Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chasing ghosts (and dreams)

So for the last couple of weeks I've been shooting film.

I am finishing my second roll of film in a few days now and I am starting to look into developers ant their characteristics.

Back at photo school it was simple. We used T-Max 400 asa film and T-Max developer. Easy combo as a student. But 12 years or so down the road, expectations have shifted quite a bit.

My goal is to achieve the most perfect negative as possible with the smallest amount of grain as possible.
When I talked to a friend here at work, she immediately said the magic word 'Rodinal'.
Now I know the whole history of Rodinal and why and how it became the preferred 'elixir' for a lot of photographers. It produces sharp negatives and leaves the grain structure of the film alone. Plus it has a tremendous long shelf life and you only have to use Rodinal in small amounts.

I started my search for Rodinal only to quickly discover that Agfa doesn't produce Rodinal anymore. Hell Agfa sold the whole Rodinal factory to first a&o Imaging Solutions GmbH who sold it to Connect Chemicals. Today though Rodinal is still available under the name Adonal. And for some WEIRD reason, Rodinal is available under the name Blazinal in Canada. It IS the same chemistry as the pre-1940 Rodinal developer. And just to make your head spin even more, there is also something called R09.

All of these developers are all Rodinal. The only problem is GETTING THEM! Maybe I just need to stop chasing ghosts and go with ILFORD's ILFOTEC DD-X instead. This is a fain grain developer and produces very good results too.

Maybe you could help me find a solution. Do you have any sample scans available online using Ilford films in either Rodinal (or it's equivalent) or DD-X. I would surely appreciate that A LOT!


  1. For what it's worth, I get excellent results with Ilford Delta 100 (120 format) using Perceptol 1:3 @ 68 degrees for around 19 minutes (w/10 second agitation once a minute). I've been able to make 18" square enlargements in the darkroom with no grain at all in my prints. Rodinal or equivalent might be *sharper* in appearance—and that might be what you're after as well—but I like the *smooth* look I get with Perceptol and Ilford films. 19 minutes is a long time to wait! but, for me, anyway, the results make it worth it. Rodinal is a (very) close second for me, by the way. FREESTYLE has a good number of choices:

  2. David. Thank you for your very valuable input on this.
    Thanks for the tip on Perceptol. Any shots in your portfolio I can take a look at?
    I was looking into stand development so 19min would have been short compared to that. Time is not really the issue.
    I'm just too much of a control freak to come up with results I'm not going to like.... If it takes 90 minutes, it takes 90 minutes you know. I don't care.
    Thank you again!

  3. Picking a film and developer is such a personal thing. 6 months into my return to film and I still don't have a combo I've decided to stick with. It's part of the fun, for me, to experiment with different film, dev, dilutions etc.

    You can see some of my film shots on Flickr and on my blog, with most of them I mention the dev/film combo either in the description or the tags:

  4. Oliver, Nearly all of the photographs in my North Carolina series were made with the combination I described, including the one on my home page. If anything is lacking in the reproductions, it's due to my being a relative novice on the computer (w/Photoshop); I've been working in the darkroom for decades. I'm glad you found the information helpful!

  5. I work for the Australian distributor for Adonal.

    R09 "One-shot" and Adonal are indeed the "same" as Rodinal was all those years ago.

    The only variant of these in production is Adonal. Adonal is the one to go for. Unfortunately we do not ship liquids overseas so I cannot help you directly.

    I would suggest contacting , that is the retailer/wholesaler of Adox worldwide.

    If you are really struggling I can put you in touch with someone there, e-mail me on logistics -at-


  6. Thank you Nas, David and Lachie for your comments.
    I'm starting another leg of my research now by visiting all of your links.

  7. HOLY CUSS WHAT A PROCESS-> No pun intended!!

  8. Adox Adonal Developer is stock at B&H N.Y.

  9. are you still looking for sample pictures?