August 26, 2016

APX new emulsion 2

Now let's have a look at the Agfaphoto APX 100 new emulsion. Again an OEM film by Ilford, similar but also different from the Kentmere/RPX bothers. Biggest difference is that this one needs much less development like the others. E.g. the Kentmere in Rodinal 1:50 needs about 16 - 17 minutes for boxspeed, the APX only 10 minutes.

And so it is with Caffenol-C. 10 minutes at 20 °C in Caffenol-C-M (rs) are enough, and here I stand developed 20 minutes at 25 °C in Caffenol-C-L with 0.5 g/l pot. bromide, both for boxspeed. A nice, sharp and reasonable fine grained classic bw film, easy to handle with the only disavantage of a slightly sub-optimal halo protection like all Ilford OEM films.

Update: it looks like the APXn and Kentmere 100 are identical. Also I couldn`t see a difference between RPX 400 and APX/Kentmere 400 anymore, it seems Ilford didn`t want a RPX to be better than a Kentmere. I can't see why I should buy a more expensive RPX 400 anymore.

August 22, 2016

APX new emulsion

Hello coffeeholics,

the distributor Agfaphoto had launched 2 new films after the broke of  Agfa Leverkusen and the deep-frozen stock of  old APX was sold out. The  APX 100 and 400 "new emulsion" have nothing to do anymore with the old Agfa APX, are made by Ilford and are close relatives to the Kentmere films, but must not be 100 % identical. Ilford is producing a lot of OEM stuff nowadays and they all remind at the Kentmere films somehow. Especially the less than optimal halo protection is a common feature though it doesn't disturb under most conditions.

Here is my first impression of the APX 400 new. Maybe it's the same as the Kentmere 400, surely different from the RPX 400, who is the best of them all imo after a somehow inconsistent history. But that's another story, already told here, see the older posts concerning the RPX 400.

Update: all APXn and Kentmere are identical. Also I couldn`t see a difference between RPX 400 and APX/Kentmere 400 anymore, it seems Ilford didn`t want a RPX to be better than a Kentmere. I can't see why I should buy a more expensive RPX 400 anymore.

I never liked the Kentmere 400, quite big grain and very push resistant, and the new APX 400 behaves like his brother. But it has the big advantage to be easily available here at big drugstores like Muller. Because I had agreed a short dated shooting in a small coffee roastery and no time to order new fast film, I decided to give the APX 400 new a chance. First trials with small snippets showed that not more than ISO 400 is makeable and the grain was - let's say - very visible and nice. Furthermore I decided this to be a feature and not a bug and live with the grain. So, if you want a film with nice big and sharp grain, here it is, developed in coffee.

 The films were exposed at EI 400 with a Minolta X-500 and 2.8/28 and 1.4/58 Rokkor lenses. Developed in Caffenol-C-H (rs) with 1 g/l pot. bromide, 13 minutes at 25 °C which is about the same as 20 minutes at 20 °C, agitation first minute continuously, then 3x every 30 seconds. Because the film tends to give a lower contrast, this agitation sceme was used.

Here are some results from the shooting, scanned with a dslr, macro gear and at 20 MP resolution. White point and black point were set and some contrast curve adjustments made. No sharpening at all in pp.

As always, right click on the pics to open in a new tab to see the biggest available size.

The whole set can be seen here at full resolution:
roastery at flickr

Happy developings - Reinhold

May 7, 2015

Caffenol C-M and C-H (RS/RSA)

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:

I promised Reinhold a long time ago I would write an article on the (RS) and (RSA) versions of his recipes.
Like 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 share experiences.
I 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.
The 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 I forget.
Like 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.
So 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).
I 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.
The TMX roll that started it all? Here are a few examples.


Best of luck
Eirik Russell Roberts

January 4, 2015


Inspired by a discussion on a german board I made a new test with the  Kodak Technical Pan in Caffenol-C-L, compared with older results of Rodinal. The film was exposed @ EI 25, developed in Caffenol-C-L with 0.1 g/l pot. bromide, 11 minutes 20°C, constant agitation for the first 30 seconds, then 3 turns every minute.

No presoak here. I recommend using destilled or demin. water, the thin emulsion is very sensitive for spots. Check if your fixer is clean! And make a clearing test, fix for double clearing time, not longer, you can overfix these films quite easy. Here I fixed for 1 minute total with my regular strength fixer. Development was perfectly even, so I guess there is no need at all to use pot. bromide and maybe get a little bit more speed. After development I made 3 intermediate rinses (tap water this time) with shaky agitation to reduce possible spots. The final rinse was again made with demin water and the film carefully wiped with a V-folded paper tissue.

As you can see, the real speed is like ISO 20, with both developers Rodinal and C-C-L. But the red Rodinal curve is more contrasty. The blue C-C-L curve is better suitable for wet prints. Quite a nice result for a film that is said to be very difficult to handle, isn't it?

On my walk to do the test shots I met 4 young photographers and they were eager models for the test. Thank you very much, guys. I exposed @ EI 25, short before dawn I shot with 1/30 and f/1.4.

