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Thread: Flying & Film

  1. #1

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    Flying & Film

    Hi all, I am planning a trip to the BC coast and will want to take my lg format with me. Can anyone advise how to best transport sheet film throught airport security without getting it damaged from any x ray or screening equipment?
    Thanks
    Andy

  2. #2

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    Re: Flying & Film

    I just leave it in the film boxes and pass with through the hand luggage x-ray machine. Likewise with loaded film holders. If I have boxes with exposed film, I tape them shut and mark them "Exposed."

    Obviously, don't put your film in checked baggage or the machines will fog the film.

  3. #3
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: Flying & Film

    I concur with Jerold - the low profile approach is best.

    I carry unexposed film in a box in a carry-on bag. On the return trip, exposed film goes into other boxes that also go into that carry on bag - and marked "Exposed Film - Open Only in TOTAL Darkness" in big red letters. The boxes are all taped closed to prevent them from opening by accident and to cause someone to have to stop and think before opening them. And everything goes through the carry-on x-ray scanner.

    Oh, and be pleasant to the screeners - they are doing an important job. It's not their fault that they haven't been properly trained to do it.

  4. #4

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    Re: Flying & Film

    Thanks guys, appriciate your comments. I just thought that the scanners even in the carry on areas would damage the film however it appears that this is not the case. I will follow your directions and I am always nice to the security folks as they have a tough job to start with!
    Thanks again!

  5. #5

    Re: Flying & Film

    If you are using ISO 100 films, then you should be okay for several passes through the check-in scanners. If using ISO 400 or higher films, or intending to push process, then you might want to ask about getting your film hand checked. However, with hand checking, it is a good idea to avoid any situation in which the screener might need to open a box of film; this is largely why I stick with Quickload and Readyload when traveling.

    If you are super worried about it, then FedEX your film to your destination, and FedEx it back. You could also test using Instant film (Fuji or Polaroid) of ISO 100 speed, and see if any fogging shows up on the Instant exposure; if the Instant film is okay, then your regular film should be fine (don't try this with ISO 3000 Instant film, it will definitely fog in the check-in scanner).

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  6. #6

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    Re: Flying & Film

    Alberta to BC shouldn't be a problem for 400 speed. Last Jan I flew Toronto>Fort Mac>Edmonton>Thunder Bay>Toronto>Nova Scotia and back to Toronto and all sheets, exposed and unexposed, survived passenger security scans.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  7. #7

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    Re: Flying & Film

    In Beijing there are x-ray scanners in the subway stations as well! I flew from Osaka to Beijing to Kunming and back, and I was able to get my 120 film hand-checked. Very polite people everywhere.

    Kumar

  8. #8
    Confidently Agnostic!
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    Re: Flying & Film

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter View Post
    I just leave it in the film boxes and pass with through the hand luggage x-ray machine. Likewise with loaded film holders. If I have boxes with exposed film, I tape them shut and mark them "Exposed."

    Obviously, don't put your film in checked baggage or the machines will fog the film.

    You can request a "hand inspection" but make sure they understand that if they want to look inside an x-ray is a better idea. With a hand inspection they check for chemical residues to make sure it's nothing unpleasant, but I suppose you run the risk of damage if someone decides to open it. I don't think x-rays have damaged any of my film although I am a bit suspicious of a box of efke IR that seems to have fogging in one corner on every sheet (may have been something else, though, as the film was never tested before flying).

  9. #9
    Henry Valtonen L&Scape's Avatar
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    Re: Flying & Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Moat View Post
    If you are using ISO 100 films, then you should be okay for several passes through the check-in scanners. If using ISO 400 or higher films, or intending to push process, then you might want to ask about getting your film hand checked.
    Gordon Moat Photography
    Here is an example what happened to ISO 100 when I bought 50pcs pack of 8x10 Ektachrome from a photo store in the US and put the unopened pack in my luggage. All the slides were destroyded with six X-rays. Mostly visible in the blue and green.

    Henry Valtonen, Helsinki

  10. #10
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: Flying & Film

    Quote Originally Posted by L&Scape View Post
    Here is an example what happened to ISO 100 when I bought 50pcs pack of 8x10 Ektachrome from a photo store in the US and put the unopened pack in my luggage. All the slides were destroyded with six X-rays. Mostly visible in the blue and green.

    Henry Valtonen, Helsinki
    Was that your CHECKED luggage or your CARRYON luggage.

    There is no argument that the x-rays used for CHECKED luggage will damage film - in one pass. But the general consensus is that if the machines used to scan CARRYON luggage are properly calibrated, they won't damage film.

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