quarta-feira, 10 de janeiro de 2018


While I have done very little regarding my caffenol experiments in the last few years, basically due to growning family and responsibilities, I can tell everyone that over 6 years after the first fix, the negatives are STILL FIXED and without any change.
That's right! It works.

So I guess we proved it.

quarta-feira, 30 de maio de 2012

Long time no posting - being away.

It's been a while since my last post. The last batch of caffenols came out so much better. I have not shared them on my blog yet. There was nonetheless a problem. I didn't shake enough and the negarives came out with a lot of brown spots all over. They must be undissolved crystals. A pity.....
Well furthermore i am without time!! No kidding. Life is frantic with the coming of my long trip to the usa. Spending time with my wifie's family and travelling around the mountain states. Going climbing camping eating chilies etc. And....my my camera Nikon D5100 with 300mm lens waits for me there!

I also haven't had time to make a rig to work as my scanner so uploading the result in a crappy way again doesn't look very attractive to me.

I have another roll of 120 in my Rollei its been weeks now but nothing worth registering came up! Boring weeks i should say. But cannot take my rollei to the usa ...not this time.

I was writing a post about diffracting and stopped because i was getting to techy with it. Soon though.....diffraction effects for dummies.

Well keep visiting me and i guess see you guys soon.


sábado, 28 de abril de 2012

Tutorial: Learning how to use the Exposure Table - Rollei example (Rolleicord \ Rolleiflex)

"Sunny 16 Rule" and EXPOSURE Table (Light Value)

I finally understood how that thing works and I wish to share it with a reader who might feel stuck at the same place I was until yesterday or so.

This post mentions the Rollei because it's the camera I have and love. My Canon AE-1 or your camera will follow the same science !

The reason I revisited this subject is a post on a forum where a guy asked for help reading the table BUT a shed load of "connoisseurs" flooded the poor guy with their own confusions and doubts. Things like: 'it doesn't really work' or 'it is supposed to be used together with a light meter' or 'that si from the days (before digital) when photographers could not get true esimates of light value and exposure and had to guess' (almost true) or even 'here is the link to a Rollei manual - it tells you all you need to know. Period' (I wonder if the guys knew it, really.....prob not....).

So.....you've got yourself a Rollei? What the heck is that table with weird numbers and pictures on the back?!?

This is what I talk about:

Now MY Rollei is the Rolleicord Va (almost 100% absolute sure about that :) and my table only goes up to ASA 100. I have a manual showing up to ASA 800 but in which ASA 100 is missing. What you do? You read inbetween. I see numbers ASA 50 and 200. 100 is exactly in between.

For more on rolleis go to rolleiclub.com

Now let's decryptograph the table itself, shall we! Happy time

First thing: DIN is a very old film sensitivity scale. But ASA is the same as ISO. So, if you know what ISO means, stick to the ASA side and you'll need no convertion at all.

Take a good look at the table and its figures. It has 10 big scene pictures on the top two rows; 10 small pictures on the bottom two rows (with a picture of the sun shining on the top one on each side and, on each side, a pic of the sun overcast....looks like it's raining though; and in the middle a dense black area with white numbers sided by the ASA (ISO) values. The dense area is the EV (Exposure Value) matrix!

Breaking it down to pieces - red circles below

TOP COUPLED PICTURES (BIG SCENES): Determining best EV for composition quickly

In the pic above you'll see five (5) sets of two pictures, one on top of the other. The idea here is to tell you the best average EV (check my preceeding blog post) for a given scene and light.
As explained, we need to evaluate the light spreading over our subject plus the shades coming from it - if any.

Let's first call each couple scenes (one on top of the other) by letters A to E. There are, therefore, 5 sets of two pictures (scenes) :: A, B, C, D, and E.

A: (up) High Mountains without foreground - (down) Open beach. That is very brightly light open places, snow, sand, reflexions etc

B: (up) Sport scenes, wide lawns open spaces - (down) Bright streets and squares, Parkings, Parks, wide concrete areas, Open Landspaces.

C: (up) Landscapes WITH foreground - (down) Groups in the open.

D: (up) Groups in shade - (down) Street scenes with shade. Bright alleys.

E: (up) Groups under trees or lightly shaded subjects - (down) Groups in glassroofed halls, Galleries, Trains station (well lit, no deep shade areas).


