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fuegocito
6-Feb-2008, 10:44
A revisit to an old theme...

Recently I flew from Hartford to Phoenix, upon the gate of St Peters where one is complete strip down and scanned, I asked whether my sheets/rolls films can be hand inspected. The very friendly security officer agreed with a smile as if these sort of thing happens regularly, she took the large zip lock bag of films to the end of the line and started wiping it down. Seemingly all is well as I got dressed and collected my belongings, that is until they got to the opened boxes of sheet film and before I can run over and object, the inspector shook open the box in one smooth motion, viola! Unexposed film is now basked in the glorious florescent lights. As I am trying to move over as fast as I can, shouting as urgently without causing people to get into gun ready state of nervousness, they exposed second box of films.

The casualty counts is two almost full 50 sheets boxes of film. How they explained is that they have to inspected any film where it factory seal is broke open, that is if you want them to hand inspect. One can always opt letting the film go through the x-ray. Having them check the opened boxes of film even if one is to provide them with a black bag is completely up to the discretion of the on duty supervisor. Obviously this scenario only matters to sheet film users.

So my questions, how have people dealt with this traveling with opened boxes of sheet films? going out would be easier enough as one can just bring fresh un-open films but on the return leg...? Does USPS, or other currier such as Fedx or UPS x-ray boxes?

roteague
6-Feb-2008, 10:53
I don't waste my time, or anyone else's time asking for hand-inspection of sheet film. It isn't necessary, and as you learned, the hard way, that those manning TSA stations don't know what sheet film is.

IanG
6-Feb-2008, 11:02
I carry sheet film regularly, it always goes through the hand luggage scanners. On a recent trip to South America I had MF FP4, HP5 & Tmax400, this involved 12 flights and more than 16 scans all the negatives were perfect.

As Robert says hand inspection isn't necessary, you learnt the hard way.

Ian

Matt Blaze
6-Feb-2008, 11:13
Another argument for ReadyLoads....

I've found it helpful to refer to my film as "X-ray" film at the checkpoint when I ask for hand inspection.

Also, when shipping, Fedex and UPS don''t routinely X-ray packages, but will not guarantee that it won't be X-rayed unless you specifically label the package as such and declare it on the airbill. (They sometimes -- though rarely -- route packages through airline package express services, which may end up getting xrayed by the TSA monster luggage zapping machines, and that is pretty much guaranteed to ruin even slow film).

Gordon Moat
6-Feb-2008, 11:18
I carry Kodak Readyload and Fuji Quickload films. Worse case I have a sacrificial packet of each, in case I need to explain what they are, or how they function. I can load an old packet into a holder, and pull the sleeve to show that there is film in it. However, I only had to do that once so far.

If it was me, and they had done that, I would be contacting the airline to make a claim. They should reimburse you for your damaged film. Sheet film is considered professional film, and while I do not know if you do this for a living, if something like this happened to me, then it could be detrimental to my work.

Anyway, if you are shooting predominantly ISO 100 films, and not push processing them, you should be fine for around 5 passes through Xray. I did have film that showed Xray damage once, but it was Kodak Ektachrome P1600 (35mm only), and at the time I was using it at ISO 3200 and push processing. Film Xray damage is rare with most of the equipment in use for security screening today, but definitely do not put film in your checked bag.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

fuegocito
6-Feb-2008, 11:24
I carry sheet film regularly, it always goes through the hand luggage scanners. On a recent trip to South America I had MF FP4, HP5 & Tmax400, this involved 12 flights and more than 16 scans all the negatives were perfect.

As Robert says hand inspection isn't necessary, you learnt the hard way.

Ian

This is very encouraging news, especially for x-ray machines settings that are suppose to be less standardized . Thanks for sharing.

Nothing bad have ever happen to my films going through the x-ray scan when some airport refuse hand inspection, but this is the first time I travel with sheet films and I didn't know about the opened box policy. I just let all the exposed sheet films go through the machine on the way back and developed films looks fine so far.

