December 19, 2010

Polypan F and Caffenol

Hi coffee junkies,

it's good to have friends and besides my regular life I found some friends in the www, some of them supporting me with my blog. Here we have two contributions concerning the Ilford Polypan F film. It's a cine film with almost the same emulsion as the regular Pan F, so boxspeed is 50 ASA, but missing a good halo protection and its available awesome cheap as 35 mm bulkware. Both, Wolf and Mike, exposed the Polypan F with EI 100, Wolf (Lupo914 @ flickr) developed the film in Caffenol-C-L, Mike (Mikeinlagardette @ flickr) in his own Caffenol-C variant that is quite similar to Caffenol-C-M. So let's see their results:

"Hello guys,

time for a new Caffenol experiment. For those „nickel nursers“ out there, it must be an incredible bargain, 90m 35mm film for 22 Euro resulting in 44cent per 36er roll of film. I´m speaking of the Polypan F, rated 50ASA, rumored to be a kinefilm made by Ilford. In fact its a very thin, polyester based film with less than optimal anti halo protection. But it has its own kind of old fashioned look.

For me, I´m using it for quite a while, exposing my second 90m roll of the film. In the past, development was done with Rollei RLS or Rodinal with decent results but only at 25 – 50 ASA, making it a film for sunny days only. Using Caffenol-C-L with Shanghai GP3 100, resulting in very good images rated at 400 ASA, I was curious trying Polypan F in the same soup. For the first attempt I´ve loaded a roll of Polypan F in my Pentax MZ-5n and exposed it like 100 ASA. Development 5 mins presoak, 60 minutes at 20°C in Caffenol-C-L,  continuos agitation for the first minute, two gentle agitations at 15, 30 and 45 minutes. The results are very promising.

Happy experimenting!


Below are Mikes results, portraying a Komaflex S for 127 film (4x4 cm) with a Minolta Dynax 600si and a 35-70mm Minolta zoom lens, cropped to square size:

Polypan F 50 @ 100asa in Caffenol C: Instant Coffee granules 12g, crystalline Washing Soda 10g, Ascorbic Acid powder 4g, water to 300ml. 5 minutes pre-wash, 10.5 minutes @21C, 30 secs continuous agitation, 2 inversions every 15 sec thereafter. Regard the unusual and fast agitiation rhythm.

Again, the Caffenol-C-L images seem to be a bit more on the finer grained side, the Caffenol-C produces some more "grainy character" and the slightly glowing highlights are fitting beautifully to the subject imho. Not to bad for a less than 50 euro-cents/roll film. Well done guys. Thank you very much.

Best regards - Reinhold

November 29, 2010

HP5+ @ 1600 and Tmax3200


Hello everybody, Reinhold invited me to write something about my latest Caffenol results.

After using the Shanghai GP3 100 at 400 ASA in Caffenol-C-L and Reinhold´s pleasing results with T-MAX 400 @ 1600 ASA I was curious to use some films in the 400 ASA+ class.

The first picture (engine of an shot down WW2 plane) was taken with my Seagull 4A TLR on Ilford HP5+ film. In fact it is labeled as Adox CHM400. I gave it a try at 1600 ASA developing it 70 min at 20° in Caffenol-C-L using 1 - 1.3 gram per liter potassium bromide. I call it a "semi stand" development, agitating every 10 - 15 minutes. I was very pleased with the result and the amazing fine grain. Second picture (a set of gauges in an old submarine) was shot on 35mm HP5+. Bevor insolvency Ilford sold lage amounts of master rolls to other companies, so this film is labeled as OrwoPan 400. The film is rather old, being expired in 1996. Like the MF version it was exposed at I.E.1600. I was really amazed about the nice grain at this speed and format. In other developers, I´ve got more grain at box speed.

OK, Caffenol-C-L is very useful using expired high speed films, I thought. Let´s try something special. By chance, I´ve got some rolls of long expired (1997) Kodak T-MAX 3200 years ago. Never got any usable reults with this films, too old. So I grabbed one of the films, threw it into my Pentax Spotmatic and exposed it at I.E.1600. Surprise, the whole film was usable! Here is one of the results. As you can see, the grain is very pronounced.

Both 35mm shots were developed 70 minutes as described above. Click on the pictures for a bigger size.

Happy experimenting!


