Saturday, November 28, 2015

Is Caffenol a fine grain developer?

 I got two packs of 30.5 m TMax-400 film expired in 1998. From the beginning I saw that this film was very grainy and I had to search for a fine grain developer. After some bad experiences, I decided to make a batch of a Diafine clone and it worked more or less well, giving still grain but acceptable.

Expired TMax-400 developed with a Diafine Clone

But I always had the impression that films developed with Caffenol using only coffee and not too much soda had very small grain. So, I tried it with the above mentioned expired film. I was positively surprised. In fact, I got much less grain, as shown bellow:

Expired TMax-400 developed with Caffenol

The Caffenol I am using now has following recipe:

20 g/l soluble cheap coffee
10 g/l Potassium Carbonate
4 g/l Table Salt

Usage: 90 minutes at 20ºC, almost stand development. Agitation each 5 minutes or so.

My last developed film with this developer was a 120 TMax-400 but not expired, exposed with a Weltaflex 6x6.

TMax-400 developed with Caffenol

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

C-41 without CD4?

A reader and friend of this blog, Matveev Vladimir from Russian Federation, is in contact with me since some time, maybe months now. And he is also trying to develop C-41 films without CD4. In fact, CD4 is only a modern stuff, if we read about the history of color photography, other substances came first.

Perahps this is the case of PPD, paraphenylenediamine, that has been used before CD4, besides CD4 is a derivative of paraphenylenediamine.

OK, nevertheless, old technics are sometimes forgotten and someday nobody knows how it was first. For instance, one of the first fixers in silver photography was common salt but nobody believes it today.

Returning to the theme, this friend from Russia, Matveev Vladimir, wrote me and shared his experiment of developing a C-41 film without CD4, but using PPD instead. And it worked very well indeed.

The first picture is the direct scan of the negative developed w/o CD4 and the second is the same picture automatically adjusted by the scanner. To be sure of this, I downloaded the first pic and made auto adjustments with a software and I've got the same result. 


This is, for me, an importante step in the search for an alternative C-41 developer using a common product and not a commercial one. This common product may be a product containing PPD, such as hair dye for instance. I have been trying it without success, but now I have a proof that PPD does develop color in C-41 films and I will be trying again, in order to find an alternative C-41 developer from scratch.