Developing B&W film with Caffenol-C

Caffenol-C Results

I’ve been want­i­ng to try devel­op­ing film with Caf­fenol-C for awhile (the fact that it’s envi­ron­men­tal­ly-friend­ly real­ly appeals to me), and last week, I final­ly did. The first roll I devel­oped turned out to be a dud since it came from a total­ly exper­i­men­tal pin­hole cam­era. I had no more exposed roll to try to devel­op so I took Troy and my Hol­ga cam­era for a walk down­town and shot a roll of Agfa APX 100 film. The result is what you can see above. It’s grainy, streaky, uneven­ly devel­oped (the last two are large­ly my fault) but hey, it real­ly works! Next time I’m going to have to try it on a roll of prop­er­ly exposed film, as in shot with a SLR cam­era instead of a toy cam­era. Over- and under­ex­posed neg­a­tives just don’t scan very well.

Any­way, if you’re inter­est­ed in my Caf­fenol-C recipe, this one’s for you:

  • 5 table­spoons of Maxwell House Orig­i­nal Roast instant cof­fee
  • 3 table­spoons of Arm & Hammer’s So Clean Super Wash­ing Soda
  • 2 Redox­on Vit­a­min C Effer­ves­cent tablets (I used the lemon-flavoured ones)

Mix with 500ml water, or use two glass­es with 250ml of water in each to dis­solve the cof­fee and the wash­ing soda sep­a­rate­ly. Once the cof­fee is dis­solved, throw in the vit­a­min C tablets. It will get frothy on top but I’ve found that once you mix it with the wash­ing soda solu­tion, the froth dis­ap­pears. Devel­op for 15 min­utes, agi­tate every 60 sec­onds, and then stop bath and fix as nor­mal. I use tap water for stop bath and Ilford Rapid Fix­er for fix­ing. If you know of a source of sodi­um thio­sul­fate (the active ingre­di­ent in fix­er) that can be found in super­mar­kets, please do let me know! I’m almost out of fix­er.

Anoth­er green b&w film devel­op­ing solu­tion I’d like to try is the one with mint tea and bak­ing soda. It’s sup­posed to work and smell bet­ter than Caf­fenol. Peo­ple are com­plain­ing about how the Caf­fenol-C solu­tion smells like death. It’s actu­al­ly not that bad. It smells like tuna sand­wich!

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. i tried doing this an the film did­nt real­ly devel­op, i can see the images if i hold it up to the light but they are very very dark, also there is still the sil­ver lin­ing on the oth­er side of the neg­a­tives. Iam thinkin the smooth side didn’t ful­ly dis­solve, any rea­son as to why this hap­pened? and is it fix­able?

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