Hi everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday newsletter!

I finally did it! I developed not just one, but two black and white films with Caffenol!

And god damn it where they right about that moment when you are done with the last rinse and open your developing tank. It is so utterly thrilling in a strange opening-the-best-christmas-gift-ever kind of way. I can only say; go go go and try it! I will elaborate a little on what I used and cost here in Norway, as this, with the products

are different from country to country.

I have read several reviews and watched dozens of tutorials on how to get developing times, recipes and temperatures right, and I guess there is not only one way that is correct. This is probably because black and white film is a little forgiving, but also that there are several mixes and temperatures that will work. Even so, like I said, I went for the methods explained in the Caffenol Cook book & bible.


But first, what did I develop?

I couldn't help myself and went straight for the 120mm film, the Ilford Pan F Plus 50.

It is more difficult to load 120mm on the reel of the developing tank, so I certainly recommend trying a 35mm film first. This because the first times you use your dark room bag you will be fumbling enough with just trying to load it on the reel, in addition to all the stuff in your bag. I looked at several videos for loading 120mm and 35mm so I had a general idea of what I needed to do in the darkness. With that said, this takes quite some practice and your organising in the bag will improve each time you efficiency. But hey, lets see how they turned out! Here is a shot of a frame of the 120mm film;


I haven't gotten to scan any of the films yet, as I am still waiting for my reverse lens adapter ring to scan with my Olympus camera and a 28mm prime Soligor lens. So it is actually just a guess if these developments have gone as planned, but we have images!

What could happen is that they are under or over developed and show off more grain than necessary. But what the heck, I just developed my own film in coffee:)

Just so you know what I am aiming for here with the developing results; I don't want to change or perfect the look of film. I really enjoy the minor faults and errors and think that it is part of what makes film so great. I want the film look definitely intact, and if I can get it without dust and stripes from the lab rolling machines in coffee, then mission accomplished. (These 35mm negatives can be printed all the way up to 80 x 100cm, and that is perfect.

These analog pictures will be beautiful as giclΓ©e prints where I will be using HahnemΓΌhleΒ΄s Natural Line. Will be available next week!)

This is so not a test for me any more. I will be doing all my films in coffee if the scans turn out good with my camera. Here is another bad shot of the 120mm and the 35mm i did today hanging to dry:) The 35mm film is the Fomapan 100.


So as I said above, I can't get to see if these develops are any good yet, but they shouldn't be that bad as I have followed the recipe to the letter. Over or under exposure will be my own doings, because it looks like they turned out good. Even though I used a hell of a lot of time to get the 120mm loaded on the reel in the darkroom bag and touched it several places, it seems fine on the negatives. I guess we will have to wait and see for the scanning to be done. I guess that is another 2 weeks down the road to wait for the adapter ring.

So what products did I use and how much money have I shed on this experiment?

Underneath is the rap on that with links as you read.

For coffee I used Coops xtra instant coffee. They say to get the cheapest and strongest you can find. I went for this as it is easily accessible anywhere for me.

For ascorbic acid, or vitamin c, I got it in powder form from BodyFuel at this site.

I first got c vitamin tablets which I was going to crush, but they apparently contain a lot of extra ingredients that you don't want in your developing mix.

Lastly, for washing soda, I got the easy accessible Stabil krystall soda.

They say to check if your washing soda has crystals or fine powder as this has a big impact as the crystal version can contain up to 50% water. You can check by having a small amount in the oven for 30 mins to see how many grams evaporate. Check it out on page 1 and 2 in the Caffenol Cook book:) I just was too eager and took the plunge without checking. Seems the washing soda is ok:)


Last ingredient, which is the fixer, was an Ilford rapid fixer bought here.

So that's it for the ingredients, now lets talk about cost.

Here is a list of my items and the total cost for developing black and white film

at home here in Norway;

Paterson developing tank: 410 NOK

Ilford rapid fixer 500ml: 205 NOK

C vitamin powder(ascorbic acid) 300grams: 206 NOK

Coop extra Instant coffee 200 grams: 30 NOK

Stabil washing soda 400 grams: 60 NOK

Total: 911 NOK

For under 1000 NOK you have yourself the basic stuff for developing:)

All the prices are with tax and freight included

Other stuff you need is:

- Darkroom bag

- thermometer

- stirring spoon

- measuring cups

- weight ( up to 1000 grams works well)

I made my own darkroom bag and bought one measuring cup for fixer, and one for caffenol + a swimming pool thermometer for about 100 NOK. All the other things I had. So still, just a little over 1000 NOK. Definitely worth it!