October 28, 2010

More Tmax400 - Caffenol-C-L

My Caffenol variants deliver reproducible results and I use them for even the most delicate jobs. Here again 2 samples with the Tmax400 in Caffenol-C-L with 1g/l KBr, semi-stand development, 60 minutes at 20 °C. 5 minutes presoak, 10 inversions initially, 3 inversions at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 minutes. Left image exposed at EI 1600-3200, right one at EI 800. Don't use at EI 400 or less, will be overexposed with blown highlights, or reduce dev time! 800 - 1600 will produce best overall quality. If not pushing too heavy, the tonal range is comparable to Acros100 at EI 200! Both are ideal for scanning and highest subject contrast range.

Caffenol-C-L has proven to work greatly with high speed films. So it's usable for almost any kind of film.

Best - Reinhold

October 13, 2010

Tmax 400 @ 1600 - 4800 in Caffenol-C-L

Hello again,

good news from the coffee. For the appearance of this Salsa rock band I needed a fast film but only had Tmax400 available. First tests in Caffenol-C-L from 200 to 800 ASA showed overexposed and overdeveloped negatives, EI 200 and 400 were so dense that they were practically unsuable. 800 was OK, but still quite dense. So I thought that EI 1600 would be possible at least, maybe more even if I reduced the dev time or temperature slightly.

The picture of the drummer is exposed at  EI 1600 and is very fine imho. The singer/guitarist was poorly lightened, so the same settings as in the first pic lead to EI 4800. Exposure for both was 2.8/60 with the fabulous Rokkor 2.8/135 mm lens for my Minolta SLR, of course using a tripod. Grain is still quite small for these speeds and base fog low for a fast speed film.

Developed semi-stand in Caffenol-C-L with 1 gramm per liter potassium bromide (KBr). 5 minutes prewash, 60 minutes development at 18-19 °C, agaitation 30 seconds continuous initially, 3 times after 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 minutes. Still low base fog, perfect even development. For EI 1600 - 3200  I would probably prefer 20-21 °C and 60 mins. Maybe even EI 6400 is possible. Maybe lowering the KBr to about 0.5 g/l could help, but watch the base fog.

Best regards - Reinhold

September 22, 2010

Shanghai GP3 - Caffenol-C-L

Reinhold asked me to write about my experiences with Caffenol-C-L and Shanghai GP3. I´ve used caffenol-C-M with different films and found it useful. Caffenol-C-L seemed to be promising, so I tried it the first time with a Shanghai GP3 that was pushed 2 steps from the normal 100 to 400 ASA.

Data for the first try: presoaked for 6 minutes (I was busy...), 60 minutes standing development with gentle agitation in the first minute and three turns after 30 minutes. I used 1.5 gram/litre potassium bromide  in the mixture. The result with the pushed GP3 is very pleasing for the first attempt. As you can see in the pictures, the GP3 took the treatment very good. I took the pictures with my trusty Seagull 4A (Rolleiflex clone), not the first choice for a quick shot. When the old bus appeared, I simply estimated time and aperture and hoped the best. Must be 1/8 second with aparture around 5.6, if my old mind serves me right. You can take these long times with a TLR hanging on a neckstrap and a little luck.

The Shanghai GP3 100 ist the cheapest medium format film available at the moment. You pay around 18 Euro for 10 rolls on ebay. Please do not mix it up with the Lucky films, this is a different story. The GP3 has a reasonable fine grain, a good tonality and, as you can see, could be used not only at 100 ASA. It is not a perfect film. Being an old type emulsion, you should use hardener and should avoid toching the emulsion when wet. It is prone to failure when stored to hot or in a humid environment. If this happens to you, its possible to read the numbers from the backing paper on your pictures. And of course the small tape at the end of the film has no gum on it...

If you want to see more pictures, look at my flickr account:


September 13, 2010

Rollei Universal 200 - the first film to fail in Caffenol

"Reinhold asked me to write about my experiences about Caffenol and Rollei Universal200 in Caffenol and I would like to thank him for the inviation. Thank you Reinhold for this Blog and for sharing your Caffenol Experience !

The first time i heard about Caffenol was in March 2010 when Reinhold started his Blog. At first I thought this would be a nice experiment and very cool to mix up your own developer by ingredients that can be found in most of out households. So I started my first trials with Fuji Acros 100 and Caffenol C-M. The results were pretty good and I decided to give the Rollei Universal200 a try, a film with beautiful fine grain and impressing sharpness.

