Tagged: caffenol

Leica M6 – week 52 results

Every Leica enthusiast has a favorite model. The evolution from Barnack to M9 means there is probably a spot where your favorite combination of features was in production, and the cross-compatibility of most lenses lets you use your favorite glass.

I haven’t found that sweet spot yet, but it may be the M6 for me.

The M6 is a very nice camera. I like the weight. Everything feels smooth and solid. As with most Leica rangefinders, it’s very quiet to use. The meter was simple to operate, balancing the brightness of two LEDs in the viewfinder. I’m not sure what I think about the film loading system. It’s supposed to be simplified, but I find it easier to mis-load. The spindle in the M3 may be more finicky, but I know when I’ve gotten it right.

The M6 has 3 pairs of frame lines in the viewfinder, with the widest at 35mm. I find I must consciously think to frame 50mm shots.

I like it though. The meter makes it easier to use color and slide films, while the extra frame lines will be nice if I ever expand my lens collection. After a few more rolls, I should be proficient with it.

(Note: this week’s images were shot on FP4 and developed in my kitchen with Caffenol Delta-STD. It’s not really a fair example of what the M6 can do, but it displays some of the technical versatility of film. Coffee + soap + vitamin C= images!)

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Breaking Film

For some reason I’ve been procrastinating about this week’s roll of film. I just wasn’t finding the motivation to develop it.  Yesterday Jake took a spin with Caffenol; today Beth and I were home alone with time to kill and an empty kitchen. A little home chemistry seemed in order.

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The ingredients are simple: cheap instant coffee, Vitamin C powder, and washing soda. Although they took a bit of work to get, my supplies of soda and C should last for years. The scale is a simple digital kitchen one ($20) which also has postal uses. The thermometer and timer are cheap kitchen items. The only specialized equipment is the developing tank.

I loaded the film in the tank. Beth measured, mixed, and developed under my supervision. All of the ingredients are non-toxic and can be dumped down the sink after use. We did use a standard photographic fixer, which should be saved for re-use and not released to the environment. We used the Delta-STD recipe, halved to make 500cc of deveoper.

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In less than half an hour from start to finish, we had images. The negatives are a bit thin, and I’m having a dust issue. I blame that on loading the reel with one hand in a cast.  I’m happy though. We may need to perfect this technique.

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Chai Lai