Saturday, June 1, 2013

Can the developer CSS develop C-41 films?

A resume of what has been done until yet:

First of all, I wanted to produce a caffenol developer that can be stored and used as a 2-bath developer. The first part of the developer was made of coffee, vit. C and sodium sulfite as preservative. This goal was achieved when I mixed 200g of coffee and 200g of vit C in preboiled water containing 0,5% sodium sulfite as preservative. I putted two small bottles of 100 ml each in my refrigerator and used for months without any quality loss. This developer I called it CS, Caffenol Strong, because you only need some mililiters per liter of part B. Part B is just a 5% solution of sodium carbonate with 0,1% of potassium bromide as anti-foggant. This was a very clever choice, based on the second Bath of the 2-bath color developer of Donald Qualls. I only need to have allways enough of this bath B, which stores for ever, to develop B&W and color film, only the bath A is different. A detail of all this is that for CS, I only use one bath made of part B with some mililiters of part A.

One day I discovered by chance that a small amount of CD4 (the developing agent for C-41 films) added to the Caffenol Strong makes it a very strong B&W developer. So strong that I could reduce the amount of coffee and Vit C to the half of what I used in the CS developer. To this new «soup» I called then CSS, Caffenol Super Strong. I have been using it with good results to develop B&W films and paper. There was a slight variation in Bath B, which is now, for film, a mix of sodium sulfite and sodium carbonate instead of just sodium carbonate. For paper I use the same part B of sodium carbonate and without potassium bromide.

What happens if I use CSS to develop C-41 films? I waited quite a long time before I decided to spoil some films like I already did before, when I started with Caffcol (see the page of my recipes).

First of all, I started giving the same time duration used with CSS for B&W film to a C-41 film and then just fixed to see if something was there. Indeed, there was images to see. Then I passed a tail of the film in bleach to see if the image would be washed out like silver image. No, nothing like that, the film becomes transparent and the image stays, but... Black and White, no color can be extracted from this film. Well, it is a way of using C-41 films as Black and White ones with the advantage of the transparency when compared to the cross process of C-41 to Black and White.

C-41 film developed with CSS

To be continued, read in the next article further about getting C-41 developed with some color in it.

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