December 12, 2014

arabica coffee or not

We recently had a discussion at Apug if pure arabica coffee without Vit-C would do any development, one guy reported that he had no development at all with arabica coffee. We can read at different places that the cheap and awful robusta would be the best for developing film and arabica would be worse, but no development at all? Furthermore, I didn't have single report here on my blog of any failure caused by arabica coffee. Au contraire, people told me that they used 100% arabica "premium" instant coffee, because it was at hand, and got excellent results. I also made such an experiment and could confirm, that pure arabica coffee was not worse than any other I tried so far. But I made the test with Caffenol-C. Now I decided to make a side by side comparison of 100 % arabica and the cheapest instant coffee available here without Vit-C, to get the results from coffee with washing soda alone. To make it worse, I used decaffeinated(!) arabica. Both samples were developed at the same time side by side. To make a simple story simple: I can't distinguish both! They look exactly the same, even held against a lamp for better judgement: identical blackening. To be honest, I wasn't surprised very much. But of course using a more expensive coffee is a waiste of money.

PS: my old flickr buddy Larry aka inetjoker just said that he only once had a failure with caffenol, and it was a deacidified coffee. Again no big surprise, caffeic acid is regarded as the main developing agent of coffee. Thank you so much, Larry for all your help and simply for being around always.


Both developments were made with snippets of Polylan F, I cut off 1 edge for the arabica developement and 2 edges for the "cheap" development for further reference. The recipe for both was:

40 g/l instant coffee and 40 g/l washing soda waterfree, that's it. pH was about 9.9 for both. Fixing and rinsing as usual.

Stand developed 60 minutes at room temp with some stirring every 10 minutes or so. That was a quick and dirty test, everybody can repeat it with a minimum effort.

See you guys, happy developings


December 7, 2014

the new old RPX 400

 Hi coffee users and abusers,

good news about film and Caffenol. The "original" Rollei RPX 400 is back!

The RPX 400 from the very first production was a great film with good pushing behaviour and nice grain. Then the emulsion was changed obviously without any announcement. I couldn't see any difference to the Kentmere 400 now, and I never liked this film. 
Here is my original post on the RPX 400 with an update adressing that point:

Many people, incuding me, complained about this inaceptable behaviour. After the new package design was launched recently the emulsion obviously changed again, now showing again all the great features of the first batch. Obviously our lament was successful. Shadow detail is splendid, even with extremely contrasty subjects. EI 1600 is possible. The RPX 400 needs a powerful development to show his best side.

I used exactly the same development as before: 5 minutes presoak, Caffenol-C-L with 1.2 g/l pot. bromide, 80 minutes at 24 °C stand development with constant agitation only for the first minute. And I got the same great results as almost 4 years earlier. EI was 800, all shots done with a Dynax 5 (Maxxum 5) in multi-segment metering mode with aperture priority at f/4, no manual exposure compensation. The subject contrast was big to huge up to more than 10 stops! Only very small adjustments were made in postproduction. Shadow detail was so splendid that I had to darken them a bit.

Credits go to a friendly guy who sent me 2 films for this test. Thank you very much! And thanks to the 2 charming girls who let me take the picture.

Best - Reinhold

February 20, 2014


for my german friends... Don't worry, this blog stays in englisch language. This post is an exeption.

Das Bild kann wie alles von mir ohne weitere Nachfrage nichtkommerziell frei benutzt werden. Klick ins Bild für eine größere Darstellung.
Viele Grüße - Reinhold

January 2, 2014

How to avoid spots

Often it's not easy to get clean negatives without spots, drying marks etc. Fernando e.g. asked what he can do to get rid of these spots. Instead of a reply as a comment here my thoughts about avoiding spots with all kinds of films:

Hi Fernando, the thin emulsions of microfilms show every fault unmercifully. No, I don't filter the mix, but I found that using destilled water for the developer is neccessary for microfilms no matter which developer you use. And the fixer can make problems. I sometimes had masses of white spots with most films and after trying a lot there was no other explanation left that the fixer had to be blamed. Now I use a more than 30 years old Agefix (no joke!) and have the cleanest negs ever. When the bottle is empty I will buy only premium branded fixer and nothing else. And again, use destilled water for the fixer! I had 2 different but cheap fixers causing many problems.

Rinsing I do with tap water, the final one again with destilled water that got a dash of dish soap. Put the film completely in this bath, then hang to dry and pour the bath with the dish soap over the film on both sides. No wiping.

January 1, 2014

happy new year

Happy new year 2014 everybody.

Medium format quality with slow technical (micro) 35mm films and Caffenol-C as a great and cheap developer compared to the dedicated and expensive soups? Yes, why not? The results are first class using a proven recipe and adjusted dev times. Using really fine resolving zoom lenses at bright sunshine make it possible to get great results even handheld, of course fast prime lenses are first choice for every subject.

There are also films from fresh production as Rollei ATO, Rollei Ortho 25, Rollei ATP, Agfa Copex Rapid, and of course the new Kentmere/RPX 25. The latter are not technical films and will probably need some more minutes dev time.

Another sample from the excellent Kodak Technical Pan, developed 12 minutes at 20 °C in Caffenol-C-L with 0.1 g/l pot. bromide, regular agitation, means first 60 seconds continuously, thereafter 3x every minute. Excellent tonal range even at heavy backlight.

Love and peace - Reinhold

click for a bigger size