Can you see that the first row has a sun picture on each side, while the second has an overcast sun (though it looks like rain! lol) ?
Those are the SHADOW values, to be adjusted with the light values.

Upper Row: +0   -1   -2
Lower Row: -1   -2   -3

Up row shades (shape): dark & short  dark & medium\same length  dark & long

Shades in a sunny day: dark, distinct, sharp and with edges easily noticeable
Shades in overcast day: varying degrees of softness to barely visible or, at the farthest spectrum, Absent  (remember last post and the quick Sunny 16 table!). That can be seem in the lower row. Shades are always almost non-visible.

Example: It's sunny, dark and edgy short shades. EV -0. But let's say it's late in the afternoon and the shades, you notice, have grown very long, longer than the object itself...then do EV -2 (15 becomes 13).
Or even, it's overcast but you see no shades, and it's very bright. Do -1 EV (15 becomes 14).

Remember to check that on the next sunny or overcast day. Even today, when writing this blog, I had a very gray, heavily overcast day. Although it was extremely bright outside, there was NO SHADOW at all. Inside the flat, with the bright light coming into the window, there were shades - long and barely visible. What does that mean: for an outside subject I choseF5.6 - 1/125 (EV 12 = -3EV) and for the inside F4 - 1/4 (EV 6 = -9EVs). Worked nicely.

EV SCALE itself - How to use the Rollei table:

Now adding up the two information above and using it in the real world.

You'll now match (cross) your ISO with the scene you are shooting, adding the EV shade modifier if applicable.

Ok so you are shooting a football match, it is sunny, no big deal of clouds. The players have their dark shades clearly noticeable. The shades edges are sharp and also about their heights. Which scene picture are we talking about?
Resp: B, upper row.
So we know that we need to take the EV values (numbers) directly below the scene. They are 11, 12, 13 and 14 BUT your ISO is 100, so your base EV is only one, is the 14 --- below the picture and beside the ASA 100. And since the shadows are dark and a bit long (we might infer it's in the afternoon) the modifier is -1 EV. The resulting EV is then 14-1 = 13 !

What do we do with that!?! Very simple.....

Recap that the Sunny 16 "straight" is only a starting point which is F16 - 1/ISO - 15 EV (EV 15 == +/-ZERO EV compensation under the Sunny 16 Rule ! EV 15 is the starting point, sunny bright, midtone subject), then;

Set your Rollei like this: F/16 aperture - 1/ISO shutter speed on the coupled knob and on the diaphragm knob (the one with the red numbers) find the number 15.......
You've set Sunny 16 on your Rollei!! 

If you don't have a Rollei go on, the idea can be modified to other cameras (even digital). Especially if you use the EV and LV Chart.

Back to the examples:

EV 13 is -2 EV or + 2 stops of light needed in relation to EV 15. Move the EV knob up until it's set to 13. Now look at the coupled knob and check what the Aperture/Shutter says now......

it says1/125 shutter speed BUT now the aperture is set at F8 ! And how many stops is that? Two!
You opened up for twice more light (F16->11->8) keeping the same shutter speed.
With that you correctly exposed the scene starting from Sunny 16 and reading the table on the back of your Rollei.

Let's analyse if the table makes sense...if it correctly exposes the frame by means of our old friends: charts EV and LV.

I want to take a pic of my friends. We are quite close to each other and amisdt many trees, like in a park, with some shade (lightly shaded). I can say now that this scene is letter "E". And lets say it's a couldy day outside. I can now expect that the correct EV compensation for this shot will be around (11-1=10 EV) under the Sunny 16; and that is shooting F4 @ 1/60s ! Checking that against the charts EV 11 is "open shade" which looks right, and the extra +1 EV adds to the fact that the subjects are in the shade. Furthermore EV 10 is also F4 - 60s
The chart also tells us we might use F2.8 - 125s or F8 - 15s and get the exact same exposure. Line "10".

The EV Math: 15 - 4 full stops = 11. Minus 1 stop (or +1 EV compensation to make things brighter) = 10
Go back to the Quick Sunny Day table and you'll see that it also tells you should use F4.

