Old Rodinal

January 16, 2014

Recently I was sorting through some old boxes and found a bottle of Agfa Rodinal that must date from the mid 1990s. It felt almost full and the cap had a good seal which made me wonder if it would still be effective, as it is known for good keeping properties. As I have some fresh Adonal which is exactly the same formula as Rodinal, I decided to make a simple test by exposing a sheet of 4×5 film, cutting it in half and processing the two pieces in the different developers. I looked for a scene that had a long contrast range from dark to light and that was also reasonably symmetrical so the two sides would be comparable.

Old Rodinal test vs Adonal bench Tmax 400 blog

The film was 4×5″ Kodak Tmax 400 that expired in 2007. Someone gave me this a couple of years ago and apart from some base fog it works fine. The photo was made around midday on a sunny summer day at f/64 at 1/8 of a second. This is quite a full exposure as I wanted to see some shadow detail. Both devs were used at 1+50 for 9.5 minutes at 20 degrees C. To my eye both negs look identical. They were scanned on an Epson V700 where the only adjustment I made was setting the black and white points, which were identical for both. Putting the positive images back together in Photoshop reveals that the twenty year old Rodinal is still fully active and as useable as the Adonal. Below is a crop detail showing the comparison across dark and light tones. Both images can be clicked to view full size.

Old Rodinal test vs Adonal bench Tmax 400 detail blog

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2 Responses to “Old Rodinal”

  1. jojonas~ Says:

    just thought I’d bring this to your attention http://www.ebay.com/itm/161224464867 as contact linked your Brought To Light collection.
    interesting blog by the way! I’ll stick around 🙂

    • whystoptime Says:

      Thanks for the link. It seems reasonably common for sellers to write “not sure if this will work, but might be worth a shot”. I need to update the Brought To Light section on my site as I have some more to add to it.


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