I recently tried caffenol development for the first time. I was developing TriX shot at 1600, which I couldn't find a developing time for. I went with a two hour stand development and noticed that the entire negative strip came out completely black and opaque. Is this due to overdevelopment? I also didn't use instant coffee but brewed coffee that was still slightly above room temp.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Before shooting an entire roll make tests to find the proper developing time. Two hours seems way too much normal developing times for such process are around 12 minutes, pushed film would not be as extreme as what you tried. \$\endgroup\$
    – user39557
    Jul 25, 2017 at 0:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @cegaton would over development account for the completely black negatives? \$\endgroup\$
    – bburk707
    Jul 25, 2017 at 14:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I presume that the film was not exposed to the light before loading it to the camera. I presume too that your camera has no light leaks and that you rewound the film back in its can before opening the camera. and that you opened the film can and threaded it in the developing spool in complete darkness, and developed in a light proof tank and ...I want to believe that you used some kind of stop bath and fixer before exposing it back to the light... If all of my assumptions are correct, the only variable left is the developing process... \$\endgroup\$
    – user39557
    Jul 25, 2017 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ When your results are completely black and opaque, chemical fogging can also be the reason. If instructions call for a specific ingredient, substituting another can produce unexpected and unwanted results. A 10° temperature change will double the (chemical) reaction time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


There could be 1001 reasons why your negative turned out the way it did. But assuming:

  • you had used a proven recipe (google Caffenol Cookbook) and
  • you have done your development properly (too many tutorials on this if you care to google),

then my best guess would be that somehow your negative had been exposed to light prior to development. Evidence to support this includes:

  • it is completely black and opaque, not even the DX barcodes on the edge of the film can be seen
  • the nature of caffenol being a compensating developer. It is highly unlikely for a roll of film be completely opaque (due to overdevelopment) even after 2 hours of soaking. Caffenol-C-L is one recipe suitable for stand development for 1-2 hours.

If my assumptions above were wrong, then I would say there was no development at all.


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