That said and done I first tried the Caffenol C-H recipe, which ended up in very dense and foggy negatives with almost no picture to be seen on the film. I tried several shorter times, but the negatives stayed very dense and kept foggy. So the time had come to ask Reinhold for help and I sent him a few rolls for his own trials. Sadly that Reinhold has stated, that the Universal200 refuses to get developed in Caffenol. Though you can get a picture with a good scanner like the Nikon 9000 ED being able to read also high densities, these negatives won't be useful for printing in your darkroom.



Thank you very much, Ralf for your investigations and sending me the test rolls. Negs are really quite unusable, no matter what I tried with Caffenol-C-L. I increased the bromide and decreased developing time, always with the same results as Ralf describes above. Either the fog is low, but then the image is almost invisible, or you have negs of usable density, then a huge base fog covers every detail and destoys contrast, see the sample below. You can get viewable scans with some effort, but it's no fun at all. I was uncredibly surprized because the RR 80s was a decent film in Caffenol-C-L. Not easy to handle, but with some very nice results. First I thought that the production was faulty. I made a development of the Universal 200  at EI  200 ASA in Rodinal to verify this. I was even more surprized that the Rodinal development was without any fault. Perfect clear, sharp, with a pronounced Rodinal-type grain. 

All the aerial films by Agfa are way of "divaesc". 120 film should be loaded/unloaded in almost complete darkness, because the light is guided by the polyester film base. Really bad for shooting abroad. Exposure latitude is low, sharpness and contrast high. Speed loss of at least 1-2 stops in the shadows because of the low blue sensitivity makes things really complicated. What a recreation after testing it was to go back to "traditional" films like Tmax, Acros or APX.

With a lot of postprocessing I could get these 2 Caffenol-C-L developed images, the negs look horrible.

Regards - Reinhold

August 28, 2010

large format photography - Caffenol-C-L

Hi there,

large format sheet film seems to be a little bit more sensitive for uneven development, as you can see in the first image, developed with Caffenol-C-M. I discussed that with Bo aka Fiatlux at Apug, and he did some helpful research and found that Caffenol-C-L finally was the breakthrough. Perfect even development, no more bromide streaks at the edges. All images by Fiatlux on Tmax100 4x5 sheet film with a Linhof Tecknika IV, Voigtländer Apo Lanthar 150. Unedited but resized, haha, original scans must be huge! Landscape developed in Caffenol-C-M, portrait in Caffenol-C-L. Thank you very much for your contribution, Bo. Here is what he wrote:

Hello everyone, my name is Bo and I´m a photography addict.. :)

I originally started taking photos as a serious amateur back in the early 80´s, my first camera was a Olympus OM10 but I soon found that it was a bit too automatic so I got hold of a full manual Olympus OM1 and also adopted the zone system to gain some serious control over my B/W negatives and prints.

I learned the darkroom techniques the hard way by reading tons of books, the Paterson system with the awful multi reels and a used Durst M605, mostly by trial and error during those early years in my little make do darkroom @ my parents house.

Anyway, as the years passed I started working for several photographers as an assistant and darkroom-slave :) gaining loads of valuable experience until I finally took the big jump in the late 80´s and became a pro, earning money on my photography mostly doing commercial studio stuff and interiors for magazines etc.

Well, I grew out of that eventually.. I got tired of book-keeping, discussing prices and other mondane stuff at every shoot, so I quit the pro career in 2001, got myself another job and went back to shooting for passion and not for petty cash.

And here I am today, I have a passion for portraits, love landscape photography and now with the Caffenol-C-L I´ve found a developer that has everything that I´ve been looking for: Cheap, easy to mix, environmentally safe, extreme contrast range, perfect grain structure and a wonderful stain.

Happy experimenting

August 22, 2010

Rollei Retro 80s - Caffenol-C-L


news from the coffee game. A friend gave me 2 rolls of Rollei Retro 80s as 35mm film to test it with my ugly tasting coffee brew. Thanks a lot , Nils! The RR 80s is known as a slow speed, extremely fine grained and somehow delicate to develop film. It also has an extended colour range up to mild infrared sensitivity. I never did IR-shots before and probably won't, so I decided to to see how it works under daily use conditions. No filter was used for the shots!