Robert

jetcode
6-Feb-2008, 12:02
another choice is to send your film home - most scanners are fine though there are countries who still use older scanner technologies

fuegocito
6-Feb-2008, 12:16
If it was me, and they had done that, I would be contacting the airline to make a claim. They should reimburse you for your damaged film. Sheet film is considered professional film, and while I do not know if you do this for a living, if something like this happened to me, then it could be detrimental to my work.


Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

My wife was saying the same thing, about putting in the claim. But at the time though I was upset, I was not that upset since they were unexposed outdated film that was given to me and I just want to clear out.

Also though someone is at fault for not knowing how to handle sheet films properly, I don't see how the responsibility should rest with the airline.

Ultimately it is that I can't be bother about things I didn't care too much about, and it was a good dinner conversation topic while I was down at Arizona and someone was nice enough to give me even more film, thank goodness to the digital revolution:D

Robert

dpetersen
12-Feb-2008, 19:03
I had an experience in Albany, NY just this week. The TSA inspector was determined to open the boxes of exposed, but undeveloped film from the weekend. I objected and got the supervisor to hand inspect. No damage to the negatives upon development was noted.
Now sheet film is not all that common, but is encountered by TSA inspectors from time to time. With the thousands of dollars spent on all that scanning equipment, A hundred bucks for a changing bag would not be out of line. Why don't they have a changing bag or a dark facility for inspecting light sensative materiels?
Funny thing, on the way out my camera bag (including Linhof Tech IV) was fully inspected, but on the way back it was just scanned.

David A. Goldfarb
12-Feb-2008, 19:10
I always let the film go through the X-ray or ship it home precisely to avoid the need for hand inspection.

Another thing that helps if I have a lot of film is to put the film in a separate bag from the camera and let it go through the X-ray. That way, if they want to look in the camera case, they won't be getting near any film boxes.

Kevin Crisp
12-Feb-2008, 19:18
I've had 320 speed film go through the hand luggage x-ray machine 6 or more times on a trip in the US and there is no sign of fog. It looks like nothing (plastic film holder and a sheet of film are completely uninteresting on the screen -- even a loaded Grafmatic looks like nothing interesting on the screen) and it has always sailed right through. This has been true at many different airports in the US and at Heathrow.

So unless somebody pops up with a report of a hand luggage machine fogging film, I think you are risking problems if you ask for a hand inspection in lieu of going through the regular inspection. If you get pulled out after the x-ray for secondary inspection then you are face to face with someone and hopefully you can inform them about the fact that film and disorganized light are a bad combination. I have put a few sheets in checked bags just to see what might happen and they do sometimes get ruined.

Jim Ewins
12-Feb-2008, 22:56
Why do we go along with this sh***?? I'm glad I no longer need to fly. When will there be check points at city limits???

eddie
13-Feb-2008, 06:35
i have never had a problem asking for a hand inspection. even on opened boxes. sorry for your trouble.

a few ideas to slow them down so you can talk em out of something stupid!

1. tape all 4 sides of the box! inner box ands outer box! will give you time to run over there and plead you case!

2. put the film inside of a black light proof bag inside of the 3 box system.

3. a big note on the outside of the box: DO NOT OPEN IN THE LIGHT! EXPOSED VACATION NEGATIVES.......PRICELESS!

eddie

fuegocito
13-Feb-2008, 08:20
Now that I have all the films processed, just as what everyone posted here have suggested about films going through carry-on x-ray scan, the films are fine.

I can understand the general paranoids/precaution around airport security these days, and certainly the TSA people I have encountered since that dreadful day have all soften their tough demeanor over the years. They were friendly in regard to hand inspection for films but the rule about must inspect open seal film boxes just does not make sense, as with the lack of black tent/box/bag or even uses one we, the photographer would provide. May be a few homemade seal stickers is the answer:)

Darren H
13-Feb-2008, 08:35
I am sorry to hear about that experience, that has to be very frustrating.

