Folgernol: The alternative Process.

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by kymtman, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. I shot a couple of B&W and processed them in Folgernol (Arm-n-Hammer
    washing soda and Folgers coffee) and the end result was a disaster. I
    pre-soaked then processed and the negs came out blotchie and different
    color stains. If this was the only developer available, I probably
    would quite photography. Here is a crop in the scene, the best color
  2. Try researching Caffenol. I think it's probably the same thing as Folgernol; maybe just a different name. I have actually seen some impressive results with it.
  3. I don't understand the excitement of developing black & white film with coffee. There are many fine prepared film developers which are inexpensive and which give excellent results. For liquids try Clayton F60, Paterson Aculux-2, Edwal FG-7, Kodak HC-110 or Agfa Rodinal. For powders try Kodak D-76, Ilford ID-11 and Microphen. If you want to mix up your own film developer try Kodak D-23 (water, metol and sodium sulphite) or PC-TEA (Phenidone, Ascorbic acid and Trietahnolamine - all available from Artcraft Chemicals). I mixed up some PC-TEA. If you don't include shipping costs for the chemicals it comes to $0.13 per roll. FIlm developing in coffee? I think it's just a curiosity.
  4. Several reasons, inexpensive, challeging, and you might run out of your regular stuff, would be handy to have around. The photo that I show above is less than an inch crop of a 4x5 neg and I was looking for grain and to my suprise none could be found in the enlargement. At that rate you could get a 40x50 print as good as this one which was reduced from an 8x10 for the post. If I could get uniform stains in the neg I would go for it, even though it smells to high Heaven. I will try a shot with high contrast and see if it reduces the contrast as I think it will. I used a jobe processor for this shot and may not have the speed right for this developer. any suggestions welcome.

    You may need the whole picture to see what I am talking about:
    1. original neg. a 4x5 scanned at 100dpi in color mode to give you and Idea of why I am disgusted ( on second thought I may have fogged this one) this is Kodak T-Max 400 film.

    2. The second photo I will post is a crop of the headlight. size= 1/8inch sq. scanned at 3200dpi on Epson-3200, resized to 3" at 200dpi.
    I do not see any noticable grain, it is hard to tell really.
  5. Now the crop!
  6. I've seen similar problems with Caffenol on one roll of 35 mm I processed -- I think it came from either not mixing in the correct order, or (pursuant to mixing order) not letting the microbubbles from mixing settle out before using the developer. What I've taken to doing is to add the soda to the water first, and stir until all cloudiness is gone (indicating the microbubbles have cleared). I then add the coffee crystals, and stir until the muddiness of the solution clears to a deep, clear brown/black. The developer is then ready to use. I might also suggest that a) no presoak is needed for a long process time like this one, b) if developing in trays, you have have trouble with oxidation before the developing time of around a half hour has passed, and c) if you're not already doing so, use filtered/deionized or distilled water instead of tap water; just as bad water makes good coffee taste bad, it could also cause all kinds of variations in the stain from the coffee. I've never developed T-Max in Caffenol, but I've done several rolls of 35 mm Tri-X, and I've seen negatives from Plus-X (also 35 mm) and Berger 200 (5x7 sheet) that looked great -- plus some in 120 that had unevenness. FWIW, my experience has been that Caffenol produces larger, but crisper grain than HC-110 Dilution H -- it's more in line with Rodinal, but with the stain, the end result from printing might be more like that from PMK or Pyrocat HD. I've yet to print any of my Caffenol negatives, but you can see some that I scanned in my portfolio. I'll attach one here...
  7. Hi Ron!

    That caffeine (a diketone with an aromatic ring and another smaller hyperconjugated heterogenous ring) makes a relatively good reducing agent, is no surprise at all. What shocked me almost twenty years ago is the fact that caffeine from turkish coffee (and from Coke as well) acts as photo developer in such a small concentration allowed by (in USA, the FDA) food law. Did you know that almost any tea or soda does more or less the same thing, especially if one concentrates them by boiling and totally eliminates the carbon dioxide? One may include in the developind agents class hundreds of compounds, some sophisticated chemicals, some naturally available mixtures (for Silver, any aromatic ring and/or even a couple of additional pi-electrons will do a job there).

