Important Info For Users of Kodak 120 Size Film - PLEASE READ

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by john sexton, May 17, 2016.

  1. I want to share some important information about problems that have been described in this forum, and elsewhere, with Kodak 120 size films. PLEASE check your emulsion numbers with the information below, and share this information with other film photographers.
    Here is the text of an article from my most recent eNewsletter. The full newsletter can be found here: /"]John - Newsletter - May, 2016">John - Newsletter - May, 2016[/URL]
    As many readers are likely aware, I have used Kodak Professional film continuously for more than four decades. Over the years I have found Kodak film to be of the highest possible quality and consistency. However, anomalies can occur from time to time. There have been recent reports that appear to be associated with certain batches of 120 format Kodak Professional film.
    The problem can easily be seen in the photograph below recently made by William Wetmore. I appreciate William allowing me to share this example with readers. You will notice the word Kodak clearly appears in the sky, along with frame number '13' multiple times. I first became aware of this situation a few months ago when a former workshop participant brought some online discussions on this topic to my attention. Unfortunately, as time has passed, I have encountered a number of students, colleagues, and friends who have experienced this exact problem.
    I have spoken at length with Thomas J. Mooney, Film Capture Business Manager at Kodak Alaris about this phenomenon. He told me "Kodak Alaris has had a limited number of inquiries for similar problems, and that the affected film may have seen some abnormal keeping after it left the factory (e.g. sat in a truck over a hot weekend, etc.). That said, we are taking this issue very seriously and have recently made modifications to the backing paper which we believe should minimize the potential for this type of blemish going forward."
    Mr. Mooney has supplied me with the emulsion numbers - which I have listed below – where this latent image print issue could potentially be seen. If you have experienced problems, or have questions or concerns, you should email This email address goes directly to Mr. Mooney, who will be able to answer your questions, address your concerns, and replace any problematic film you might have on hand or have used.
    If you purchase new film you should make sure that the emulsion number, printed on the box as well as the individual foil packages, is higher than the suspect emulsion numbers listed below. All photographers can imagine the disappointment and frustration any of us would feel if this happened to any of our negatives. Please pass this important news on to your photographic friends.
    Emulsion numbers that may exhibit the above problem only in Kodak 120 format roll film:
    (Emulsion numbers can be found on the film box, the foil wrapper, and printed on the clear edge of processed film near frame number 11.
    Kodak T-Max 400
    Emulsion 0148 004 through 0152