As someone else said and I wholeheartedly agree- another reason for Quickloads or Readyloads.

I fly with Quickloads several times a year and have never had a problem. I have two carry on pieces. A LowePro backpack with my camera and lenses and a smaller shoulder bag with the film. I put the film through first, then shoes, and save the camera for last. They usually want to look at my camera as the metal in the Arca frame draws attention, but the film is already out on the other side so it does not get zapped a second time.

On the homebound leg, I now usually FedEx my film home. I feel that it is getting fewer X-rays and there is less airport hassle of worrying about the film.

I gave up asking for hand inspection as very few people at TSA understand what sheet film is and have found no ill effects on Velvia for one or two trips via air.

Now, if I am going someplace for several weeks of work, I usually order film from B+H to be delivered to that location. Makes it even less things to lug through an airport because I find it hard to be in just two carry ons and bring more than about 80 Quickloads. So for longer trips where I need more film, I call the Friday before I leave and it usually shows up on site on Monday.

Kevin Crisp
13-Feb-2008, 08:39
Heck, sometimes I can't even get readyloads open.

Clay Turtle
13-Feb-2008, 18:26
My other half wants to go home (Long Isle) and became frustrated as I seemed reluctant. Hey, Great let's go but only if we drive Hell if I want to put up with all that sucurity sh*t to begin with & better believe I ain't going to miss a chance to fo some shooting. But I note a lack of comments about those lead linned X-ray bags they sell? Probably attract greater concern than they are worth?

Songyun
13-Feb-2008, 20:57
you need two things, pants with huge pocket, and ilford plastic bag. I just put these film in the pockets and walk through the security gate.

dpetersen
13-Feb-2008, 22:24
the TSA website warns that their scanners can harm undeveloped film and advises that you place in the carry on or request a hand inspection. I was under the impression that film would be common enough that safe (for the film) search procedures had been put into practice...apparently not. All was well with me, but if I was carrying 100 or so exposures back from a workshop and it was ruined by the TSA, I would be a very angry puppy.

Louie Powell
14-Feb-2008, 04:30
if I was carrying 100 or so exposures back from a workshop and it was ruined by the TSA, I would be a very angry puppy.

While TSA says the machines are safe for ordinary film, I would imagine that there is some degree of risk of something going wrong. Likewise, while a hand search may be perfectly fine with 35mm film, there is a risk that the inspectors won't understand that you can't just open a box of sheet film (as one of our colleagues reported recently). So its a matter of choosing which risk you would rather accept.

You bet on horses. You bet on the stock market. I guess you have to bet on the form of screening that won't do more harm than good.

I have heard a few reports of film being fogged after being screened, but I don't think that is has been established that the screening caused the fog. Coincidence does not establish cause. On the other hand, opening a box of sheet film has a very good chance of fogging the film. So my conclusion is that opting for the machines is probably the safer bet.

PViapiano
14-Feb-2008, 09:52
I shipped 4 boxes of Quickloads for my Hawaii trip a few months ago via USPS Priority Mail in their Flat Rate box for only $8.95, and shipped it back to myself via the same, so for a total of $18 not only did I not worry about x-rays but also didn't have to hand carry those 4 boxes.

The box of TXP320 I had in my camera bag, as well as loaded film holders, was fine as well...

fuegocito
14-Feb-2008, 10:30
you need two things, pants with huge pocket, and ilford plastic bag. I just put these film in the pockets and walk through the security gate.

I like this, except what do you do if it's anything larger than 45:D

and what sort of quantity this strategy one can get away with, 50 sheets, 100, 200??

I would say anything more than 200 start to look a little funny in those bulging pockets:)

fuegocito
14-Feb-2008, 10:38
I shipped 4 boxes of Quickloads for my Hawaii trip a few months ago via USPS Priority Mail in their Flat Rate box for only $8.95, and shipped it back to myself via the same, so for a total of $18 not only did I not worry about x-rays but also didn't have to hand carry those 4 boxes.

