Canada Post Air & X-rays (can I trust my film?)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by walter23, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I flew to the west coast the other day and preemptively mailed myself a few boxes of film (colour transparency, FP4+ and ekfe IR820). At the post office I decided to send it "XpressPost" which, it turns out, got it here by the next morning (it's a 12 hour drive plus ferry ride), so I suspect it was probably flown.

    At that point I realized maybe xpresspost wasn't such a hot idea - air and X-rays.

    Any of you have experience with this? I can't test the film, I have to either trust it or try to secure some fresh stuff out here and test it out once I get back home.

    Ironically I had no problem getting a hand inspection (without them pulling the darkslides!) at the airport for my loaded film holders (which I didn't have time to put into boxes before flying) so that's my only definitely safe film now :wink:
     
  2. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    I've accidentally packed film in checked baggage and found no loss of quality. Baggage x-rays are stronger than standard pre-flight passenger x-ray machines. However, it was 100 ISO film so I cannot vouch for higher speed film.
     
  3. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    I can't really help your particular situation, but for future reference whenever I post film I clearly mark the envelope "PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL - DO NOT X-RAY"; I've no idea if it has any effect or not, but I've not had any trouble yet ;-).

    Is there no way you could fire off a roll of film - with a few 'lenscap on' shots - and get it same-day processed in a local lab to reassure yourself?
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i can't comment on your particulars
    but a year ago i flew from boston to basel
    and my film was zapped by airport security
    close to a dozen times between going and coming
    and then ... last june the same thing.
    my film was all asa 400 and below, slides, c41
    black and white ..... , i pushed
    a lot of it ... and i had no problems ...

    again, different situation, different airlines
    but no problems ...
     
  5. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    It's 4x5 sheet film and I don't know that there's a lab that would do it here. I guess I could buy $20 worth of chemistry and try tray processing a couple of sheets in grandma's bathroom though it's not my ideal vacation passtime and a total waste of money :smile:
     
  6. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Ahh, fair enough. Sounds like you need a friendly local APUGger who could do it for you :smile:
     
  7. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Heathrow security guy wouldn't hand inspect my delta3200 or Pro800Z this past weekend claiming Kodak has tested their machines for up to 32 passes without issue :rolleyes: I've devved one of the delta3200 so far and it seems fine, after 3 handluggage x-ray passes.
     
  8. MP_Wayne

    MP_Wayne Member

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    One of the ongoing major beefs about current air security is the authorities DO NOT xray freight put on board commercial passenger flights. Of course, that brings into question the overall effectiveness (or not) of current security measures (not the topic here) for passengers.

    As one earlier poster indicated, the checked luggage Xray is the one to worry about. The security on packages is so lax, you have little to fear. I have sent exposed film via air courier to Vancouver for processing, and have received everything back without issue.

    Just get out and capture some art, enjoy yourself, and don't worry about it (and bring the exposed images home in your carry-on luggage).... Have fun!
     
  9. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I have said this before, I will say it again. The film has to get to the stores someway. That way is shipping. If you order an overnight delivery of film for a job from a vendor, then it goes by air. I have to order every single sheet of film I use commercially as well as for my personal projects. I have never (in 30 years) had a box of color or b/w film suffer X-ray damage from shipping. Whether you ship film yourself, or a vendor ships film to you, it is all the same shipping services. There are no "special" shipping services for film that manufacturers and vendors use. Think about it. You need to not worry, be happy, make photos. If you actually have a store locally that stocks film..well, how do you think it got on their shelves, elves? It was shipped to them by common carriers, from a warehouse. The manufacturer shipped the film from their plant to the warehouse, the warehouse shipped the film to the store.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2007
  10. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Air travel is only a hazard to film if it is in your "checked" luggage. Freight does not go thru this process.
     
  11. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    A lot depends on where you traveling to.

    If I am not certain I can obtain the film I want at my destination, I carry it on and ask for hand inspection. Have never been denied.

    If I cannot get it processed during my trip - I similarly carry it on when returning with the hand inspection request. But I'd never risk check-in baggage - the x-rays are much more powerful. I'd sooner mail it with a "Do Not X-ray" message.

    Now, it's probably easier for me because I only shoot 35mm and 120/220.

    You might want to check with Canada Post as to what their policy is regarding express mail and x-rays. Down here USPS express mail is actually contracted out to FedEx and I don't think it gets x-rayed.
     
  12. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    While I don't disagree with your answer, I don't think the question is a dumb one.

    I don't know how film manufacturers ship their product to distributors and retailers. I don't know if they ship by ground, sea or air. Obviously ground and sea shipping always avoid x-rays - perhaps this is the preferred method most of the time. I don't know.

    I don't know if film is routinely refrigerated when it is shipped. I don't know the temperatures to which the film I buy was exposed. I don't know if film manufacturers prefer to ship film in refrigerated containers during the summer or not.

    These are things I'd like to know, actually.

    I agree that shipping film by air is not the end of the world, but I don't know for certain that it isn't x-rayed. I have to say that the question crossed my mind when I recently mail-ordered a batch of film that included some Ilford Delta 3200. Black and white film is more sensitive to x-rays than colour film is, and fast film is more sensitive than slow film is, so this is a double whammy.
     
