Hello coffee (ab)users,
I'm very happy to present Eiriks report about his reduced soda/ascorbic-acid versions. Have a nice reading, and I recommend visiting his sites linked below. He's a great photographer and a very nice guy. Thank you so much, Eirik.
Happy developings - Reinhold
That's what Eirik wrote:
promised Reinhold a long time ago I would write an article on the
(RS) and (RSA) versions of his recipes.
many others, when I started out with Caffenol I perused the net for
tips on where to start. I concluded pretty early on that these 8tsp
of this, a pinch of that, and a cup of other recipes, were not going
to cut it for me. Reinhold’s precise and predictable recipes
however were exactly what I was looking for. In addition to reading
everything on his blog, I joined a Caffenol group on Flickr, and a
long ongoing thread on the Scandinavian APUG forum to discuss and
like to be accurate in my work, but I am also lazy. So I soon tried
out premixing Caffenol, instead of having to dissolve powders and mix
them up for every development. My approach was to dissolve the
ingredients in larger quantities and store them in light and airtight
bottles. Then mix them, one third each, when developing. For this to
work, each solution had to be 3 times the prescribed strength. And it
worked well. The ingredients did not go off as quickly as some had
thought. The coffee started to develop mold at 8-12 weeks, and the
ascorbic acid oxidized gradually to be useless after 15-20 weeks. The
soda kept forever, but was susceptible to crystalising in my storage
space in the basement in cold weather. Evidently this was due to the
combination of higher concentration and low temperature. In warm
weather the soda was stabile.
first time the soda crystalised, I was unaware of it. Some of the
soda had formed a solid block at the bottom of the flask. I mixed as
usual, and developed a roll of TMX. And it came out gloriously!
Caffenol is a compensating developer, and I had been accustomed to it
helping me bring back highlights and draw out shadow detail, but this
was something else. The compensating effect seemed enhanced, and the
tonal gradation, definition and micro contrast was discernably better
than I was used too. I knew something was not quite as it should be.
Having checked with said forums I was tipped that the soda may have
something to do with it. Having identified the culprit I went about
testing levels of soda to approximate the serendipitous TMX roll.
After a bit of trial and error I ended up with a recipe where the
only difference being lowering the level of soda (or sodium carbonate
if you will) to 40g/l (from 54g/l). Technically this will result in a
lower pH and a less active developer. Developing times may therefore
need adjusting. I however found that this was not necessary. But then
again, I tend not to do push development. My variations over
Reinhold’s recipes are more tuned to regular box speed developing.
Of course, should you want to push, by all means, but then you may
want to add a few minutes to the timing, as compared to most of my
efforts that is. Since this discovery, it became my staple developer
for several years, and worked fine on films such as Kodak TMX, TMY2,
Tri-X, Plus-X, Double-X and BW400CN, Fuji Acros (my favourite) and
Neopan 400, Efke R25 and KB/R 100, Era 100, Rollei Retro 400s, Agfa
APX 100/400, Ilford PanF and Delta 400, PolyPan F and several others
Reinhold, I like a definition to have a particular meaning. The name
should refer to a specific recipe. I therefore set about naming the
recipes. I wanted to coin mine much like Reinhold has his, and it
felt only natural the names should reflect that they were indeed
variations over his well-known Caffenol-C-M and H.
Caffenol-C-M(RS) is just a Reduced Soda version of C-M. Same applies
to C-H. I also experimented lowering the ascorbic acid level to 10g/l
(from 16g/l), and saw little or no effect. But I found little reason
to continue with it, introducing yet a variable. This variation
gained the postfix (RSA).
lay no claim to have invented anything, I know of several others who
have come to similar conclusions by other means. Indeed, a couple of
my co-authors of the Caffenol Cookbook have their own versions of
lower pH Caffenol-C mixtures, which work in much the same way.
TMX roll that started it all? Here are a few examples.