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Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 23 May 2017, 17:46
by andrewch59
Our trip to Canada is a mere 2 years away and so I am looking for alternatives to xray film, which I have used exclusively, for ease of packing and usage on the trip. I have had 120 rollfilm in my fridge for a few years now and decided to try out colour and black and white versions of both.
Never having use commercial film before it was quite an adventure, two rolls of colour are now on their way to Melbourne for developing, one Fuji Provia and one Kodak Ektar 100.
I purchased a Agfa Rondinax 60 tank with the trip in mind, and the numerous rolls of b&w film I will be returning with. I have been itching to try out this amazing little tank and so yesterday I exposed a roll of Ilford Delta 100 to develop in the tank.
Here is my first commercial film photo, it has not been cleaned or altered in any way (as you can see), the detail compared to xray film is quite surprising and I am well pleased with my little developing tank.
quartpot ck 120 rollfilm.jpg

Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 24 May 2017, 04:43
by Walter Glover
Great to see you preparing with plenty of time up your sleeve, Andrew,

I have always been aware of the Rodinax tanks but have never used one. But I just watched a neat and tidy demo on YouTube and it raises a few questions from me which might be worthy of consideration prior to your peregrinations.

    1. Does the chemical solution totally immerse the complete film or is there an air gap through which the film travels during rotation of the reel during processing?

    2. Must the film be agitated by the knob constantly throughout processing to enable intermittent agitation?

    3. Is it in any way possible to alter the direction of 'agitation' during processing?

    4. Are there internal light traps or other contact surfaces with the film during loading and unloading that could harbour dust particles during processing?

Much of my querying is prompted by my preference for intermittent agitation as a means of increasing acutance by the development of Mackie Lines during development. Over the years I have owned and used a number of Jobo constant agitation machines but I am now back to using inversion agitation tanks and reels and I'm loving my results.

Another concern that I detect is the likelihood of 'bromide drag' as the film appears to only be 'agitated' in one direction (possibly constantly).

I'd be concerned that if the film is out of the solution (in air) for part of the rotation there could be a propensity for bands of unevenness.

The appeal of a 'daylight loading' ability on the road is understandable but I wonder what the alternatives might be? I have always travelled with a changing bag due to the need to load and unload double darks for my 4x5. That includes commercial assignment travelling within Australia and over to Britain. I have a Sinar Black Box with is an attache case with a two-sleeve changing bag in it which means that in transit the case can hold the film holder and/or cartons of film. I also have Harrison light tents from a readily foldable number to the more intricate Jumbo which easily swallows up 8x10 holders.

Such elaborate and costly means might not appeal on your proposed Canadian exploits, but a simple changing bag packs flat in the space of just another shirt. A changing bag will also allow unloading a jammed camera and other such contingency 'repairs' en route.

A 120 size Paterson tank and reel would be less volume as luggage than the Rodinax I suspect, and it allows intermittent inversion/agitation. A Paterson reel will allow 120 and 35mm to be processed and, in the case of 120, TWO rolls of film can be loaded in a single reel. Just in case you do take some 4x5, there is also the possibility of using the Mod54 sheet holder with a 2-reel Paterson tank. I also have Jobo 2500 series tanks and reels but the increases size and volume of the Jobos would not be ideal for the itinerant nature of your task.

I wonder what your preferred soup will be? A liquid concentrate like 'Rodinal' would be a no-brainer but let me also suggest my standard brew: Diafine. Diafine is essentially a 'compensating' two-bath developer which means that, in the case of mixed locations and lighting on frames of a 120 roll you don't need to worry about N, N+ and N- development (if that is what you get into.

Just a few points to ponder given that you have allowed time before the trip to devise a game plan.