All methods lead to a same result. You may add or subtract to get better exposures. You may even choose different settings but the base Sunny 16 Rule is all set on your Rollei, ready to help you in a blink of the eye!
How nice is that?!

Another thing. Once you have set the diaphragm ring (red numbers knob) to your chosen EV the  F-number/Speed coupled knob will show you all different setings you may choose from keeping the same exposure value.
Example: Set the EV number to 7. Then move the coupled knob up and down and you will get all possible same exposure compositions:
F16 - Bulb
F11 - 1"
F8 - 1/2
F5.6 - 1/4
F4 - 1/8

Hope I've been of some help.

If you use the Rollei setting please let me know of your experiences and also help me add to my Charts different situations and light conditions.


Understanding Exposure Compensation - Sunny 16 Rule - A Practical Guide

I originally was posting about the Rollei EV scales but then it grew more complex and I full post about Exposure and EV and LV were needed in a way they preceed the actual Rollei Exposure Table post I'll post after.

I am not a pro but rather a very interested guy! I just started shooting FILM and home developing with Caffenol and it came to my full attention that I will never get good results if my manual exposure isn't right...Well, shooting film requires 100% manual exposure... Then I better learn it, well and quickly!

Let's start!

The Famous SUNNY 16 Rule

In very simple terms -> in a sunny day, with very bright natural direct sun light and no or almost no clouds, the Earth is lit uniformily from 10am to 5pm. In such a day you WILL get a great photo (exposure of your photo will be very correct, showing a good amount of contrast and details, light areas and darker areas) if you set your camera to do the following:

Aperture: F16 (the name of the rule is Sunny 16!!)
Shutter speed: 1 over the ISO (ASA) of your film. That is: I shoot ISO 100 film = 1/100 shutter speed OR the closest you have.
Why is the above in red, you ask?? Because not all cameras have ISO 100, but 125 instead! Just like digital usually has ISO 200 but shutter speeds on cameras are usually 250. 125 is the closest to 100, and 250 the closest to 200. Got it? You will set your shutter speed to the closest speed number your camera has to offer you for your film ISO.

Making it visually easier: The "natural ONE FULL STOP shutter speed scale", goes like:

Faster                                                     ----> slower shutter
Less light                                                 ---_> more light

1/1,000 - 1/500 - 1/250 - 1/125 - 1/60 - 1/30 - 1/15 - 1/8 - 1/4 - 1/2 - 1" - Bulb

your mileage may vary.... your camera might have a couple numbers different, but in general that is what you get. If they are different, it doens't matter because what the specific scale on your camera will tell you is that each preceeding  (right to left - or smaller denominator to bigger denominator) number allows twice as much light into the camera as the next on the left. So changing from 1/60s to 1/30s allows 2x more light in. Or, cocking from 1/30 to 1/60 cuts the light in half and therefore your picture will be darker.
Every one of the examples above equalled ONE FULL STOP change = more or less light.
Same way changing from 1/250 to 1/15 means 4 full stops change for more light (brighter outcome) or 4x2 = 8 times more light coming in.

Terminology and Practice

EV means Exposure Value - Exposure Compensation

No Correction == No Compensation == EV 0 , or (+/- 0EV)

EV Compensation of -1 EV = making UNDER-exposed by one stop = Darker = image is too bright and needs to be darkened.
EV Compensation of +1 EV = making OVER-exposed by one stop = Lighter = image is too dark and needs to be brightened.

1EV == +/- 1 f-stop change == half / double shutter speed or light-in allowance. So 125s (1/125) F8 +1EV == 60s F8 OR 125s F5.6

Let's remember (know by heart, don't you!?) the True APERTURES scale:

They are "F/"s: 1, 1.4, 1.8, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32, 45 (...)

Going from F8 to F5.6 allows 2x more light in. Going from F4 to F16 allows 4x less light in - or minus 4 full stops of light.
How do we count that? Simple.
Find F8 then count how many full stops until F5.6 (the above table only show full stop changes to make it easier). F8 is on the right side and F5.6 is the one left to it. So, ONE stop change.
F4->F16: Find F16, then count until F4 by full stops: 11, 8, 5.6, 4 - that is 4 f-stops change. Got it?
From F16 to F4 = +4 EV = 8x brighter = 4 f-stop more light.