    Kodak T-Max 100
    Emulsion 0961 through 0981

    Kodak Tri-X
    Emulsion 0871 though 0931
  2. Thanks Mr. Sexton,
    I hope this problem is not with other brands such as Ilford and fuji as this seems to be from a paper backing that who knows where the paper is from.
    Bill Rentenbach ... old time photographer and still a non professional ...
  3. I suppose I always wondered why this wasn't more of a problem that it seems to be.
    I suspect high humidity after opening the sealed package could cause problems.
    While professional photographers often finish a roll the same day they start it, amateurs often keep a roll for months. As is the common recommendation, store in a cool dry place. For humid areas, one could keep a camera it in a container with desiccant, to keep it dry, and film after removal from the camera, also with a desiccant.
  4. John -- Thank you so much for this important reference. Checking my cold-stored stock shows all three of my 120 T-MAX 100's have emulsion number 0971, with the exp. date 06/2017.
    Sending off an email tomorrow to see about replacements.
  5. Hello and thank's for the heads up John. Here, 400Tmax, 0149-002. One roll showed "ghost" numbers thruout. Another roll had the "blobs" on it. Two propacks purchased online and frig stored less than one month before use. Developed within hours of exposure. Both packages have a 02/2017 date coding. Bill
  6. 2nd roll with "blobs"
  7. From Kodak:
    The following Kodak Professional Film emulsion numbers may exhibit image problems, under some circumstances, only in 120 format roll film:
    (Emulsion numbers can be found on the film box, the foil wrapper, and printed on the clear edge of processed film near frame number 11.
    Kodak T-Max 400: emulsion 0148 roll 004 through emulsion 0152
    Kodak T-Max 100: emulsion 0961 through emulsion 0981
    Kodak Tri-X: emulsion 0871 though emulsion 0931
    Any film with lower or higher emulsion/roll numbers should be free of any problem.
    Please direct additional questions to:
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  8. Wow...reminds me of the VPS backing paper that would "flash" static streaks as you rolled the film on to developing reels. It looked like your images were lightning struck. I had to pay to have a whole wedding retouched and then returned a case, a case not a brick, of the stuff.
    Just as bad was the Kodachrome 64 that we sarcastically renamed "magenta chrome" when it was first introduced.
    Any wonder why so many professionals went to Fuji?
    Thanks for the heads-up, I'll let my students know. Fortunately I'm teaching large format this semester.
  9. Thanks, John. I'm holding 10 rolls of that, and have emailed Mr. Mooney for advice on how to proceed.
  10. I contacted the email address suggested and received one of the most pro-customer, friendly, satisfactory answers I could have hoped for.
    Managing customer relations like this earns Kodak my loyalty. I trust others experience the same excellent service.
  11. Well this explains a lot and in a way it is a relief as I now know it is not me or my camera.
    I got four boxes of Tmax100 from BH-Photo a month or two ago, I have never had so much trouble with any film like I have been having with this lot.
    I know Tmax100 like the back of my hand and yet after 10 rolls I have not had a single successful shot with most of them showing the numbers like the example above or they are very snowy like they have been light bombed or they just do not process at all . At first I though it was a light leak on my Fuji GW690II so I taped up the back and shot a roll of different film and did not have a problem, I have put through several rolls of Rollei Retro 80s as well as RPX25 and no problem, this weekend I put a roll of Tmax in and nothing but crap.
    Sure is disappointing and considering I have to import it from the US to Australia it is also not cheap although that is the cheapest way for me to get my film even with shipping from the US, film is so expensive in Australia and it looks like I have blown my $200. Lot of money to just waste on a hobby.
    Right now I am out of film and will be for some time, I can not get any locally unless I pay 400% mark up ( that's IF i can find any at all ) and it is so frustrating that I still have 10 rolls of Tmax that is no good to use.
    I certainly do not hold BH-Photo accountable, they do not make it, it would be impractical to send it back regardless.
    Just had a look at a box and it is emulsion number 0981 :(
    The rest is out in my dark room fridge so I will look tomorrow, 3:23 am right now ...... yawn
  12. I have some TX that has one of the bad emulsion numbers and contacted Mr. Mooney. He will be sending me new film. Great customer service!
  13. Just wanted to do my part and say that I had a bad pro pack of TMax 400 120. I emailed Mr. Mooney and he sent out a replacement pro pack very quickly.
    While I cannot replace the photographs that were ruined by the backing paper issue, I appreciate the customer service.
  14. I called Freestyle Photo, and they said they have had no problems w/ their stock. Why that is I couldn't tell you. The rep seemed knowledgeable, and asked other reps if they knew anything about this while I was on the phone w/ them. They knew of no one that had issues regarding Kodak 120 films bought from them, specifically the TMY2 that seems to be a big problem.
    They're out of stock temporarily on the 5 packs, but have individual rolls in 120. I only buy from Freestyle when it comes to paper, film and chemicals. They're the best.
  15. Well one thing for sure is that Mr Mooney is sure getting a good rap for the excellent customer service he has been providing us that have been affected by the bad film batch.
    Any film manufacturer can have a problem, and any sort of production can and will have its issues but it is how those problems are resolved and handled that makes all the difference.
    Mr Mooney has shown me just how good customer service can be.
    I am so happy to be getting my films replaced, 20 rolls of film is not cheap for me, I lost some great shots for sure but nothing I can not re-shoot, I guess I was lucky in that way but I had a feeling there was a problem with the first roll ( well I thought it was my camera at first ) and did not shoot anything I could not re-shoot if I needed to.
    Lucky I know that film so well I guess.
  16. I have just received 10 120 Ektar 100 rolls scanned from North Coast Photographic Services with a note on 3 rolls "120 Backpaper shows through image". Not all the images of these 3 rolls are affected, but the ones with a clear blue sky, it is very noticeable the word KODAK and some numbers (mainly 8 and 9). The Lab did an excellent development and scanning but some rolls ( 3 out of 10) have this problem. Anyone knowing what are the latest news regarding this?
  17. The "latest news" is the same news from John Sextons site. The link is in the first message in this thread:
    • If you have experienced problems, or have questions or concerns, you should email This email address goes directly to Mr. Mooney, who will be able to answer your questions, address your concerns, and replace any problematic film you might have on hand or have used.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  18. Thanks for posting this. Just processed a roll of Tri-X 120 emulsion # 0921 with this issue.[​IMG]
  19. The last i'd head - sometime last year - was that TMAX 100 was planned to be available around late November 2016. I haven't seen it for sale yet and went looking last night - it still appears to be backordered at B&H (and not readily available elsewhere).
    Does anyone know what the latest update is with regard to availability? (I'm looking for 120 film specifically)
  20. Thank You for very much. I was puzzled by words Kodak and frame numbers on my negatives. I will contact the Kodak right away.
  21. Does anyone know how this happened? It seems that it is something that Kodak should have solved 100 years ago. From:
    120 film goes back to 1901, with other paper backed roll films just a little earlier.
    Interesting to put today's 120 film in a camera 100 years or so old.

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