Rodinal Stand Development (How To!) / Rodinal Developer

Rodinal Stand Development (How To!) / Rodinal Developer

Rodinal Stand Development – This was my preferred method of B&W film developing when I first started film photography and developing film at home.  Article provides a how to guide together with sample photos and thoughts along the way.
  • PART 1:  The basics – Rodinal Stand Development
  • PART 2:  More in depth – Rodinal Semi-Stand Development

PART 1:  Rodinal Stand Development

The Darker Side of Modelling

Rodinal R09 One Shot / R09 developer

When home developing B&W film I normally I use a mix of Xtol & Rodinal to stand develop my film but today I tried just Rodinal, 1:100. I say Rodinal but the formula I use is actually called R09 One Shot or R09 developer. You can buy it in 125ml bottles from eBay.

R09 Oneshot

Adox Rodinal / Adox Adonal

Rodinal  developer is sold in a few different forms.  In addition to R09 developer (One Shot) I also have Adox Rodinal in a bottle that looks like this and it is also sold as Adox Adonal.  I have not tried the Adonal version but the bottle looks almost identical to Adox Rodinal.

Where to buy Rodinal?

I think I bought my very first bottle of Rodinal developer in a camera lab but since then tend to buy most things online as it is just easier.  In the UK you can get Adox Rodinal from Amazon if you don’t live near a big city:  Adox Rodinal – Amazon (UK) 

adox rodinal

Paterson tank (Film developing tank) + Developing

For my 120 film reel depth in the Paterson tank I needed 600ml approx (to be safe) so used 6ml of Rodinal to tap water. Normally I develop for 19-23 mins so I did not want to wait the usual ‘1 hour’. I timed 30mins and did 1 agitation at 15mins (so this is semi-stand developing really)(for even results/ increased contrast) at 20 degrees.

Rodinal Developer Times

The standard Rodinal developer times that most people  use or mention online is the famour 1 hour duration.  If you are new to using the Rodinal developer I would say start with 60 minutes and check the results.  If for you the film develops a little too exposed/ bright for you taste then next time shorten the Rodinal developer times by 10mins.  You can just play around with it to taste.  I have found there is not a hard and fast rule and I always experiment with different times and temps to see the effect.

Film roll #1 – Stand development (Mamiya RZ67)

This was a model photography portfolio shoot with UK model Josie. I used my Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji Acros film. She had mainly digital photos taken on the day but when I seen a nice pose I grab the Mamiya RZ67 / Contax 645 for some film photography shots.

Rodinal Stand Development by MatthewOsbornePhotography_

Mamiya RZ67 + Fuji Acros film developed with Rodinal

Rodinal  developer characteristics

The end result.. I actually much prefer this to my normal developing look for this photo at least. Very sharp, highlights not blown (nearly always are usually) and nice contrast and tonal range. I’m impressed!

Rodinal shelf life? (How to test)

Rodinal is regarded by most to have a long shelf life, even if the bottle has been opened and is not air tight.  A simple way to test if the Rodinal developer is still active is to add a few drop of Rodinal concentrate onto a piece of undeveloped film.  The film should go black within a few seconds if the Rodinal stock is still good to use.

Guide to Stand development with Rodinal

I saw this post and I think it may well be the best description of Stand Development i’ve seen.  Have a read if you’ve never tried stand developing film

Film roll #2 – Stand development (Contax 645)

Second roll developed with Rodinal.  Here I developed 120 Kodak T-Max 400 in Rodinal 1:150 for 1 hour at 20 degrees C. (Why 1:150..why not!)(will try Rodinal 1:200 next)

“The Dancer” –  Contax 645 + Carl Zeiss 80mm f2 lens  (1/60 at f2)

The Dancer - Rodinal Stand Development

PART 2:  Rodinal Semi-Stand Development:  Getting More Technical!)

35mm Kodak T-Max 100 in Rodinal

Black and White Film Developing

Regular readers will know I develop my black and white film at home using the Rodinal (R09 One Shot) semi-stand development method using times less than one hour.  The more common approach is ‘Rodinal stand development‘ for a duration of one hour.  I have already written one post on stand developing (link below) but as I like to experiment I am starting to fine tune my method (and I will continue to do so).

