Agfa Rondinax 35u
Old 01-29-2019   #1
madNbad
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Agfa Rondinax 35u

I was at the local shop, picking up the Df from a sensor cleaning, we started discussing the dwindling quality of the local film processors. Compared to many places, we have several labs locally and a few within a fifty mile range. Many of the local labs have continued with C-41 but B&W developing and scanning is down to just a few. Mostly depending on who is working on a particular day, the results vary. Developing B&W at home is not difficult but our house is quite small and storage is at a premium. This brought up a discussion about Rondinax tanks and other daylight options.
I found a Rondinax 35u online complete with the box and instructions. It's been many years since I developed B&W at home, this looking like the best option for a limited space. I've poked around the forums and looked online but any suggestions or advice are always appreciated.
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Old 01-29-2019   #2
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I learned to process film in a Rondinax and it seemed a nice easy way to get started, particularly in regard to getting the film loaded onto the reel. I don't see how it would save you any space over just getting a dark bag and a steel tank or a plastic Paterson model which is maybe a little easier to load. The chemicals and the beakers will occupy the same amount of space either way. What about scanning? My old Epson flatbed is kind of a space hog. Something like a Dimage is smaller and quicker.
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Old 01-29-2019   #3
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I’ll be interested to see what others have to say,

I have looked at these for many years but always used Paterson tanks.

Jobo makes a daylight loading tank as well, although rare and rather expensive.
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Rondinax 35u reply
Old 01-29-2019   #4
randy stewart
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Rondinax 35u reply

Basically, I fully agree with Mike Connealy's comments, apart from the fact that I learned to develop film in a very humble Yankee plastic tank circa 1958 (much like a Patterson design, but even more cheaply made). Some years ago I bought a Rondinax 35, mostly out of curiousity. I never used it because it proved defective. Remeber that these units are 65 years old on average, damaged or worn out, leaky. They are usually hugely overpriced on ebay. If you cannot suppress the need to have a tank like the Rondinax, hold on a few months and see if the Lab-Box, a much delayed Kickstarter project, finally delivers. It's based on the Rondixax, but uses modern materials, clever design, additional features. On the other hand, when (if) it hits the open market, it will probably be priced in the $150 (US) range - not as expensive as the overpriced Jobos (which are no longer made), but 5+ times the cost of a basic AP tank.
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Old 01-29-2019   #5
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I have used the 35U for several years, I developed my first roll in it and have been using it ever since. I usually cut development time by 20% to make uo for the constant agitation. The only film that I could not develop in it was some Panatomic X Aero, because it's acetate base would not cut or puncture in the Rondinax.
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Old 01-29-2019   #6
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Mostly it's putting a toe in the water. This will give me a good idea of where to store the chemistry and if to take the next step to a changing bag and tanks. Our house lacks an area suitable for wet printing so it's scanning with a Plustek 7600i or the DSLR. It's also an opportunity to gather the universally needed items like storage jugs, beakers and clips. If it leaks and is a complete bust, chalk it up to a lesson learned. If it gets me back to shooting more film, then it's worth the price.
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Old 01-29-2019   #7
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With that attitude towards a tank, I would plunge into the Jobo 2400. Btw. I Like the way your thinking.

Its at the least newer than the Rondinax.

Checkout this video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke59ONajwrM
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Old 01-29-2019   #8
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Watched the video. Are the muttonchops optional?
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Old 01-29-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
Watched the video. Are the muttonchops optional?
I wouldn't mess with a winning combo...lol

Muttonchops, Mamiya, Multiple Successful Negatives! Triple Threat.
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Old 01-29-2019   #10
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I just bought one of these before Christmas, looks to be in excellent condition and came with all the instructions. I like that all the loading, developing, etc. can be done in full daylight; I don't really have a good room in the condo to make light-tight, so this is a big plus for me. I'm looking forward to playing around with it; I've been wanting to do my own B&W development for years.
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Old 01-30-2019   #11
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The Rondinax 35u tank is relatively simple to use. I may be a bit of a klutz, but I often have problems with loading film in a jobo tank in a changing bag. The Rondinax solves this. As mentioned earlier, shorter development times are required due to constant agitation. I've generally reduced the time by about 15% since I read that somewhere on the net a number of years ago. Development seems to come out OK that way. The only advice I would give would be to be careful when you reach the end of the film while loading to not pull too hard. The last few inches can jump the track and end up against the film in the previous track and neither gets developed. Just use the cutter when you feel resistance. Good luck with your new tank.
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Old 01-30-2019   #12
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I've been using Rondix 35 and Rondinax 35U (and the Rondinax 66 for 120 film) to process all my film for the past several years. The Rondix 35 is much simpler even than the Rondinax 35U to load and use: it doesn't even have a reel, just a center hub that grips the film end.

