Sunday, March 31, 2013

Superadditivity between Caffenol and CD4

The process C41 (color negative) uses as developer agent a derivative of p-phenilenediamine called just CD4 because its chemical name is terrible. If you wish to know, just search in internet, but I don't think it is of interest now. When I develop color today, I prefer the 2-bath developer of Dignan, whose formula is given here.

I made 1 L of bath A and I still have more than 3/4 liter after developing several C41 films, I even don't n know how many...

CD4 is also a B&W developer. I was trying to use it as such and I made a bath B of Sodium Sulfite and Carbonate with a pH of about 11 or maybe a little above, wheeling to test CD4 as B&W developer. But I didn't use it in a split mode, I joined instead 10ml of bath A to the bath B and putted a strip of film in it. Waited and waited and nothing happened. Because I already tested Caffenol strong with this B solution and it took some 30 minutes or more to develop, I thought that maybe a small amount of Caffenol Strong would bring help. Yes, it did! Only 1% of Caffenol boosted the developer to develop in just 5 to 10 minutes.

CD4 + Caffenol Strong

Note: I have been testing this new Caffenol that maybe called Super Strong. A first formula for the concentrate solution can be this one:

700 ml water
5 g Sodium Sulfite
100 g coffee
100 g Vit. C
6 g CD4
Water to make 1 L

1 liter is too much, it will last forever. I would rather make just 100 ml or maybe 250ml.

For the basic bath I suggest:

700 ml water
60 g Sodium Sulfite
20 g Sodium Carbonate
1 g Potassium Bromide
Water to make 1 L


Use 1% of Caffenol Super Strong (CSS) in the basic bath.

Developing time at about 18ºC was measured to be cerca 10 minutes with Fomapan 400.

I didn't use this recipe yet with a roll film, only with stripes of film. I hope to do this tomorrow, I can't wait for the results, I am very optimistic about quality.

Another note: Times depend very much on pH and Potassium Bromide quantity. For the last I have 250ml of a 10% solution and I measure it very accurate with a siringe. 1g are 10ml of this solution per liter of basic solution.

New achievements (2-4-13):

The basic bath I suggested has too much sulfite and when the development is longer it will dissolve the silver and undesired deposits may occur on film. So, I made followuing adjustments with better results:

700 ml water
20 g Sodium Sulfite
20 g Sodium Carbonate
1 g Potassium Bromide
Water to make 1 liter

Use 2% of the Caffenol Super Strong instead of 1%. Development time is about 10-20 minutes at 20ºC.

New actualization (2-4-13 again):

I have just developed a roll with the basic bath as above mentioned + 2% of Caffenol Strong 30 minutes at 18ºC, just in case... Sometimes the tests with stripes are not confident and better overdeveloped than under. Looks OK, so far. In some hours I will post the photos. The shutter of my new made camera was giving double exposure (see the upper part of the picture of this post), I think this has been fixed now.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Caffenol Strong, FP4 and the fixer problem

I have been testing the "incompatibility" between Caffenol+C and the fixer Ammonium Thiosulfate using the film Fomapan 100. But my sotck of this film ended, I had to use now the Ilford FP4. The results are almost the same as with Fomapan 100, only the FP4 gives more grain, like you can see in the pictures below.

I kept the same procedure as last time with Fomapan, washing 15 minutes between developer and fixer with a dilution of 1:30. Some white points could be recognized, mainly at the central part of the film, all along it. But they were not in such an extension that a little software retouch would be annoying.

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
The last picture remained without retouch, as you see the amount of points is not that awful thing with the stars.

Awful white spots

Note: All photos were taken with the new camera I built with a Leitz Emar lens 50mm, f/3,5.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Caffenol and Vit.C based developers and fixer

I started a thread at Flickr, where I defended to use the fixer (Ammonium Thiosulfate) very diluted and just once. I thought, if 100ml fixer is to be diluted in 500ml water and will fix about 10 films, then each film uses 10ml of fixer. So, if this 10ml are putted in one 500ml bath, we have a dilution of 1:50. I tried first with 1:60 dilution and this took 1 hour to fix a film. With this dilution I could identify some white spots in the pictures (this problem has been identified also by other experimenters).
Caffenol Strong + 1:60 fixer

Next time I raised the dilution to 1:30 and, accidentally, I did not wash very well between developer and fixer. I got images like this:

Caffenol Strong + 1:30 fixer, bad wash in between
I came to the hypothesis that maybe the developer and fixer had some incompatibility. The developer was my Caffenol Strong with coffee and Vitamine C.