The box of TXP320 I had in my camera bag, as well as loaded film holders, was fine as well...

The camera bag that contain, were they carry on's?

I have let film went through check in luggages in those lead line bags(35mm+120) and they all turn out fine.

The shipping to destination only works if you know where you'll be staying, but that is not always the case with me in my travel. Shipping the film back is a viable option. Has any one shipped film back from slightly more obscure places, let's say Peru, Bulgaria, Phillipean...

Robert

fuegocito
14-Feb-2008, 11:05
Quick load does not come in all flavors, and nothing bigger than 45...

And I remember there is also a weight factor in there somewhere right?

Songyun
14-Feb-2008, 11:25
I like this, except what do you do if it's anything larger than 45:D

and what sort of quantity this strategy one can get away with, 50 sheets, 100, 200??

I would say anything more than 200 start to look a little funny in those bulging pockets:)
4X5 200sheets shouldn't be any problem. Depends on how many pockets you have. with 4 big external pockets, you can have 400sheets. :D

Vaughn
14-Feb-2008, 12:39
snip...I have heard a few reports of film being fogged after being screened, but I don't think that is has been established that the screening caused the fog. Coincidence does not establish cause...snip.

I returned home from 3 months of photographing in New Zealand (pre-9/11) and just about all my 4x5 B&W film was fogged. Wish I could have blamed someone else besides myself (light leak in camera back).

I haven't flown post-9/11, but have had a few chuckles watching people try to inspect my 4x5 film in boxes and 8x10 film in holders with their hands in my changing bag. They usually give up after about a minute or two.

vaughn

fuegocito
14-Feb-2008, 14:14
I returned home from 3 months of photographing in New Zealand (pre-9/11) and just about all my 4x5 B&W film was fogged. Wish I could have blamed someone else besides myself (light leak in camera back).

I haven't flown post-9/11, but have had a few chuckles watching people try to inspect my 4x5 film in boxes and 8x10 film in holders with their hands in my changing bag. They usually give up after about a minute or two.

vaughn

LOL light leak!!!

I asked about the changing bag option at Hartford and Phoenix, they all said is up to the discretion of the on duty supervisor, which I suspect it's a no.

fuegocito
14-Feb-2008, 14:21
4X5 200sheets shouldn't be any problem. Depends on how many pockets you have. with 4 big external pockets, you can have 400sheets. :D

With all those rather big budges hanging all over one's trouser, just imagine the possible ensuing line of questioning:D

But it's still not a bad idea if it's in smaller quantity of 45's

Robert

David A. Goldfarb
14-Feb-2008, 14:32
I've gone through the metal detector with a box or two of 4x5" or 20-30 rolls of 120 in my pockets.

My story of traveling for three months and not discovering a problem until coming back is--fingerprints. Normally they wouldn't be an issue, but leaving the film unprocessed that long allowed the oils to interact with the film--Kodak, Efke, and Forte, so it wasn't just the soft emulsion films. Now I load and unload with powderless nitrile gloves, so no more fingerprints, and I think next time I go for that long, I'm bringing a daylight tank so I can process film as I go, in case of any technical problems.

Michael T. Murphy
14-Feb-2008, 14:55
I used to get hand inspections when I was shooting more film. Now I usually just let it go through the scanner.

I have never seen a really objective test of fogging. The best way to test would be to do a minimal base exposure in camera, like zone 1, then see what the base+fog level is after 1, 2, 3, etc. scans.

I have 3 trips coming up next month - Mexico, Denver, Orlando. Maybe I will set up a few sheets in a separate box to test. Should get 6 passses, see what happens. I can test density with my Eye One Pro when I get home.

TSA has always been nice to me when requesting hand checks. One time I did not ask for one coming out of Las Vegas with $1,000+ of exposed film because they were so busy. They stopped the belt on my gear and were standing talking with the picture up on the screen for 2-3 minutes :eek: !!

