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Thread: Broken film package from Kodak?

  1. #1
    norly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Broken film package from Kodak?

    hello everyone.
    I think I have gotten a faulty Kodak Portra film package. I know this is basically unheard of. But trust me, I have thought a lot about this.

    I shoot maybe 70-200 boxes of Portra 160 4x5 film per year since ruffly 10 years. That makes for over 12000+ negatives (last time I counted). So I have experience in film Photography.

    The thing is, Ive gotten 10 negatives developed that all came out 100% black, All the way out in the edges, so even the Kodak emulation print is missing. Ive got 8 Fidelity boxes that I load, and I do of course always write down every exposure and cassette + lens and other details. So its all well documented. I tried to scan the black negatives, since I know I have exposed them, but there is absolutely nothing to be found, except blackness all the way out in the edges.

    Since I dont always shoot 8x2 images at each job, I normally load the first 10 form a new box, and the last ones from a new, or previously opened box. In this case it looks like this:

    The first 10 photos are fine. Then the broken ones begins. They where in serie, however, since I don’t always do 10, and the Fidelitys aren’t always lying in order in the film pup tent, they where actually spread out over different jobs, different days, and different development batches on different development days plus different lenses. But they are all after the first 10 negatives and all probably form the same box. They are always grouped in A+B side of the fidelity. So basically it would make extremely much sense that one Box contained broken negatives.

    Since every box has a emulation no. I can se that there was only one serie that was other then the rest in my storage. Normally I buy 20-30 boxes at a time, and they have the same Emulation no. But one box was no 412111. The rest begins 413111 or 413XXX and has worked well. Maybe it was the 412111. I cant say for sure.

    So How likely is my conclusion?

    Since its the first time ever for me (to get broken film), it of course makes photographing professionally extremely complicated, If i cant trust my film.

    My lab recommends me to swap to fuji, since they are according to them, nowadays a much more stable company for analog equipment. But Ive always used Kodak since the good old NC time. And I like working with negativ film.
    4x5 and 6x6 stuff

  2. #2
    Alan Klein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    New Jersey was NYC

    Re: Broken film package from Kodak?

    Have you spoken to Kodak? Can you try a different supplier so you get from a different batch? Then try one roll and see how it is?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: Broken film package from Kodak?

    I guess the emulsion itself is present and intact, otherwise the film wouldn't come out black. So that rules out a manufacturing defect, it means the sheets were exposed to light at some point. Since they're black edge-to-edge, that rules out someone tampering with your film holders, that would leave the rebate around the edges unexposed. So the likely culprit is someone opening the box before or after you received it, likely to look at the contents. A lot of people have no concept that 'photographic film' is a thing and that it can't be exposed to light, given the people on eBay who sell their old film fanned out and photographed. I don't know what Kodak's quality control is like these days, but they definitely need to know about this or this might become a regular occurrence.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Re: Broken film package from Kodak?

    definately take it up with kodak. it can be improperly stored, xrayed, bad batch, or as above some curious peeker.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Canmore Alberta

    Re: Broken film package from Kodak?

    Norly, I would consider your supply chain. Have you spoken to the dealer who sold you the film ? Then certainly I would contact Kodak. I continue to use Kodak film (& others) until it's no longer available.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Re: Broken film package from Kodak?

    I'd be wondering if the lab developing the film had a little accident with a light-switch at some point . . . Or did you develop them?

    I haven't used Kodak sheet film for over a decade, but IIRC the sheets were contained in a heat-sealed envelope inside the boxes. To damage the film the envelope would have to have been opened, and you would have noticed that during or after loading the DDS.

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