April 9, 2010

first summary and why fog is good


after more than 1 month here's my first summary. What happened? When starting this blog, I wanted to share my experiances with Caffenol-C as a high grade b/w-developer. made with household ingrediants. My approach is not experimental, I use it as any regular developer and it should produce outstanding results. Caffenol-C-M (CCM) does! You can make up your own mind by reading this blog, watching closely the displayed images or simply and best by doing yourself. If you are new to the Caffenol developement, I suggest you start with the first post.

CCM is the best developer for slow to medium speed films I ever used. CCM produces sharp, fine grained negatives with an extraordinary good tonal balance and extremely wide exposure latitude. CCM enhances film speed without any drawbacks. CCM developed negatives are easy to print in the wet darkroom and easy to scan. CCM does not work well with high speed films.

So how can this be? One of the most discussed items about Caffenol in general is fog. Caffenol produces always some base fog and it is regarded as something you should avoid if possible. That's the reason why CCM does not work well with high speed films of 400 ASA boxspeed and faster. The base fog is much too intense, the negs are flat in contrast and the usable speed is more than poor. But with slower speed films it seems to be the reason for the outstanding quality. Fog means that unexposed silver is developed as if it were exposed. But it also means that every silver particle exposed with the smallest amount of light needed for exposure also will be developed. The result is the best shadow detail you can imagine. Most (every?) commercial developers use a fog restraining agent, that will also restrain the low exposed silver developement. By adding some anti-fogging agent to caffenol we would probably end up with an average good developer like so many others. Not so for CCM: without a special pushing procedure you can underexpose up to 4 stops (depending on the used film) and still get very good negs. Don't stress it too much, especially when beginning with Caffenol development. For stress-free easy CCM-development simply double the boxspeed and you will be fine, be it for scanning or wetprinting purpose. Enjoy the results and have fun.

The images displayed in this post are from Hansi, another friend from an analogue photography forum. He used an APX100 35 mm film developed in CCM as outlined here on my blog. Taken with a Nikon F80 with a dedicated 90mm Sigma macro lens. Showing clearly the advantages of a real macro lense. And the first class developement with CCM ;-) Thank you very much, Hansi.

I want to thank everybody involved with this blog. Thank you for all the helpful comments and contributions. Since about 15 years people are using coffee for developing film. I feel that it is still just a beginning....

Best regards - Reinhold

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