My "darkroom" is extremely simple now: I only have developer, fixer and wetting agent chemicals, a thermometer, a couple of graduated cylinders and beakers, and the processing tanks. The entire darkroom equipment takes up half of a standard 12x24 inch bookshelf. All of my image rendering is done digitally now; there's neither need nor space for a wet lab for printing etc. I process everything at room temperature @ 74°F (+/- 2°F) for 8 minutes in these tanks, mostly using HC-110 diluted 1:49 from concentrate. I adjust exposure and developer concentration to accommodate each film's characteristics. I'm normally looking for a slightly grainy, middling contrasty negative for scanning. End to end process to run a roll of 35mm film is about 23 minutes

It is much faster and simpler to load and process with these daylight loading tanks than to pull out my standard daylight processing tanks and film loading tent. BUT there are fewer different ways to work agitation and developing methodology. Pluses and minuses ...


Leica R6.2 + Summilux-R 50mm
Ilford HP5 film
Processed in Agfa Rondix 35 with HC-110 1:49, 8 minutes

enjoy, G
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Old 01-30-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
My "darkroom" is extremely simple now: I only have developer, fixer and wetting agent chemicals, a thermometer, a couple of graduated cylinders and beakers, and the processing tanks. The entire darkroom equipment takes up half of a standard 12x24 inch bookshelf. All of my image rendering is done digitally now; there's neither need nor space for a wet lab for printing etc.
Thank you for the reply. That is the direction I'm heading for. The advantage is being able to exercise my film cameras more often by having a readily available way to see the results. I have also been researching caffenol as an alternative to traditional developers.
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Old 01-31-2019   #14
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The Rondinax arrived today and seems to be in pretty good shape for its age. The tank is solid with no patches, the metal is bright showing no signs of rust or discoloration, the thermometer works and even the rubber strap is in good shape. The hub of the reel were the sealing knob screws in looks like it's been repaired. There is a small square sided nut as the anchor for the sealing knob but I'm unsure if it's original or Agfa had a different system. Spent the afternoon with a sacrificial film snd learned both how the film is trimmed and where the clip is positioned are important to success. Fortunately, the Nikon F simplifies winding the practice film back into the cassette. On to the next step, pick up some developer and fixer, blast a roll of T-Max 400 and see what happens. A big thanks to Godfrey who was kind enough to share some pointers to get me started.
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Old 01-31-2019   #15
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Sounds pretty good.

The winding knob seals on the round part of its shaft on the tank body; the drive is a molded square peg on the end of that shaft as it comes from Agfa. The winding knob and shaft are slightly different through all the years they made these tanks (I have four made from the late 1940s to the mid 1960s) but I've never seen a metal nut instead of molded square peg ... that sounds like a repair. Really doesn't matter, though, as long as the knob fits, drives the reel, and doesn't leak too much. (Hint: always do your processing with the tank in a tray, the shafts always tend to leak just a little.)

I keep a small tube of Vaseline in the box with my darkroom stuff and always lube the seal with it before use and after cleaning things when processing is finished to preserve the seal.

G

Quote:
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The Rondinax arrived today and seems to be in pretty good shape for its age. The tank is solid with no patches, the metal is bright showing no signs of rust or discoloration, the thermometer works and even the rubber strap is in good shape. The hub of the reel were the sealing knob screws in looks like it's been repaired. There is a small square sided nut as the anchor for the sealing knob but I'm unsure if it's original or Agfa had a different system. Spent the afternoon with a sacrificial film snd learned both how the film is trimmed and where the clip is positioned are important to success. Fortunately, the Nikon F simplifies winding the practice film back into the cassette. On to the next step, pick up some developer and fixer, blast a roll of T-Max 400 and see what happens. A big thanks to Godfrey who was kind enough to share some pointers to get me started.
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Old 01-31-2019   #16
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Apparently the threaded part of the molded plastic was broken off at some point. There are remains of old glue from an attempted repair but the square nut seems to hold everything together and work just fine. I filled it with 200ml of warm water, didn't notice any leaking around the winding knob and the thermometer works. There was a stamp on the bottom marked 1966, so I'm not too surprised there was some damage. I also have a 225 piece box of Harbor Freight "O" rings I bought trying to find a cushion for the eyepiece on a Retina IIa. One of those behind the winding knob for a little added insurance.

[IMG]IMG_1738 by Michael DeLuca, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]IMG_1739 by Michael DeLuca, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 02-05-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
Thank you for the reply. That is the direction I'm heading for. The advantage is being able to exercise my film cameras more often by having a readily available way to see the results. I have also been researching caffenol as an alternative to traditional developers.
Michael,

Like you, I have been looking for an alternative to sending film out for developing. Seems every year or two I get the idea to just shoot B&W film and develop and scan at home. I've had the Rondinax for a number of years and I'll use it to develop a couple rolls and then set home developing aside for a while in which time the developer and fixer generally spoil and I'm starting over.

This last time I tried to use some Kodak HC110 that had been sitting around since my previous attempt several years ago. It wasn't any good anymore and I ended up with a blank roll of film. I thought I would try caffenol and spent most all of my free time for about two weeks researching it. I went out and ran around town to buy all of the ingredients, spent about $30, then tried to put together a development workflow and recipe for the Rondinax. It does seem that there are a number of recipes on the web to use as starting points for standard development tanks. Of course when using a Rondinax you are adding another two variables, less developer per role and constant agitation. I dropped the idea of using caffenol as there are just too many ways I could get it wrong.

