35mm and the airport security

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by j-dogg, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    Planned on traveling again soon and was wondering, film can't be exposed to xrays right.......what happens when I go through security with a few rolls of FujiFilm Superia?
     
  2. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

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    Film slower than ISO 1600 will not be affected by a trip or two through the carry-on X-ray scanner. I've taken 100 speed film through the scanner 8 times, partly out of curiosity, and it was not affected. If you are concerned, ask to have the film/bag hand-checked.

    Film should not be put on checked luggage; those scanners are far stronger.
     
  3. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Film slower than ISO 1600 will not be affected by a trip or two through the carry-on X-ray scanner. I've taken 100 speed film through the scanner 8 times, partly out of curiosity, and it was not affected. If you are concerned, ask to have the film/bag hand-checked.

    Film should not be put on checked luggage; those scanners are far stronger.


    Exactly what he said. I've had hundreds of rolls of film (including a few as high as 1600, although most at 100-400) make multiple (8-15) passes through airport and other types of security scanners on trips and they were all fine. But if you can get the film hand-checked, do so (depends where you are travelling though).
     
  4. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Film is safe to put through carry-on xrays, but don't put it in checked baggage, because the xrays they use to scan checked baggage are stronger.

    I always put my film through the xray scanner when I fly and never had any trouble. It's far safer IMO to send it through the scanner than to risk getting a hand-inspection.
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    one thing that can be helpful and the security people appreciate this as well. place your film in a clear zip lock bag, remove from boxes etc. that way they can see the rolls easily. Also, i found it in my best interest to wait until the line is not so long so they have more time(of course this can be a problem depending on the size of the airport and the time of the year)
     
  6. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Depending on where in the world you are, one thing you need to be very cautious of is the Xray scanners which we have in my city (Melbourne, Australia) when you come through international arrivals, after you actually clear immigration and customs, as they are the same ones your checked baggage goes through, and they will try to make you put your carry-on baggage through it, and that will zap your film.
     
  7. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    I'll be in the States, heading to Vegas and San Francisco again, this time with a ton of film and maybe a digi.

    I usually leave wicked early in the morning, no later than 6am. Orlando International Airport security is kind of lax and I went through it last time in a minute mostly because I wore flip flops.

    If you ever want a good laugh walk around the airport in Detroit in flip-flops in February.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  9. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    I looked, but thanks. :D
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I just completed a domestic U.S. trip. I put the film in a baggy and put it through separately from the camera case, plus a roll was in the camera each time.
    Coming back, they put the camera bag through a second time. The two rolls I've shot and processed were fine, one Ektar and one Portra, and the Portra was loaded in the camera when it did two rounds.
    One airport was using the full-body scanner, so no more slipping 120 rolls into your pockets (they have you remove everything from your pockets, including ID and boarding pass.)

    As Art says, put it through the machine and quite worrying.
     
  11. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

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    In all these years never a problem with Fuji 800 color print fim.
     
  12. cheuwi

    cheuwi Member

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    Did a trip from Toronto to Calgary and back... Velvia, Velvia 100 and Pan F. No problem at all through the scanners.
     
  13. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Kevin is correct - those scanners are a surprise to many international visitors.

    I've simply put my film in a clear plastic bag and they've been happy to let it go through on the trolley rather than being scanned. They aren't scanning for terrorist threats, they're scanning for quarantined/banned/dutiable items - and film is the least of their worries.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    FWIW, Kodak has a publication that talks about this. It is available for download from their Website.

    In short, modern carry-on scanners are fine, but checked baggage scanners can harm film.

    Additionally, the data sheet for Maco IR820 (infrared film now sold as Efke IR820) devotes a bit of space to this issue (and to processing in plastic tanks). It is worth a read.

    In short, it is safer to scan your 35mm IR film with a carry on x-ray machine than it is to bring it out in the light. (The film is not affected by multiple passes through a carry on machine, but the light traps on the cassettes are not IR tight, so fogging can result if they are not kept in total darkness.) Additionally, processing the film in plastic tanks works fine.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2010
  16. Leigh Youdale

    Leigh Youdale Member

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    Bump!
    I know this is a hoary old chestnut in terms of content but I thought rather than waffle on I'd let folks see what a severely zapped film looks like.
    The film is Delta 400 and was compulsorily placed in checked baggage when leaving Heathrow in 2006 due to a security scare at the time (the Shoe Bomber, if I recall correctly).
    This is the proof sheet.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2010
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Leigh:

    Can I respectfully suggest that you start a new thread in the Miscellaneous forum, title it something like "Example - X-ray damage from Airport checked baggage scanner", and attach this attachment to the first post?
     
  18. Leigh Youdale

    Leigh Youdale Member

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    Done.
     
  19. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Member

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    Wow...good thread, I didn't know there was a difference between carry on and checked baggage scanners...

    Do those little bags they sell that are supposed to be X-ray proof work on all types of xray scanners?
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The bags are essentially useless.

    If the scanner operator sees an opaque item on his/her screen, they either:
    a) pull the item and inspect it manually or,
    b) turn up the scanner intensity until they can see through the bag (in which case your film will be ruined).

    Guess which alternative is most likely!

    A properly adjusted carry-on baggage scanner should be fine for most films.

    The checked baggage scanners are usually set to much lower power levels.
     
  21. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I went through Oakland airport this weekend with some film I really didn't want messed up (shots of family I may not see again, pictures of my sisters wedding, etc). All 400 speed film but some shot at 1600.

    I asked for a hand scan of a dozen rolls in a bag, no questions or complaints at all. Granted, it was a slow time for them, but I was still surprised at how painless it was. How frequently have people had trouble with getting hand scans?
     
  22. jono1515

    jono1515 Member

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    I've flown with film quite a bit and only once have I had a problem getting film hand inspected, leaving Buenos Aires for the states about 3 years ago. Aside from that no problems flying to and from Central America and around the states. There have been a few times leaving Oakland and SFO when I was bringing a lot of film along and still got no complaints about a hand inspection even though it was relatively busy.
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Leigh... that's the BEST example of CT damaged film I think I've ever seen!
     
  24. Leigh Youdale

    Leigh Youdale Member

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    Well, I wish I'd never seen it. Main shots were of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, and it's a long way from here to go back for a re-shoot!
     
  25. Leigh Youdale

    Leigh Youdale Member

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    I'm not sure if (b) isn't an urban myth. Certainly at Sydney airport the operators tell me they can't adjust the machine's intensity - government agents come from time to time to test and calibrate the machines but the operators don't get involved. What I have seen however is that on seeing the black shape of the lead bag on their screen they reverse the conveyor, several times if so desired, until they are satisfied. If they're not you'll be asked to empty the bag anyway and with luck you might get a hand inspection at that point. Probably better to start off with the clear plastic bag idea!
     
  26. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    That aspect has been discussed in some of the existing threads on x-rays. Apparently that is the case, the operators can turn up the gain, but the x-ray dose remains the same. But as you point out, they can run the bag through again and again, or else stop the belt and study things.

    I put my film in a plastic bag, separated from the camera case and send everything through (thank you David Goldfarb). On the last trip the camera bag got put through twice, the camera had film loaded, but all was fine.

    Years ago, I tried one of the x-ray bags once. It went in, they stopped the belt and studied things for a while, then sent it through. Just on the basis of time, I decided it wasn't worth it. Per Murphy's law, at some point the bag will invoke a full hand inspection when you have 5 minutes to make a flight from a gate that's the farthest from security.