Caffenol-C-H works
Old 10-20-2010   #1
Ezzie
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Caffenol-C-H works

I´ve been experimenting with Caffenol-C-H lately. Caffenol.blogspot.com has a number of Caffenol recipes for different applications and for stand or agitation development. Common to the all is that they are meant to be speed enhancing (to a lesser or greater degree) and are also good at salvaging highlights and shadow areas.

Anyhow, I can´t be bothered with stand development, so I went for Caffenol-C-H which should work with medium to medium fast films and agitation development. Over on APUG and the Scandinavian forum there´s been a lot of experimenting with Caffenol and different films. Being a homebrew developer there aren´t that many good sources for different films and development times. With a bit of trial and error I´ve ended up developing TMAX 100 (exposed as EI 100) for 18 minutes at 20C. I tried shorter development times to begin with and got usable results, for scanning that is. They were thin, but perfectly salvageable. To make things easier for myself I´ve diluted the different ingredients in water to the required strength for mixing. I need only mix them together when developing. This also helps avoid any debris from undissolved chemicals. As a clearing agent Potassium Bromide is used. I use slightly less than the recommended 1g/l, which works fine for scanning.

I find the scanning and post-processing easier than with the rather thick TMX and TMY-2 negs developed in TMAX developer. However the contrast is slightly less pronounced. But control of highlights and shadows is very good. Without a better scanner its difficult to see if there´s more or less grain, but from what I can see its not bad in that respect. I like the tonality too.

Some examples shot with a Kowa Super 66, 12 on 120.













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Old 10-20-2010   #2
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From what I can see, tonality is this developer´s strong suit. There seems to be quite a bit of latitude to play with. I think I´ll be trying more films in Caffenol once my stock of TMX has run out.

Caffenol-C-H is one of the few recipes that´s designed for agitation development. Most are for stand, or semi-stand development. What´s important is to do things right. Measure the ingredients as you would when diluting any professional developer. Do not listen to those who profess that a spoon of this and a teaspoon of that, and a tablet of other will do the job, because it won´t.
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Old 10-20-2010   #3
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Very nice photographs, the tones looks very sofisticated, very fine, straight composed and sharp also.
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Old 10-20-2010   #4
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Hi guys ! I need a help. I mean HELP ! I live in Toronto, Canada, a place devoid of washing soda I guess, cause I can't get it. Nowhere. Also no pharmacist is interested in getting for me a pure vitamin C, for them I am nuts. And I just want to try caffenol by myself. Love the tonality. Please, someone help me.
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Old 10-20-2010   #5
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Eirik, thanks very much for posting your information and your sample photos. I am quite impressed!

timor -- I had the same problem when I wanted to experiment with caffenol developer earlier this year. It seemed the ingredients were not that easy to locate in Canada.

I ended up buying powdered (crystals) of Vitamin C at a large health food store. It took a bit of hunting but I found some. A small bottle was all they had, but it's been enough.

About the washing soda -- I had the same problem. I found that "OxyClean" powder is made of mostly washing soda, with a small amount of surfactants thrown in. Although the OxyClean wasn't 100% pure washing powder, it was better than nothing.

OxyClean should be available at any large supermarket, like Safeway or something similar. Don't buy a big tub of it until you've tried a small amount and tested it for your purposes.

One thing about the OxyClean -- you must be very thorough in mixing the powder in warm water and getting all the particles to dissolve. It's a real PITA. I don't know why it doesn't dissolve easily, but it takes some effort. Otherwise there will be small granules in your developing tank (it happened to me) and these could possibly affect your results.

Another thing -- because the OxyClean isn't 100% washing soda, your recipe for caffenol might have to be adjusted. When I did a batch of caffenol, I did the recipe according to the website, but I think I didn't wait long enough for the developing. Either that or I didn't agitate enough. Anyways, my results were pretty OK, but not anything like Eirik posted here.

Good luck!
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Old 10-20-2010   #6
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I live in Ottawa and I use Arm and Hammer washing soda found at Loblaw's. It works well for the caffenol c-m work I do. Reinhold (the blog author) is friendly and helpful enough if you ever need help.
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Old 10-20-2010   #7
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Thanks for the comments folks.

How I ended up with 18 minutes for TMAX 100 exposed nominally, was in itself a small project. I've been given a lot of help from the Scandinavian forum on Apug, as well as reading Reinhold's stuff. The key to success is being accurate and consistent. If you don't get the results you would like, post them and ask for help. Adjust one component at a time. I've been lucky in getting hold of the correct ingredients and could more or less rely on the recipes as they stand.

