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I need advise about traveling on airplanes with film.
Old 04-30-2014   #1
Jfrago
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I need advise about traveling on airplanes with film.

Tom,

It's been awhile since I have flown with film. Like you I just want to walk on the plane with my gear and film in my carry on.

But you have to go through the scanners before you board. So what do you do with the film so it doesn't get zapped by the Scanners?

Thanks,

Jfr
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Old 04-30-2014   #2
segedi
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If it's under ISO 800, I just let it get zapped. 800-3200, I kindly ask for hand inspection. They typically swab the canisters and test for bad stuff. I once forgot 10 rolls of 120 in my checked baggage. No ill effects, but wouldn't recommend it.
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Old 04-30-2014   #3
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I think I've brought film with me almost every time I fly. Always in carry-on, out of the plastic canisters, in a plastic zip-top bag. If there's time, I'll have it hand-checked where they run a swab through a spectrometer; if its busy, I just let it go.

http://www.kodak.com/global/en/servi.../tib5201.shtml
This is what happens when you send it in with your checked luggage, however...
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Old 04-30-2014   #4
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I will throw my hat in the carry-it-on-and-request-a-hand-check ring. I too carry the rolls without canisters in a plastic bag, usually without incident. I was accused in Jordan of trying to sneak film through customs (I had maybe two dozen rolls in various formats on me), but other than that I've never had trouble.

Safe travels, and happy shooting!
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Old 04-30-2014   #5
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Don't worry about the carry on scanner. If it was that powerful then all those security people would be wearing lead aprons.
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Old 05-01-2014   #6
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First couple of times I flew with film, I requested a hand inspection, now I don't bother. On a trip from UK, via SF, then to Hawai'i, then to Sydney, my film got scanned plenty of times, not a single visible problem. Once I experimentally allowed a roll of Natura 1600 ISO film to be scanned, again, no visible problems.

I can't vouch for every airport X Ray machine, but I've had my films scanned many times over and not had an issue. Mostly medium format too, so not even a metal case to protect it.
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Old 05-01-2014   #7
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I have been on travels where my b/w films were scanned so many times I lost count. Countries with a certain level of paranoia will have scanners at hotels, subways, malls, etc., and two weeks later after having been scanned 40+ times I process my films with no issues. Traveling from Pakistan to India and back was an extreme example where my handheld was scanned no less than 15 times at the airports and then in and out of the hotel scanners.
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Old 05-01-2014   #8
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A few years ago I had the infuriating misfortune of having my camera drowned while on day 5 of a 19-day field trip to Aotearoa. I had to make do the rest of the time with single-use P&S's (Kodak & Fuji). I returned to the airport with more than a dozen of these things and requested hand inspection because the film was ISO800. I was refused, and they all went through the x-ray machine, but thankfully with no effect. They all turned out just fine (or at least as fine as these things are going to look!)

Unless you are travelling with really fast film I'm pretty sure you'll be okay as long as you take your film into the cabin. The carry-on luggage scanners are very low-powered - you just have to have a peek at the images they show and you can see how much detail is present in soft, low-density objects that would be wiped out by something like a medical x-ray.
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Old 05-01-2014   #9
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I left a roll of Portra or Agfa vista in my hold luggage whilst flying from Havana to Paris to Manchester. No problems but don't risk it.
My carry-on film has never shown problems going through the scanners but I've never taken anything above 800iso.
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Old 05-01-2014   #10
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I usually take a Lowepro Event Messenger 100 as it fits under the seat easily. Since I bulk load my film it's w/o any case and I put the film in the front pocket of the camera bag. Recommend to go through carry on check with at least film. But I take all my stuff through carry on as I like how I handle my bag rather than depending on someone else who may not care about what is inside.

Haven't had anyone check the bag yet. But if I did I would visit about the leica IIIf camera!
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Old 05-01-2014   #11
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In US, just ask for manual inspection:

http://www.thephoblographer.com/wp-c...c-at-f-2.4.jpg
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Old 05-01-2014   #12
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I'm a professional traveler and I've never seen the ill effects of the scanners on my film through the security lanes. In some third-world countries, I'll take it out of a carryon and let them hand-inspect (I'm not convinced their machines are calibrated and they could be zapping big-time). I always have the film out of the canisters, both fresh and exposed.

I traveled with an M6 and b&w film and went through scanners at security multiple times in a series of a few days...no problems. Maybe the brass protected it
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Old 05-01-2014   #13
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I have pushed Tri-x to 1600 after passing through several airport scanners, without apparent ill effects. I don't think I have ever attempted that with really fast film, though.

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Old 05-01-2014   #14
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I've had 800ISO film go through 4-5 scanners and I didn't see anything after development. Don't get those lead cases, the operator will just crank up the dose and you might be fried.