So, I did another experiment, keeping the dilution and film and washing very well between developer and fixer.

Caffenol Strong + 1:30 dilution and a 15min. wash in between
Please don't look to the right side of the picture, it is not sharp as it should. This new camera I made needs some adjustments. But here are again the small white points like in the first picture with 1:60, I mean 1:30,  dilution of the fixer.

Analizing with an enlarging lens the film, I could see that these points were a kind of grains that could be cleaned out with a soft cloth, giving then:

The same as above + cleaning with soft cloth
Note: I made a mistake, I meant 1:30 (see in red above) instead of 1:60.

Observations: For the films I used until now, Fomapan 100 and Ilford FP4, a 1:30 solution of the liquid concentrated fixer (Fomafix) needs one hour to fix, i.e., half an hour to clear.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The blog is my diary, but not disposable.

The blog is where I speak to myself, but I don't keep it secret, I have nothing to hide.

Today, I am going to talk about disposable cameras. The so called disposable cameras, at least all those I have used, are not disposable cameras, they are reusable cameras. They can be reloaded with film and the battery may be changed too. Only that sometimes the reuse is so expensive that it doesn't pay the work.

I have bought, at a chinese shop, very cheap disposable cameras. They are covered with a paper mask and, taking the mask away, I could see that it was recycled in fact. So, the chinese take our garbage, they recycle it and sell it again to us.

The first time I used a disposable camera, I was surprised by the quality. Ok, it is not the non plus ultra but very acceptable in what sharpness is concerned and they are, in general, very wide angle. Since then I use these cameras to expose the films I want to develop in a new experimental developer.

Last Christmas I went to USA to visit two brothers of mine and their children and grand children. I took only a small digital camera with me, thinking that maybe I could use a film camera I bought at ebay and gave the address of my older brother living in USA. But it was only the body of a Leica R3 and it was not possible, in so short time, to get a lens for it. So, I decided to buy two disposable cameras of the brand Fujifilm to take some film pictures. But it was not a good choice, all the pictures taken with flash were underexposed, the flash was, maybe, not well synchronized with the oppening of the shutter. Well, this was not really a problem because the digital did took almost the same family pictures too.

But in one of the roll films there were some pictures I took at the Brown University, in Providence, at daylight. I don't know whether I will succeed to reproduce this result, but the color film of Fuji, developed in Dignan's 2-bath developer, gave almost black and white pictures. I don't know what caused this, if it was the film or the developer. For the second developer bath I used not only 5% soda + 0.5% bromide but a already used Caffenol Strong work solution which is the same 5% soda + 0.5% bromide plus 1% Caffenol Strong.

Color negative scan

B&W megative scan

I would say, the second picture is better than the first. So, here are some other of the same roll, scanned as B&W pictures. The color version is much inferior.

Some people is using color C41 films cross-processed in B&W. This means that they bypass the Bleach bath, which gives very foggy negatives. Here, in this (new?) method, the film was bleached as normal color negative. The only difference with C41 is that Caffenol Strong was present in the second developer bath. Npw I have to repeat the experience with another film to be sure that the process works the same way.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My cat is my model

Recently a friend (girl) of my youngest daugther bought a film camera, a Nikon F50. It works full automatic, like a DSLR, automatic film transport, automatic focus and exposure or speed according to film speed, which is also automatic set, the camera reads the bar code at the film cartridge. It can work manual too and it is a SLR, so a very nice piece indeed.

I don't know where she bought the camera but maybe at the flee markt or ebay. The camera was not working and she already tryied to change the lithium 6V battery and didn't work too. She asked my daughter whether her father (me) could take a look. And the camera is there, on the table, and works fine now. The problem was just to pull the contacts of the battery and apply a spray to clean them. To be sure that the camera was working properly, I exposed a 24 exp. film and developed it with Dignan's developing 2-bath method.

Automatic focus and exposure with Nikon F50

This 2-bath developer, at room temperature, tend to give violetish pictures. This is not a serious issue because the color correction is easy with adequate software. I use Photoscape, a free program which makes photo treatment very easy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

You should try it!

A 50ml bottle can develope 10 films or more
If you would like to try this Beta version of Caffenol Strong, please order. Important: I don't think people living in USA (or with similar laws) should order, customs will not let the product pass by. Be sure of this before you order. Origin is Portugal.

