Developer is the exact same formulation as Agfa Rodinal"

So you have the R09 product claiming its exactly the same as Rodinal and the Adox Rodinal claiming its finer grained than R09.
01-19-2018, 08:42 AM   #10
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I too have also been confused by the multiple clones on the Freestyle website.
All seem to be described as the original Agfa-Gevaert Rodinal formula we loved.

Until someone does some thorough testing of all the competitors I'll withhold purchase.

Chris
01-19-2018, 11:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
It's Ok for you to quote from your ORWO book but R09 is being produced by several different manufacturers with them all claiming its made just like Rodinal was.
What I meant with "R09" is the actual recipe - which this number originally referred to. In your case, that means the product did very likely not follow R09.
01-20-2018, 06:22 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
What I meant with "R09" is the actual recipe - which this number originally referred to. In your case, that means the product did very likely not follow R09.
I appreciate that R09 was the technical name for the original Rodinal, as in Recipe No. 9, but it seems to have become a generic term for developer which is broadly similar to Rodinal but can't actually be called Rodinal for legal/copyright reasons.

Whatever the reasons, there does seem to be a lot people reporting that R09 bought in the past 5-10 years is not keeping as long as it used to.
01-21-2018, 11:34 AM   #13
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I changed my mind and decided to try a bottle of Adolux APH09 from Freestyle.
According to the ADOX website it is now discontinued.

Chris
01-21-2018, 03:33 PM   #14
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I’ve taken the route of Digitalis and will be making my own this week.
01-22-2018, 03:39 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Another possibility was environmental storage conditions. One user who experienced failure lives in a very warm climate.
QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
A single respondent who seemed familiar with the chemistry mentioned the factor of container material.
These are two very important points when storing any chemical - I use opaque glass containers for storage of my film developers. With aggressive developers I drop in some dry ice in the container before I close it for extended storage as the blanket of inert Co2 prevents reactive oxygen from fouling it up. I also store the containers in metal cabinets close to the ground - near the ceiling things tend to cook (or boil) in the summer heat here in Australia.
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