Lately I’ve been experimenting with stand developing using Caffenol. My purpose being the grain. I have found Caffenol will give me considerably more grain than Rodinal (which was always my favorite developer). The other part being I have been using old, very expired film to do my experiments. My Kodak Plus-X expired sometime in the 1990s, so yeah…
Beginning with the basics, I’m using Caffenol-C as my base formula, which you can find in my earlier post here.
There was a couple of things I’ve discovered: 1) Expired film tends to have a haze or fog, this is simply due to its age. 2) Higher speed films (think 400 or greater) can have that fog when developed with Caffenol or Caffenol-C.
While I’m not overly concerned with the fogging of expired film, I am with higher speed film, especially since I’ve ordered a 100′ roll of Fomapan 400. So how to deal with it? The answer was Caffenol-C-L. So what does the “L” stand for? Potassium Bromide. But there had to be something I didn’t have to order, right? And then I discovered others using iodized table salt. My table salt has potassium iodide, perfect.
I added 1 gram to my original formula.
Here I’ll skip all the trials and tribulations of my experiments, but I’ll say I tried it with different amounts of the formula, and stand times from 45 minutes to 70 minutes. Here’s what worked best for me:
Mix the original formula and add 1 gram of iodized table salt, then enough water to make 1 liter (32 liquid ounces) of developer.
For my Kodak Plus-X, basic development in Caffenol-C is 10 minutes at 20 degrees Celsius. My best results came at 45 minutes and 18 degrees. I agitated for the first 10 seconds, then at the 20 minute mark I gave it 5 agitations.
The image at the top of this blog is three of my trials. The top is stand developed for 60 minutes in the original formula, the second is at half strength for 60 minutes, and the last is the one I have given above. The first and second were very dense, but the final came out
The other three images were from the bottom roll of film. You’ll have to excuse the scratch, I was in a bit of a hurry. I did minimal editing, actually the only thing I did was bump the contrast a bit in post. The results I’ve achieved, especially in regards to the grain, have me quite excited.
For a bit of the technical part, the film is Kodak Plus-X 125 ISO expired in the 90s. The camera is a Pentax LX (just had a CLA done locally) with the Pentax FA Limited 77 1.8.