The standard stand development method is a good safe option but can produce ‘flat’ negatives.  By that I mean mostly mid greys and lacking contrast (highlights and shadows).  I generally develop my Kodak T-Max 100 film in Rodinal for 40-45 minutes with one or two turns (“agitations”) during that time.  What I noticed is when I have shot a roll of B&W film over a period of several days in varying light conditions the film negatives results will also vary dramatically.

4x5 + 6x7 Roll Film Back

4×5 camera (Pacemaker Speed Graphic + Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5)

Light Conditions

  • Photos taken in bright light/ direct sunlight/ contrasty light/ hard light such a direct flash / speedlights benefit from a shorter developing time (such as 40 minutes) and give high quality negatives with a broad dynamic range (highlight detail, range of mid grey detail and shadow detail).
  • Photos taken in the shade / even light / overcast day / inside without obvious directional light will develop as just mid greys lacking contrast and clarity when using the same developing time.  Luckily film retains a lot of detail so negatives can be pushed / pulled when scanned to boost contrast and if needed boost contrast further in PP.

Not Rocket Science!

I know that all sounds obvious.  It is not rocket science that contrasty light when taking a photo on film will give a more contrasty negative. But, the trick is when you want to create a contrasty negative from flat light.  If the photos were taken on an overcast day increase your developing time and also the number of agitation during film developing and this will help the highlights (or brighter mid greys) develop further to give a negative with more contrast.

London Film Photography

Rodinal – How it works – Recap!

Rodinal stand development

OK, to recap how stand development works, highlight areas develop faster than areas of shadow.  Developer around the highlights stops working after a certain time and then the remaining time lets the shadow detail develop further. If you don’t agitate the film and stand for one hour the highlight detail and shadow detail both have time to develop.  The highlight detail is not blown as the developer becomes exhausted around highlight detail sooner so stops.

Rodinal semi-stand development

For semi-stand development you are basically refreshing the highlights areas with new developer each time you agitate the film so the highlights develop further and faster.  By stopping the time sooner the highlights are developed but some deeper shadow detail remains less developed thereby produce a negative with more contrast.

Stand Time

That shorter time works well if photo are taken in ‘good’ light (good light being with direction).  If however the light is flat then more agitations will refresh the highlights more to try to ‘over develop’ beyond the brightest seen when taking the photo and thereby giving a negative with more contrast.

Mamiya 645 Super + T-Max 100

Mamiya 645 Super + 80mm f1.9 lens

Xtol + Rodinal

For film photography I often like to use my own home brew of Xtol and Rodinal developers mixed together to develop my black and white film negatives.  I have used various ratios of each but all giving acceptable and pleasing results.   I will maybe write another blog on the Xtol developer when I get time.

Are Xtol stock and diluted Rodinal one shot developers?

Camera shop answer:

After speaking to a camera shop I was advised that it is recommended to dump your developer after each roll of film developed…

The real answer!:

(Based on my own experience).  I am self taught so learn as I go.  My first disappointment was using a batch of developer that was a week old (since dilution from Xtol stock/ Rodinal concentrate) and the film negatives came out almost blank.  The developer had been kept in a clear soft drink bottle in a dark cupboard.

My first valuable lesson was diluted developer does not last as long as diluted fixer solution.  I now aim to use a developer batch within 2-3 days of dilution and then dispose of it.

Cheap film development

Unlike the guy in the shop, I do not use the developer as one shot.  I make up a mix 1L of Rodinal developer brew (diluted Rodinal) and develop as many as 6 rolls of film (mostly 120 medium format film but also the occasional 36exp 135 film) during a 2-3 day period.  Now this is cheap film development if you do the maths!

Here is an example photo from the 6th roll of film developed last weekend in Rodinal :

Bridal Photography on Film

Bridal Photography with Contax 645 & Fuji Neopan 100 film

Rodinal active ingredients

Obviously the active ingredients in the film developer becomes more exhausted after each roll of film developed so developing times will need to be increased accordingly.  Even if you only develop 2-3 rolls of film per batch of developer you have still made a 100% or 200% saving on developer costs.  More film myth breakers coming soon!