So is it worth it money wise to develop yourself? I made this sheet to illustrate:


The conditions for this calculation is that the Paterson tank is used 1000 times (410/1000=0,41NOK), that each mix of fixer is used at least 3 times before thrown out(can be used 15 times), and the last condition is that the ingredients are used for the exact formula of Caffenol C M every time. You can probably easy get under 20 NOK per developing if you buy in bulk or other cheaper places. Anyway it is 10 times cheaper than using a lab! Definitely something to consider:):) When you throw the price of the cheap Fomapan in the mix it is very doable at 80 NOK for film and developing....

So even though I haven't gotten the verdict if my developing has been successful or not from my scanning process, I will list here how I did. The reason I am writing this is because it helped me a lot note the procedure down instead of just having the recipe list. Then you know what to do at what time:

  1. Take out the film you are developing from the fridge at least 1 hour before.

  2. Clean your workspace and have access to running water and a basin

  3. Line up all ingredients, measuring cups, weight, spoons etc and fill a bucket with 4 liters of 20 degree (celcius) water.

  4. On a table etc, put the Paterson tank, reel, scissors, bottle opener etc and film in the darkroom bag and load on the film.

  5. Bring the Paterson tank and a piece of the cut off film tip to your workstation.

  6. mix your fixer according to its specifications with water.

  7. Take a drop of fixer and drop on the piece of film. Leave it for 30 seconds. Rinse off in water. Drop the film piece in the fixer and start a stopwatch. Stop the time when the film has cleared and you don't see the spot you made. This could be just seconds or up to 2 mins. If it is over 2 mins, you need to mix new fixer. Take the time you noted and time it with 2 ( no more than 4). This is the time the fixer should stay in the tank. It said on my Ilford fixer to use between 2-5 mins, so I used 3 mins.

  8. Mix your caffenol and let it set for 5 min. I did it the cookbook way of first washing soda, then ascorbic acid, then coffee. Stir all ingredients out completely, and when coffee is poured in I stirred for 5 mins.

  9. In the last minute of caffenol setting, pour in water in the Paterson tank and let the film presoak for 1 minute.

  10. Pour out the water and pour in the caffenol. Turn (agitate) the tank continuously for 1 minute, then 10 seconds every minute for 15 minutes total.

  11. Pour out the caffenol and pour in water. Agitate 20 times and pour out, Fill again and agitate 1 min and pour out. Fill one last time and agitate 1 min then pour out.

  12. Pour in the fixer. Agitate for 10 seconds, then 4 times every minute for 3 mins total.

  13. Pour the fixer in a bottle and reuse!

  14. Rinse 3 times with water. 1st time agitate 20 times pour out. Next 2 times 1 min each then pour out.

  15. You are done and can take your film out of the tank and off the reel!

  16. Rinse of a little under running water and hang on some clips that have a little weight to them. That way the film will dry straight.

  17. All that is left is to cut your negatives and put them in plastic pockets if you have them:)

(all ingredients used are 20 degrees celcius)


Check out developing in caffenol on youtube. I am all for looking how to do this on video instead, and I will do a video on this when I have gotten a bit up to speed on the process!

Hope you found this helpful, and at least inspires you to try developing at home. It is really so much easier than I thought. Just be specific with the measurements and use a weight, not measuring cups. Those are only for the water:)

Here are the resources I used to do this:


The Caffenol Cook book & bible


Art prints on environmentally friendly HahnemΓΌhle paper will be an option on the website before the next newsletter is out. Now it is time to shoot some more shots with the Flexaret, because this developing stuff was fun!

Please take care of each other and keep up the contamination control!

Happy film winding and please let me know if I left something out.

Getting very late so i bid you all a good night, Sjur

Where, when & how

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Stay safe, bsp

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