Now getting development times correct is not as diificult as one would think. The benefits of C-C-H are rather similar to Aculux3(1+9), a fellow Apug member told me. One would have to suspect that C-C-H is not quite as effective, so I added a couple of minutes to the recommended TMX in Aculux3 times (massive dev chart), ended up with 11 minutes. This is decidely less than Reinhold's rule of thumb figures of 20 minutes. I found the negatives to be thin but perfectly scannable. Having shot only three different subjects on the film, bracketing each one by 1 stop each way I could easily see I needed another 2/3 of a stop. 11minutes + 0.7 of a stop is closer to 19 minutes. I shaved a minute off this as I would like slightly thinner negatives for scanning.
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Old 10-20-2010   #8
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For what its worth. The distributor of my source of washing soda says the sodium carbonate content is between 60 and 100%. I chose not to adapt the recommended mixture, but rather adapt development times if needed. The function of the washing soda is to raise the pH to over 9, to allow the development to take place. Let the pH sink too much and development will slow up and eventually stop. Thats why stand develoment versions of Caffenol do not require quite as much soda, taking 60-70 minutes to develop as they do. Both vitamin C and Caffeine are acids. Its the caffeine acid that's the developing agent. The more gut rot the coffee the better. Cheap, black as it comes, instant coffee is the best. In this case cheap robust coffee is better than Arabica coffee, more acids. As a clearing agent potassium bromide is better than citric acid. I've seen and read enough to be convinced.
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Old 10-20-2010   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby_novatron View Post
One thing about the OxyClean -- you must be very thorough in mixing the powder in warm water and getting all the particles to dissolve. It's a real PITA. I don't know why it doesn't dissolve easily, but it takes some effort. Otherwise there will be small granules in your developing tank (it happened to me) and these could possibly affect your results.
The granules in OxyClean are microencapsulated, that's why it's hard to get it to dissolve. If you put it in a mortar and pestle first and give it a good crush that will help a lot.

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Old 10-21-2010   #10
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Freakscene -- thanks for the info. I thought it probably had something to do with making the granules suitable for long-release, considering the stuff is used for 40+ minute washing machine cycles.

I have a mortar and pestle (LOL!) -- I'll have to try it out.

Ezzie -- thanks again for posting all the specifics about your caffenol work. It has inspired me to try it out again! I'll post some results in a day or two.
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Old 10-21-2010   #11
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Bobby, Freakscene - Thank You very much for help. Oxy-clean is everywhere, mortar and pestle I will borrow from my wife collection.:=) Is time to go experimental ! I found do another way of making washing soda by heating the baking soda (could be interesting). But first let's oxy-clean the negatives ! Thank's again.
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Old 10-21-2010   #12
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Eirik, is the smell as bad as I've read about?
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Old 10-21-2010   #13
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I found do another way of making washing soda by heating the baking soda
Does this change Sodium Bicarbonate into Sodium Carbonate..? I've been looking for a consistent source of washing soda to try some caffenol dev.
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Old 10-21-2010   #14
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I've just gotten started with film and only developed in Caffenol-C so far - no "real" developer at all yet. Quite nice results being my first go at it, some of the rolls have been a bit thin perhaps. I've been trying a few different films but now I have enough rolls of one film to be able to experiment and find the perfect time...

I found sodium carbonate as a pool supply, used to raise the pH level in swimming pools - it's supposed to be 100% pure.



Some pictures from one of my first rolls, Tmax 100 (scanned with a cheap Epson, default settings for b&w neg):



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Old 10-21-2010   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeL View Post
Eirik, is the smell as bad as I've read about?
It smells, but not that much. Nothing like H2S (stink bomb) or anything like that. If you mix in the correct order, you don't get exposed to the smell for too long either. I mix the sodium carbonate solution with the ascorbic acid solution, add the potassium bromide, and when all settled add the coffee solution. Since I've diluted my chemicals beforehand, ready for mixing I need not let things settle for long. So the ready mix (that's when it starts to smell) is not exposed to the environment for more than a minute before going in the tank. Once in the tank with the lid on, all is well.

I've three two-litre compressible bottles. Each containing ready diluted sodium, ascorbic acid and coffee solutions. How long they will keep is the big question, but I'll find out sooner or later. I think the coffee is most likely to go bad first. The bromide is diluted too in a smaller bottle as one only needs less than half a gram for every 450-500ml of developer.
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Old 10-21-2010   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pobe View Post
I've just gotten started with film and only developed in Caffenol-C so far - no "real" developer at all yet. Quite nice results being my first go at it, some of the rolls have been a bit thin perhaps. I've been trying a few different films but now I have enough rolls of one film to be able to experiment and find the perfect time...

I found sodium carbonate as a pool supply, used to raise the pH level in swimming pools - it's supposed to be 100% pure.



Some pictures from one of my first rolls, Tmax 100 (scanned with a cheap Epson, default settings for b&w neg):



Very well done.
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Old 10-21-2010   #17
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Very Interesting Thread. Thanks all. I think it could be fun to give a try. I usually use Tmax developer as I came on a bulk supply of the concentrate that will go bad before I use it all (according to some anyway). This looks great for more subdued tones. Cheers
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Old 10-22-2010   #18
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pobe -- thanks for the info on the sodium carbonate! I never thought about checking with a pool supply shop. That's a great idea.

Update: I mixed up a batch of Caffenol C-M (without the potassium bromide of the C-H recipe) ... it didn't smell as bad as it did last time.

I pre-mixed the instant coffee (cheapest brand I could find!) in warm water, then added the rest of my ingredients and added water to make the proper volume.

