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Thread: caffenol times

  1. #1
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    caffenol times

    I've been experimenting with Donald Qualls' Caffenol C and Tri X. The results have been really amazing to me, since I don't generally like Tri X at all. The "newspaper shot" look of Tri X gives way to an astounding tonal range in the Caffenol C. I want to try other emulsions but I don't have any time reference beyond the 20 minutes with Tri X. Being the lazy man that I am, I thought I'd tap this resevoir of experience and knowledge to save myself the time and film necessary to work it all out myself. Hey, the wheel has already been invented; why do it again?

    Any info on HP5, EFKE 50, or 100, what-have-you?

    Thanks,
    Whitey

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    bobfowler's Avatar
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    I get excellent results with both Plus-X and J&C 200 - 25 minutes at 75F in a Unidrum.
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    If you search back for the caffenol threads on photo.net, you might turn up a few more starting times.

    If you like caffenol, try ABC Pyro. It's a similar look (and similarly grainy), but with more contrast and less base fog. It produces beautiful highlight detail.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    chemicals

    Thanks, Bob. I'm just about to try drum development. So far I've been doing 35mm in a small tank. I loaded some 4x5 to try and did one test sheet. The drum rotation starts next week. I have some 5x7 J&C 200 that I will try with some old lenses. Low contrast, but it may work out... Who knows?

    David. One of the reasons for trying Caffenol is the immediate reaction my skin seems to have to other developers. I figured that if I can drink coffee, I can get my hands wet with it and not worry too much. Too many years with various solvents and other arts materials. Nitrile gloves are great, but I forget sometimes and handle equipment inexpertly cleaned by students.

    Now if I can substitute something in the darkroom for paper development...

  5. #5
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    There's an article on the RIT website about coffee developers, and I remember that it mentions that the students who were experimenting with such things found that mint tea worked even better. It might be worth trying, if you're looking to use this sort of thing as a serious alternative developer, and if you have a garden, mint is one of those things that is hard to kill.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Caffenol isn't mine (other than the name) -- I got it from a posting on photo.net a year or so ago, and that was from the Roger Bunting article (which in turn was based on the RIT student research from the mid-1990s). Caffenol C is an innovation by Titrisol, based (as I recall) on a suggestion from Gadget Gainer. Only Caffenol LC (the low contrast version for use with Tech Pan and microfilm) is in any way mine.

    That said, I've found standard Caffenol to work pretty well with 25-30 minutes on Plus-X, Fomapan 100, and Tri-X, suggesting it's likely to give good images in that range on a wide range of other materials. Best I can suggest is develop a test roll for 30 minutes, and then adjust based on prints, not on "reading" the negative (because the imagewise stain will print as denser than it looks to the eye).

    It's hard to argue with a developer you could drink (though with the carbonate in it, it would probably taste really, really bad). It certainly won't hurt your skin (assuming you're not allergic to coffee, that is).

    One thing I haven't tried, but that might be interesting, is accelerating the activity of Caffenol by increasing the alkalinity, using (for instance) a low concentration of sodium hydroxide instead of the sodium carbonate. I also haven't tried it with borax replacing the sodium carbonate. Either is practically certain to work, but sodium hydroxide is considerably less "people friendly" and borax will most likely result in slower activity, requiring still longer development. Might be worth looking at sodium phosphate as an alternate alkali; it's again much stronger than carbonate, but less hazardous to handle than sodium hydroxide.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

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    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    I stand (happily) corrected

    Caffenol isn't mine (other than the name) -- I got it from a posting on photo.net a year or so ago, and that was from the Roger Bunting article (which in turn was based on the RIT student research from the mid-1990s). Caffenol C is an innovation by Titrisol, based (as I recall) on a suggestion from Gadget Gainer. Only Caffenol LC (the low contrast version for use with Tech Pan and microfilm) is in any way mine.

    Donald,
    Attribution corrections appreciated... and thanks given to all. Your consistently helpful postings on this -in this forum and in those others which shall not be named- have made me try the stuff. I find that the Vitamin C is key to success for me. Straight Caffenol didn't do it. I've been using 20 minutes at 72 degrees F. I'm going to try it with Efke 50 for some experiments.

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    titrisol's Avatar
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    Caffenol threads:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum42/8491-alternative-developers-coffee-all.html
    http://www.apug.org/forums/article.php?a=22

    I added vitamin C to Caffenol for sme tests using JC Pro 100.
    Which I developed for about 30 minutes (70F) with good results.
    EFKE 100 reacts well to caffenol, the stain is very strong so enlargement times were long (60 -90 secs). Caffenol C helped a lot in makning the stain a tad less dense and development times were in the same ballpark 25-30 minutes.
    Have not tried in HP5, but I have in FP4 (120) with good results.
    I tried APX 100 but found that it required at least 45 minutes to develop some image.

    It is fun to experiment with, so please report back!
    Mama took my APX away.....



 

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