2 Times Through Airport X-Ray OK?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by RattyMouse, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Hello All,

    I just finished a short 3 day vacation trip and came back with 15 rolls of film ready for development. I had a blast shooting both my Nikon FM2 and Fuji GA645. Next week, I am off for another trip, this time one that will require air travel. I was planning to shoot this trip with my digital gear, but since I had so much fun with my film gear, I am reconsidering. I am 100% unsure of where to buy film at my location and so would have to bring my own. It is very unsure to me if I can get the film hand inspected at the airport. I can try, but no promises can be made.

    So, assuming the worst, my film would have to go through the X Ray machine twice, once there and once back. I plan on brining only ISO100 and ISO400 speed film.

    What level of risk is there with this film being harmed by such treatment? Would you proceed with this totally unworried, or would you be concerned?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Is that all ? Just twice is nothing provided it was the carry on scanners, seriously some of my films have been through airport and port scanners over 20 times, I gave up worrying years ago.

    Ian
     
  3. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    HUGE thanks! I shall not worry then.

    Thank you so much.
     
  4. mnemosyne

    mnemosyne Subscriber

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    Fear nothing but fear itself :smile:
     
  5. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    +1

    Marc!
     
  6. mauro35

    mauro35 Member

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    Usually, the X-ray scan for hand luggage should not cause any fog for film up to a sensitivity of ISO 800. As I understood, the dosage of X-ray for checked luggage may be stronger. On a recent trip I had my and luggage scanned three times and I had ISO 200 and 400 film. No problem at all.
     
  7. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    Five scans on recent trip (carry on of course), no issues whatsoever.
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Don't worry. Be happy.
     
  9. Paul Glover

    Paul Glover Member

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    No problem with twice through the scanner for me either. 400 was fastest speed, some exposed some not. All carry on baggage.
     
  10. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Ask for hand checking. I always do. That way there is nothing to worry about. The more film, and more exotic film (120 or 4x5), the less objection there is. One time is safe for 800, 2 for 400, 3 for 200 and 4 for 100. That's just 2 trips. No way I'm subjecting my film to that. It's not just the cost of film, but also hotels, plane ticket and rental car, that you're risking to get your shots. And my granddaughter is 10 months old only once.
     
  11. craygc

    craygc Member

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    This is just paranoia... 1x carry x-ray pass per 100 ISO speed is based on what??? I've put 400 ISO through 16 passes between Asia and the US with no decernible affects; and 3200 at least 6x. The radiation doses your film receives on longer flights at altitude exceeds a pass through carry on back-scatter x-ray machines. Basically, in over 99% of cases, carry on x-ray has no practical impact on film.
     
  12. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    I concur.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Most airports outside the US won't do hand checking. The scanners used in UK airports are film safe for even the fastest films for many multiple passes 50+, I met a security officer at Gatwick who sat on the committee that advised on this, made up of people from the film manufacturers, various professional and amateur photographic associations (ironically he was there for the RPS), and the scanner manufacturers.

    It's generally forgotten that ensuring the machines are safe for films also means they are very much safer for the human operatives. At one time only men, and women over child bearing age, were allowed to operate the carry on scanning machines.

    Ian
     
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  15. rayonline_nz

    rayonline_nz Member

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    Can someone confirm if the film has been tested with a densitometer?

    I had some 400 speed HP5+ that I took overseas, someone in my camera club has a densitometer and he said the film has more fog than normal. Not sure if this was b/c I had film that was some yrs old or if it was xray related however you can still get nice prints off them. Off the same person he showed a person about fog when you use the fixer too many times but still adhering to Ilfrord's recommendation. He now uses 1L of working solution of fix for 6 rolls.
     
  16. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Nobody at any airport in Canada / Victoria BC and Alaska agreed to hand-checking of my sister's carry-on kit that included one old AF compact film camera. I gave her a roll of Provia 400X and two of Provia 100F; none were affected despite having passed through a total of 16 X-ray inspection points over 4 weeks (including ports visited by the MS Zuiderdam) (!). However, two SD cards for brother-in-law's digi camera were corrupted and we had to contact the photo store in Victoria BC to get copies of the files posted to us (she'd gone there to have "postcards" printed from the card). So... a positive reinforcement for film that has come through shining, but a question mark on the security of SD cards.