    Staying in the kitchen though, for uniformity, less stain and grain, try genuine Ness-coffee (and you may want to vacuum- or pressure-filter it just to get it cleaner and more concentrated). I never tried decaf, but if caffeine is indeed the developing agent, it should work extremely slow or not at all...

    Excellent work Donald, but I don't agree that Caffenol comes even near any old Pyro... They (A. Adams) call the difference accutance. Your attachment is bravely suggesting similarity, but I am sure you may admit that the black did not print as deep as if you would had done the film in PMK. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Bad boy Jeff (just kidding)!

    the rookie
  8. I have another question! How long will Folgernol keep before processing?
    I really appreciate you guys helping. It is nice to know that helpfulnes
    prevails over criticism.

    I will be trying the new suggestions today. Has anyone used Caffenol or Folgernol with fine grain slow films like Efke 25. I will be trying that next. Thanks guys,,,,,,,,,,,
  9. Ron:

    The problem with "keeping" applies as for any developer. Keep the base (Sodium Dicarbonate) away and you'll be able to store your developer longer. If you brew coffee beforehand add a few crystals of Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (avoid Parabens, DMDM Hydantoin-contains Formaldehyde, Imidurea, as they bring additional uncontrollable reducing power, and they don't even offer any protection against fungi). Alternatively, you may try a few drops per liter of glycolic extracts of be it Grapefruit Seed and/or of the traditional Aussie's Tea Tree (sources and availability by request)

    Always remember the low concentration in reducing agent of the coffee. Again, Millipore molecular filtering will get rid of any tars and colored stains will be off limits. Sadly, once used, in the discussed form, caffeine developers don't keep longer than one day, even less, and I would consider them among the "one shot" ones. But you do brew coffee every day, don't you?

    Check out those articles as well:

    Efke 25 is excellent because one may be able to control the benefic blue shade especially for blue-sensitive old and weird papers, but I didn't try it in coffee.

    Good luck, and please post everything you get!

    the rookie
  10. O.K. guys, took advice and shot another test, some better. I think that I may be in trouble with continuous adjutation. I read a referal and they suggested not to continuous adjutate. here is my test shot, just not much of anything.
  11. Ron:

    your result is very good! (are there any manipulations made in Photoshop or the like software?)

    One thing though: I am not a English speaking person by birth. And even if I was, I would still have had problems with "adjutate - adjutation". I think I understand what you mean, but please explain what exactly IS this action, because if you are referring to agitating, mixing, swirling, wagging, shaking, re-wetting, re-soaking, twist-bathing, liquid layer recirculating of the developing agent, i.e., continously refreshing the superficial active liquid film at the sensitive material interface, there certainly are formulations (includind PMK and other Pyros) which require a stand-still of the developer for a relatively long period of time. In other cases (modified Dektol, Microdol and especially very diluted Technidol for spectral plates or electron microscopy films) a 15 minutes total repaos is part of current lab procedures in vertical development, internal molecular and ionic non-preferential convection being the only form of existing Brownian movement)

    So, don't be surprised by authors who may recommend total repaos for diluted and slow developers, in order to allow image relief to be accomplished (as I already mentioned, A.Adams' silver image accutance main concept is actually a 3-D aggregate, visible under magnification)

    the rookie
  12. Bujor, it's been my understanding that caffeine is *not* the developing agent in coffee -- people have reported no activity at all from caffeine tablets. OTOH, there are other developing agents in coffee that strongly resemble pyrocatechin; caffeic acid and its glycoside precursor, chlorgenic acid, are both catechols, and according to those who are better chemists than I, the best candidates for the developing agent(s). However: if you've gotten developing action with pure caffeine (obtainable, cheaply, in the US as a stimulant to aid drivers in staying awake), I'd be very interested to hear your formulae and see your results. Ron, I never try to keep the developer -- I mix it, and as soon as the developer has cleared I use it. I'd worry about aerial oxidation in a Jobo or trays, but it doesn't seem to be a big problem in a tank. In a Jobo, you might try the old pyro trick of replacing the dev with fresh solution halfway through development. Oh, and Bujor, remember, that was a smallish scan from 35 mm, and furthermore shot under low contrast conditions. Here's a 100% crop of a higher contrast scene scanned from 35 mm at 2400 ppi (appr. 95 pix/mm); you can't call this anything *but* acutange, IMO...
  13. Donald:

