Caffenol problems?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by marios_lizides, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. Hello,
    Hope that someone can help me with this as I am going out of my mind! :)
    The first time I tried the Caffenol C-M recipe ( it worked like a charm. I got two beautifully developed films.
    Now the second and third time the films came out almost completely transparent. You can see a glimpse of what was photographed and the overexposed parts (black parts on film) are very soft on the touch, almost like gelatine and can be peeled away very easily. There were two films in the last tank I developed: The first one (Rollei Retro) came out fine, while the other (Ilford HP5 Plus) has the aforementioned problems.
    Attaching two images of the film.
    Does anyone have an idea of why this is happening? I appreciate your response.
    Attaching two images
  2. Caffenol-CM is for medium speed films, which explains why your Retro came out fine (provided it was a Rollei Retro 100) and your HP5 didn't, as latter is a 400 ISO speed film. You'll need to add a gram of potassium bromide to your recipe in order to develop 400 ISO and above.
  3. Thanks for your response Tom.
    Actually both were ISO400, but I believe the Retro is generally more forgiving.
    I will give a try on potassium bromide if I can find it. Any tips on where I can get it?
  5. Thank you Allen but I live in Europe.
    Anyone knows from where I can get chemicals to Europe?
    Was interested in tintype chemicals also.
  6. Anyone knows from where I can get chemicals to Europe?​
    Price list for above:
    There used also to be with cheap prices, but they recently changed their web page and I can't any more find the photo chemicals that were offered for sale.
    Good luck
  7. Hello everyone. Mario, I have experienced similar soft, gummy exposed areas with Kodak T films, both with coffee CCL mix and several Pyro developers. A second fixing of equal duration but with "fresh fixer" usually clears the problem. On the T films, the areas are close to pink in color when dried, and I believe this is another dye layer used in these films. Since the 80s is a totally different emulsion on a PET film base, it fixes and clears in under 3 minutes (my expierence). Ilford films are different. Try the 2nd fixing.
    If you refer to the Coffenol Blog site again, you will find data on how to use common Iodized table salt as the anti fogging agent vrs the KBr. Bill
  8. You don't need those chemicals. Just agitate 15-30 sec per minute. More agitation higher contrast. When developing two rolls 120 film directly after each other I use the same caffenol-M for 15 minutes in both both agitate more for the second and it always comes out with more contracts. Ilfor Rapidfix for 5 minutes with agitation 15-20 sec per minute.
    And a lot of water washing at least 10 min.
  9. That's because film emulsion is gelatine!
    And a moderately strong alkali, like washing soda, has a softening effect on gelatine. If you leave a film in a strong solution of warm washing soda the emulsion will dissolve right off.

    If you want consistent results, then stop playing about with kitchen-sink recipes and buy a bottle of HC-110 or T-Max developer.

    How would you respond to a post like this?
    "I've been messing about with saltpetre, sulfur and charcoal. The first time I got a nice rocket that shot off into the sky. Next time I tried it, I blew my hand off. What could possibly have gone wrong??"
    robert_bowring likes this.
  10. Caffenol is a FUN developer if you are serious about following strictly the chemistry mixing and developing times. It only took about 2 months for me to "zero" both using the data from Rheinhold's blog site. Results were excellent for all films I tried. I just got bored with it. . . too much hassle to do a roll. . ans it STINKS ! So, I went back to my cathecol - pyro staining mixes. EZ Pize now. Aloha, Bill
  11. And how many wasted films Bill?

    The point is that an off-the-shelf developer just works, after only 5 minutes spent reading the instructions.

    I guess one person's 'FUN' is another's frustrating waste of time.:rolleyes:
  12. Must say though Joe , a year or so ago I got the ingredients , real ascorbic acid , digital scale etc. and got good results
    right off the get go .Must be my age , but I don't find the aroma offensive :) . But it's sure a lot quicker to use HC-110.
    To each his own , Regards, Peter
  13. Joe, over the span of about 4 years, only two rolls were "duds" with the caffenol developers espoused by Rheinhold at his blog. Over 50 rolls, a mix of 35mm & 120, are now in my negative books and on thumb drives for the computer. As I mentioned, when using this developer, one needs to follow good techniques. I used the same brand
    of instant coffee, photo grade ascorbic acid and sodium carbonate, with all dry measurements with a 0.01gram digital scale. Since the mid 70's I have been making my
    developers DIY, so caffenol was just another curiosity for me. You might notice that all my current postings have pyro staining developers listed, these all being DIY.
    Granted it is very easy today to find decent, boxed developers and the Net allows getting the various times for developing.
    But sometimes I just want to have FUN !

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