    Now, I think it would be very fair to say that Customs around the world are aware of the concerns of film photographers and they are up to date with knowledge as to how safe that film is passing through X-rays. I cannot see anything happening that would cause a catastrophe unless you are running through Delta P3200, which I know will fog after 2 passes — and Customs do acknowledge the risk of X-rays to high speed film, so hold it up to them. No harm in asking for a hand inspection but I doubt you will, or should be afforded, one given that you could potentially be holding up a queue of impatient and irritable people. :smile:
     
  17. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    I took 100 rolls of Neopan 100 (120), and 200 sheets of TXP320 (5x4") - Melbourne-Sydney-Tokyo-Frankfurt-Berlin, then Zürich-Hong Kong-Sydney-Melbourne last year, and couldn't find a trace of fogging in anything. I brought back another ten rolls of TMAX400 from Tokyo (the weather was a bit dark at times for Neopan), and that was fine too. At most, that's 7 journeys through carry-on x-ray without anything that would impact on printing when I got back home. I think it's fair to say I will never bother with the HASSLE of hand-inspection...

    Marc!
     
  18. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Not paranoia, just bad math. I multiplied the exposure instead of adding it.

    I based this on what the government tells us - that film is safe to iso 800. Is it unreasonable then to assume then that 1600 is possibly unsafe? In that case, a 2nd exposure could cause fog on iso 800 film. 2 more exposures could affect iso 400, another 4 could affect iso 200, and so on. I hate to do this, but have to ask for a citation for the comparative levels of exposure in flight vs xray.
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    What the government tells us is a summary of an industry study. Here is what the industry study tells us, based on density measures to determine "functional" damage:

    Test Summary

    Color negative film

    The results of this test showed that banding (uneven density areas) was noticed after 25

    passes with ISO 400 color negative film, and after 10 passes with ISO 800 color negative

    film. Prints were made from the ISO 400 film, and it was noticed that there was only a

    minimal color shift through the scan sequences. Also there was loss of contrast, and an

    increase in granularity starting at pass 10 and increased as the number of scans increased.

    This was especially noticeable in the under exposed frames. In each case the base fog

    (density of the unexposed areas) increased with the number of passes. The density of the

    exposed areas increased as well, but in smaller amounts.

    Black and White film


    An uneven fog pattern was noticed, especially with ISO 3200 film between 1 and 5 passes. At 25 passes this effect was extreme.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2013
  20. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Oh... and here are the industry study recommendations to the governments:

    Recommendations

    Based on the testing completed at the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, I3A

    recommends a limit of five passes through the carry-on baggage security check point

    systems for all color negative and reversal film, including single-use cameras, up to and

    including ISO 800 speed film. While in some cases it may take a greater number of

    passes to cause damage to film, we believe that a five pass limit allows for an appropriate

    margin for safety. If lower speed film, ISO 100 through 800, is being carried on

    extended trips, and it is necessary to submit the film through security screeners more than

    five times, travelers should request hand inspection of their film. I3A further recommends

    that all film with an ISO rating greater than 800, black and white films, motion picture

    films, and films used for medical imaging ALWAYS be hand inspected. FAA

    regulations support the request by passengers for hand inspection of film.
     
  21. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    It's all a matter of statistics, and luck. I have had no "functional problems" with slow film (200 and less) but tend not to push my luck beyond 4 to 6 exposures to xray screening... and I always avoid fast film "just because".
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I don't have any statistics about international standards. But since my personal standards are quite nitpicky, I did run some TMY400, both sheet and roll, thru TSA carry-on Xrays three times, then measured for any fog whatsoever with my densitometer. None. This was compared to
    a reference standard, without any XRay. Made me feel more comfortable about domestic flights at least.
     
  23. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Brian, thank you for giving us the facts.
     
  24. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The problem is that the data is so out of date it's meaningless, things have moved on. You need a reality check.

    Ian
     
  25. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Well, then where's the new stuff?
     
  26. wombat2go

    wombat2go Subscriber

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    Earlier today I put up a post with some links to photos that were from film through many scans.
    A message ( first time for me) came back saying the post would be checked by mods, but it seems to have disappeared.