Sunny 16 Rule is EV0 by default! So -> F/16 - 1/ISO - EV0.  You will see why this is EXTRA important.

* Adjusting Sunny 16 Rule * to ANY exposure need - Here the fun begins

Very often you hear people saying you need a +1EV compensation on the photo because the subject is in the shade, or because of too many light clouds, etc. That means you need to either change your aperture (right to left) by one or your shutter speed left to right by one full stop (ex. F8->F5.6 or 500s -> 1,000s).
Real life example: you're hiking. Shooting some of your friends under the bright sunny day in an open area. Shades are disctinct around you and them. That's perfect for the Sunny 16, right! Of course. BUT, you notice that their faces are in the shade. Perhaps the orientation of the sun makes their face come into their caps shade, whatever, you want their face to be clearly exposed and visible. Alas, if you shoot +0 EV "Sunny 16 straight" (F16 - 1/100 - +0EV) you'll expose all correctly but their faces might come too dark. Your girl\boyfriend has lovely eyes and you want to be able to see them. WHAT DO YOU DO??
Well, you re-expose your frame, making the darker areas a bit brighter/lighter. Not too light that all the rest is blown up in and white aura, but just a tiny bit, enough to make a shaded spot a smidge brighter. How? You add +1EV stop, to over-expose an area with shade.
Easy option are: F16->F11 (one stop brighter); 125s->60s (one stop bringhter). If you do both then you'll get TWO stops brighter and could ruin you exposure.
There you go. You'll get more details out o the shades and it's unlikely that +1EV will ruin the rest of the exposure of your photo.

<< Always keep in mind that the Sunny 16 relates to the amount of light incident on the subject. So take your measurements accordingly >>

Now the BIG SECRET CONCEPT: The Sunny 16 "straight" is the STARTING POINT. By that I means you should set your camera to F16 1/ISO and from there add or subtract EVs to reach any exposure you'll ever want. I'll show you how.

Memorise these quick settings - Sunny 16 Short and Quick Daytime Table

F-number                Light Conditions                                Shadows                                                
F22                          Snow\Sandy w/reflections                                 Dark shadows with sharp edges
F16                          Sunny \ beach\mountain\squares etc         Distinct
F11                          Slight Overcast                                       Soft around the edges
F8                            Overcast                                                                               Barely visible
F5.6                         Heavy Overcast                                                                               No
F4                            Open Shade / Sunset\rise                                                              No

-It's heavy overcast. You set your camera to 1/ISO speed and F5.6 then you get about perfect exposure.
-You're on a sandy beach, blue sky, very bright. Set to 1/ISO and F22 !
-It's slightly overcast. One f-stop will do the trick. You just need +1 EV, so set 1/ISO and F11. Easy

You will have noticed that the part of Sunny 16 Rule concerning the ISO over speed (that is shutter speed) NEVER CHANGES. That's right, you can get most exposures 'ok' by changing the aperture alone in a regular lit day.
There will be times when only the aperture will not be enough! Then you'll also change the speed of the shutter. Although your ISO will be the same (talking about FILM here - you can't change ISO like on digital. You have to replace the whole roll).
In the quick table above we just changed the F-stop. But we could have changed the speed too. Remember, from F16->F11 is one stop more light (=double of light) so instead of F11 you may keep F16 but dial 1/50 and not 1/100. Doubling the light only changing the shutter speed and not the aperture.

Film ISO for ISO's sake

ISO is the film's sensitivity to light. A higher ISO (ISO number >) means nore light will be caught on film for the same f-stop and speed. And so,
ISO 100 -> ISO 200 is a 2x increase of sensitivity.
ISO 400 -> ISO 1600 is 4x as much. And ISO 400->ISO 100 is 4x LESS light.

It's importante because we now know the third way of getting the desired exposure. ISO ! 
Even if you need to change your film it might be the case if the settings for the exposure you need are infeasible. I'll show a simple table capable of solving that question soon, but giving an example for now, imagine you want to catch a lowly lit scene of action. You know that without a tripod and in order to stop action you want at least 1/125 sec speed (125s) and you check all exposures for your slow ISO 100 film and they make you want to cry....ISO 100 is too slow and light sensitive to catch anything. But hey: if it takes you for ISO 100 1/8 - F8, if you change your film ISO to 1,600 you'll only need F8 - 1/125 !! Done! 
A 4x increase in ISO = 4x increase in light in without changing the other settings!

