The Official Caffenol and Caffenol C Page here on Figital Revolution is now live! Over the next few months this page will provide updates on the status of The Photographer’s Coffee Break, the book, as well as provide links to interesting articles and images using the Caffenol process elsewhere on the web.
I just finished tweaking the Acros in Caffenol C and yes an EI of 1600 is very possible, as the sample image below shows… 3200 is just a tad past my liking but for some shots it would be usable. Click on both images to see a larger view.
The dark barn boards above the windows were placed at Zone 3… they were EV 0. The detail outside the window fell on Zone 14. The detail image below is a 3″ x 3″ crop from a 20″ x 20″ print… pretty impressive.
My metering technique for these images is a stripped-down Zone approach that will be outlined in some detail in my next book The Photographers Coffee Break … I feel it fits the Caffenol C process quite well.
As I have mentioned here on FR I am in the process of putting together a book called The Photographers Coffee Break which will outline my technique for the Caffenol C process as well as considerations and techniques for scanning, PS imagework and printing. So, I’ve decided to ask the question… what format would you like to see The Photographers Coffee Break take: Book, PDF Downloadable Book, Book and PDF option, Video (DVD) or online Video… I’m just looking for some feedback here. SO PLEASE VOTE BELOW!
My plan is to make the final version- whatever form it may take- both informative and affordable. And don’t forget: sales of The Photographers Coffee Break will help support this web site and its content!
The testing continues… BW400CN (C-41) by Kodak processed in my tweaked Caffenol C… the testing for this film is almost done… usable EI is around EI 50 – 400 / 800 all with the same processing time! Grain has a nice defined presence but not overpowering. A big advantage to this material beyond the flexability of the EI as mentioned above is the fact that is has fantastic reciprocity characteristics (no compensation required till 120 seconds) and it is very easy to scan on almost any scanner.
Below is a sample image shot with my Leica MP with a 28mm lens – the EI for this shot is 200. The dark barn board above the doors was placed at Zone 3… the light snow outside which has full detail is Zone 16!! This is a straight scan with minor adjustments in PS for contrast / levels… more soon.
Here is an example just for comparision of the same test shot on Kodak Tmax 400 processed in PMK using the technique outline here… instant coffee is looking pretty dam good!
Note: both shots were done using only natural light.
Here is a test image that I shot this afternoon with a huge dynamic range … it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit- but anything for art! The image was made with my Rollei TLR on Fuji Acros at box speed, processed in Caffenol C. So, what do I see?… a very nice range of tones, very sharp and nicely defined grain. The dark barn boards were metered for Zone 3 and the white patch of snow in the background fell around Zone 9.5 and yes there is tone… the sky in between the branches is a Zone 7.5. Overall I am very happy with the results and the level of control this unconventional developer provided for such a difficult shot. The scan was done on my Imacon… in Photoshop I did some standard black point and white point adjustments as well as a bit of a boost to contrast but not much more. The negative has very much a Diafine quality with regards to the required photoshop “S” curve to increase contrast and is very neutral in that it could easily be adjust to many different visual qualities. Interesting…
This detail crop would be from a 30″ x 30″ print and would represent a 4″ x 4″ area. Do you see the bent nail?… not bad for Coffee!
The sample images below are my second set of test shots processed using Caffenol C… the first image is Ilford FP4+ and the second is Fuji Acros… the Acros in my opinion is quite amazing! The Acros has the lowest fog level of any film I have tested so far (8 films and counting in Caffenol) and has a good usable range and very nice fine grain. The FP4+ was processed using the time posted on Digital Truth with very good success.
I’m not sure if it reads on the screen but in the Acros image there is very good detail in the left side dark region… both images were shot with my Leica MP with a 28mm lens at box speed. The Acros processing time and technique will be discussed later…
Viva la Revolution
If coffee is good for me (and it is)…. it must be good for my film, right? I had heard about developing film in coffee back when I went to RIT but have never got around to trying it- until now.
My first test rolls were Kodak 400TX in both 35mm and in 120. The 35mm (above image) was shot in my Leica MP with a 28mm lens and the 120 was shot with the Cuboid using a F72 pinhole.
The method I used for mixing the developer can be found here on Digital Truth. My agitation was 1st minute constant and then 3 inversions per minute till end of time which for 400TX I chose 30 minutes at 70 F. After looking at my test negatives I think they are over-developed by quite a bit but my Imacon had no issue making a good scan. The increased development was a result I believe of the ascorbic acid added in the Caffenol C recipe. If I were to do 400TX again with this recipe I would go for around 20 minutes but I would need to run a test to confirm that time.
If you google Caffenol C or just Caffenol you will find a wide range of opinions regarding this processing technique. The grain is large and sharp and the film is VERY low contrast but that can be a good thing for scanning.
So why would you want to do this?
It is enviromentally sound.
It has a unique visual quality from other developers I’ve used… a “vintage” quality.
It produces negatives that are “easy” to scan.
It can be done on almost all films with varying degrees of success.
If you want to see a larger version of the picture above click here. Please note it is a large file.
Next test…. Ilford Fp4+ in Caffenol C using the time suggestion also found on Digital Truth. The 400TX I used for this test is a bit too fast for my current needs and from what I can gather from other users of Caffenol C Fp4+ is a good choice… stay tuned.
One last note… it smells like hell!
Viva la Revolution!
Link to article on RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) web site: