Thursday, July 30, 2015

Recovering cameras

I don't know which of these activities I like better, photographing, tinkering, processing, experimenting new recipes, viewing others pictures, etc., all about photography.

The camera above was almost unrecoverable. Very damaged by exposure to sun, many parts cracked, like lens holder and back and a broken film rewind button. It was an acquisition of my youngest daughter at a flee market at the place where she was studying arts, The piece must be exposed at sun for many time because it started falling apart a short time after she bought it. She gave me the camera and said, «have fun recovering it».

I started dismantling the camera 2 years ago but only in the last days I finally had time to finish the work. The back is now covered with an opaque material, the lens holder was replaced with PVC 50mm tube black painted and with an adapter 43-52 mm allows me to use filters. The single lens is the original but the aperture is now fixed and the focus too. Pictures are sharp in the centre but out of focus at the edges, the left side more than the right side. Last tree pictures were made with this piece.

The pictures were made with B&W film, TMax 400 long expired, developed with the Parodinal 645. The film came up with a brown stain at the bottom (inverse of the positive), I think it was the fixer saying goodbye. Neverthless I scanned the film as color and... I liked what I got!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hi! Just more pictures...

This time I used my Parodinal 645 with an expired 400 ISO film, Kodak TMax 400. It would normally have huge grain and fog. Yes, 'honest' grain but no terrible fog and nice range of greys...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

How I prepare my 645-Parodinal

As you know, Parodinal is the generic name for clones of the famous Agfa universal B&W developer Rodinal.

I tried a new formula and called it 645-Parodinal, because its recipe has following ingredients, for 500 ml of concentrate:

60 g Potassium Metabisulfite
40 g Paracetamol
50 g Sodium Hydroxide

First of all I transform the Paracetamol pills in powder with a pestle and mortar. I am not sure whether it is possible to jump this step and use directly the pills without all that work. But ok, next time I try it.

Then I use two 1L beakers, at least one must be heat-resistant. In both beakers I put about 180 ml of water, but in one of them warm water and in the other cold water. In the one with warm water I put the 60 g Metabisulfite and the 40 g Paracetamol and stir. It will not dissolve but never mind. In the other beaker I disolve 50 g of Sodium Hydroxide, it will become very hot. While hot I pour it on the other beaker, stir and complete with water to make 500 ml. The next I put the beaker with all the stuff in a warm bath at fire and stir for several minutes until I get an homogeneous soup, looking translucent. When finished, I switch off the stove and let the mixture cool down.

Finally I store the 645 in a 500 ml amber bottle well closed.

The last film I developed was a Shangai GP3 at box speed and I used the dilution 1:100 and 30 minutes. It could be less time, I think it respects Rodinal times, but I prefer the 'steak' well done.

Some recent photos of a 120 film exposed with a Topcon Horeseman 980, format 6x7 and developed with 645-Parodinal.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I'm speechless

Some days ago I started testing thyme as a possible developer agent. I had a rest of it in my spices shelf, only 5 g of it. I made a tee with this amount of thyme, add some Potassium Carbonate and developed a stripe of B&W film, an expired TMax400 I bought at ebay. Although I gave one hour of development time, only a very faint image was to be seen:

I scanned it in color mode because the negative had the base color of a color film after development. I even thought the image could be in color.

Yesterday I brought 30 g of thyme from the supermarket and made a very concentrade tee, only 300 ml of it, enough to develop a 35mm film in a tank. I added about 15 g Potassium Carbonate to the tee and developed 2 hours long a 3 pictures-stripe of TMax400 exposed at 50 ISO. The result was the contrary of the first, a very dense and fogged film from which I could extract the pics, among them this one:

I underestimated the power of thyme, it was not necessary to develop so long an overexposed film. So, again to the work, 3.rd attempt to get the stuff working like it should. Reduction of the developing time to one hour, using 1g Potassium Bromide as antifoggant and leaving the rest as before, 50 ISO for TMax400.

I was not counting on this result, but that is what I get: almost COLOR photos!!!

P.S. - If you want to take part on a «pear-revue» and replicate the experiment, please write me in private, I will be pleased to give you the recipe you should use and other details.

Monday, June 22, 2015

So, just another fixer

As I restarted, a few years ago, doing film photography, I was surprised with many other alternatives to the classic developer agents, namely coffee, tee, Vit. C and so on. And I wondered why were people not looking for alternative fixers too. So, after some investigation, I stated, as early as 2012, following: read the post.

This subject has been discussed to completion at Flickr in the Caffenol Group that I abandoned due to some trolls there.