    with all my due respect for the people who tried the caffein tablets and came to the realization that they don't develop silver imagewise, I would dare to say that they can be wrong. Just order some pure caffeine from Sigma and make a developer using merely 0.1 g/l and you'll see that it works slowly and beautifully (you may want to dissolve it in alcohol first, and you'll of course may have to fill in a questionare before they approve your order)

    One thing the named experimentalists forgot is the "inactive ingredients" consisting the tablets, such as starch, sugar, inorganic salts, fillers, buffering agents, what have you, which may render the minute caffeine quantity as photographically inactive. So, I don't simply buy this theory and I sustain that caffein IS the majoritary developer in Folgernol or the other one.

    On the other hand, to invoke Chlorogenic Acid (adopted as USP monograph under Dietary for obvious reasons) and other related compounds as better candidates for developers, in my humble opinion, for brewed coffee, is not the best idea, simply due to their minuscule concentrations compared to caffein (HPLC spectrum of standardized e.g., Echinacea Purpurea Root, one of the richest botanical in caffein precursors, reveal laughable peak areas in the natural plant compared to inferior range limit for a prepared standard of Chlorogenic Acid, or of the Root Extract. Same for Total Phenols and other ~Glycosides, see USP27). As I stated in the previous posts: all you need is a couple of lone pairs for the awaiting silver image centers. Compounds resemble catechin structure... so does my grandma...

    Results and experiments on this theme (including sodas and tea) are long burried somewhere between Wurtzburg and Mainz, in good old Germany, but you are more than welcome to try the reagent grade caffein concentration I mentioned.

    Alternative or historic processes are my hobby as well. The subject just rang me a bell and I wanted to say: Hey, Ron you're not crazy... it works... here's what I know. Beyond this point, i.e., starting useless chemical debates, I don't think it is here the place, nor would the audience be interested.

    Your zoom is remarcable, although grain seems to be exceeding in absolute value the accutance. It is hard to come to a correct estimation on these scans and monitors, therefore I appologize if my remarks are wrong.

    the rookie
  14. Grace to a couple of enthusiasts (Michael Reichmann, Erwin Puts, etc.) here are some explanatory definitions to be used for my comments on your cropped zoom image. My problem, because of the graininess, is that I was not capable to define an unitary edge of a particle radius, but again, this may be my fault only, for which I already apologized.

    Grain: the individual silver halide crystals. the average size of such a crystal is 0,2 to 2 micron.

    Graininess: the subjective sensation of a random pattern apparent to a viewer seing small local density variations in an overall uniform density area.

    Granularity: the objective measurement of the local density variations that give rise to the sensation of graininess.

    Ac(c)utance: the measurement of the steepness of the gradient across the edge between a light and a dark area. This is the objective measurement of sharpness of edges in an image, as the average squared rate of change of the density across the edge divided by the total density difference from one side of the edge to the other.

    Sharpness: the individual or subjective assessment by any observer of the general outlines and contours of an image. Although not numerically quantified, IT CONSISTS OF RESOLUTION AND ACCUTANCE, which may bare numeric values.

    Resolving Power (or the measure of the Resolution): the scientific measurement of the exact fineness of detail that can be depicted in a photographic image. However big the enlargement, the lens-film resolving power habitually does not exceed 60 to 80 linepairs for most applications.

    the rookie
  15. I realize this is an old post, but I found it doing a search for alternative developers and thought i would add an update. I have not tried Folgernol yet but am very interested in it! I found an actual scientific paper written on the process!!! Unfortunatly it does not include scans of the sample images! :( This seems to be fairly successful development technique and since my own experience in developing negatives in college always came out crappy, i figure Coffee developer cant be anyworse than contaminated or improperly stored and mixed chemistry found in a gang darkroom!

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