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Thread: TSA and View Cameras

  1. #1

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    TSA and View Cameras

    Not the usual question about x-rays, film, and fogging. I'm looking for experiences with domestic flights and TSA scanning of equipment. I'm considering taking my folded Canham DLC^2 with a single lens, a small travel tripod, and the usual holders, a box of film (an open box, since I now buy film in 100 sheet boxes and will repack some in a used 25-sheet box), and a Pentax digital meter. I imagine almost everything will look unusual to the carry-on scanner, and that the TSA staff will be unfamiliar with what it is. Have any of you had experience? Do they ask you to unpack everything, is there a big hassle or a smooth boarding? (We did have a thread on tripods, it seemed the consensus was that they were OK, and as a travel tripod, mine is pretty compact). This is domestic USA only (Newark-Austin TX). Thanks.

  2. #2
    Do or do not. There is no try.
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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    I've never traveled with my Canham MQC, also metal like your DLC, but have made several trips from Boston to Colorado and California with a Nagaoka or Shen-Hao 4x5, Pentax digital meter, several lenses, and boxed film and have never been asked to unpack anything, or even to run it through twice. In fact, a TSA screener at the Grand Junction, CO airport (5 gates) looked up from the X-ray machine and asked me "Is that one of those old-fashioned cameras?". I'm sure she was an outlier, just as I'm sure others have had different experiences.

    One thing I always do is keep the film in a separate zip-closure bag and run it through in its own tray, just in case they decide to run the camera-laden pack through a second or third time.

  3. #3

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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    A couple of summers ago I took a 3-1/4x4-1/4 Graflex SLR, two roll backs, a bunch of film holders and a couple of lenses on a flight. Going, the TSA didn't even notice. Coming back I got a very cursory search from an amused TSA guy who was more interested in the camera than anything else.

    After having taken a long trip a while ago where I ran a hundred or two sheets of 4x5 Ektachrome 100 through six successive xray machines in Europe, and nothing at all happened to the images, I don't worry about the x-ray machines any more. Probably that will bite me some day.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  4. #4
    Les
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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    Peter, unless you arrive at ample time before the flight, I'd just let them look at it on the screen and be done with it. The camera contains no electronics, so that should go smoothly. They may ask about the light meter (?). If you do have time and want the film to bypass the scanner....you could ask for hand inspection....hoping you don't come across someone who'd want to open the film box or film holders. I'm assuming you should find someone knowledgeable-enough at a huge facility like Newark. Smaller airports may not have similar expertise. Good luck.

    Les

  5. #5

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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    I took my 4x5, three lenses, film holders, light meter, tripod, etc. in a carry-on backpack with me on a recent trip. Ran it through the TSA scanner with no questions asked. I wouldn't expect you to have a problem
    Last edited by faberryman; 18-Dec-2017 at 17:45.

  6. #6

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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    Thanks everyone! Looks like I will do this without over-thinking it.

  7. #7
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    If they don't see wires and batteries, you'll be fine.
    my picture blog
    ejwoodbury.blogspot.com

  8. #8

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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    I've flown with a Canham MQC,the Canham 6x17 rollfilm back and all the usual stuff in a backpack, run it through their scanner and not the slightest issue. Never had to unpack or show it. I travel with my Gitzo in the checked baggage though.

  9. #9
    Roger Thoms's Avatar
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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Woodbury View Post
    If they don't see wires and batteries, you'll be fine.
    Yep, between my 2 light meters with their 9v batteries and my Speed Graphic with all its mechanisms, that definitely got tsa's attention. Just meant a hand inspection and I was on my way. Also had the same thing happen with my Rolleiflex and a light meter with a 9v battery. Same thing, hand inspection and I was on my way. Just flew with my Fuji GW680iii, light meter with 9v battery, and FLM travel tripod, no hand inspection this time, just sailed right through.

    Roger

  10. #10

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    Re: TSA and View Cameras

    I traveled with my Busch Pressman and spot meter and assorted film holders and a Canon 5Ds with a couple of lenses and odds and ends this past summer, not even a second glance. Traveled with my 5Ds and two lenses and a flash over Thanksgiving and had to have a hand inspection on the return trip.

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