Some days ago, one of the best Caffenol researchers, Reinhold G. owner of the blog Caffenol, sent me a link of a forum were Salt as fixer has been mentioned again. It seems that after that huge discussion at Flickr to convince people that Salt really works as fixer, nothing else happened but now, after 3 years, somebody is trying it again. In fact, Reinhold didn't believe it too as first, but after a while he also admited here that Salt really works as fixer.

Not only salt (Sodium Chloride), but other Chlorides will do it and who knows other chemicals too. Ammonium Hydroxide (Ammonia) is also a fixer like I said in that mentioned post.

Salt, aka Sodium Chloride, was used as fixer before Mr. Herschell proposed Sodium Thiosulfate, that worked much better. Later on, Ammonium Thiosulfate proved to be faster than Sodium Thiosulfate, known among photographers as Sodium Hyposulfite or just Hypo.

Yesterday I tried another possibility that showed to be better than salt and even better than Ammonia, it worked in only a dozen of minutes but may be still better, I think, if used more concentrated. Knowing that Sodium Thiosulfate may be produced by heating a Sulfite solution with elemental Sulfur, I supposed that a similar reaction using Potassium Metabisulfite and Sulfur would take place and Potassium Thiosulfate could result.


So, I dissolved 25g Metabisulfite in 500 ml water in a heat resistant glass beaker and added a tea spoon of Sulfur and stired. I tried this solution as fixer and didn't work. I heated the solution for 1 hour in moderate hot fire, until I had only 250 ml solution. I let it cool and tried it as fixer. It cleared a piece of film TMax (one of the more difficults to fix) in some 30 minutes, so, in one hour it would be totally fixed.

So, cheers!

PS - A more precise recipe can be: 8 g Sulfur and 56 g Potassium Metabisulfite in 700 ml solution. Let it boil until you have only 350 ml solution. Filter (some Sulfur will still not react) and use it as fixer. Fixing time is about 1 hour for TMax 400.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Long Lasting Caffenol?

If you prepare a Caffenol, no matter which one, and add about 0,2 g/l of Phenidone, it will boost your developer, giving shorter developing times. For instances, instead of 70 minutes for Caffenol C-L you may have only 10 to 15 minutes.

Phenidone has been proposed by Jay DeFehr at Flickr in a concentrate to be used diluted as one shot developer. Following this line, I made, just for fun, the following cheap developer:

0,5 g/l Potassium Metabisulfite
10 g/l coffee
5 g/l Vitamine C
0,2 g/l Phenidone
20 g/l Sodium Carbonate, anhydrous

I used it as is and developed a film for 15 minutes the first time. I kept the solution to see if it could be reused. Yes, next day it worked again in the same time. Three days after, again, two weeks after, the same. I forgot at the shelf the clear glass bottle where I stored the developer and, two months later, I just tried to see if it was still active and it was, no changes in developing time. Now, some 4 months are gone and yesterday I developed again and it worked like for the first time. I used 20 minutes just in case but the film has been a little overdeveloped. Until now I have developed 12 rolls with this developer, no visible changes in activity.

Disadvantages are (using 1991 expired TMax 400) the huge grain and some fog. Maybe adding about 0,5 g/l of Potassium Bromide will solve fog problem and improve graininess. Alkali should also be increased to keep the same developing time, I think.

P.S. I made following changes to the developer: add 2 g/l of Sodium Carbonate and 0.5 g/l of Potassium Bromide. One of the pictures of the last developed film:

Holga GN 120 as 35mm half format

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Variations on the 2.nd bath of Dignan NFC-41

Keeping the first bath like the original, I tried some variations of the 2.nd bath. I used four variations, from which I give the composition per Liter:

  1. 53g Potassium Carbonate + 1g Potassium Bromide - 30' at R.T.
  2. 53g Potassium Carbonate + 1g Potassium Bromide + 26g Sodium Sulfite + 0,4g Sodium Hydroxide - 30' at R.T.
  3. Parodinal 1:25 - 15 ' at R.T.
  4. Caffenol PC - 30' at R.T.
Without more comments, here are four captures of the same scene using the same first bath but different 2.nd baths:

!.st Variation
2.nd variation
3.rd variation variation
The first variation gives realistic colors but the 2.nd adds warmth, less grain and better definition. The 3.rd variation has high definition but almost no color but still some, may serve for artistic photos. The has no color, it seems that CD4 was completely blocked by the B&W developers. The last two variations were done in conjunction with incomplete bleach in order to keep silver in the emulsion but to clear the filter layers and give transparency.