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Thread: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

  1. #1
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    Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    I'm finally taking the plunge again and am getting ready to develop my own film in my wee, but light-tight bathroom. I've got some Rodinal, some Kodak stop-bath, some Illford Rapid Fixer and some Photo-Flo. I've got a stainless developing tank and two reels. What I don't have is, well, anything else.

    I used to have a dedicated darkroom or used the one at art school, so I haven't managed the materials I'll need for film processing in over twenty years and I'm at a loss at what I really need and what is just excess.

    So, expecting to develop film in Rodinal, at normal and stand development dilutions, what sort of equipment do I need? Graduated cylinders- which ones? How big? Working solution tanks- again, how many, how big? Film hanging clips, thermometer and what else?

    Help! My brain is addled and my shopping cart at Freestyle alternates between overflowing and empty!

  2. #2
    tokengirl
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post
    Help! My brain is addled and my shopping cart at Freestyle alternates between overflowing and empty!
    I feel your pain, as I am going through this exercise now. Except that both of our bathrooms have windows, so on top of everything else I forgot I needed, I also need one of those film changing bag thingys.

    It would be a lot easier if I could just GO TO A STORE and see it all in front of me and buy what I need. Alas, no such thing seems to exist around these parts anymore.

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    We've got a camera store here, but it's wildly expensive. Even if I can get them to give me a student discount, it's still close to double Freestyle's prices.

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    I would add:

    +changing bag
    +accurate alcohol thermometer - very important to get the developer temp. right
    +timer with large buttons
    +measuring flasks (one accurate to +- 5 mils, for the 100-500 mil range, one accurate to +- 1mil for sub 100 mil range)

    And light-proof bottles of course, at least one for each chemical. I don't think you need to use different measuring flasks for the different chemicals as they're easy enough to wash thoroughly.

    I would definitely NOT use anything to wipe the water of the film, like e.g. a squeegee. Perfect recipe to scratch the film, and other than shortening the drying time a bit I can't see the purpose.

    One thing I still haven't figured out is how to properly dry medium format film. I weigh it down with a clip, but as it dries it starts to curl quite significantly (especially tri-x). This makes me panic, so I play with it until it straightens back into shape. Not sure if I doing something wrong here? Would it straighten of its own accord if I just left it?

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    If allow the film to dry completely it will return to a flat state (maybe just a slight crown in the middle). By all means buy some inexpensive weighted film clips.

    I second the need for an accurate thermometer. They still sell the Westons at various places online. They have a handy clip on the side and a clearly marked 68 degrees.

    The hardest part for me when developing at home is keeping the water temperature constant throughout the mixing and ultimately the wash processes. My water comes from a well and it seems to get colder the longer you run it. (I really miss the pro darkrooms with the dial-in temp setter.) Be patient and let the water from both taps reach their maximum hot/cold before you try to adjust to your desired temp.

    I use a changing bag too and while I was skeptical, it's proven to be pretty easy, even for 120 which I used to hate in the old days. I chose to buy graduated cylinders and plastic pitchers with spouts that could hold at least twice the volume of my two-reel 120 tank. Very handy if you plan on doing a two-part development and water bath treatment with your Rodinal.

    The first time I did it I was shocked at how easy it was if you plan ahead and lay everything out before hand.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    The hardest part for me when developing at home is keeping the water temperature constant throughout the mixing and ultimately the wash processes. My water comes from a well and it seems to get colder the longer you run it. (I really miss the pro darkrooms with the dial-in temp setter.) Be patient and let the water from both taps reach their maximum hot/cold before you try to adjust to your desired temp.
    Yes, I find this difficult too. What I've ended up doing is mixing the chemicals using cold tap water (around 14 here), and then placing the bottles all in a warm bath (warmer than 20, but not hot). Then I wait until the developer warms up to exactly 20, and start the procedure. The stopper and fixer may not be exactly at twenty, but they will be very close, and their temperature isn't so important anyway.

    For the washing it is not so hard to get the temperature out of the tap to be 20 +- 5 degrees, and being approximate at this stage doesn't seem to cause problems.