I freaked, not realizing they were just looking at the existing image, not constantly bombarding the film with new X-rays (I think? never sure.) I apologized for flipping out. :D

Coming out of Detroit I asked for a hand check for film. Thay asked how much time I had and said it might take an hour! I just smiled and said fine, I had 2 hours+ before my flight. Only took 5 minutes - they just didn't want to do it! :)

Best,
Michael

seawolf66
14-Feb-2008, 19:19
The best way for film is to ship USPS Priority service to yourself where your going as I did when I went to Yellowstone N.P.

eric mac
14-Feb-2008, 19:20
Went to Vegas about six months ago and had everything xrayed. My 4x5 pictures looked a little fried after development, so I developed an unexposed sheet that went with and one that stayed home. Apparently someone needs to learn to meter properly as both sheets had the same base fog.

Eric

eddie
15-Feb-2008, 05:14
The best way for film is to ship USPS Priority service to yourself where your going as I did when I went to Yellowstone N.P.

yup. i routinely send stuff to myself. at times i send it to several different PO and then when i pick one box up i ship the exposed stuff back to myself. i have done this this overseas as well. thailand has a particularly good postal system.

eddie

Frank Petronio
15-Feb-2008, 05:24
I've never really gotten it clear that any shipping service does not absolutely for sure 100% not X-ray film... so what's the difference? It could be zapped anywhere.

IanG
15-Feb-2008, 07:09
Many of the private carriers/shipping services use the same type of scanners as the airports use for hand baggage, although usually for more random scanning.

These scanners are everywhere not just airlines, many ferry ports use them, also shopping centres (malls) in some countries.

Ian

robert amsden
21-Feb-2008, 10:14
One way to get film past tsa checkers to remove the foil envelope so that the metal detecters will not find it and put it somewhere on your body.

Keith Pitman
21-Feb-2008, 21:22
I think your mistake was asking for hand inspection. I've never seen any negative (pun intended) affect from running film through the airport xray machines. I just got back from a cross country trip, and my pack with film in both boxes and film holders went right through the inspection without delay. I have seen a suggestion that you could carry film in the cargo pockets of you pants through the metal detector. I was going to do it this last trip, but my pockets were not big enough! Maybe next time.

andrew vincent
21-Feb-2008, 22:14
just got back from Mexico - there and back, carried all my 4x5 gear (sans tripod, which was in luggage) on a carry-on, and they handchecked my quickloads without an issue.

Jim MacKenzie
22-Feb-2008, 08:38
Why do we go along with this sh***?? I'm glad I no longer need to fly. When will there be check points at city limits???

Until they build the bridge over the Bering Strait, we're kind of stuck - not that I welcome the drive from Saskatchewan to the UK via Russia. That would take awhile.

fuegocito
22-Feb-2008, 09:31
So the general consensus seems to suggest hand check x-rays are safe for slower film, packing films in pockets, using quickload film packets, or mailing/shipping films to and back.

No one have said anything about flying with film size larger than 45? Anyone?

Louie Powell
22-Feb-2008, 12:52
No one have said anything about flying with film size larger than 45? Anyone?

Scootermm reported an unfortunate experience flying out of Manchester, NH at Christmas with his 12x20. But from the description of the event, it sounded to me like he had requested a hand search, and that's what he got - opening film boxes, etc. Be careful what you ask for.

The best advice may be to hand carry, and allow the stuff to be screened normally.

Photobackpacker
23-Feb-2008, 06:34
When I fly, I ship my sheet film to my destination hotel ahead of time with the instructions "Hold for guest Bruce Laughton arriving XX/XX.

You can set up a UPS account free of charge that will allow you to create your own shipments on line and charge the fee to your credit card. Once you have the account, you can print out the pre-paid shipping labels on your printer. Simply create the label to your destination and then create a prepaid return return shipping label which put inside the box. When you are ready to return home, you simply paste the return label on your shipping box and drop it off at a UPS store, UPS box or hand it to any UPS driver.