Also, be advised that asking for a hand check is at the discretion of the officer, in the US most of the time I've had positive answers, but I've also had some attitude in Sweden and France once where they just flatly refuse to do anything
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Old 05-01-2014   #15
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I always ask for a hand inspection. Sometimes I get them, other times I don't. I have never seen any ill effects of getting my film scanned, so I don't think there is much to worry about. I am traveling to Europe this summer and I may not even bother asking for a hand inspection--it's time-consuming, and even when they do do it, they usually aren't very happy about it.
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Old 05-01-2014   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
I think I've brought film with me almost every time I fly. Always in carry-on, out of the plastic canisters, in a plastic zip-top bag. If there's time, I'll have it hand-checked where they run a swab through a spectrometer; if its busy, I just let it go.

http://www.kodak.com/global/en/servi.../tib5201.shtml
This is what happens when you send it in with your checked luggage, however...
Correction, that is what happened in 2003 (when that page was last updated), according to Kodak.

Betcha those scanners at airports aren't in use anymore after more than a decade, nowadays elevated hijacking threats, 9-11, etc.
Maybe third world countries do 'ave 'em though...

But handheld luggage wasn't blasted like that for a long time now anyway.
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Old 05-01-2014   #17
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The machines are shielded so TSA people are protected.

X ray damage is cumulative, ie one scan will not produce fog, but additional scans will. It is like exposing a frame 5 stops under. it will be blank. Do it 5 times, you get fog. Also areas of low exposure are already past threshold, so one scan will do some damage in that area.

Overall fog is difficult to see unless you have a comparison. Generally it lowers contrast. Claims it can not be seen have to be discounted.

Modern x ray in developed countries do less damage than what may be found in third world countries.

Baggage x ray is much stronger WILL damage the film if that luggage is selected, but every piece is not checked.

Kodak used to explain all this on their website. No idea if still there.

Buy film here, ship UPS or Fed Ex to your hotel. Have it marked no ray and pray they can read. Develop before return. Or buy there, process there.

Digital is much less hassle. Rent one.
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Old 05-01-2014   #18
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I've travelled internationally with film (max speed 400). No problems so far. I was concerned there would be issues the first few times I travelled, but none so far. My travel is usually US-Europe. Like other folks posting here, I simply put film in carry on. It gets scanned by the machines....
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Old 05-01-2014   #19
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How do you folks that fly with 4x5 film deal with it? Do you take it in the manufacturers packaging (sealed or unsealed), or already loaded in film holders?
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Old 05-01-2014   #20
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I'd second what many people have said, out of the containers in a ziploc bag.

I keep exposed and unexposed seperate just for ease of organisation.

In Manchester I asked for a hand check, the guard said "yes" and then just tossed the bag into the xray tray.
In the US I got a hand check every time I asked for one, although I almost didn't get the exposed rolls back one time (through an honest error).
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Old 05-01-2014   #21
Tom A
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I always put the film in Zip-Loc bags - no plastic containers. As is shoot 400 iso at the most and black/whaite at that - I haven't had a problem for decades. Some of the older machines did zap the carry-on badly though. Less problem with modern X-rays. I try to avoid multiple passes though (changing flights etc - always aim for direct flights, mainly because I hate waiting at airports!).
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http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=142112
Old 05-01-2014   #22
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http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=142112

I love film.
I like digital.
Last long air trip was Toronto to Johannesburg.
Via London Heathrow.
Security at utmost.
Decided not to be pulled to side as lenses, bodies and film carefully inspected..
I went digital, one point and shoot, spare batteries.
I carried a few memory cards, each one enough for 1,000 images..
No delays.
Oh! my anti-perspiration container almost empty..
Almost enough for 2 uses, said 113ml.
Oh dear! It was tossed into bin..
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Old 05-01-2014   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
The machines are shielded so TSA people are protected.

X ray damage is cumulative, ie one scan will not produce fog, but additional scans will. It is like exposing a frame 5 stops under. it will be blank. Do it 5 times, you get fog. Also areas of low exposure are already past threshold, so one scan will do some damage in that area.

Overall fog is difficult to see unless you have a comparison. Generally it lowers contrast. Claims it can not be seen have to be discounted.

Modern x ray in developed countries do less damage than what may be found in third world countries.

Baggage x ray is much stronger WILL damage the film if that luggage is selected, but every piece is not checked.

Kodak used to explain all this on their website. No idea if still there.

Buy film here, ship UPS or Fed Ex to your hotel. Have it marked no ray and pray they can read. Develop before return. Or buy there, process there.