Unfortunately, when I tested the temperature of my mixture, I was at +32 deg Celsius, about 12 degrees higher than the suggested temperature. I was in a reckless mood, so I proceeded anyways. Reckless!

I guesstimated that the increased temps would reduce the developing time, so I made up a number. Twelve minutes! That sounded good.

After developing, I used Kodak stop / fixer / hypo / photo-flo as usual.

The result? The negs had a definite ochre tint. Contrast on the raw negatives seemed somewhat muted compared to conventional commercial developers. But once I scanned them, I was very impressed!

Summary:

o Caffenol C-M developer, 12 minutes at 32 deg C starting temps, agitation 10 sloshes per minute
o conventional stop/fix/hypo/wash
o Camera: Olympus 35RC, with Zuiko 40mm F2.8 lens
o Film: Kodak Tmax 100
o Epson v700 scan, images are 100% unmodified from scanner

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread! I have had a lot of fun with this mini-project.





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Old 10-22-2010   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
Very Interesting Thread. Thanks all. I think it could be fun to give a try. I usually use Tmax developer as I came on a bulk supply of the concentrate that will go bad before I use it all (according to some anyway). This looks great for more subdued tones. Cheers
One of the solvents used in TMax developer concentrate is a glycol of some sort; these help to protect the chemistry from oxidation. I have used it almost a decade out of date and it worked fine. As usual, test and check.

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Old 10-23-2010   #20
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Living dangerously is fun! And your results are not bad at all. I too very much like the results straight out of the scanner. I need only a tad of post-processing to get the results I'm looking for, as opposed to TMAX developer where I felt the need for more adjustments.

The biggest downside of higher development tempratures would be grain. If you want to develop at lower tempratures mix the sodium by itself a half hour before. The coffee solution too, if its the type that needs warm water to dissolve properly. If you can do without bromide, good for you. I'm successively reducing the amount for every film I develop.

Keep up the good work.

EDIT: I got a mail from Reinhold of caffenol.blogspot.com saying that TMAX100 takes very well to Caffenol, and indeed has no need for potassium bromide at all. Meaning Caffenol-C-M will work just as good as the C-H version. Good news, the bromide is the most evasively difficult ingredient to get hold of. Other films may still require a clearing agent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby_novatron View Post
pobe -- thanks for the info on the sodium carbonate! I never thought about checking with a pool supply shop. That's a great idea.

Update: I mixed up a batch of Caffenol C-M (without the potassium bromide of the C-H recipe) ... it didn't smell as bad as it did last time.

I pre-mixed the instant coffee (cheapest brand I could find!) in warm water, then added the rest of my ingredients and added water to make the proper volume.

Unfortunately, when I tested the temperature of my mixture, I was at +32 deg Celsius, about 12 degrees higher than the suggested temperature. I was in a reckless mood, so I proceeded anyways. Reckless!

I guesstimated that the increased temps would reduce the developing time, so I made up a number. Twelve minutes! That sounded good.

After developing, I used Kodak stop / fixer / hypo / photo-flo as usual.

The result? The negs had a definite ochre tint. Contrast on the raw negatives seemed somewhat muted compared to conventional commercial developers. But once I scanned them, I was very impressed!

Summary:

o Caffenol C-M developer, 12 minutes at 32 deg C starting temps, agitation 10 sloshes per minute
o conventional stop/fix/hypo/wash
o Camera: Olympus 35RC, with Zuiko 40mm F2.8 lens
o Film: Kodak Tmax 100
o Epson v700 scan, images are 100% unmodified from scanner

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread! I have had a lot of fun with this mini-project.




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Old 10-23-2010   #21
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Ezzie -- thank you for your comments. I am glad to hear that Tmax is a suitable film for Caffenol ... I have 100 feet of it in my bulk loader!

I am going to try another roll in the next few days.
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Old 10-26-2010   #22
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Third effort with TMAX100 120 film. This time the Caffenol.blogspot.com C-C-H recipe has been slightly modified, the amount of Potassium Bromide has been cut down to 0.5g/l. According the Reinhold, it can be left out altogether, making the recipe C-C-M. We will see.

Anyhow, this time @20C/68F as ever, but for 16 minutes. 1min water stop bath, 5min fix, 20min wash.











Caffenol is now officially my developer of choice, for TMAX at least. My Caffenol set on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ezzie03...7625081279605/
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Old 10-26-2010   #23
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Great results with the Kowa 6x6 and the Tmax / caffenol! Very inspiring.

Sharp images and nice contrast. Congratulations!
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Old 10-26-2010   #24
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Thank you Bobby. Like yours too. I been looking through your flickr
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Old 10-29-2010   #25
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Tested a roll of TMAX400 (TMY-2) the other day. Caffenol-C-H for 15 min @20C/68F. I bracketed the shots a great deal to get an idea as to if the development time was more or less in the right ballpark. I´m familiar with a lot of people rating TMY-2 to EI 320, but pushed the film by 1 and 2 stops none the less. Not sure what I found out, but one of the motifs at least had some visual impact. The other two not so much.

I think the next TMY-2 roll will be exposed at EI 320, and developed for the same length of time.

TMY-2/EI 800 in Caffenol-C-H:
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