I’ve used a lot of different developers over the years, but the original Rodinal was always my favorite. Rodinal is a very fine grain, high contrast developer. But with that being said, it was easy to control the contrast of a negative with a little experimentation.
Since I’m inclined to make what I can’t find, I spent some time searching the web, and came up with this formula. Technically it’s called Parodinal, but for our purposes, it’s home brew Rodinal.
500 mg Acetaminophen (I use generic, or you can use Tylenol)
Sodium Hydroxide (lye drain cleaning pellets)
Note: Sodium Hydroxide may be difficult to find in your area, check with hardware stores, plumbing supply stores, or as I did, online. Sodium Sulfite is available at home brewing supply stores and chemical supply companies.
1) Pour 200ml of distilled water into a measuring cup.
2) Stir 50 grams of Sodium Sulfite into the water. (Sodium Sulfite’s solubility is 23g per 100ml, there will be particles that don’t dissolve, they will as we continue)
3) Stir in 20 grams of Sodium Hydroxide (Lye). Avoid skin contact. The solution will increase in temperature, this is normal.
4) Count 30 Acetaminophen tablets and crush, then add to the mixture while it is still warm.
5) Stir the mixture until the Acetaminophen is dissolved. (there are fillers in the tablets which will not dissolve)
6) Place the measuring cup in cool water to return to room temperature.
7) Add distilled water to make 250ml total.
8) Cap the mixture and let sit for a minimum of 72 hours.
At the end of 72 hours, you will likely find some crystallization at the bottom of the bottle. Shake the mixture vigorously. Technically the mixture is ready to use. But, I’m a little bit OCD, so I strained the mixture through a coffee filter which removed the un-dissolved particles which were merely fillers from the Acetaminophen.
Use as you would Rodinal, as a one-shot developer. Dilutions can be 1:25, 1:50 to 1:100. Development times can be found in the Massive Development Chart. One bottle of 250ml can do 40 rolls of film at 1:50 dilution.
I found a solution of 1:50 worked best. I mix 5ml to 250ml of water at 20C for my single roll tank. Be extra careful how much you agitate the film. I agitate 10 times at the beginning and no more than 4 times each minute thereafter. Over agitation will greatly increase the contrast and density of the negative. As far as longevity, I am on month 5 of my last batch and have noticed no difference from month 1.