In my black and white film development journey I’ve tried many aspects of the art.

Starting out with D-76 and Kodak Tri-X 400, I found that I really didn’t like mixing the powdered developer and fixer. It was time consuming, the finer dust would escape from the beaker and sometimes the chemicals wouldn’t mix very well. I also found the rather short development times to be less forgiving of timing mistakes.

Leica M6 TTL, Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm lens, Kodak Tri-X 400 film @ ISO 400, D-76 developed

Leica M6 TTL, Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm lens, Kodak Tri-X 400 film @ ISO 400, D-76 developed

Leica M6 TTL, Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ISO 400, D-76 developed

Leica M6 TTL, Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ISO 400, D-76 developed

Eventually, I ended up at the opposite end of the spectrum: stand development using Rodinal.

I was intrigued by stand development because it seemed to fit my loose development practices. All I had to do was agitate for a bit then let it be for an hour. Easy!

Leica M6 TTL, MS Optical Sonnetar 50mm lens, Ilford Delta 100 @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal stand developed

Leica M6 TTL, MS Optical Sonnetar 50mm lens, Ilford Delta 100 @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal stand developed

All was well except I was noticing that my results were all over the place. Some rolls had uneven development around the sprocket holes, the film tended to fog up very badly and highlights seemed to blow out very easily.

Leica M6 TTL, Leica Summicron-C 40mm lens, Ilford Delta 100 @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal stand developed

Leica M6 TTL, Leica Summicron-C 40mm lens, Ilford Delta 100 @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal stand developed

After much experimentation I ended up settling on a method somewhere in the middle, gaining the looser tolerances of stand development, but the consistency of normal development.

Fuji GX680IIIS, Fujinon GXD 180mm f/3.2 lens, Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal developed

Fuji GX680IIIS, Fujinon GXD 180mm f/3.2 lens, Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal developed

I still use Rodinal as the developer mainly because I like the sharpness it brings to the photos and the long shelf life since I don’t regularly shoot with black and white film. The difference is that I am dramatically shortening the stand development (more appropriately semi-stand development) time into the normal development range of about 18 minutes at 20°C. The initial agitations are similar to a normal development process, but taper off to a semi-stand-like development process to let the shadow details come out.

Fuji GX680IIIS, Fujinon GXD 180mm f/3.2 lens, Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal developed

Fuji GX680IIIS, Fujinon GXD 180mm f/3.2 lens, Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal developed

Fuji GX680IIIS, Fujinon GXD 180mm f/3.2 lens, Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal developed

Fuji GX680IIIS, Fujinon GXD 180mm f/3.2 lens, Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal developed

 The combination of the 1+100 Rodinal Development with Neopan 100 Acros film is a good match for my style. I love the rich blacks and the even tempered highlights. There is also a lot of detail in the mid tones without looking like a grey mush.

The only complaint that I have is that I’m finding ISO 100 film to be too limiting for medium format. So I’ll continue the search for a pleasing medium speed combo, but in the meantime I’ll definitely keep working with this beautiful combination!

Fuji GX680IIIS, Fujinon GXD 180mm f/3.2 lens, Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal developed

Fuji GX680IIIS, Fujinon GXD 180mm f/3.2 lens, Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film @ ISO 100, 1+100 Rodinal developed

1+100 Rodinal Development

Instructions are for 2 rolls of film.

Preparation

  1. Mix 10mL of Rodinal with 1L of room temperature water
  2. Mix 16mL of Kodak stop bath solution with 1L of room temperature water
  3. Mix 1L of 1+4 Ilford Rapid Fixer. This can be reused multiple times!

Development

17 minute 30 second duration measured from first contact of Developer to film at 23°C

  1. Pour in developer
  2. 15 seconds of gentle agitations per minute for 3 minutes (last agitation should be around 3:30 mark)
  3. 1 inversion with strong tap on counter every 3 minutes
  4. Dump developer at the 17:30 mark

Rinse

2 minute duration

  1. Pour in the stop bath
  2. 30 seconds of agitation
  3. Dump stop bath
  4. Fill tank with room temperature water
  5. 10 seconds of agitation
  6. Dump water
  7. Fill tank with room temperature water
  8. Dump water

Blix

5 minute duration measured from first contact of Fixer to film (may be longer if using stale fixer)

  1. Pour in the Fixer
  2. 4 agitations per minute
  3. Pour Fixer back into the container at the 5:00 mark

Rinse

4-6 minute duration

  1. Fill the tank with room temperature water
  2. 5 agitations
  3. Dump water and refill tank with room temperature water
  4. 10 agitations
  5. Dump water and refill tank with room temperature water
  6. 20 agitations
  7. Dump water and refill tank with room temperature water
  8. 40 agitations
  9. Dump water and refill tank with room temperature water
  10. Take off tank lid and dump water

Wetting

1 minute duration

  1. Pour a little bit of Kodak Photo-Flo into the tank and fill with room temperature water
  2. 10 seconds of initial agitation
  3. Tap the tank on the counter 5 times to dislodge any air bubbles
  4. Dump water

Now the film is ready to be hung to dry!