Exposed from EI 80 to 320, and developed in C-C-L stand development for 60 minutes at 21 °C. Sidestep: I get a lot of inquiries like "film X was bad in C-C-L at 60 minutes developing time". Pleeeeease, these questions are completely useless without specifying the temperature and agitation regime! Allright? OK, back to the theme. The RR 80s came out quite contrasty - means overdeveloped - and not too much shadow detail and very dense highlights. Fog free and perfectly even developed. EI 320 is unusable, 160 works better if the shadows are brightened during post processing, EI 80 is quite nice but for my taste still a bit too much for darkroom prints. Scanning is OK. I guess that best results will be achieved with EI 40 - 64 for wet prints with reduced development time, maybe 40 - 50 minutes at 20 °C stand development. 

The tonal characteristics are very special. Blue is rendered darker, clouds and blue sky are seperated nicely without filtering. The look is like using a light orange filter. Sharpness is extraordinary as is the almost unvisible grain. The 5x5 mm crop from the negative at 2400 DPI clearly shows the limitations of my scanner. Having no experiance with real slow films of 25 ASA or so, these are the finest grained and sharpest images I ever took, even at EI 160 for the RR 80s! If someone wants to support me, donate a Nikon Coolscan *lol*

The Rollei Retro 80s must be exposed and developed carefully. If so, you are rewarded with the finest grain and sharpness you maybe ever saw with 50 - 100 ASA speed films.It works great in Caffenol-C-L when regarding the notes above. Dont't push too much or even pull, develop at less time as shown here.

Best regards - Reinhold

August 17, 2010


Welcome everybody,
after more than 15000 hits and readers from more than 60 countries in less than 5 months, here's a chart for your conveniance. You may use it free without any permission for non-commercial purposes.

Again, click on the image for a bigger size and for saving.

Thank you for all contributions and feedback. It's just a beginning .....

I love coffee - Reinhold

August 16, 2010

Caffenol-C-L stand development

Real stand development with TMax100 as 120 type film. Shot with my 65 years old Bessa 66, vignetting of the first picture caused by filter (old fashioned yellow-green) and lens shade. Coloured with Gimp. First image EI 400, second EI 100, same roll. Click on the images as usual for bigger size.

Recipe as posted before, but only 1 g/l bromide. 5 minutes presoak in tap water, 10 gentle turns at the beginning, then let stand without further agitation. 60 minutes at 22 °C. Stop, fix and rinse as usual.

BTW, C-C-L has a pH of about 9.0

Perfect transparent film base, no fog, very little yellowish stain from the coffee. Usable on the same roll from EI  50 to EI 800.Scans very easy and surely will print at EI 200 - 400. For wetprints from EI 100 and below you should reduce dev time, otherwise negs become very dense, but no blown highlights!

My best Caffenol so far.

I love coffee - Reinhold

August 12, 2010

Caffenol-C-L + high speed film

Recipe and semi-stand development as in former post. 50 minutes at 22 °C. Remember to adjust dev times as usual for differing temperatures.

Neopan 1600 exposed at about EI 1600, difficult to tell with night photography. I'm confident to gain real 3200 with longer development.

Shot with a 35mm SLR and very cheap telezoom lens. Crop 10x10 mm negative size

Caffenol-C-L is a breakthrough with high speed film imho. Very low fog level, sharp, nice and small grain for 1600, very wide tonal range, perfect even development.

I love coffee - Reinhold

August 4, 2010

perfect development with Caffenol-C-L

2 posts belowyou can see the effects of different agitation. From extreme uneven development with stand development to a dramatic improvement with standard agitation. 

When adding the restrainer potassium bromide (KBr), we see perfect even develpment up to the reel covered borders - even with minimal agitation as shown here. With intension I made no proper black adjustment here to show the improvement in the clearest possible way. 

So here's my recommendation:

If you are satisfied with "regular" Caffenol-C like C-C-M, be happy. If you experiance uneven development, agitate more (you will have to adjust developing time). If still not satisfied use Caffenol-C-L. 

The benefit of C-C-L besides the 100% perfect even development are reduced grain and almost fog free negatives.

Caffenol-C-L will be my standard in the future.  My 100 g box of potassium bromide will last for a couple of films ;-) Caffenol-C-M will still be my standard as an easy to use and easy to get developer with enhanced film speed..

 So if you can get KBr for a resonable price in your country, buy it! You won't be disappointed.

Cheers - Reinhold

August 1, 2010


First results, Minolta X-300, 50mm Rokkor, orange filter, APX 100 in Caffenol-C-L

16 g/l washing soda waterfree, 10 g/l Vitamin-C, 40 g/l instant coffee, 1,5 g/l potassium bromide (KBr)

Use 1 - 2 gram/liter KBr, 1,5 seems to be a good idea. Do not use more than 2 g/l, it will restrain development too much up to blank negs.

40 minutes semi-stand development at 24 °C. Agitation first minute continuos, 3 inversions each at 2, 4 and 8 minutes, then let stand.

No fog, fine grain, perfect even development, about boxspeed.

Maybe some minor tweaks in the future, but looks fine so far. 

Maybe not everybody is able to get potassium bromide easily? I got it from my next door pharmacy. It's not toxic and environmentally safe with the used quantities.

Looks promising that C-C-L may also be good for high speed films.

Do not try (semi-)stand development without a restrainer like KBr -> agitation is the key! 

PS: I didn't use semi-stand development for another reason than comfort, I don't like shaking for half an hour. ;-)

Cheers - Reinhold

uneven development

 click on the picture for bigger size

 Some people report uneven development and/or disturbing fog. That effect appears almost always with classic (cubic crystals) emusions like Ilford PanF+ or Agfa APX 100. Not enough agitation is the cause. A drastic example is stand development with Caffenol-C, as you can see in the image above.

What is happening? Lets regard the left picture. Stand development makes it visible. Classic bw-emulsions contain a lot of silver-bromide, the silver is reduced by the developer to form the blacks, and the bromide is set free. Bromide is a strong restrainer, but without or too less agitation it sinks down in the tank and produces less development, marked with a red "x" in the left picture.Also below parts of high exposure more bromide is set free and causes streaks. Below the sprocket holes, less bromide is set free leading to stronger development. Finally the bromide accumulates at the bottom and there we find the least development and - the least fog!

In the right picture with regular agitation we see no eneven development or fog at all exept for the small upper and lower parts covered by the reel during development. The bromide is dispersed evenly and so we have a constant restraing effect over the whole area. The uncovered upper and lower borders are developed evenly  with low fog level, see the red "x"-es.

So agitation is the key for even development. Of course there is some remaining general fog,  but doesn't disturb because it is spread evenly over the whole film. If you get uneven development or disturbing fog, agitate more! Try the heavy agitation regime recommended f.e. for Xtol, 5 times in 5 seconds every 30 seconds. That's almost shaking! And reduce dev time when doing this! Time, temperature and agitation are closely related, keep that in mind always.

My trial with stand development was very revealing. It was done when experimenting with low-pH Caffenol-C. As the development times with low-pH will increase and I didn't want to shake the tank for 20 or 30 minutes, I gave stand development a try. With the shown faults. But - when adding the bromide in a good amount from the beginning as a separate agent, unevenness and fog will be gone! So stay tuned and await a new Caffenol-developer by me, it will be named Caffenol-C-L. Only a little bit of fine tuning necessary.  Compared to C-C-M it will have a bit film speed loss, but probably still boxspeed, finer grain and fog free even with stand development!

With "modern" medium speed films like Acros100 or Tmax100 things are different. They contain much less bromide and are much less fog sensitive and show perfect even development with C-C-M. Maybe C-C-L will also be recommended for high-speed films. So some things to do in the future, it doesn't get boring at all.

Time for a cup of coffee - cheers - Reinhold

July 23, 2010


Fuji Neopan 1600 @ 3200, Caffenol-C-H. First trials @ 1600 showed that there is still some headroom for underexposure. Yep.

July 5, 2010

my dream team

Pentacon Six 6x6 SLR, Carl-Zeiss-Jena Sonnar 2.8/180, Fuji Acros100 EI 200, exposure f5.6/250 handheld, Caffenol-C-M, 24 °C, 10 minutes, crop 10x10 mm negative size.

The 25 MP scan (3 MB filesize) can be seen here:

The scan was done as always with a modest Canoscan 8800F. With a professional print service or a good enlarger you can make huge, wall-sized prints.

Cheers - Reinhold

June 12, 2010

Who invented coffee based development?

When asking myself who invented Caffenol, I stumbled across an article by Dr. Scott A. Williams Ph.D., Rochester Institute of Technologie (R.I.T.). The Technical Photography 1995 Class under the leadership of Dr. Williams should research non traditional developers based on household ingredients and after some unsuccessful trials they decided to test drinks with caffeine like tea or coffee. Coffee was the winner and that was the beginning of coffee based developing. They used baking soda and potassium hydroxide for buffering the pH of 9. The name Caffenol wasn't yet created. We now use the more conveniant washing soda as pH adjusting agent, and the later addition of Vitamin-C since about the year 2000 improves the image quality dramatically. If you want to read the whole article, look here:

The article is pure text without images, but refers to images that once must have been attached. I searched the web to find the lost images, but couldn't find them. So I decided to contact Dr. Williams via email and he sent me the original article, published in "Darkroom and Creative Camera Techniques", issue Sept/Okt 1995, with the kind permission to publish the images here on my blog. I don't want to bore you with scientific figures of molecular structures, but I'm pretty sure that you are curious who the people were and looked like. So here we go:

You deserve our highest appreciation

Thank you so much. Best regards - Reinhold

May 24, 2010

next summary

Hello again everybody,

the blog develops more and more, thanks to anyone who contributed with submissions and comments. More than 5000 hits and 70 comments in less than 2 months, wow! That's much more than I ever expected. Good to see that so many people are interested into coffee development and film based photography in general. Analogue photography becomes again more and more respected after a long suffering time, gently ridiculed. Self-confident again we enjoy our passion.

There are many ways to become happy with coffee development. My way is to prove that coffee and Vitamin-C can deliver the best of the best. Therefore only recipes I'm convinced of myself will be published here. The best overall way is still Caffenol-C-M as a speed enhancing developer with medium speed films of 100 ASA in my opinion. Easy to use with great and very predictable results. Other recipes and more experimental kinds of developing are frequently discussed at the caffenol group of flickr. A great ressource you shouldn't miss with many highly respected members participating.

It's just a beginning - cheers - love and peace - Reinhold

Tmax100 @ EI 200, Caffenol-C-M, 65 years old Voigtlander Bessa 66 with Skopar lens and yellow filter (2x)

May 11, 2010

Caffenol-C-H "highspeed"

Hello coffee junkies,

a new chapter of Caffenol development is ready to be published. I was not satisfied with Caffenol/C and high speed films and I didn't recommend it. Too much fog, flat in contrast, poor usable speed, ugly grain. but I constantly thought of trying to modify Caffenol-C-M for these films. Potassium bromide (KBr) is well known as an anti-fogging agent, but I thought it would mess up the concept of great shadow rendering. I was wrong. So good and bad news: KBr works well with Caffenol, but it is not available in regular supermarkets. In Germany a pharmacy in my neighborhood was able to deliver it within a couple of hours, 100 gramms for 15 Eur. Quite expensive compared to the other ingredients, but it will be good for 100 litres of developer and some hundred films. So the additional coast will be about 4 - 8 Euro-Cent per development. Potassium bromide is not toxic and doesn't spoil the environmental friendly coffee soup.I don't know how easy potassium bromide is available in other countries, reports are welcome. The german name is Kaliumbromid, or you may ask for the scientific latin name "kalium bromatum" in pharmacies.

Crops 10x10 mm negative size, Neopan 1600 @1600 ASA left, HP5+ @ 400-800 ASA right :

So here's Caffenol-C-H, "H" for highspeed, recommended for 400 ASA films and faster. There is considerably less fog, although there will be still some, but not any more disturbing. Tonality, contrast and shadow rendering are amazing for available light with lot of shadow areas. On the minus side we have still quite big grain. For example, the Neopan1600 developed in Diafine produces much nicer grain and was my preferred developer. But I never got better shadow details as with Caffenol-C-H. And I slowly begin to love the bigger grain, together with the wide tonality it gives a special look. Boxspeed or pushing is possible. More detail for exposure index must be evaluated, rating under available light conditions is difficult and I made no densitometric tests. Try boxspeed or +1 push.

How to: I made a stock solution of 10 gramms KBr in 300 ml destilled water, stored in a glass bottle. It will last almost forever. 1 ml contains 0,033 gramms KBr. 250 ml developer need 7.6 or easier 8 ml of the stock solution. This equals 1 gramm per litre KBr. Simply add the 8 ml to the ready mixed 250 ml Caffenol-C-M and voila: Caffenol-C-H. Be sure to do the math right! I'm sorry.

Edit: if still too much fog, use 2 g/l of potassium bromide.

So far I used HP5+ and Neopan1600, both with excellent results. 1gram per liter KBr was added to the Caffenol-C-M recipe, no other changes. Developing time was 15 minutes like before, or 30 minutes stand development with agitation first 30 seconds and 3 minutes presoak in tap water.

Thank you very much Caro and Chris for allowing me to publish the images. Finally an example of the Acros100 in Caffenol-C-H, also works perfectly. But for 100 ASA films I still recommend the simple Caffenol-C-M because the KBr isn't really needed.

Best regards - Reinhold

Acros 100 in Caffenol-C-H, 15x15 mm negative size, the bromide doesn't disturb

April 25, 2010

FP4+ by Khoa

Khoa sent me two images and said: „These two photos were taken on two separate recent visits to Montréal. The first is of the Cathédrale Marie-Reine-Du-Monde, taken with an Olympus XA, and the second was taken in a downtown hotel room with a Leica IIIc and Summitar 50mm f/2. Both were shot on Ilford FP4, exposed at its box speed of ISO 125 (though with the Leica, having no internal light meter, I "guestimated" with an old selenium meter somewhere between ISO 100 and 200). Development was in Caffenol-C-M, as in Reinhold's blog, at 12 minutes and 20 degrees centigrade. I find that Ilford FP4 gives me surprisingly much larger grain than Kodak TMAX 100 and Fuji Acros 100 (which I now prefer using and can get finer grain having pushed them even to ISO400), but in certain applications, it gives an unmistakable grainy film look.

The negatives were copied with a Nikon compact camera and the Nikon ES-E28 slide copy adapter, and adjusted in the GIMP.

To be honest, Caffenol C-M is the first and only developer I've used as an adult (my last film developing experience having been in high school as a teenager in the mid-1990s), and, well, I'm convinced, as I find that with a bit of care, I can get better results than the majority of "non-pro" labs.“

Thank you very much Khoa.. More of his images you can see here:
Other photographers confirmed me that the FP4+ is not as fine grained as expected with a Caffenol development.

Best regards - Reinhold

April 14, 2010

2 women passing

The homework is done. I saw lots of images of all kind made with CCM, all proving that this developer belongs to the elite of b/w film developers. Now I can focus again more on what is the real fun: taking real pictures. Click on the images for bigger size.

Here's a scene from my hometown, I also like the detail as a unique image. TMax100 @ 400 in CCM as described.

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

March 19, 2010

Interview with Stephen Schaub

R.: Dear Stephen, I'm very proud to have on my blog one of the very few professional photographers in the word who is developing film with Caffenol-C. You are the leader of the figital revolution (, you combine analogue, film based photography and digital editing and printing.

There are many great working commercial developers outside, does the world really need another, an experimental B/W-film developer?

S.: Caffenol and Caffenol C have several advantages from economic to environmental and depending on the film it can have a wonderful ability to help control tonality for scanning purposes. I have tried many, many different developers over the last 20+ years and Caffenol C as I use it has been one of the most rewarding.

R.: Do you use both, Caffenol and Caffenol-C and what makes the difference?

S.: I have tested both and in the end settled on Caffenol C for two reasons:

1. The processing times are much shorter... in the range of 10-20 minutes whereas Caffenol is more like 20-40 minutes depending on the film.

2. Caffenol C negatives do not have as much of a brown stain as Caffenol negatives do, in fact some films have no stain at all... I found no real advantage to this stain unlike the stain from a developer like PMK Pyro and as such it just made my negatives more dense and harder to scan.

R.: One of the most discussed themes about Caffenol and Caffenol-C is fog. With medium speed films it is not a big thing, even when they are pushed, as far as I can say. But with higher speed films, 400 ASA and above, my trials were more or less disappointing because of too much fogging and a poor usable speed. What is your experience?

