Kodak Tmax Defective film

I have been using Kodak Tmax 100 and 400 for over 25 years now. The film historically had a great curve, strong exposure latitude, fine grain and excellent sharpness. However, about three years ago, i was disappointed to see that Kodak Tmax 120 rolls which I developed, presented ‘bubbly’ texture and showed an imprint of the dots and numbers normally visible only on the film’s paper back.

Kodak 120 Tmax defect film sample with dots and backing paper graphics transfer

In the beginning I thought that my film had not been properly stored or had been exposed to some sort of radiation. However after a few months, I was refereed by my colleague Nadir Mauge to John Sexton who reports about the issue in his blog and who refers users to Mr. Thomas J. Mooney – manager of film capture business at kodak Alaris (Re-branded, reformed Kodak after their bankruptcy). 

When I contacted Mr Mooney at Kodak Alaris , he replied:

“Kodak Alaris values customer satisfaction and is happy to replace film that is found to have imperfections, regardless of the cause of such imperfections, including abnormal shipping or storage conditions.  Replacement of such film by Kodak Alaris shall in no way be deemed an admission of liability or a waiver of Kodak Alaris’s limitations on liability, and customers are reminded that Kodak Alaris film is sold without warranty except that film will be replaced if it is found to be defective in manufacture or packaging (as stated on our packaging).“
Hiding behind the small letters – Kodak Tmax400 Limitation of Liability

The replacement film I was ultimately sent did not come with any acknowledgment of defectives in the entire film type, but which was indeed the case. By the time I discovered that this issue was a worldwide problem for this film type, I had already spent thousands of dollars in traveling expenses, not to mention time and creative efforts as well as reputation risk. What bothered me more than the loss of time, effort and cost was the fact that Kodak Alaris did not recall their product from the retailers even after it was known and published on professional blogs that the film was defective. When i first experienced the issue, the lot numbers of damaged formula had already been published on Sexton’s blog. Kodak Alaris obviously care more about their immediate monetary loss and retailer reputation than users’ efforts, professional inconvenience and loss and ultimately their loyalty.
There was never any recall or warning on the product.

I used the replacement film (emulsion #155; which promised better backing ) on a long photographic desert journey this winter– only to find out that the replacement film was also defective, rendering all my work useless and professionally unacceptable! Again they offered a replacement. I in turn requested credit so that I could buy Ilford film! Their reply came in the form of yet another replacement box of Tmax 400 film (this time emulsion #159). Needless to say, this last box is still unopened. Moreover, the local camera stores still sell damaged batches #155-158 with no warnings. Kodak seem to be hiding behind their replacement policy.

Kodak Alaris apparently couldn’t care less about their customers. Mr J. Mooney of Kodak Alaris himself coordinated the shipping of this damaged Kodak Tmax 400 120 roll film batch which he clearly knew was damaged. I undertook my last photo trip at great time and expense without the benefit of any warning or acceptable film replacement.

As a full time professional photographer who makes most of his income from selling fine art photography, the significant loss of income due to Kodak Alaris’ behaviour is more than disturbing and misleading. This is clearly a case of misleading marketing and communication, negligence, user deception, and misrepresentation.

Based on the recurrence of the issue and the lack of proactive reparations, I have decided to initiate a class action case on this matter. Therefore, If you were also affected by this abhorrent corporate negligence and are interested in participating in a class action claim, please communicate with me at: yaalherman@gmail.com and include your contact info, a description of the damage you experienced and a few scans of your damaged negatives.