Friday, March 9, 2012

DIY Photo Developer

For anyone interested in experimenting with photography, this post is for you. Not too long ago I learned of a way to make a homemade developer for black and white film using coffee, vitamin c, and washing soda. Much cheaper than purchasing the D 76 developer that I had always used before, plus I enjoy any form of alternative methods when it comes to photography.
Today I developed a roll of Kodacolor-X (can no longer be sent out for development) that I shot over a year ago & has been expired since 1971, so I had my doubts to whether or not it would turn out at all. Much to my delight I got some images!

Supplies needed:
instant coffee
vitamin c powder
washing soda
distilled water
photo fix
developing tank

First mix 5 teaspoons of intant coffee and 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin c powder in 6 oz of water. In a separate container, mix 3 1/2 teaspoons of washing soda in 6 oz of water. Once you have thoroughly mixed the two mixtures combine them into one container and the developer is ready! But beware that it kinda smells like dog breath...

After you have loaded your film follow the basic development rules but keep in mind that the development times may be different. I am still experimenting with trying to get the timings right.
Then you rinse, fix, rinse, and dry!

Because I used the color kodacolor-x film my negatives came out with a orange tint, but if you are using a standard roll of black and white film, your negatives will look much more normal.

The camera that I used with this roll was
a Duaflex III from the 1950s.

My favorite from the roll.

Here are some other photographs that I have developed using the same process:

Give it a try and let me know how your photographs turn out!



  1. thats very cool:)..i really want to try this method!!!

  2. Gahh! Must try! I've been pondering how I'm gunna get my B&W film processed without dropping big bucks since I don't have access to the school lab anymore. Thank you so much!
    PS: After your fiddling around have you found that the developer timing about the same as D76, less, or more?

  3. Why of course! I was also very excited when I first learned of this!
    So far it seems like a little less time only by a minute or two. I ran out of fix & haven't gotten around to getting more so I haven't developed in a about a month! Let me know how they turn out!