Time to go back to the EV Compensation, and expand it

Now it's time to learn to read and use the EV chart. The one below for what I call the Sunny 16 Rule EV Chart because it only goes up to F16. BUt you now know how to expand it one stop up if you need. Or more.

It introduces the ISO speed, EV Compensation, Shutter Speed and Aperture in a same table \ chart. And here's how you use it, in an easy way:

Since I don't know how to make Google Docs turn into Pictures, I'll post a link. Please forgit me, open the link and follow through.

What you have to do is simple find the ISO number of your film on the far left column, then the F-number you intend to shoot. The lines under the F number column show you all the shutter speeds available for that F number.
To use this table you need one more information, that I add now:

The EV number - or put differently - EV compensation form the scales under each ISO number (column).
Take a look at the EV Chart above. Let's find Sunny 16 there!
Look for "f/16" (F16) on the Exposure Setting columns. Now look under Exposure Value Numbers for your ISO number, for example 100. Now look down until you find the number 15 under ISO 100. Got it? What is the shutter speed for the intercept of ISO 100 at line 15 EV and f/16 ? It's 1/125, or the closest speed to 1/ISO ! There! F16 - 1/ISO. That's because the 15 is actually the LV or Light Value of Sunny 16 which translates into ZERO Compensation!

Below the LV / EV chart with light value and compensation for each exposure

LV Chart  - GoogleDocs link

Look for LV 15. You'll see that it is actually ZERO ("0") compensation. That is exacly what we've been saying, right. For a Sunny day, bright and with hard shadows you'll set your camera correctly exposed @ 1/ISO - F16 and +0 EV.

Although EV and LV are not the exact same thing they are pretty close and, we'll use them exchangeably here for ease&clarity's sake.

Reading the LV Chart:
- LV value 15 - Subject medium coloured in bright sunlight
-LV value 10 - Landscapes just after sunsets\rise, and I also find this "EV" adjust very good for taking pictures from behind a subject against a window in a heavy overcast day with very bright white clouds coming into a room.
-LV 0 - dim interior
and so on.

NOW LOOK: The LV scale is next to the Expusure scale. What does it translates into?

If you read LV 8 you have E (Sunny 16 Exposure) -7 -- that is -- from the starting poing 15 you need to add 7 stops of light in order to be able to capture on film what you see, inside a house lit by lamps.
Seven stops,,,,,,Let's say we choose F5.6. Count with me:

1 stop - 500s - EV 14
2 stop - 250s - EV 13
3 stop - 125s - EV 12
4 stop - 60s - EV 11
5 stop - 30s - EV 10
6 stop - 15s - EV 9
7 stop - 8s - EV 8   --->  LV 8 and 7 stop brighter!

We'd call that spot EV 8 on the chart.  Don't confuse the add\taking stops with the numbered EV. It's easy if you practice a bit with the charts to get the hang of it. You will always look for the LV number and then call it EV. Read down the ISO and Aperture lines to get your shutter speed.

USING both EV and LV Chart together:

Now we can add both info together and use in practice. Ask me the chart in excel or word file if you want.


1] Look on the LV Chart for the kind of light on the subject you are likely to be trying to shoot. Say it's a white car in a very bright sunny day :) - The LV value is 17, over 15 by two (second column, right next to the LV one) so you need 4x less light coming in to correctly expose the car,
2] Note that your film ISO is 200,
3] Go to the EV Chart and chose an Aperture, say F16,
4] Find the line under ISO 200 & F16 corresponding to EV 17 ==> 1/1,000 sec shutter speed.

of course 1,000s is higher than some cameras can do, especially older film ones, but then you're shooting ISO 200 in a bright sunny day, dumbass! ;)
Change your film to ISO 100 or lower ---- or,,,,,,, try F22 (= 1/500sec) or even higher, if you have it available.