While I haven't tried it, I suspect a UPS store can print out the return label as well.

Ricardo
15-Mar-2008, 07:12
This spring I will be traveling to Durbin (sout Africa), and later to Ghana with a Linhof tech. I wonder Just how does one travel through (these country's) with out getting you film ruined (by inspectors). Also, I plan on using my "tiltall" tirpod (so save on weight), will such a light tripod work with the Linhof? Thanks in advance.

Aahx
19-Mar-2008, 13:26
This spring I will be traveling to Durbin (sout Africa), and later to Ghana with a Linhof tech. I wonder Just how does one travel through (these country's) with out getting you film ruined (by inspectors). Also, I plan on using my "tiltall" tirpod (so save on weight), will such a light tripod work with the Linhof? Thanks in advance.

I would test the tiltall before you go. I have a Tiltall here at my workplace and tried my Omegaview 4x5 (studio rail camera), and it is way to flimsy with the tiltall head where it meets the the tripod legs. There is a rubber bushing there, that creates way to much flex for any kind of stable shooting with a large camera. Where using a lighter system with a firmer head (used Gitzo GT2540 carbon legs and RRS BH-55 head) is actualy a stiffer and more stable combination. Though I am looking a stronger set of carbon legs for my large format travel work, that BH-55 is very rigid when locked up.

David A. Goldfarb
19-Mar-2008, 13:50
This spring I will be traveling to Durbin (sout Africa), and later to Ghana with a Linhof tech. I wonder Just how does one travel through (these country's) with out getting you film ruined (by inspectors). Also, I plan on using my "tiltall" tirpod (so save on weight), will such a light tripod work with the Linhof? Thanks in advance.

A Tiltall is fine for a Technika. They were designed for press cameras before Leitz bought the design.

Diane Maher
20-Mar-2008, 06:14
So the general consensus seems to suggest hand check x-rays are safe for slower film, packing films in pockets, using quickload film packets, or mailing/shipping films to and back.

No one have said anything about flying with film size larger than 45? Anyone?

I flew to Seattle in January 2008 with my whole plate (6.5" x 8.5"), two lenses, three holders and accessories with no problems. I did ship the exposed film home to myself. I put the box containing film in the bin with my coat at the security checkpoint in the airport since I figured my camera bag (a laptop bag) would get a second look at the x-ray (because of the shutters probably) and my coats would most likely not draw any undue attention.

The sheets I have developed so far seem to be just fine. (I'm still backlogged with development right now.) :o

Kirk Gittings
20-Mar-2008, 06:19
When I fly, I ship my sheet film to my destination hotel ahead of time with the instructions "Hold for guest Bruce Laughton arriving XX/XX.

You can set up a UPS account free of charge that will allow you to create your own shipments on line and charge the fee to your credit card. Once you have the account, you can print out the pre-paid shipping labels on your printer. Simply create the label to your destination and then create a prepaid return return shipping label which put inside the box. When you are ready to return home, you simply paste the return label on your shipping box and drop it off at a UPS store, UPS box or hand it to any UPS driver.

This is what I do too. Since having film fogged once a couple of years ago, I no longer take the chance at airports.

David Luttmann
20-Mar-2008, 08:09
This is what I do too. Since having film fogged once a couple of years ago, I no longer take the chance at airports.

Kirk,

Doesn't UPS x-ray contents? I thought only Fedex didn't. That said, I have never flown with sheet film....only 35mm and MF foll film and have never had a problem with hand searches. But then again, most people have never seen a box of "sheet" film.

Maybe I'll use quickloads instead.

Kirk Gittings
20-Mar-2008, 08:26
David, I've never had a problem with Fed Ex (a friend who is an exec at FX told me that their xraying was a myth) or UPS (I ship film to Praus via UPS all the time).

David Luttmann
20-Mar-2008, 09:13
Thanks!