Rodinal Dilution

If you are on a tight budget, say a student and need cheap film development to persue your hobby, another way to cut cost is to use a rodinal dilution such as 1:2  /1:3 etc.  1:3 dilution gives you 3x more film developed so if you reuse your rodinal dilution too (rather than as a one shot)(as I describe above) you now have a super cheap film developer!

The problem with stand development

The problem arises when you have a ‘mixed’ lighting conditions roll of film.  Some negatives will be near perfect already and some will be flat.  If you agitate the film more during developing then you will blow the highlights on the contrasty negatives.  If you agitate less the flat negatives will develop as just that, flat and grey.


Make good notes!

So in conclusion, I will try to make a note of the lighting conditions I shot the film in if films are being stored before being developed.  For medium format film I will try to shoot an entire roll in similar light as you get less photos on a roll anyway (8-16 depending on 6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7, 6×9, with 645 format normally giving 16 negatives).  For 35mm film when you have 36 exposures it is not always possible to shoot all images in similar light so in this instance I might develop with less agitations for a longer duration and increase the contrast in post processing (“PP”).

Practise + trial and error = perfect

I hope that made a little sense! The best way to learn is to try what method works best for you.  Everyone is different but the above approach is how I currently develop my black and white film.

Examples images – Film Portraits (Leica M2)

  • Flat light – flat negative push when scanned (note more grain)

Leica M2 + Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 Portrait

  • Contrasty light – contrasty negative with fine grain

Leica M2 Fashion & Beauty

Related Post

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit (2018) – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit (2018) – HERE

JOGLE – iPhone 5 & Instagram (Story in Pictures)

‘JOGLE’ – John O’Groats to Land’s End Bike Ride

10 Bikes
12 Men
2 Camper Vans
72 Hours
1 Great Cause

JOGLE: We Finished!!! :) 72.5hrs nonstop

I joined my brothers Pete and John, and together with a group of friends we cycled 1000 miles NON STOP day and night from John O’Groats to Lands End as a relay, starting on 21st of July 2013. We did the ride to raise money for a great cause.

Lucy, one of our close friends, died from cervical cancer on April 17th 2012 aged just 33, only weeks after her wedding day. Lucy and her family were extremely grateful for the support provided by the Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice.

Last year, kind people contributed £10,000 for Sue Ryder when a smaller team of us crossed the English Channel in 3 2-man inflatable kayaks! This year, it was a different challenge, but the same great cause. There was no chance of me falling overboard again but the challenge was just as demanding.

Here is the story in pictures, taken with my iPhone 5

It’s not to late for donations and we would be really grateful if you could help us support this great cause. Thanks in advance! 🙂


Live commentary from the riders and drivers and more photos from other team members can be found on our JOGLE facebook page:


Mamiya RZ67 Wedding (6×7 Film Wedding)

Mamiya RZ67 Wedding (6×7 Film Wedding)

Black and white film for a Mamiya RZ67 wedding

Ben & Rachel’s wedding at Muxhall Hall


Black & White Film Wedding Photography with the medium format Mamiya RZ67 Pro II film camera

Kodak T-Max 400 stand developed in Xtol 1:3, 23 minutes, 21 degrees. Epson v600 scan.

Shot is from Ben & Rachel’s wedding at Muxhall Hall, UK. They opted for my black and white wedding photography package so I shot a range of film (6×7, 645 & 35mm) + digital.

Below another sample. I’ll add to this post once scan more so feel free to check back to see more.

More Mamiya RZ67 wedding photos

Mamiya RZ67 Wedding
Film Photography Wedding

Mamiya RZ67 Pro II

Mamiya RZ67 Pro II

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica


Me in action shooting the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II medium format film camera!

This was taken of me while I was shooting an Asian pre-wedding shoot. For medium format film photography I currently use 120 Kodak T-Max 100 film or 120 Kodak TMax 400 film.  The Mamiya RZ has a 6×7 format so gives 10 photos per roll of 120 film. (In comparison a 6×6 format film camera such as a Hasselblad will gives 12 photos per roll)

In this shot I am using the Mamiya Sekor 110mm f2.8 lens – my favourite lens of the Mamiya RZ67 lens lineup with amazing shallow depth of field and small and compact compared to some of the other RZ lenses.  For wider photos I favour the Mamiya 65mm lens and for a telephoto the Mamiay 180mm lens.  The 90mm lens came with the camera but I don’t use it as too close to my favoured 110mm.

