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Thread: Airports and 4x5 film

  1. #11

    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    If you send it through the X-ray machines you shouldn't have any problem at all. While they may want to do a hand-check of the bag, you should already be through your own scan by then and can make sure they don't open any film boxes.

  2. #12

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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    Thanks for the link Kevin - that might come in handy.

    I don't fly much; but when I have, it's been a hassle every step of the way - probably because I have long hair and a beard - so much for no profiling. I can do without the games they play. I drive most places I'm going to anyway, and like one other person said; If I can't get there by driving, I probably don't need to go there.

    Tim

  3. #13

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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    You know, I've never seen it written that the shippers, USPS, UPS, FedEx, don't X-Ray our film too. It probably doesn't matter but shipping film to avoid damage means letting it out of your control -- pretty much a 6 and 1 toss-up if you ask me.

  4. #14
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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    All my film comes mail order, so its already been zapped by anything they might zap it with, and its done no harm. I remember years ago ordering some aero film and the seller made a big deal about shipping it through a smaller carrier and labeling it as return to sender if it still had to be xrayed, so I suppose that fedex, ups and usps must xray at least some parcels.

    In the particularly unlikely event I choose to fly in the USA (Land of the Free?#$*! omfg) I would not consider letting the TSA handle my exposed films. I don't see some minimum wage troglodyte working at UPS and opening the boxes, but I could see myself being tased to death while trying to stop Gonzo da Gropinator from ruining a few weeks of shooting.

  5. #15
    ARS KC2UU
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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    Quote Originally Posted by Thebes View Post
    ...In the particularly unlikely event I choose to fly in the USA (Land of the Free?#$*! omfg) I would not consider letting the TSA handle my exposed films. I don't see some minimum wage troglodyte working at UPS and opening the boxes, but I could see myself being tased to death while trying to stop Gonzo da Gropinator from ruining a few weeks of shooting.
    Then what do you plan to do with them?

    Perhaps you have a suggestion that I haven't thought of.

    But I find that any time I fly the security staff at the airport handles virtually everything I own... and exposed films are no exception and no way to stop them.

    Bob G.
    All natural images are analog. But the retina converts them to digital on their way to the brain.

  6. #16
    David de Gruyl's Avatar
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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    I fly a lot.

    Put the film in a separate bag to go through the scanner. I have not had any issues with the scanner.

    The one thing that always triggers (and I mean always) is my filter stack. Also, I think my medium format lenses might (not positive). That's why I pull the film out in a separate bag: so they don't think they have to open the boxes and whatnot. I have found that being nice and polite (and not acting frustrated) goes a really long way in dealing with airport security in any country.

  7. #17
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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    I flew two years ago with LF film & camera in my carryon. Got wiped/swabbed every time.

    Various reactions to film in boxes. Some places would consider the hand inspection to be swiping it. Others said a hand inspection meant opening the box, and they don't know enough to not open the box. They try to keep you busy chitchatting about your tickets or other things while they hand inspect it so you can't be part of the process. I neatly duct taped the exposed film closed to give me an extra few seconds of their tampering. I ended up letting them xray it instead of hand inspect it.

    I would advise mailing film home definitely, and perhaps pre-mailing it if you can.

  8. #18

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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    Quote Originally Posted by David de Gruyl View Post
    ...I have found that being nice and polite (and not acting frustrated) goes a really long way in dealing with airport security in any country.
    This is very true. While I question the effectiveness of the TSA as much as anyone (and I'll leave it at that to avoid getting into politics), they're there to do a job and while you may think their tactics are flawed or invasive if you have an attitude or are visibly frustrated you're only going to make it worse for yourself.

    I recently flew through Newark when it was very busy and I had more than 100 rolls of 120 film (exposed film not in foil packs, all in big ziploc bags). The screener was obviously not thrilled with having to swab it all, but I was friendly, I explained that I was a professional and that this film was very important to me both personally and financially, smiled a lot and joked about it. And by the end she was very helpful and she even took extra time to help me flatten out the film in the ziplocs so they would fit back in my bag.

    I'm heading out to the Western US for a project soon and I plan to fly with my film, but my lab is in LA anyway so I'll ship my film to the lab before flying home.

    I've yet to have any problems with x-rays with USPS priority mail (to which I add insurance and tracking). Same with UPS ground,which is how I get all of my film from B&H.

    On the way to my destination my film boxes will be sealed, which might help.

    The only thing I know for sure is that I'll never limit my travel experiences because of a little hassle at security. One of the things that drew me to photography as a career is that I wanted to see the world. I'd switch to digital before limiting my travel (although I really don't want to do that either!).

    Out of curiosity, are the sealed film envelopes that kodak film comes in light-tight if you remove them from the box?

  9. #19
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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    I fly all the time (40,000 miles last year). Some airports are pickier than others, with the smaller airports usually being pickier.

    I returned from Denver once with a Pentax 6x7 200mm lens and a chimney finder in my carry-on, and when the guy stopped the belt to look more closely, I told him that it was a camera lens. He said he knew that, but that I'd forgotten to remove my plastic bag of toothpaste and deodorant. I slapped my forehead, he let it through. That's a pretty typical experience. I had to board late and check my carry-on at the last minute, and I found that far more troublesome than the inspection. I was returning from Seattle with a Pentax 6x7 and a 75mm shift lens in my bag, which I pulled out and carried onto the plane loose while they checked the bag. That's about the worst it has been for me.

    I've never had a TSA inspector want to look at my film more closely, and it has been a very long time (maybe five years) since a backpack full of cameras resulted in an automatic hand inspection. I do not, however, carry sheet film--it has all been in 120 rolls.

    The only time I've had a problem was with some freezer-bait Ektachrome 1000 that I'd taken to Alaska in hopes of seeing auroras. That roll came out...thin. I've never had any problem I could detect with 50- or 100-speed film.

    I don't always carry cameras, and often when I do they are digital to avoid problems. When I carry film, I use medium-format--the view camera is just too bulky for flying.

    You guys who refuse to fly because TSA=Gestapo must never want to go to Alaska. I'm going in May, and will carry a bunch of film--again. I agree that dignity is in short supply in an airport but this has been true for a very long time, and it is true in different ways outside the U.S.

    Rick "who has traveled to four continents in the last two years" Denney

  10. #20

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    Re: Airports and 4x5 film

    The take-away message is: the system is wildly inconsistent! You may get hand inspected and they'll respect that there's exposed film in the box, or someone may try to open the box when you're not looking.

    I haven't traveled with sheet film yet. Am considering it for a trip to New Orleans later this month and I'm troubled about what to do. In the past, with roll film I've had the gammut of experiences from polite understanding professionals to people who have it in their mind that they can and will open every container and poke around.

    I don't see myself deploying the Harrison tent to allow someone to put their fingers on my film, so I'll probably mail myself 10 sheets of film and mail it back from the hotel or mail it directly to the lab.

    I doubt USPS or UPS is xraying ground parcels---or if they are it's low dose---otherwise, we'd be hearing from people getting their stuff back from mail order labs all fouled up.

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