CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

2020-21-M6-8-15
Happy Birthday SIngapore

Here I am back for the fourth week with my Caffenol. I intended this week to be the last of my first brew. I was encouraged by the last weeks experience and became a bit too bold maybe and alas the issues added to the issues.

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Let’s go shopping

First for this last batch I chose to process a roll of Tri-x that I shot over the week end with friends and family. Tri-x is said to be not super Caffenol friendly and my first roll was not a massive success. How to calculate for both the estimates 7.3 minutes leading to over processing and the exhaustion of the Caffenol? I settled to try for a 6.3 minutes (including pouring in and pouring out time). To put odds on my side I also filtered the fixer that seemed to show some flocculation last week.

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Tiong Bahru riders

Alas again the gods of the dark room were not with me today, and after fiddling for a while (in the dark) I managed to load the film incorrectly in the spool of my Patterson tank. And the result is here : half of my roll is not processed. As I write it I think  could have put it back in the Caffenol, but actually I just binned it. Well we learn by our mistakes, so I will have to iron out this process. All in all I may only have loaded 10 to 15 rolls in my life.

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The Scalper

The film shows a bit of reticulation, but I think it may be the tap water used to rince the film, may have been to warm (tap let on hot after the washing up). Also it i snot as clean as my first negs so on top of it maybe the Caffenol need also to be filtered.

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Anyway, I think the point is that my negative looks ok, so 6 minutes 30 seconds in 3 weeks old caffenol is OK for processing Tri-x and also maybe the caffenol can last 4 weeks?

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The umbrella academy
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Mirror ok my mirror

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Refection in Tiong Nahru

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The small Tiong Bahru Durian stall
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That’s what a partially destroyed picture looks like
CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

Caffenol rebirth : week 3

I am pushing my luck by trying the my brew from two weeks ago again this Sunday.

First things first, shooting a bit of film. The weather is not improving and I did not had a chance to shoot much this past week. So this morning I loaded the old Agfa Isolette with a roll of Rollei 80s (my favourite film) and hit the road in direction of Arab street with a detour by Little India to finish the roll of Acros I processed last week.

The Agfa uncouple rangefinder is no longer working so distance are guestimated. I also use the EM-01 KEKS light meter.

For processing I used the two week sold Caffenol stored in a green bottle in the shade at ambient temperature (more or  less 28 C). I think it turned out quite well (5 minutes processing at 28 degrees, 30 second inversions then 3 inversions every minute). The negatives are of average thickness, maybe I could have added 30 seconds. The caffenol is now old and this is the 3rd film processed with this batch.

I made a fatal mistake by wiping the film with my kitchen towel, lot of dust I had to clone in Photoshop. I will have to find how to do this properly. The fixer is starting o have some deposit. Maybe it wont last after the next couple of films.

Plans for next roll is to start a new batch of caffenol to see if the process is repeatable.

Caffenol rebirth : week 3

Caffenol Rebirth : perseverare humanum est

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We roll models

So what happened since last post and the “Caffenol rebirth” ; well nothing much happened in town nor to myself, so I shot half a roll of Fuji Across, mostly Saturday

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Lonely dinner

Last Sunday I pour my Caffenol in a bottle of green glass (Perrier) and kept in just in case.

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Gelato

So tonight I was restless and I decide to give Caffenol another try.

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
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Time for a nap
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or catching up with th enews
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Chinatown is her catwalk

As I did not finish my roll, I opened the Leica M4 in the dark, fiddle a bit with the film and managed to cut a 1 cm lead for the rest of the roll and unload the 22 first shots from the camera. I then loaded it in the Paterson tank and proceed as last week.

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The lovely newly weds from China
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That way

Massive Development chart give me again 6’44 @ 28 deg, for 100 ISO Accross, the Tri-x was overcooked last week, but that was 400ISO, so I though that I should give it a try, but actually I emptied the tank at 6’14.

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Time for a trim
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Double ciggie break

The film is still dense, but can be seen through in normal light. Probably some of this is due to the coffee coloration (I can see if is brownish), so for the next 12 shost I will cut the time down by maybe another 30 or 45 seconds.

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Social distancing
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Orchard back-light

I kept the Caffenol again, I read you can keep for 6 or 8 weeks. Without being so extreme, if I can use one batch for my monthly shooting this changes the economics of it totally, at 2$ a roll this is a no brainer. Plus it is amazing to have all the products ready and go through the motion in about 45 minutes.

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My new fav model

Ok so now I’ve been through this roll what is the conclusion. It looks quite good for what it is, no reticulation, reasonable grain, the contrast is quite good.

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Walking in the sunshine

This was also measured using my new Keks EM01 ligh meter.

