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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 17 May 2010 (Monday) 06:54
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Talk to me about film and airports...

 
manipula
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May 17, 2010 06:54 |  #1

It's been a while. When I was actually shooting film, I wasn't really travelling being a skint student and all, but this weekend I'm about to go back to the UK from New Zealand, and will be taking my little Lomo film camera and a handful of film. As much as the whole idea of Lomo stuff is munted colours etc, I still don't want some Xray machine at an airport stuffing it up.

So tell me, these days, what's the deal with film and Xrays at airports? Do I need to be worried? ???

Thanks in advance. :)


Cheers, Dave.
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neilwood32
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May 17, 2010 07:02 |  #2

IIRC it is only checked in films that have a problem as the scanning is at a higher strength. The article is a bit out of date but AFAIK it still holds true http://www.kodak.com …service/tib/tib​5201.shtml (external link)


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bjyoder
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May 17, 2010 08:57 |  #3

In general, the higher the speed of film, the more likely you are to have problems from an X-ray.

There are two easy ways to get around this AFAIK: 1) There are still (in some places) bags sold that keep film safe from X-rays. A local camera store (that still carries a good amount of film) should be able to get you taken care of. 2) Carry the film in a separate bag that you have easy access to, and, as you are going through security, ask them to hand check the bag with the film. They should have no problem with that, and check the film without passing it through the X-ray machine.


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manipula
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May 18, 2010 01:57 |  #4

Cheers gents, good info, thank you. :)


Cheers, Dave.
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Tony-S
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May 18, 2010 08:29 |  #5

manipula wrote in post #10194690 (external link)
It's been a while. When I was actually shooting film, I wasn't really travelling being a skint student and all, but this weekend I'm about to go back to the UK from New Zealand, and will be taking my little Lomo film camera and a handful of film. As much as the whole idea of Lomo stuff is munted colours etc, I still don't want some Xray machine at an airport stuffing it up.

For carry-on, film of 400 or less can go through 5 times in US airports without fogging. However, I always ask for hand inspection. NEVER put your film in your checked bags - those X-ray machines are far more powerful and will ruin your film in one pass.

Also, in the US your camera bag is allowed as a third carry-on. I don't know about yours, though.


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ebj
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May 18, 2010 09:05 |  #6

Just found this
Tests conducted by the International Imaging Industry Association, Inc., a trade association that watchdogs the integrity of photographic materials worldwide, has found that airport X-ray machines that scan checked luggage cause streaks and fogging on film of all speeds. And the higher the speed of the film, the greater the damage.




  
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Wilt
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May 18, 2010 10:58 |  #7

Key points of information in the Kodak guidelines:

"X-ray equipment used to inspect carry-on baggage uses a very low level of x-radiation that will not cause noticeable damage to most films. (Films of ISO 400 and slower tolerate multiple passes)

"However, baggage that is checked (loaded on the planes as cargo) often goes through equipment with higher energy X rays.

"Fog caused by the new (higher energy X-ray) baggage scanners is usually more pronounced than fog caused by other means. Fog from the CAT scan type of scanner typically appears as soft-edged bands 1/4 to 3/8 inch (1 to 1.5 cm) wide. The orientation of the fog stripe depends on the orientation of the film relative to the X-ray beam. The banding may be linear or wavy and can run lengthwise or horizontally on the film. It can also undulate, depending on the combination of the angle of exposure and the multiple laps of film on the roll. (See images below.) However, the fog will usually lack the more subtle patterns produced by traditional types of X-ray equipment. Additionally, whether or not this stripe is seen in the photographic print may depend on scene content. Busy scenes with flowers, foliage, etc. may obscure or lessen the perception of X-ray effects.

"Lead-lined bags, available from photo retailers, will weaken the X-radiation on film and reduce potential harm. However, the effectiveness of any particular lead bag depends on the intensity and electric potential of the X-ray generator, the lead's thickness, and the film speed."


Hand inspection is better than running the film thru the low energy scanners at security checkpoints, even when using the lead bags. If you use the lead bags, they probably will delay you some more, to see what is inside! But many places outside the USA will ignore requests for hand inspection...the guys at London's Heathrow probably don't speak English but speak only Sanskrit, judging by their totally absent response over the past 30 years to my requests for hand inspection.


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CoolHandMatt
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May 18, 2010 11:19 |  #8
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Film - Airports?

Shirley you cant be serious! ;)


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bjyoder
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May 18, 2010 12:43 |  #9

CoolHandMatt wrote in post #10202851 (external link)
Film - Airports?

Shirley you cant be serious! ;)

I think he's being fairly serious with this request, there, buddy...


And his sig. says his name's Dave, not Shirley! ;) :lol:


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FlyingPhotog
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May 18, 2010 12:46 |  #10

One thing to keep in mind regarding lead-lined bags...

If they can't see through something, they crank the X-Ray output until they can (or at least expect to be able to...)


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E-K
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May 18, 2010 13:12 |  #11

bjyoder wrote in post #10203398 (external link)
I think he's being fairly serious with this request, there, buddy...


And his sig. says his name's Dave, not Shirley! ;) :lol:

I think the appropriate response would be "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." [Airplane! 1980]

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bjyoder
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May 18, 2010 17:48 |  #12

E-K wrote in post #10203603 (external link)
I think the appropriate response would be "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." [Airplane! 1980]

e-k

Absolutely, but I wasn't the one he was talking to, and I wanted to make sure his set-up didn't go to waste. ;)


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manipula
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May 19, 2010 05:42 |  #13

:p

Deadly serious request. As well as the stack of EOS stuff, I have a stash of Lomo and older film cameras, some of which I find the perfect tiny little snapshot devices and capable of some bliding photos. (On the hunt for an Olympus XA still...)

I don't actually have an Xray bag, and trying to buy one here would be bloody impossible, so I think maybe a small removable bag and a word with the security guys seems about right.


Cheers, Dave.
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Wilt
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May 19, 2010 10:14 |  #14

manipula wrote in post #10208229 (external link)
I don't actually have an Xray bag, and trying to buy one here would be bloody impossible, so I think maybe a small removable bag and a word with the security guys seems about right.

Clear plastic ziplock bag is best, so they can easily see it is film. However, be forewarned, that as time goes on fewer and fewer people know what roll film even looks like. I was asked, over a decade ago, to break the paper seal on an exposed roll of film (I have not flown with medium format system since before the 911 event). I had to spend a fair amount of time trying to explain why doing that would ruin exposed, undeveloped photographs (duh)!


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Tony-S
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May 19, 2010 10:33 |  #15

I've never had problems with asking for a hand inspection. I put the film in a Ziplock bag and ask the TSA agent for a hand inspection. They have always agreed, but I'm sure there are some who may want it to go through the scanner. Film is part of the TSA regulations, thus all agents get training on the policy.


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Talk to me about film and airports...
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