The Oldest Thing In The Newest Shop

The Oldest Thing In The Newest Shop

I was idly standing around in the Camera Electronic Murray Street Shop when my eye beheld a very old sight.

No, it was not Domenic. He is actually quite young, despite his appearance. Nor was it a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It was the oldest product in the place – Rodinal developer.

Oh, it isn’t called Rodinal any more – after Agfa went bust they sold off a lot of their patents and formulae and the Adox people got this prize – the right to make Rodinal. They have renamed it Adonal, but the colouration and shape of the container, plus the chemical information on the label assure us that it’s the good old stuff.

It was first made in 1891, and is a compound of 4-aminophenol.

It’s not a fine-grain developer – best used with Pan For FP4 on medium and large-format films. It makes for very sharp silver grains and a very high edge sharpness. See the neg that I’ve scanned from my Linhof days.

You dilute it dramatically  – 1+25, 1+50, or 1+1-00 are common dilutions and some have even used it thinner for stand development. No re-use – once it has done its job it is discarded – not a bad thing as there is no need to re-calculate developing times for subsequent use.

My own experience with it was excellent – I cannot remember a case of it not rendering a printable negative if I had gotten my exposure anywhere near the correct point.

One thing it does point out – Camera Electronic is not abandoning the history or culture of photography for the future – as long as the makers will give us the film and chemicals, you’ll be able to get them and do your photography your way.

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