Another example: You're bored in your flat, it's incoveniently overcast outside, looks like it might rain. No need to say there's not much light out there....AND it's night time....PLUS, you only have ISO 100 film.
Annoying as it may be you want to take a picture of the lovely outside lit by all the neighbouring buildings, lamp posts and cars. Can you do it? Can you still get the trees and the details of things in such low light? You can try! And it will work. See how:

EV 2 will help us. Look in the chart - you see under ISO 100 that the options available are dim....I mean...... you can get F4 - 4" (four FULL SECONDS!); F5.6 8"; F8 - 15" or F11 @ 30" (WOW). F16 is .... do the math.
Of course with a good tripod those 4 full secs or even 15 will not be a problem. So there you have it!
The bad part is that your DoF (Depth of Field) and resolution are going to be less than perfect. F8 is ok though.....
You can also move your ISO up and get better shutter speeds. Or even, a faster lens, say F2 and so have the 1" (one second only) option....
But really dark conditions are tricky anyway.

This is it. I'll add some pictures when I revisit this post.

Cheers peeps!

segunda-feira, 23 de abril de 2012

Dear reader: Do the links on this blog work?

I'm new to this blogging world and I have a few doubts about the functioning of my blog.

So, when you click on the links (say to Cronocrator's blog) do they open? Or on the photos I posted of the process, do they open... Do the pics open bigger?

Let me know if this blog is working properly!

Sea Salt Fixer Project

Hi there.

As you know Cronocrator started this project. I just informally named it ;)
Four people are now trying to prove Sea Salt CAN be used as FIXER. Check my previous post (s).

Not any salt. Not table salt. But sea salt in crystals. Those you use in barbecues and steaks, salads etc.

Sea salt has most of Earth's minerals....and.... IS TOTALLY GREEN CAFFENOL!!! HURRAY

Unfortunately there is a correct way of mixing / preparing the Salt Fixer, otherwise it's just water + salt. There's a right temperature! A right dilution, density! A right time!

I'll keep adding info to this post but I feel like I must kick his thing off for now, so that we may, perhaps, find other contributors to the "Project"

First off, you'll need a density of 1.2 or over. That means, in simple words, that the 1L solution must weigh 1.2Kg.
The way you do it is NOT adding 200g of sea salt to 1000g (1L) of water....no....no way. But follow this post and a very easy way of doing it is going to be presented!

Keep in mind that you want to dilute as much salt as possible (at least 1.2 final density). Okay then how you'll do it;

Remember the huge, tall 2L plastic container I bought in my Easter Even shopping post? Here's when we use it, finally ;)

-Add 1/2 Kg of sea salt to the container,
-Add SOME water to it. Say, 700ml for instance.
-Shake it like crazy for some time. Keep shaking, now like a normal person, for a LONG time. Let's say some 5 min. You'll make sure you diluted all the salt you could for those 700ml water. Now one free tip: I warm some water for this first step because it makes diluting the salt easier! Just be careful not to burn yourself.

See the water turns brackish and dense

-Then you add water to top until it makes 1L (32oz.). Now again,,,,do all the shaking for a looong time to make sure you diluted all possible salt for that amount of water, and temperature.

You probably got it, but I'll keep on anyway:
what?? You'll end up with LESS than 1L of water!! YES, that's right....keep reading.

Once you filter to have only the salt water you'll end up with less than a litre, but remember, it's ok since your tank holds about 450ml :)
Actually, you'll end up with 600ml of salt water.....making the perfect density.

Now next. You will want to have one of those coffee filters to pour the water solution but leave the undissolved salt crystals out!

Do this:

-Pour the solution - all of it, including the salt that was not dissolved - into a pan. Maybe the same ou used to warm the water,

-Rinse your tall container, so to wash all grains of salt and crystals left behind,
-Pour the pan contents onto the filter (with the tall container under it, please!:) and repeat until all the pan's solution has being poured into the plastic container.

-Done. You have now Sea Salt Fixer yourself!

Mind that the higher the temperature the quicker you'll fix. So for that solution, 3h is enough if you keep the tmep at about 30-40ºC. I guarantee that by heating and keeping the tank in the stove (be careful to not melt the plastic of the tank. You just want to keep it warm, not hot. A couple min. every 30min is enough to warm the stove)

After fixing, wash the fixer out and rinse the tank many times with tap water.
As a last bit, rinse it with detergent (a smidge) to guarantee a spotless neg!

Welcome to Project Sea Salt Fixer ;)


I will add a table of temp vs. time here and more info.