S.: About the same. Caffenol and Caffenol C in my opinion work best with slower speed films. My favorite films are Tmax 100 and Fuji Acros... both are fantastic in Caffenol C and both scan quite well.

R.: Are there any other drawbacks?

S.: Not really... the smell is easy to get used to and I sorta like it now. It is not perfect for all films as mentioned before and I don't know how it would be for wet darkroom work but for the films I use day in and day out it is now my go to developer.

R.: You shoot EI 25 to 1600 with 1 film, 1 developer and 1 processing time. The images look top-notch. That sounds too crazy. Are you kidding?

S.: Some films with Caffenol C have a tremendous latitude for scanning. This of course depends on the quality of your scanner, I use an Imacon- and it also depends on the range of the scene. I have found that films like Fuji Acros can indeed have a usable EI from 25-1600. I have now tweaked my process for two different times for this film.... one time for 25-400 and then a second time for 400-1600... it just makes the scanning a bit easier and will make it possible for users who don't have a scanner like an Imacon to fit the range of the film within the range of their scanner. But in a pinch as the test images show, yes one film, one processing time and EI 25-1600 is very possible. It does sound crazy but fantastic as well.

R.: Stephen, thank you very much for this interview. I highly recommend your website and for more details. Is there anything you still want to tell my readers? And all the best for your ongoing caffenol and future projects.

S.: Always remember why you got into photography in the first place... because it was fun! and Caffenol is not only fun but also amazing for the hybrid workflow... what more could you ask for.

Viva la Revolution!

March 15, 2010

Micha's first

I received a submission from Micha, a friend from a german analogue photography board.

The 2 images were shot during a walk in the city and later in a small cafe. It was his very first Caffenol development, using the standard Caffenol-C-M recipe described here in a former post. Micha reports that developing was easy and the negs are great. He especially emphasizes the good shadow and highlight rendering and the suitability of Caffenol-C-M for high-grade B/W photography.

I love both images. Perfect composition and craft.

Hasselblad 500 C/M, CF 150mm, Fomapan 100 exposed at EI 100, both shots handheld, scanned from negative, CanoScan 8800F. Click on the images for bigger size.

Thank you very much, Micha, for your submission.

Best regards - Reinhold

March 14, 2010

Juliette a charming young french jazz singer. After the show I could shoot this portrait. Lit only by one small lamp, not brighter than a couple of candles.

Minolta X-300, Rokkor 1.7/50 open stop, Fuji Acros100 @ 1600(!), Caffenol-C-M, crop 15x20 mm neg size, scanned with Canoscan8800F and Vuescan, edit with The Gimp.

The Acros 100 was exposed at EI 1600, developed in Caffenol-C-M for 20 minutes at 21 °C. I added +10 % of each ingredient. The neg is thin and needs some edit work. I would not recommend this 4 stop push for daily use. But not too much noise and very small grain here. Probably the smallest grain I ever saw with a 1600 ASA exposure. Watch the bigger size!

Best regards - Reinhold

March 13, 2010

rotation development, sample from Harald

I'm glad to present a report from Harry about rotation development with Caffenol-C-M and scanning from a wetprint made with Agfa MCC baryt paper.

"Inspired by Reinhold´s Blog, I was curious, whether the described recipe would bring me similar results with my accustomed developing procedure. I am using a Jobo ATL-1500 processor for convenience and to get always reproducible results. The ATL-1500 can run only by 24 degree Celsius for B&W mode, and it is a rotating processor. Usually, I begin processing with 5 minutes predunk, so certainly I had to adjust the given developing time of 15 minutes to something less. So I started the first example by using the Agfa APX-100, ISO setting 100 and a developing time of 12,5 minutes.

The results where good, but the density was a little bit high. So I reduced the time to 11,5 minutes for the next film and found it to be perfect. The negatives looked very good and I could not see any drawbacks in terms of quality, compared to my standard developers. The next example I did with a middle format film Agfa APX-100, same processing as before, but I mixed the soup only for 250 ml and I was not very accurate in scaling ... The results, again, where very good. Now I wanted to test the negatives against a print on the very nice Adox MCC baryt paper. What should I tell ? Results where great as you expect it from a good negative.

So my conclusion: This recipe can be used as a serious developer with reproducible results without any drawbacks.

Thanks to Reinhold for this useful blog :-)"

Thank you very much, Harry.