Happy developings - Reinhold

 click on the pics to make them bigger

December 12, 2014

arabica coffee or not

We recently had a discussion at Apug if pure arabica coffee without Vit-C would do any development, one guy reported that he had no development at all with arabica coffee. We can read at different places that the cheap and awful robusta would be the best for developing film and arabica would be worse, but no development at all? Furthermore, I didn't have single report here on my blog of any failure caused by arabica coffee. Au contraire, people told me that they used 100% arabica "premium" instant coffee, because it was at hand, and got excellent results. I also made such an experiment and could confirm, that pure arabica coffee was not worse than any other I tried so far. But I made the test with Caffenol-C. Now I decided to make a side by side comparison of 100 % arabica and the cheapest instant coffee available here without Vit-C, to get the results from coffee with washing soda alone. To make it worse, I used decaffeinated(!) arabica. Both samples were developed at the same time side by side. To make a simple story simple: I can't distinguish both! They look exactly the same, even held against a lamp for better judgement: identical blackening. To be honest, I wasn't surprised very much. But of course using a more expensive coffee is a waiste of money.

PS: my old flickr buddy Larry aka inetjoker just said that he only once had a failure with caffenol, and it was a deacidified coffee. Again no big surprise, caffeic acid is regarded as the main developing agent of coffee. Thank you so much, Larry for all your help and simply for being around always.


Both developments were made with snippets of Polylan F, I cut off 1 edge for the arabica developement and 2 edges for the "cheap" development for further reference. The recipe for both was:

40 g/l instant coffee and 40 g/l washing soda waterfree, that's it. pH was about 9.9 for both. Fixing and rinsing as usual.

Stand developed 60 minutes at room temp with some stirring every 10 minutes or so. That was a quick and dirty test, everybody can repeat it with a minimum effort.

See you guys, happy developings


December 7, 2014

the new old RPX 400

 Hi coffee users and abusers,

good news about film and Caffenol. The "original" Rollei RPX 400 is back!

The RPX 400 from the very first production was a great film with good pushing behaviour and nice grain. Then the emulsion was changed obviously without any announcement. I couldn't see any difference to the Kentmere 400 now, and I never liked this film. 
Here is my original post on the RPX 400 with an update adressing that point:

Many people, incuding me, complained about this inaceptable behaviour. After the new package design was launched recently the emulsion obviously changed again, now showing again all the great features of the first batch. Obviously our lament was successful. Shadow detail is splendid, even with extremely contrasty subjects. EI 1600 is possible. The RPX 400 needs a powerful development to show his best side.

I used exactly the same development as before: 5 minutes presoak, Caffenol-C-L with 1.2 g/l pot. bromide, 80 minutes at 24 °C stand development with constant agitation only for the first minute. And I got the same great results as almost 4 years earlier. EI was 800, all shots done with a Dynax 5 (Maxxum 5) in multi-segment metering mode with aperture priority at f/4, no manual exposure compensation. The subject contrast was big to huge up to more than 10 stops! Only very small adjustments were made in postproduction. Shadow detail was so splendid that I had to darken them a bit.

Credits go to a friendly guy who sent me 2 films for this test. Thank you very much! And thanks to the 2 charming girls who let me take the picture.

Best - Reinhold

February 20, 2014


for my german friends... Don't worry, this blog stays in englisch language. This post is an exeption.

Das Bild kann wie alles von mir ohne weitere Nachfrage nichtkommerziell frei benutzt werden. Klick ins Bild für eine größere Darstellung.
Viele Grüße - Reinhold

January 2, 2014

How to avoid spots

Often it's not easy to get clean negatives without spots, drying marks etc. Fernando e.g. asked what he can do to get rid of these spots. Instead of a reply as a comment here my thoughts about avoiding spots with all kinds of films:

Hi Fernando, the thin emulsions of microfilms show every fault unmercifully. No, I don't filter the mix, but I found that using destilled water for the developer is neccessary for microfilms no matter which developer you use. And the fixer can make problems. I sometimes had masses of white spots with most films and after trying a lot there was no other explanation left that the fixer had to be blamed. Now I use a more than 30 years old Agefix (no joke!) and have the cleanest negs ever. When the bottle is empty I will buy only premium branded fixer and nothing else. And again, use destilled water for the fixer! I had 2 different but cheap fixers causing many problems.

Rinsing I do with tap water, the final one again with destilled water that got a dash of dish soap. Put the film completely in this bath, then hang to dry and pour the bath with the dish soap over the film on both sides. No wiping.

January 1, 2014

happy new year

Happy new year 2014 everybody.

Medium format quality with slow technical (micro) 35mm films and Caffenol-C as a great and cheap developer compared to the dedicated and expensive soups? Yes, why not? The results are first class using a proven recipe and adjusted dev times. Using really fine resolving zoom lenses at bright sunshine make it possible to get great results even handheld, of course fast prime lenses are first choice for every subject.

There are also films from fresh production as Rollei ATO, Rollei Ortho 25, Rollei ATP, Agfa Copex Rapid, and of course the new Kentmere/RPX 25. The latter are not technical films and will probably need some more minutes dev time.

Another sample from the excellent Kodak Technical Pan, developed 12 minutes at 20 °C in Caffenol-C-L with 0.1 g/l pot. bromide, regular agitation, means first 60 seconds continuously, thereafter 3x every minute. Excellent tonal range even at heavy backlight.

Love and peace - Reinhold

click for a bigger size

June 10, 2013


Hello Coffeeholics!

Since the disastrous change at flickr many of my friends left the site and moved elsewhere, and so did I. You can see us here now:


The new Caffenol group and my own account are shown in the linklist.

Don't look back - Reinhold

Agfa Copex Rapid 35 mm film, Caffenol-C-L