  7. #7
    tokengirl
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    If you have an iPhone, download the Massive Dev Chart app from the iTunes store. It has development times for every film/developer combo you can think of, and your iPhone will act as a timer for all processing steps and you won't need to buy a timer.

    See here for more information:
    http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?doc=mobile

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post
    If you have an iPhone, download the Massive Dev Chart app from the iTunes store. It has development times for every film/developer combo you can think of, and your iPhone will act as a timer for all processing steps and you won't need to buy a timer.

    See here for more information:
    http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?doc=mobile
    Already done! I use my iPhone as a light meter, too. And a 4-track recorder! It's great.

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Extra shoutout to the Massive Dev Chart App- by looking up the exact measures for the dilutions for my developing tank, it made it east to select which graduated cylinders I'd need!! w00t!

    Thanks tokengirl!

  10. #10
    tetsrfun
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Well I am close to taking the "small bathroom" developing plunge. For 120 B & W, suggestions for a developing tank. 1-2 reels, metal plastic tank/reels, etc. or just order a Patterson tank and not go into the "weeds". Also for Tri-X 400 good forgiving, beginners developer.

    Steve

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    tokengirl
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsrfun View Post
    Well I am close to taking the "small bathroom" developing plunge. For 120 B & W, suggestions for a developing tank. 1-2 reels, metal plastic tank/reels, etc. or just order a Patterson tank and not go into the "weeds". Also for Tri-X 400 good forgiving, beginners developer.

    Steve
    My $0.02, stainless tank and reels. Spend the extra money for the Hewes reels, they are excellent quality. For tri-x, you can't go wrong with D-76. It's just a great all-purpose middle of the road developer. Rodinal is also excellent, although will produce higher grain. The good thing about Rodinal is that you can develop pretty much any film with it at a 1:100 dilution by gently agitating it for one minute and letting is just sit for an hour. And Rodinal is really cheap and has a downright amazing shelf life.

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    get an overflow-from-the-bottom washing tank, sits under the faucet.

  13. #13
    tetsrfun
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post
    My $0.02, stainless tank and reels. Spend the extra money for the Hewes reels, they are excellent quality. For tri-x, you can't go wrong with D-76. It's just a great all-purpose middle of the road developer. Rodinal is also excellent, although will produce higher grain. The good thing about Rodinal is that you can develop pretty much any film with it at a 1:100 dilution by gently agitating it for one minute and letting is just sit for an hour. And Rodinal is really cheap and has a downright amazing shelf life.
    Any specific recommendations for SS tank? For the prices that are involved, cost isn't an issue.
    ********
    "get an overflow-from-the-bottom washing tank,"

    Specific product??

    Thanks for the help

    Steve

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    The beauty of Rodinal is that it is a linear developer, for films like Tri-X or HP-5 it will, if you exposed it right, give you literally a perfect negative. D-76, a good developer, is somewhat compensating and will shoulder the highlights. It is finer grain, because of a softening effect from the chemistry. Rodinal on the other hand will give you the highest accutance. I have found that on 120 film, Rodinal is absolutely my favorite developer. The tonal gradations of any linear developer are fantastic. Joe

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Aaahhh, Rodinal. I remember I kept it in the refrigerator and my mother thought it was soy sauce or Worchester sauce and splashed it on some dinner she was cooking one time! I loved Rodinal, just not on my chicken.

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    I bet the chicken had a gorgeous tonal range, though.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post
    I bet the chicken had a gorgeous tonal range, though.
    That's funny. lol.

  18. #18
    tetsrfun
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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    Well several rather large boxes arrived from Freestyle today. Setting up the mini DR in the 2nd and bathroom. Decided to place a removable shelf across the bathtub for the messy work area. Rodinal won't start shipping until next month so it's Tri-X and D-76 for the initial go.

    Any hints or suggestions are more than welcome.

    Steve

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    Re: Small Bathroom Rodinal Darkroom Checklist

    I'm currently using R09 which is the same formula as Rodinal.
    http://www.digitaltruth.com/store/ca...ml-p-1292.html
    Carl
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