First Caffenol Negatives - Full Developing Report

So here we are again after a couple weeks without anything great. Caffenol Carioca presents its first results: overdeveloped negatives, but alas, it's experimental after all and was indeed the first time...

Practice makes perfect.

As I said before, the idea here is to use the common household kitchen stuff to obtain a Green Developer and Fixer. Stuff that won't kill your baby, burn your skin, make you blind, intoxicate you and your dog, things you can leave around the house not caring to leave a skull sticker on to warn people they are at risk ingesting or handling it. AND THAT'S GREAT STUFF, innit!
For years what actually prevented me from developing my own negatives at home was the chemistry involved. Not-any-more.

As I told you guys my journey started with my grandad's old Rollei. Then I went online, researched, read a lot, watched videos on youtube, bought some basic stuff and made a friend. It's worth mentioning him because he was the guy who actually made sense of the "green fixer"; and although the substance involved has been well known to 'kinda fix okay' for the whole existance of Photography a quick search online will show you that the results were - in the least - less than satisfactory and short lived. Sea Salt as a fixer simply did not work and ALL THE WORLD was out there to make sure you got that or be treated as a fool to believe otherwise.
Even then, a few fools with a fixed (sorry, pun) idea in their heads would still try it. As of today, we are four people (04). And it works. Just follow the recipe I'll explain later. But this subjetc will deserve more than one post. Don't worry
BTW this friend is Henrique Souza, or by the nickname Cronocrator on Flickr, and his blog is at the address http://caffenolcolor.blogspot.com -  Please check and contribute to his work.


Starting with my recipe, which turned out to be too strong I reckon now:

But first, nomenclature:
tsp = teaspoon (circa 5g / ml)
tbs = tablespoon (3 tsp)


The developing thank volume is of about 500ml. Less actually. You can't fit 500ml. Consider your proportions accordingly, ok. But most important of all, even if you don't have exactly what the other guys have been using, it's ok as long as you use the same measures for all you work. In a different way to put it, if ou can't measure in ml do in ounces, or liters but then ALWAYS stick to the same measures so you WON'T mix different scales. I bought a general kitchen measuring beaker and will do the whole process using it. Simple as that.


2 tbs of cheap (caffenated!!!) instant coffee
4 tsp of washing soda
2 Vit-C Redoxon 1000mg tablets


1] dissolved the coffee and the soda in different recipients. MIND the 500ml maximum volume of your tank (your tank might take more than that so just find out how much it takes before you start the process - add water to it and measure how much it took):

-          Add 250ml to a container then add the 2 tbs of coffee. Mix until it all dissolves.
-          Add 200ml and the 4tsp of Soda to another recipient or in the measuring beaker/cup itself. You don't need a hundred plastic pots to do this. Two will do just fine. Mix and break any hard crystals. It should dilute 100% . It will look like regular water (yep, don't get confuse and drink it....)
-          Add to Redoxon and allow it to completely dilute. Make sure it does!

2]         Mix all three together and make sure to mix well.
3]          Add the mixture inside your tank (preferably with the film already in the reel inside, a' course!)

You don't have to do this in the dark. Actually, after doing the film-reel-tank hedious game all the developing process takes place in the light. Watch tv!


I did 20 min. MISTAKE. The recipe is too strong. I suppose 7 to 12 min tops will bring better results.
Overdeveloping make the negatives DENSE - that is, too DARK. You'll see in my results what does that mean.
Try and get the temperature around 20 degrees Celsius. Too warm and it overdevelops too. I did it at about 30 C.... And easy way to do it is to use some cooled water to do the mixin.
Attention: add the cool water after you mixed the soda. I found out that the soda in cool water becomes big rocks too hard to dilute!! I ha to add hot water to dissolve it.

           The caffenol mixture must be used within 30min's time. 

CAVEAT: The Vit-C tablets are messy. They foam up and make a good froth. Just like draught beer but not as tasty! By messy I really mean messy, spilling black smudge all over. So be sure to add those two in the recipient with the highest side you have. I was told that adding soda to it cancelled the spilling over....never tried. Vit-C reduces the time of development by a half and reduces fog and stains. But the tablets are not 100% pure Vit-C and then you have a few issues form its use....

