I started developing C-41 film (Fuji Superia X-tra 400) as black and white negatives using caffenol. I am quite new to this and when i finish developing the images they all come out transparent and very hard to see, regardless of how I adjust my recipe. It can't be my camera, because even the edge markings are transparent. I've uploaded a sample image of one of the negatives. The edge markings are actually there but my camera dosen't do a very good job of picking them up.


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    \$\begingroup\$ it might be useful is you post link or directly quote your recipe for film development \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 21:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ 300ML tap water mixed with 5 teaspoons of Folger's Instant Coffee Crystals, 1/2 teaspoons Essence C Vitamin C Powder, 6 OZ of water mixed with 3 1/2 Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda. Flood tank with water for stop bath, and Ilford Rapid Fixer. \$\endgroup\$
    – ToastHouse
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 23:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have never heard of using caffenol for color c-41 film. I have used it effectively on different B-W films. Given the complex chemistry of color film i doubt it would work. Was there a source that said it would work with color fillm? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 5:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ munk.org/typecast/2014/01/06/caffenol-cc-41-test-1-success I've tested this myself, so I know it works, the negatives are just very thin and I'm trying to get the contrast right. \$\endgroup\$
    – ToastHouse
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 7:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ToastHouse thanks for the resource. Thin yes, They look under developed. As well as adjusting the formula have you tried longer dev times, higher temps? Also are you fixing long enough, are they supposed to have the pink tinge? does one use B&W fixer for c-41? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


Assuming all your chemicals are OK, let’s explore what could be the matter? The developing step (first chemical), must diffuse into the film’s emulsion layer; this takes a little time. After it gains entry, it begins to act by blackening the exposed silver salts; this takes more time. The key factors are: time in solution, and the temperature of the solution.

Because your previous attempts were less than a success, let’s run a test with the room lights on. Snip off two pieces of film, an inch length for both, from the film’s tongue will do for this trick. Prepare a tray of developer and a tray of fixer. You might need to repeat this test, so be prepared to sacrifice some film.

Next run two tests in normal room light so you can watch what happens:

Dunk one snipping in the developer and swish it about. Watch as this snipping changes color from pale to dark. Time how long this takes. You have discovered how long to develop your film. If you don’t see the sniping darken, the developer is bad. If the time it takes to blacken is too long, repeat this test after elevating the temperature of the developer a few degrees. You might need to run this test a few more times.

Next, plop the second undeveloped snipping in the fix bath and swish it about. This snipping has never been in any fluid. As you watch in normal room light, it changes from opaque, to milky, and then to clear film. Time this reaction. Double this time, you have discovered the actual fix time you will use.

  • \$\begingroup\$ When developing, from pale to dark, do you mean that both sides of the film turn the same color, because that is what I get. And for fixing, must the result be completely clear, or transparent like the film in my question. The fixer is able to completely make the film transparent in 13 seconds. \$\endgroup\$
    – ToastHouse
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 2:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Only one side blackens however it will be difficult for you to differentiate which is which. It makes no difference, if the developer is working blackening occurs. Additionally color negative film has an integrated orange mask. This mask bolsters the dyes of the color image. The wet film appears opalescent until it dries. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 3:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ The film came out properly when I doubled the amount of developer I used. \$\endgroup\$
    – ToastHouse
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ ToastHouse - You are using a daylight developing tank with reel. The fluid volume used must be sufficient to cover the film in the tank. You should check out the volume needed under room light. I am happy the matter is resolved. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 22:29

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