All the best,

Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 24 May 2017, 07:22
by andrewch59
Hi Walter and thankyou for the food for thought. No unfortunately I will not be taking any developing equipment with me. I will be mainly taking preloaded film holders with xray film. Unfortunately xray is so delicate, and double sided, that a change bag would be impossible. I use a sheet of silicone paper slid into the film holder first to avoid scratches, then slip the silicone out prior to closing the holder.
If you watched the short video on you tube about the Rondinax 60 then you would have seen how easy it is to load and develop film, I have Paterson reels, but with my very large hands (I'm 198cm), and a forefinger tip missing, I find it hard to load such a small film onto a spiral and set the ball bearing in motion. I do have a mod 54 insert, which I use regularly for my xray film, but once again with double sided film and no backing to stiffen the film I had to make adjustments to the spiral to keep the film in the holder, like most, I would get tell tale signs of uneven developer flow. I do use it quite successfully loading two sheets only.
As I have mentioned this is my first foray into the world of commercial film, and although the results are dirty and dusty, I am quite surprised at the quality of the film and the amount of detail I am able to get.
The Rondinax holds 150mm of fluid to work efficiently, I would imagine this would submerge half the spiral in soup, but the agitation is continual and in one direction. Yours eyes are perhaps more accustomed than mine as I see no drag, must have a better more critical look.
I use Rodinal, I used the same dilution as I do for xray film, 1:150 or in the case of this particular tank 1ml for twelve minutes.
The biggest problem using my normal xray film is blotching and uneven development, so I have found constant agitation the only way to avoid uneven development. I have tried and still use tray development for larger sheets of xray, but rotary or an old amato tank with individual sheets placed in a stainless steel frame seems to work best. The aim being to continually replace spent developer near the film surface, and a less aggressive soup mix also helps. The film cannot make contact with anything, having emulsion on both sides is double trouble, but was a cheap way to learn.
I have just placed an order for my first supply of commercial sheet film, Ilford FP4+ 125, which I shall try and then secrete away for the trip. I believe I will be able to use a change bag with this, and will have some preloaded in a graflex six sheet holder.
I hope that has answered all of your questions? After re-reading your queries, I will add that the Tank was taken straight out of the box and loaded, I did not clean it, so the heavy dust was probably from years of storage. Yes, I should be flogged! Some dust of course would have been drying, yet to find a cheap humidifier to suit. This was a test strip, its one purpose was to see if the tank work efficiently. I am thrilled to bits with it.
Thank you for your reply Walter

Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 25 May 2017, 02:15
by Walter Glover
I am most intrigued to learn about the world of your X-ray film. I have had absolutely zero experience with it.

It prompts quite some curiosity about how X-ray stock is affected by going through airport X-ray and scanning?

I can envisage how hard it my be loading a Paterson reel with your finger situation. It must be even more of a chore with the Jobo reels — I have a few but have always had the greatest of difficulty loading them. My preferred reels are the stainless steel Kindermann reels.

Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 25 May 2017, 07:56
by andrewch59
Xray film was a very cheap alternative, I have just purchased two boxes of Ilford 4x5 sheets $152 for 50, a box of 8x10 green xray film 100 sheets $68. The 8x10 xray will cut down to 400 sheets of 4x5? not bad Eh?
I was cleaning out my unused developing tank pile, and noticed one to be a little heavier than the rest, on opening I found I had an old Nikkor 4x5 tank that holds 12 sheets at a time. Will be great when it comes time to develop my Ilford sheets. Another amazing piece of engineering.
I think most plastic film bags are xray safe, my intent is to pack everything in one of those, they must work, my film comes from the US and many scans behind it.
I enjoy the xray film because it makes you think at every step, its always a challenge and a cheap way to experiment.

Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 25 May 2017, 09:32
by Walter Glover
andrewch59 wrote:I found I had an old Nikkor 4x5 tank that holds 12 sheets at a time.

W O W ! ! I have had plenty of Nikkor rollfilm tanks and reels but I did not know that they made sheet film tanks and holders. If you could post a snap of it, I'd love to see it.


Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 25 May 2017, 09:39
by andrewch59
Walter if you google "king developing Tank" it will bring up very good copy

Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 26 May 2017, 10:16
by Walter Glover
Thanks for the link Andrew, that is certainly a very interesting device. I notice that Alastair had featured it on the Large Format Blog.

I found the company's website but there appears to be no purchasing information. Do you know if they are still available, where from and for how much. Ebay had no suggestions.

Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 26 May 2017, 13:31
by andrewch59
Walter I have seen one that was on fee bay in 2016 and went for $168 US. I was lucky I have bought two complete darkrooms over the past five years one for $50 and one for $100 and it came in one of those packages. Cant help you with purchasing, my best advice would be to contact king at the managers email address supplied on the site, or put a saved search on ebay for both the king and the Nikor tanks.
That will be a godsend being able to develop 12 at a time, will have to put it on the rotary and see how much it leaks.
Will keep an eye open while I'm surfing ebay and gumtree

Re: Agfa Rodinax 60 (120 film developing tank)

Posted: 26 May 2017, 17:59
by Walter Glover
andrewch59 wrote:will have to put it on the rotary and see how much it leaks.

Electrician's tape is your friend if they are anything like the Nikkor tanks of yore. My Kindermann roll film tank has a great nylon type of top.