Caffenol-C-M Underdevelopment Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by dpn, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. dpn

    dpn Subscriber

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    So I just tried Reinhold's Caffenol-C-M recipe (http://caffenol.blogspot.com/search/label/recipe) for the first time. My negatives appear really underdeveloped, and I'd appreciate any assistance in identifying where I screwed up. :-D

    The film was Neopan Acros in 120 exposed at 100 ISO in open shade.

    Development was 15 minutes at 19-20 C.
    -- Gentle agitation for 30 seconds during first minute.
    -- Gentle agitation for 5-10 seconds every minute thereafter.
    1 minute cold tap water stop bath.
    5 minutes Photographers' Formulary TF-5 fix.
    5 minutes cold tap water wash.

    I mixed the Caffenol-C-M as follows, in the order that follows:

    -- 1000ml distilled water at ~35 C
    -- 54g Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda"
    -- 16g Anhydrous Citric Acid from the Photographers' Formulary (from a new, sealed bottle)
    -- 40g Valutime Instant Coffee: Original Roast. ("100% Coffee")

    (All dry ingredients were measured with an inexpensive digital scale that purported to have 0.1g precision.)

    The citric acid foamed like crazy when I added it to the solution, but I waited until it was clear of bubbles before adding the instant coffee. I may not have waited long enough for all microbubbles to dissipate, but there were no obvious bubbles in the solution.

    After mixing the developer, I put it in an ice bath to bring it down to 20 C before using it to develop my film. It may have dipped to 19 C (or even slightly lower) over the course of the 15 minute development; I was working in a cold garage.

    After searching through other Caffenol-C-M help requests, I thought that my Arm & Hammer super washing soda might not have been water free. So, this morning, I heated it up in my oven in a glass beaker to find out.

    Original Sample Weight: 136.5g
    After 1 Hour at 170F: 136g

    (At this point, I decided to move the heated washing soda powder to a small dish to try to increase the surface area exposed to heat, to see whether that would make a difference.)

    After 2 Hours at 170F: 134.7g

    So, after 2 hours at 170F, the washing soda has lost less than 2% water weight. I'm comfortable saying that I used "waterfree" washing soda. I wasn't using super rigorous lab technique or great instruments for my single sample analysis, but I'm pretty darn sure that the ingredient I used wasn't monohydrate or decahydrate washing soda.

    So, at this point, I think that there might be three potential errors that affected my development:
    1. My instant coffee didn't have enough caffeic acid.
    2. I didn't wait long enough after adding the fizzing anhydrous citric acid before adding the coffee.
    3. I either didn't agitate vigorously enough or my development temperature fell well below 20 C without me noticing.

    Any ideas?

    The negatives, including frame numbers, are very faint. I was able to pull an image out of them (attached), but the histogram I've attached shows how thin the image is.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance!

    -- Dan

    [​IMG]
    Pat (Caffenol-C-M Test) by Cuckoo Wasp, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Caffenol-C-M-Histogram by Cuckoo Wasp, on Flickr
     
  2. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Did you actually use Citric Acid or is that a typo?

    Caffenol-C & variants use Ascorbic Acid

    The real chemists will have to chime in about Citric Acid as a developing agent, but I don't think it is one ... if so, the only developing agent in your brew would have been the Caffeic Acid in the coffee
     
  3. dpn

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  4. jnanian

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    don't feel bad, you may have just discovered another variant.
    i know citric acid is sometimes used as a stop bath, but who knows
    maybe you have realized it can be used in caffenol as well.
    your negatives look nice, hows the grain :smile:

    my stew always foams like mad when i mix in the vit c ...
     
  5. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    As I understand it John, the "original" Caffenol used just coffee, water and some alkali (Bicarb & Hydroxide) but the development time was 25 minutes!

    There's a link in the caffenol cookbook to the original research report: http://people.rit.edu/andpph/text-coffee.html
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Citric acid is not a developing agent nor can I remember anyone on APUG ever saying that it was. The Kendall-Pelz Rule can be used to identify whether an organic chemical is a developing agent or not.
     
  7. grommi

    grommi Member

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    Citric acid kills the working pH and so the developer. Add bicarbonate and sugar and you will have a sparkling lemonade :munch:

    And please don't use bicarbonate as mentioned 2 posts before but washing soda for Caffenol-C-M and other Caffenol variants. Dr. Scott Williams pH-adjustment was done differently with bicarbonate AND pot. hydroxide.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2013
  8. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    which is exactly what my post said.
    no suggestion that bicarb should be used
     
  9. grommi

    grommi Member

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    Yes, pdeeh, 100 % right. I only thought it needs to be confirmed/inforced. You can't imagine what people think they can use for making a developer and creatively interprete recipes. F.e. laundry bleach instead of washing soda..... I often get inquiries why this or that Caffenol recipe doesn't work. For 99,9 % wrong ingredients are used. But since reading and realising has become so uncool I doubt my remark was helpful.

    BTW, by far the most frequent error making Caffenol is using hydrated washing soda instead of the waterfree/anhydrous without recalculating the amounts. It's so easy to check in th the kitchen .... sigh

    Best - Reinhold
     
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  10. jnanian

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    sorry guys,
    i should have installed MORE goofy smily faces in my post,:blink:
    i thought it was obvious that i when i suggested something often times used as STOP BATH:sideways:
    probably would be a good developer ingredient was .. silly ... i guess not silly enough !:w00t:

    i'm going to make some caffenol later today using high quality arabica coffee beans, :munch:
    acetic acid indicator stop bath and tide with oxy clean, i am sure the bubbling action:sick:
    of the OXY will do wonders to scrub my film free of fog ..:bandit:

    i hope all the emoticons i used made it obvious that i am completely joking,
    and by no means would i ever add stop bath to a developer to make it useful :wink:
    nor would i use arabica coffee beans, or laundry detergent with oxiginated bleach in it ...
    probably a good way to kill oneself..
     
  11. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Yep, citric acid is the active ingredient in Ilfostop... and no doubt at a much less concentration! :smile:
     
  12. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    oops ... Sorry Reinhold, I think I was being unnecessarily touchy about "my" post!

    Anyway, hope the OP persists with Caffenol and gets good results next time.
     
  13. grommi

    grommi Member

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    :happy: I love you all, seriously! :heart::heart:
     
  14. dpn

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    The OP has 1lb of ascorbic acid on order from Amazon.com, and will post some (hopefully better) results as they're available. :smile:
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hey dpn

    do you have a trader joe's near you ?
    i found their vit c to be very inexpensive ...
    i think it is less than 10$, maybe about 7 or 8 / lb ...

    have fun ! :smile:
    john
     
  16. dpn

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    I've got a TJ's down the street! I'll check it out tomorrow.
     
  17. DaveDivided

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    Caffenol CM with Efke R25 at Box speed. (Expired film)

    I used Caffenol CM per Rheinhold's Recipe on Eke R25 10 minutes minimal agitation. Despite some comments that Efke R25 Did not like Caffeine the 120 negatives looked beautiful. I used the same batch of developer on Acros 100 for some reason digital truth wanted me to use 15 min minimum agitation, and these negatives came out completely clear, except for the most miniscule traces of data.
    This is the Efke image: https://dave-brown-2dhx.squarespace.com/blog/2013/2/6/sights-and-seeing
    F22 1/4 sec in open sunlight with Polarizer filter.

    I am going to make an attempt to pull an image out of the noise on the Acros Roll, (which was 35mm btw).

    I am on about my fifth or sixth developing experience with some variant of Caffenol and have until this Acros 100 roll been extremely happy with the experience. Sight Seeing.jpg