Caffenol Strong is to be added to a 5% solution of Sodium Carbonate with 0,5% Potassium Bromide, not included. Potassium Bromide will keep fog in acceptable limits, but it works also without it. Developping time is about 30 minutes at 20ºC or a little more. I only tested Fomapan 100 with it and I would appreciate others experience.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Caffenol Strong and a little color

I have a secret faith, I believe that I will someday be capable of developing C41 films without the special substance CD4 a paraphenilenediamine derivative present in C41 developers. But until this day comes, I go on experimenting. Some people claim to develop color with hair dye but I never saw acceptable results of this. I had luck too sometimes but never was able to reproduce the result.

The work solution of Caffenol Strong, which is almost only soda, I use to discard. But the last two times I decided to keep the work solution and give it a second chance.

Last weekend I drove some 100 km around my town and took some pictures with a dsposable camera, while driving. The weather was clowdy and rainy with the Sun showing from time to time. It was nice to drive under this weather conditions.

Once at home, I decided to develope the film in Caffenol Strong to which I added 10ml of a 1/2 liter solution of hair dye in water. A 60ml tube dissolved in water. If no color would be developed, at least I would have a B&W negative. In fact we can't speak yet of color process but some pictures were nice to see when scanned as color negatives.

Example 1
Example 2

Example 3
Example 4
The pics above suggested me to colorize them with blue, specially the number 1 that resulted a little blueish. And the result is to be seen bellow:
Example 1 - Blue
Example 2 - Blue
Example 3 - Blue
Example 4 - Blue
OK! I didn't get color yet, but my faith is not touched, I will continue trying and trying.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

United Colors of Coffee

Caffenol Strong again!

Like announced before, the developer I called Caffenol Strong has some awesome properties. One of these properties is that the negative acquires, not a coffeelike color but rather the opposite, a blueish look at transparency. The inverted color becomes more like coffee color. The picture bellow was scanned as negative color without any adjustments. With software I corrected luminosity and contrast and a little focus because the camera was refurbished and the new lens is a bit out of focus which I also tryed to make better using an aperture of f/22. The color is the color seen by the scanner as if the film was a color negative.

On the other hand, if I accept the automatic correction of the scanner, I get the second picture. Note that it is not full grey scale, it has a kind of Ilford Multigrade IV paper look.

Finally, the third picture was converted in pure grey scale with the software Photoscape. It is a B&W picture now, like most of the people is pretending to reach.

UCC-3 = B&W
I propose that, depending also on the picture, all three possibilities should be considered in the final result. And if we are developing with coffee it seems obvious that the picture has some coffee color in it. And this happens, at least using Fomapan 100, naturally, without need to colorize the original.

The second look may give very interesting results, like the one below:


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Will you try Caffenol Strong?

I would like to engage more people with this developer that uses very little amounts of coffee and Vit. C and that you may store almost for ever, although in stock solution. I know nothing about reusing the work solution, never tryied. I prefer to use a fresh prepared work solution and this is what a hobby photographer should always do because the number of films is small, most of the times and you may want to use other developers and not only of one kind.

I repeat here the recipe of the stock solution of Caffenol Strong for 100ml:

20g soluble coffee
20g Vit. C
0,5g Sodium Sulfite or other preservative like metabisulfites


Boil half a liter water for some minutes and let it cool. Dissolve 0,5g Sodium Sulfite in this water (not easy but you may have a stock solution (with boiled water) of, say, 5g NaSO3 in 1 liter, and use about 100ml of this solution.

Assuming this, take some 50ml of this solution and add the coffee and vit C, let the foam settle and complete with the sodium sulfite water to make 100ml. Store in an amber bottle.

In the curve above, the times I got for the B&W film Fomapan 100.

To make the work solution:

Dissolve 25g of Sodium Carbonate, aka Washing Soda, and 0,5g of KBr in 500ml water and add 5ml of the stock solution to it. Use this as developer.

If you don't want or if you have doubts about this, I may send you a 50ml bottle of the stock solution for you to try. Using 5ml per film this will develop some 10 or more films. This offer is for the first 5 interested commenters.

One of the last films
It has been difficult to establish the times due to the weakness of the developer, very sensible to the variations of KBr wich is a restrainer but also cares about less fog and accutance of the photos. The photo above is underdeveloped, I had 14ºC temperature tap water and gave only 90 minutes instead of maybe 120 minutes.