Maybe I’m lazy, but standing around carefully timing out eight, twelve or whatever minutes makes me pretty antsy. If you feel the same way, this is for you – stand development is hassle free, just mix the chemicals, then go watch TV.
Stand development is a way to develop film using high dilutions of Rodinal, typically 1:100 for 1 hour or 1:200 for 2 hours. It’s a technique I’ve become very fond of using, so I thought I’d share it with you all.
There’s something attractive about a chemical that is as simple as Rodinal (you can actually make it yourself), yet so complex and refined in the way it works. It’s been around since 1891, which makes it the oldest commercial developer. It’s dirt cheap and it may be expired or oxidized to the point of being brown and still work just fine. Rodinal was in serious danger of extinction when Agfa gave up making film, but luckily production was taken up by Maco.
Darkroom practice is always a very personal thing, and there are many ways of doing this. Here’s what works for me (following the directions of Flickr’s Yolise):
I use a dilution of 1:100 at 20C.
- Pour in the chemicals
- Tap the tank against the table to dislodge air bubbles.
- For the first five minutes agitate 10s. per minute (comes out to about 2 slow inversions).
- Then leave the tank on the table top for about a half hour.
- Do two more slow inversions.
- Leave to stand another half hour.
- Pour out the chemicals, do a water stop bath (with dilutions this high, an acid really isn’t necessary).
- Fix and rinse as usual.
Some people call this semi-stand because of the agitation halfway.
When agitating, slow and steady is the game, don’t shake it around, otherwise you’ll end up with very “contrasty” negatives.
Don’t be concerned about overdeveloping your negatives. At high dilutions Rodinal works as a compensating developer, which means that as the chemicals get exhausted they stop working on the highlights but continue working on the mid tones, thus preventing blown highlights.
You’ll get the most consistent results with 120 film. You need at least 5ml of Rodinal to a film, so if you want to try it with 35mm film be sure to use at least 500ml of 1:100 solution. No more than one film per tank.
Try it, upload the results, and don’t forget to tag them “stand development”.