Testing Leica Monochrome and Film


I shoot both with the Leica Monochrome and my Leica MP. I find that for lens work the Monochrome is pretty hard to beat especially if you understand the proper Monochrome workflow: most work I see online made with the Monochrome is not done to maximize what the camera is capable of doing. I will post a more in-depth review on the MM in a couple of weeks. Right now, however, my testing is looking at the MM compared to my MP using three different films (Bergger BRF400+, Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak BW400CN) and my pinhole systems and long exposures at high-speed EI. I have been testing a variety of different developers from Rodinal to Xtol and of course Caffenol. There is just something I like about the Caffenol negatives.

I’ll be posting an in-depth article in a couple of days looking at these films and developers all for the purposes of high-speed use and scanning. Of course this info will be valuable to any low light shooter as well….stay tuned!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

PS- I did test in Diafine BUT as I am looking for speeds of a solid 1600+ it was not a good choice….


I Love Coffee: Caffenol C Developer, Test 1

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?

  1. It’s cheap.
  2. It is enviromentally sound.
  3. It has a unique visual quality from other developers I’ve used… a “vintage” quality.
  4. It produces negatives that are “easy” to scan.
  5. It can be done on almost all films with varying degrees of success.
  6. It’s fun!

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:

A Use for that Last Cup of Coffee: Film and Paper Development