As you know I’ve been doing a lot of testing with Caffenol C in preparation for my book The Photographer’s Coffee Break but this morning I needed to run a quick test with Caffenol (no C) and Kodak 400TX… the results are really nice. With the Caffenol you get a usable film speed around 100 with nice contrast and grain… what’s not to like? Additionally, I have been spending time testing different methods to eliminate edge density which is very common on Caffenol and Caffenol C processed films- this morning I think I nailed it… more testing this afternoon but this image had no edge density which my previous tests with this film and others did have.
This is really amazing… with my final tweak the Caffenol C process is giving me Fuji Acros with a usable EI from 25-800… I suspect that 1200 would also be fine… this is all with the same processing time / technique. The scan was a s straight scan with no sharpening and each image was just set for proper contrast in PS… wow!
Wait till you see the TMAX 100… I’ll post it tomorrow, it is equally amazing.
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!