Despite the large size of the RZ67 I use the camera like any other on location aswell as in the studio. I also use it handheld when there is suffiicient light (but in low light opt for a monopod).

The Mamiya RZ is currently my favourite camera and the huge 6×7 negative scans using an Epson v600 are just amazing. The subject gets a 3D look which is difficult to achieve with digital photography.

I use the RZ67  for model photography and as a wedding photographer. I am doing a black and white wedding photography package for a lucky couple this week so examples coming soon!

Related Posts


Voigtlander Bessa R3A Review + (Nokton 40mm f1.4)

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Review + (Nokton 40mm f1.4)

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Review  – Photo with Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens


My new camera has arrived! A nearly new Voigtlander Bessa R3A rangerfinder 35mm film camera, together with the amazing Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens.  This little 40mm manual focus lens that single handedly taught me photography (when using it on my Lumix G1) and later was the reason I became “MrLeica” (The Voigtlander 40mm was also the reason I bought my first digital Leica camera!)

See here for examples of me using the lens on my old Panasonic Lumix G1 in 2010 –


Voigtlander Bessa R3A Portraits



My latest purchase has arrived. The Voigtlander Bessa R3A 35mm rangefinder film camera with it’s Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens.

First thoughts:

Voigtlander Bessa R3A – It is tiny compared to Mamiya RZ67 ProII! Very solid and feels well made. Simple layout/controls with a modern looking LCD viewfinder that I was not expecting. I am more accustom to focusing through lens cameras than rangefinders so I was a little worried whether I would be able to do my shallow DOF model photography at f1.4 accurately. For those that have not tried a rangefinder camera the main differences are you cannot see the DOF you are shooting and if your subject is off centre you have to focus in the centre square first by overlaying the two images and then recompose and try not to move the camera plane of focus.

Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens – I’ve used a copy of this lens in the past on a Panasonic Lumix G1 when I first started out with my photography. (See post and examples here). I was gutted when I could not bring it with me to Nikon. I had great memories of using this lens so was super excited when it came as standard on the Bessa. As my last post suggests it was literally like being reunited with an old friend. The lens is compact, oozes quality and good workmanship and looks great. I knew this lens gave a unique look to photographs particularly due to the ‘lively’ bokeh so I was very keen to get it back.

Here are some samples of photos scanned so far from the first roll of 35mm Kodak T-Max 100 film put through the camera self developed in a brew of Xtol and Rodinal. I used it on two model photography shoots to give the models something different and hopefully special for their model portfolios.

Models; Harriett (in hat) & Emily.

Voigtlander Classic 40mm F1.4
Voigtlander 40mm f1.4

Photos taken in France; Matilda; Paulina
Voigtlander Bessa R3A Portrait
Rangefinder Film Portrait




Voigtlander Bessa R3A - Model Photography

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Portrait

Models; Josie, Emily


Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Portrait

Voigtlander Bessa R3A Portrait

I will add to the post as I scan more images so feel free to check back in a week or two.

In addition to model photography I plan to use it for wedding photography. I literally cannot wait for my next couples big day who have opted for a full day of black and white wedding photography. This and in particular black and white film photography is my big passion so I will be in my element. 🙂

Getting Creative with the Voigtlander Bessa R3A!

Film photography sample using Voigtlander Bessa R3A 35mm rangefinder & Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens. (Self developed Kodak T-Max 100 film).


Voigtlander Bessa R3A 35mm Colour Film Photography


I shot a few rolls of Fuji C200 cheap 35mm colour film on my Voigtlander Bessa R3A rangefinder over the summer. Here is the first sample taking with my Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens (the lens that comes with the Bessa R3A as standard)(Great lens!).

I saw the afternoon sun spilling into our french cottage through the open front door so I had to get a photo.

I will add more samples to this post as I scan the negatives.



Bessa R3A + VC Nokton 40mm f1.4

Bessa R3A + VC Nokton 40mm f1.4

Taken using some cheap 35mm Fuji 200 film I acquired.


You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE
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