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A COVID hero back from work
Caffenol Rebirth : perseverare humanum est

CAFFENOL Re-birth.

2020-19-iiic-24

7 years after my last failed experiments I am back again toying with Caffenol to process my black and white film. Do not try to figure out why I do not use standard methods, I cannot myself.

This time again I have put all the odds against me, I found a box of 5 year expired Fomapan P fixer in the cupboard, I shot the Caffenol unfriendly Kodak Tri-X on the Leica IIIc with the unreliable Summitar 50 and the new Chinese meter offered by a friend (more on this later).

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The set-up

From my past experiments I have a kitchen scale and a Patterson cuve, and some weights to hold the film when drying. (I just had to buy a 4$ battery for the scale)

Testing the fixer

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I found this idea on the internet to test the fixer by taking a piece of unexposed film, I cut the lead of a new roll found in the box, and drop it in the fixer (not the developer just right into the fixer) and let it sit a few minutes : it should go totally clear if the fixer still work as they should. Mine did so I should be covered from that angle.

I used in the past a recipe for stand development, but today I will try the Caffenol-C-M, recipe, the first on the http://caffenol.blogspot.com website.

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Testing the developer :

I planned to test the developer with one of the following two test cases, but actually after discussing with my assistant (my son), we decided that anyway we will not be able to resist trying the film whatever the result of the test is. Anyway here are the test cases:

  1. Test 1: once again I cut the leader of a roll and drop one into your developer and let it sit a few minutes then drop in your fixer and let it sit for a few minutes. It should turn all black.(as this part is generally over exposed), advantage is that you can use the lead of the roll you want to process.
  2. Test 2: use a piece of unexposed film, say, a few frames from the beginning of a fresh roll and make sure it’s loaded in the dark. Process as you should, you should see the frame numbers and DX codes along the sprocket holes develop and the unexposed frames should develop to be clear.

 

The process:

The chemicals:

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For one liter the recipe is to mix in order :

54 grams of washing-soda (Harm Brand 8$ for 1 kg)
16 grams of Vitamine C ( crap from Guardian 13$)
40 grams of instant coffee (Netscafe Classic 10$)

Time and temperature

This is the difficult bit, the original recipe gives 15 minutes at 20 °C for 100 ISO film. Digi

tal truth ( https://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?doc=timetemp) helps converting this to my 28 deg average temperature for 6’44 @ 28 deg, for 100 ISO. ISO 400 should be shorter, but the same site gives you roughly the same duration. SO i settled for 7 minutes

Here we go

  • Pre-soak 5 minutes (this step is optional, but it is relaxing)
  • Pour the developer
  • Agitation first 30 seconds, then 3 times each minute.
  • Stop:

– Fill and invert the tank 5 times
– refill and invert the tank 10 times
– refill and invert the tank 20 times
– refill and invert the tank 30 times

  • Fix: 5 minutes
  • Rinse

– Fill and invert the tank 5 times
– refill and invert the tank 10 times
– refill and invert the tank 20 times
– refill and invert the tank 30 times with a drop of washing up soap

Results

  • the negatives are dense but images can be seen when back lighted and scanned with the Epson v800

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A few more samples

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Doggie goes for a walk
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Over the counter of the Japanese restaurant
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Hans Im Gluck birch trees

Where it goes wrong

The problem often reported for Caffenol is that the chemicals are not reliable, for instance, my coffee is a mix of Robusta and Arabica, where the active compound is more present in the robusta, so 100% robusta would be better. My Vitamin C contains sugar and flavoring which impact is hard to guess.

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Anything new?

Where to go from here

My film is over developed, so I already have some plans for the next roll : shorter time ( it was suggested to cut by 25%), or try the same recipe for a 100 ISO film, or cut the coffee.

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The ubiquitous Grab Food rider

Money wise

I can do 5 batches with my Vitamin C + coffee, with 2 films per batch. You probably have to factor in 0.5$ a roll for Fixer, 0.4$ for the soda, if you are discounting the water you will be around 3.5 to 4 $, definitely cheap. 5 rolls would cover the 7$ a roll I pay to the lab for processing, so if you like the result its worth trying.

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Kiss
CAFFENOL Re-birth.

Misadventure in Caffenol – take 2

If you read the last post, you have heard of my issues with Caffenol here is Singapore; the pictures below are taken what I refer to as  film number 3. This is a Fuji Neopan 100  which is supposed to be Caffenol friendly. I shot the film (only 12 shots in Medium Format) in Chinatown one afternoon with the old Agfa Isolette III. Film goes out very dark, but when digitized with the DSLR method, pictures are ok; unfortunately the focusing of the Agfa does not works. The lens was stuck a few years back and I disassembled and cleaned it but could not set the focus properly. There are 3 cool shots however.

