So here are my latest results experimenting with CineStill film in Caffenol (instant coffee)… I am very happy with this combination! I have found the usable EI for this film-developer combination to range from 100-3200, all with one processing time, but the very best is around EI 640. This test image was made with my 1956 Leica M3 with a 1960 Leica 135mm Leitz Wetzlar Elmar at F5.6.
I’ve been continuously tweaking my Caffenol developer and developing technique over the past few years… I find it to be a very solid go-to developer for virtually any black and white film.
Viva la Revolution- Steve
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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….
You asked for it and I never did it!
I love coffee and I love Caffenol and now there is a great resource with a online free book, recipes, tips and more! Check it out!!
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’s cheap.
- 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.
- 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