As I said, this recipe works fine but is rather strong. I'm presenting what I've done here, but my next batch will suffer adjustments such as: no more Redoxon (Cronocrator's tip), 1 tbs + 1 tsp Coffee and 4 tbs of soda. Do at your own risk or simple go online and try one of the bomb-proof recipes the guys post online at Caffenol.org

I'm all about experimenting. Besides, my film is not the same as theirs!


Time to add some photos, as promissed.

First, a gentle advice given me by Cronocrator. Wash you film before starting. Add cool water from the tap to the tank, put it down the drain. Repeat. It gets the negatives moisturised before starting the developing process preventing the developer to stain the film and washing away the die from the film (purple or blue die, depending on the film maker)

I usually prepare the Salt Fixer before (since the caffenol is only good for 30min!) But that is a new post......

Kitchen measuring beaker with about 500ml water:

2 Coffee tbs and Redoxon before adding to coffee mix (illustration of the tablets):

Adding 250ml water to coffee and the Vit-C later: 250ml
Just placed  the 250mln water in the coffee cup then vit-c,

Result of using a short cup for the Vit-C mix....Mistake made once only! It was worse than the picture shows...
Should have used the measure cup and not the short cup...

Mixing the Soda to have the complete Caffenol mix. I did both mixtures before adding water to them. Adding water was the last part, except for the Vit-C which was added to the coffee-water mix already done:

Water for the soda mix: 200ml

4 tsp of soda

Mixing soda and water:

Mixing all together now - coffe + vit-c & Soda: you don't need the funel!

Final solution of CAFFENOL ready to use (oh yeah, it's caffenol done there!):

NEXT Step, adding the Caffenol-C mix to the Developing Tank:

amount left in the measure cup (tank fits only less that the full 500ml)

DEVELOPING Time and Do's:

Nice. Once you have added your Caffenol to your tank the process takes from 7 to 15 min depending on your recipe and if you have Vit-C. Solutions without Vit-C take longer, like 30min. You'll have to gently shake the tank, mix the caffenol inside it so the developing solution affects the whole of the film, leaving no imperfections or stains.
If you shake too much or too hard you'll get too much GRAIN and overdevelop. So you will move the tank gently every 30 sec. for the first 5 min or so. Just turn it one side to the other, up and down around its axis. This is called semi-stand. Then let it do it's trick. Wait a few minutes and turn a bit more. If you turn too much you'll get a lot of grain.

Drop the caffenol down the sink and begin the stop and washing bath:

change the water a few times to make sure you washed it really well and no caffenol is still on the film

Last thing: wash the negs still in the tank with a bit of dishwashing soap.....it prevents water stains to build on your nice negs!

DONE. Now you have to FIX your negatives if you want them to survive light.

Now a few scanned pictures of the results.

I had a really difficult time using a (two different ones actually) table scanner so I decided to try something I saw on youtube - using my digital camera to 'scan' the negatives. It works.
I jerrybuilt a system far from perfect but as you'll see I am now able to show the resulting negs and somewhat correct them on the PC.
You'll need:
- digicam with manual focus or able to focus from very close distance (macro mode)
- lamp
- one completely white sheet of paper or glass/plastic (much better than paper actually, I'll get one myself)
- a tripod is great if you have one.

The results came out fairly crooked because I shot the cam at an angle (the camera wasn't at 90º angle to the neg, but rather about 60º. That said, my scans lost quality and....the light wasn't even onto all parts of the neg. Still, I'm happy to have SOME results to show. It's all about home-made, green, experimental Caffenol, right!?

Poor man's scanning system: Get a side table lamp (white light is better than yellow), place the sheet of paper onto it (won't start a fire, ok), place the negative onto the white sheet of paper (you might need to cut the negs separately) then focus your camera and take a pic. Bob's our uncle.

I shall first show the negatives the way they came out of the camera (duely cropped out of the frame sheet-of-paper-lamp, then I'll show some quick fixes obtained on GIMP:
Camera used - Canon S5 IS 8MP

As you can see the edges (numbers and ID of the film) are well fixed and look good - proving the negs were indeed developed correctly - in short, the developing process worked as it should!

Now the tweaked negs in GIMP: Invert + Dessaturate. Don't know if the order matter though...
I used the shadow brush on a few.