Ice Man (1)
Ice Man (1)
Ice Man (2)
Ice Man (2)
Chinese Medical Hall
Chinese Medical Hall

The pictures could not be scanned with the Epson v500, I had to use my DSLR with a 50 mm lens and an old flashgun as a back light to digitize them; that is not improving the result of course.

Misadventure in Caffenol – take 2

Misadventure in Caffenol – take 1

2 years ago I have been very happy trying to process my black and white film at home with the Caffenol recipe. I did 7 rolls at a time, and some produced some very fine pics.

To make sort, you mix washing soda and instant coffee, add a bit of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and Bob’s your uncle.

This summer I imagined that back in Singapore for a couple of weeks without the family I could replicate this success. Alas, on the 4 films I have processed, none came out very good. My original recipe was  dosed for the washing Soda that can be found in France, and I am not sure the one I can find here is dosed the same way. What about the quality of instant coffee? And the temperature of the tap water?

So I tried to process  4 films and this is what I got:

film num.1: TMAX 100 from holidays in France: I used the original recipe, film goes out bad but I could scan it and post some of the picture in flickr or in my 24th of July post here

film num.2: ILFORD PAN 400 from photo-tour in Arab Street with Singapore Photo Walker group, taken with the Kiev IV : I reduce the soda and used 60-70% of the original: the film is almost unusable and you’ll find the pictures below. I could not scan it, I had to shot the negatives with my DSLR using a flash gun to back-light the film.

film num.3: Fuji Neopan 100 : supposed to be Caffenol friendly: I shot the film (only 12 shots in Medium Format) in Chinatown one afternoon with the old Agfa Isolette III. Film goes out very dark, but when digitized with the DSLR method, pictures are ok; unfortunately the focusing of the Agfa doe snot works ! Argh!

film num.4: Rollei RPX 100: my lastfilm of the holidays in France: I try another recipe and got a total black film. Bouh ouh

Not much lessons to take from this. But I’ll try again sometime

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Misadventure in Caffenol – take 1

14 Juillet 2013 – Cannes – France

So actually on the french national day I was going to the market and I came across a guy in traditional dress holding a drum so just followed and realized he was going to the local celebration of the national day. I took a few shots with the Dacora Digna, my beloved holiday camera, and with the LeicaIII that I brought with me for the summer holidays back home.

French National Day
French National Day

The Leica shots are done with the Summitar 50mmF2 on a Rollei RPX 100 Film and I managed to ruin the shots by trying to process the film at home using the Caffenol method. The film was not well developed and very difficult to scan, hence the grain. I’ll come back on the Caffenol story later.

 

I like the shot I called “The photographers”, the Asian tourist with her phone on the foreground and the official photog in the background.

14 Juillet 2013 – Cannes – France

Venice Biennale 2011 (Italy)

Arsenale - Venezia - Italy
Arsenale - Venezia - Italy

After many hesitations I brought my new Hassie to the other side of the planet and carried it along while visiting the Venice Biennale this summer.

This is more or less the second or third film processed in Caffenol with the same recipe and a lot more success (I think).

Camera:Hasselblad 500CM, Planar 80mm F2.8
Film: Rollei Retro 100ASA
Processing: Cafenol
Scanning: EPSON V500, Lightroom 3, PSP Elements 4

Venice Biennale 2011 (Italy)

Caffenol – First test

Caffenol no1
Caffenol no1

This week the holidays are starting, so I found a new project: trying Caffenol film development.

Actually it was the first roll I ever processed. Prior to the holidays I have ordered a Paterson tank and some Fomapan Fixator.

I used the stand recipie by Lukaz (http://lukaz-photo.com/archives/400) with Saint-Marc soda wash (Common brand in France). I stick to the recipie so I did not shake the film during the process appart from at the start of each 30 minutes cycles.

The film is a Kodak Gold 200 and I used Fomafix fixator (7 minutes fixing).

I was quite pleased to be able to go through the whole process without hassles. Including opening the 35mm canister with a bottle opener and loading the film of the automatic reel.

However my negative is very thick, I can hardly see through but still can guess the images. Apparently this is because I used a color film; so I started from the wrong end! Well I’ll start again with a B&W film soon, I still have a few days of holidays left.

DIY scan, at my parent’s house I have no film scanner; I used their flatbed scanner and set a small torch light through a white plastic sheet as a back light in order to scan the thick film.

So I promise I will scan the film again when I am back home.

Oh yeah, the picture taken with my son’s Olympus mju1, is my colleague Oliver in the elevator of the office.

Camera: Olympus Mju1
Film: Kodak Gold 200
Processing: Cafenol
Scanning: HP flatbed scanner, Gimp processing

Caffenol – First test