Digital is much less hassle. Rent one.
This is not my experience. I have many thousands of frames that show no evidence of x-ray damage from hand-baggage scanners, do you have a single one that support your claims?
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Old 05-01-2014   #24
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Maybe we are giving too much importance to film damage...
Interesting opinon here
http://goo.gl/Ucufl0
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Old 05-02-2014   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joao View Post
Maybe we are giving too much importance to film damage...
Interesting opinon here
http://goo.gl/Ucufl0
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... yes I have to admit I didn't take film when I had radical-radiotherapy, 2000 millisieverts of gamma rays each day is a tad more than the 0.01 of x-rays produced during a baggage scan
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Old 05-04-2014   #26
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When I fly, I put my film (35mm cassettes only, no box or plastic can) into gallon size ziplock freezer bags, then put the ziplock bag into one of these http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Bag_Large.html
Domke claims that their large size Film Guard bag will hold 35 rolls of 35mm film; in my experience, these bags will easily hold 45-50 rolls of film if you pack them as I do.

I pack my film as above, then put the Film Guards in my carry-on bag, letting them go through the x-ray scanner. The security folk see a big, black square and call me over, asking what it is. I tell them it is photographic film, and then they proceed to do a hand inspection.

This worked for me last September, not only in the U.S., but in Korea and Mongolia as well.

As much as film costs these days, $33 USD for one of these Domke Film Guard bags is incredibly economical insurance against having your film damaged by airport x-ray machines. If x-ray damage is hogwash as some claim, then $33 USD is cheap peace of mind for we photographic OCD types.
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Old 05-04-2014   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauffray View Post
Don't get those lead cases, the operator will just crank up the dose and you might be fried.

Will they turn it up from full power to full power x 2?

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Old 05-11-2014   #28
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For wise-ass photographers who put their film in lead shielded bags, they will use the hated and feared "Double-Dawg Full Power Times Two Squared Just For Spite" setting, guaranteed to cause your unborn great grandchildren to be afflicted with radiation sickness.
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Old 07-04-2014   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisycheese View Post
When I fly, I put my film (35mm cassettes only, no box or plastic can) into gallon size ziplock freezer bags, then put the ziplock bag into one of these http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Bag_Large.html
Domke claims that their large size Film Guard bag will hold 35 rolls of 35mm film; in my experience, these bags will easily hold 45-50 rolls of film if you pack them as I do.
.....
Excately this bag ! I wonder why this is always coming up again.

Google "film shield bag" and you will be served .
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Old 07-04-2014   #30
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Quote:
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Don't get those lead cases, the operator will just crank up the dose and you might be fried.
Here we go again... its not possible to "turn" the power up on these machines. They have a couple of different contrast views but no variable power levels that are operator controllable.
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Old 07-04-2014   #31
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Here we go again... its not possible to "turn" the power up on these machines. They have a couple of different contrast views but no variable power levels that are operator controllable.
... your not seriously trying to tell us that the minimum rate machine operators don't have full control of the potentially dangerous ionising radiation and are prepared to endanger their health each time a photographer passes through
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Old 07-04-2014   #32
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I for one would never use a film shield or anything that would be viewed as trying to make one's contents invisible to inspection machines and handlers. Anyway, based upon my experiences there's no need. Put your film in clear Ziploc bags, bring in carry-ons, and when it's your turn to put your bags on conveyor belt, ask for a hand inspection. The TSA has got this down to a science now -- and my experiences in NY, Chicago, and elsewhere is that they're friendly, professional, and quick. They will swab the film with detection strips and send you on your way.
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Old 07-04-2014   #33
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... your not seriously trying to tell us that the minimum rate machine operators don't have full control of the potentially dangerous ionising radiation and are prepared to endanger their health each time a photographer passes through
...is that a little bit of sarcasm I detect
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Old 07-04-2014   #34
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...is that a little bit of sarcasm I detect
... oh yes, sorry ... this x-ray thing just keeps coming back, its like a undead zombie interweb myth
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Old 07-04-2014   #35
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I just figure any x-ray ghosts would just add something interesting to my pictures. Then they'd be interesting!

ps, the subject keeps coming back because some people (like the OP) do not read every post here before creating a post of their own. Forum life, eh.
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Old 07-04-2014   #36
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I just figure any x-ray ghosts would just add something interesting to my pictures. Then they'd be interesting!

ps, the subject keeps coming back because some people (like the OP) do not read every post here before creating a post of their own. Forum life, eh.
Sorry, I was unclear ... not the OP's question, but these claim of damage in hand-baggage scanners and suchlike
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Old 07-13-2014   #37
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Just to revive this thread a bit,

I've just returned from a trip to Israel, and with countless flights and security checks, I think my film was x-rayed 15 times.

I'll get it developed this week or next and let you guys know if anythings up. It's only XP2 and Ektar so i'm guessing it'll be alright.
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