As I had already purchased fixer to use with the HC110, I decided to try to use some Rodinal. I have a mostly full, open bottle that came with some gear that a friend gave me. It's actually Agfa Rodinal and has to be at least 14 years old since Agfa stopped making it in 2005. I shot a roll of expired Ilford fP4+ around the house and shot each exposure at box speed and then over exposed by 1/2 stop and a whole stop since I had read that one should over exposed when using Rodinal as a developer. I used it mixed 1 to 24 at 20 degrees celsius for 7 minutes, rotating the reel one half turn each 2 seconds. The images shot at box speed (125 ISO) came out the best. So Rodinal really does last a very long time.

Of course the weather here in Chicagoland has been pretty horrible since I last experimented. As soon as things get a bit nicer I out, I'll continue with my experiments. I don't know if this is of any help, but thought I'd contribute a bit more of my experience in addition to the problem I had pulling the film too tight.
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Old 02-19-2019   #18
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Just to add to a 1 week old thread - the modern version of the Agfa Rondinax is about to be released. It is the long promised Lab Box, which has some modular improvements versus the original Agfa units.

Freestyle photo shows it to be available soon in its current 2019 catalog.

ARS Imago below was allowing pre-orders.

http://www.ars-imago.com/lab-box/shop/

While the Lab Box has changeable modules for 35mm and 120 films, I personally would like to see Jobo put their old 2400 single reel - 35mm tank back into production.
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Old 02-19-2019   #19
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I've been eagerly awaiting the Lab Box for some time; I have two on order with the Kickstarter campaign. Yes, they seem to be on the way to shipping now... Yay!

Meanwhile, my Rondinax and Rondix tanks continue to work well. As I told madNbad, I use HC-110 diluted 1:49 from concentrate for everything, process 8 min at room temperature (74°F +/- 2°F) for any film (mostly HP5). I ran a test exposure roll for HP5 a long time ago and found that setting the EI to 320 in strong light and 400 in low light worked best for me.

I get results I like that way.

G
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Old 02-19-2019   #20
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Lab Box looks super cool.

The price seems right! Considering how much the old Jobos and Rondix are fetching.

I’ll be interested to hear your feedback Godfrey.

Did you get one of the colored ones? The orange is right up my alley.
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Old 02-19-2019   #21
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The orange Lab Box is on my list! Tom, thanks for the information about caffenol and Rondinax tanks. I bought a changing tent from another member and picked up a single reel developing tank for that project. Over the last few weeks, I have gathered all the essentials, beakers, storage bottles, developer (HC-110), fixer (Ilford Rapid), clips and even a film retriever. The weather has been hit and miss the plenty of northwest rainy days so I'm only about halfway through a roll of TMax 400. I did drag out the Plustek and have been practicing scanning on a box of thirty year old Kodachromes. Thanks for the information and the encouragement.
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Old 02-19-2019   #22
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Concerning caffenol , have been using it for a few months now. An accurate scale is pretty much necessary ( at least to 1/10 gm) . PM me if you have any concerns I can help you with . HC-110 has been my go to otherwise for a number of years now . It much more satisfying and faster doing B&W at home .
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Old 02-19-2019   #23
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Seems rather complicated. I use SS tanks & reels, a dark bag for loading the film. Tanks, reels, funnel, chemicals, dark bag, hanger with clothes pins - the whole shebang fits in a 7 gallon garbage can that resides under the bathroom sink.
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Old 02-19-2019   #24
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Quote:
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Seems rather complicated. .
The point I want to make - the more B&W film users and home developing options to choose from the merrier I will be.

I used a Rondinax 60 for 120 film for a couple of years - 46 years ago - They do work and it wasn't very complicated.

The one thing I've learned courtesy of the internet is that there are many ways to shoot and develop a roll of film.

If the availability of a film developing tank that does away without hiding in a dark closet or using a changing bag/tent will bring in more people into the D.I.Y film development world, then I'm all for it.

*****

Now a days, I'm stuck in my routine with HC-110 @ dilution H or Rodinal @ 1:50. I use Patterson tanks, of which I have three sizes. Also, I stubbornly shoot negative film at slightly less than box speed.
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Old 02-19-2019   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
Seems rather complicated. I use SS tanks & reels, a dark bag for loading the film. Tanks, reels, funnel, chemicals, dark bag, hanger with clothes pins - the whole shebang fits in a 7 gallon garbage can that resides under the bathroom sink.
The Rondinax is a gadget and if it makes developing film at home easier, then it’s worth the price. It was a lot cheaper and probably more useful than a lot of other gadgets I’ve accumulated over the years. I did add the few additional items for traditional tank developing so I can try both.
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Old 02-27-2019   #26
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I actually found a Jobo tank recently. (On it’s way to me now)

Has one issue, a broken retaining clip. Going to try and either fix it or make a new one.

Apparently the Jobo model 4324 is the same as the 2400. Mine was cheap.
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