August 25, 2011

it's so easy

Hello coffeeholics,

some new interesting facts from the still growing worldwide community using coffee as a main agent for b/w-film development. I was never really satisfied with TriX in Caffenol, but when I saw the fine results of Thomas I had to think over my estimations. Secondly his system for developing at boxspeed and a 2 stop push with Caffenol-C-L is simply brilliant. You mustn't tweak your developer depending on the used film brand or desired speed, simply adjust the dev time. He did it with great results and many different films at different speeds and temperatures and his method is incredibly easy. Let's read what he wrote:


i did develop my b&w films for quite some time using highly diluted rodinal and stand development and was very happy with the results and especially also with the uncomplicated way of doing it: one developer for normal and push development, no tweaking for film type or room temperature. the only problem i got was uneven development, especially in medium format. as i was not able to solve this problem i looked around and at that time - about a year ago - i read about your stand- and semi-stand development experiences with caffenol and gave it a try. i wanted to try this strange idea of developing films anyway. i just followed your caffenol c-l recipe and it worked perfectly for me (prewash for 5min, agitating 30sec at the beginning and then 3 times at 2, 4, 10 and 40 minutes and dumping the develper at 70min). the results were amazing and had much of what i liked about the rodinal stand development. at some point i also wanted to be able to use the films not pushed at box-speed and tried to reduce the development time to get there. after some experiments i ended up with 5min prewash, 30sec agitation at the beginning and then 3 times at 1, 5 and 15 minutes and dumping the developer at 30min.

these two strategies for developing film at box speed or with a two stop push i'm using since and it always worked. and that at temperatures from 20-25 degrees celsius and films varying from acros (100+400), agfa apx 100 (100+400), kodak tri-x (400+1600), tmx (100+400), tmy (400+1600), ilford fp4+ (100+400) and some others (the numbers in brackets are the filmspeed i used the films at). the results were always very good. to see some images developed that way, you may have a look at my flickr stream

vielen dank und liebe gruesse



Thank you very much, Thomas, for these easy to follow instructions. I have no doubt a similar procedure would work f.e. with Caffenol-C-M, maybe 7 or 8 minutes for boxspeed and 15 minutes for a push +2 development and regular agitation.

Cheers - Reinhold


Stefan said...


The negatives will be very thin. So this short development time is more usefull for a hybrid workflow. Am I right?

Regards Stefan

Anonymous said...

hi stefan,

you are right that i'm working hybrid only, but i think my negs are definitely not too thin. just give it a try and see it yourself - it's so easy :)

best wishes - thomas

vl42 said...

i tried stand developing with polypan. boxspeed is 50 ASA and it comes to 125 ASA with no prewash, 80min in Caffenol-C-L @24C; 10 agitations in the beginning, then 2x at 2, 5, 10, 20 and 40 mins.

so it´ s not quite push2 but negs exposed at 200 ASA will come out good as well but with poor details in the shade.

i am working hybrid as well but negs should be usable in wet darkrooms as well.

Anonymous said...

i think every variation below a stop does not really matter. most probably one has it in the whole process anyway due to inaccurate shutter speeds, inaccurate metering etc. ... i think it matters much more to be very demanding about the image content, composition etc. - i so far always got good end results even if i was off a bit here or there as long as the image itself worked

regarding the two stop push and box speed: that of course varies a bit from film to film (for example in my tests tmy pushed not as good as tri-x), but at the end the differences are not really significant for the end result

best wishes - thomas

imagesfrugales said...

It matters much more if you make silverprints, finding the proper dev time according to the speed is quite important. Scanning is much more flexible.

Anonymous said...

Hello Reinhold,

thank you so much for your blog first of all. As a newly SLR owner I am fascinated by the possibilities of Caffenol B/W development.
The problem is I have never developed/darkroomed so far. I was wondering if you could tell me if a simple plastic bassin would do and what kind of fixing chemical I should buy for fixing the negatives? And do i need any other gear for the darkroom? I read about the scale and of course the recipies on your blog.
Thank you very much in advance I am really eager to start developing :).



imagesfrugales said...

Hi Felix,

and the answer to your first question is: no! For developing with Caffenol you need exactly the same gear that you need for regular developers. The scale on plus is very useful. I urgently recommend to get good basic instructions as you may find in your public library or in the web. This is not the place for learning these basic techniques. Also become a member of a good discussion board, preferrably in your native language where you are guided through your first steps.

Self developing film is very rewarding and not very difficult, but can't be learned in 5 minutes.

Good luck and have fun with film - Reinhold

Will Crankshaw said...

I'll add another vote that the 30 min semi stand is amazing for tri-x 400. Grain seems negligible on the negatives I got. There was a very small amount of fog, but of course no effect on scanning. Check it out:

imagesfrugales said...

Thank you very much, Will.

rdungan said...

I tried the semi-stand development with Fomapan 100 and 400 and was impressed with both. The 100 is nearly grainless and the 400 has larger grain. Thanks for the great info. I am much more into taking pictures than in experimenting with process to get just the right developing time, so, this info was perfect for me.