  13. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Well, the times I've bought (usually cold-stored expired) film from people in the US and had them write "film - do not x-ray" on the package, the customs documentation attached it has said "Package not opened". Not sure if that also means "Package not x-rayed", but I haven't had a problem with any of it so far.

    Some people on other boards and/or other threads, however, swear that the checked luggage x-rays have fogged their film in odd ways where rolls from the same batch not x-rayed were fine - so I think YMMV on this. Also, I heard speculation that high-speed and/or infrared film may be more susceptible to x-rays - not sure if that's true or not, though.
     
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  15. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Film is shipped to retailers by all methods, and at room temperature, regrdless of whether it is professional or amateur film. Short term (a few days) exposure to the more extreme temperatures suitable for human existance are not detrimental to film. The same frieght services that deliver to your door, also make larger deliveries to the film retailers, and that includes overnight and 2nd Day Air types of services.

    No film (b/w or color) or photo paper (b/w or color) is ever shipped in refrigerated containers, ever.

    Freight is not normally X-rayed.

    But even considering this, modern fresh film can take some X-ray exposure and still perform as manufactured.

    The ONLY X-ray exposure you should worry about is the type of X-ray used for "checked" luggage on airline flights. NOTE: Freight on the same flights does not get X-rayed.

    Now, let me pose a question: If you can't tell (by comparison) that a film has been X-rayed, does it really matter?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2007
  16. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I don't care if it gets X-rayed as long as it's in a dose that won't affect things. Having said that I'll just assume it's fine and chalk it up as a learning experience if it isn't.
     
  17. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I think we're crossing some bananas with strawberries here.

    The OP was sending his film domestically in Canada via Canada Post's express service.

    So the real question is:

    Does CPost x-ray it's Express packages for those going from domestic originations to domestic destinations?

    That is why I think he should just ASK them! :D

    As to all the other possibilities mentioned here:

    1) In the US - domestic commercial supplier to buyer of film is likely to go via UPS (i.e. NOT USPS) or FedEx and unlikely to be x-rayed.

    1a) If it goes USPS via Express or Priority - it is likely going via FedEx - so see #1

    2) If US film suppliers are shipping to Canada - it's likely going UPS or FedEx (and goodness help you on those bogus "custom brokerage charges") but also unlikely to be x-rayed.

    3) No matter where you are going - the absolutely worst place to put your film is in checked baggage! :surprised:
     
  18. mabman

    mabman Member

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    I've also had film sent to me from places in Canada via Parcel Post (not as fast as Express, sometimes sent via air as well, and sometimes sent ground, or combinations thereof, depending on available routes) without issue. But, don't know if it was or wasn't x-rayed, so, yes, asking is a good policy if you want to know for sure.
     
  19. haziz

    haziz Subscriber

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    I have had no problems with the US post express mail service. Different country and therefore may not help you. Don't know about Canada Post.

    Sincerely,

    Hany.
     
  20. coigach

    coigach Member

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    I post several large orders of film a year to dr5 in the US for processing from the UK. I've sent all sorts of films and speeds, 25iso to 1000iso, Rollei IR to Ilford SFX via Maco and Kodak - never had a problem with anything. I always write ' undeveloped film - do not x-ray' on box, but I don't know if that makes any real difference...!

    Cheers,
    Gavin
     
  21. lonelyboy

    lonelyboy Member

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  22. AgX

    AgX Member

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  23. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Indeed, I thought the blanket 'nothing shipped ever gets X-Rayed ever anywhere' statements were somewhat too categorical to be true.


    As I recall from the Ilford factory tour, Simon said they had some sort of 'recognised shipper' certificate/agreement with US customs which was required to prevent their shipments being X-rayed; I could well have misremembered though. Simon?!
     
  24. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I have purchased film online in the past with it being delivered via Air from the US with no problems. I don't you will have a problem with Canada Post.
     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Yes I too assume that the bigger companies have got some sealed-container procedure. But what about smaller parcels and what about that grey-market with materials being sent around the world packed together with other materials going that route?

    From what I read so far no problems have been encountered. Well, it might be though that some problems related to bad procedures/quality control of some manufacturers are actually shipping related.

    This all is a sensitive issue and here at this forum those questions will hardly be answered...
     
  26. MP_Wayne

    MP_Wayne Member

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    Several posters have suggested asking your local postal employee if something shipped Express or otherwise is X-Rayed... If one steps back a moment and gives it some thought, how LIKELY is it that your local postal employee knows anything of value on this topic ??? More than likely, if that employee is at all astute, he/she will tell you what you want to hear to get you moving along - even if he/she does not truly know - or he/she may just say I don't know. So then, what do you do? In the end, the value of asking an employee is probably not much more than a placebo to make yourself feel good about your initial decision to mail the film. Like Cheryl Crow sings "If it makes you happy... "

    I would tend to agree with most posters that the vast majority of cargo packages ARE NOT X-rayed. There are numerous news stories about only 1% of inbound cargo containers being xRayed and that mail/parcels on passenger jets are largely unscreened. For now, I believe we are in a "fool's paradise" of sorts until a plane is taken down sometime in the future by a package. Will it be a "cargo-only" plane? or a passenger airliner? That will be the luck of the draw (for the terrorists). If that were to occur, then just like the post 9-11 frenzy, we will enter another era of psychotic, paranoid behaviour where EVERYTHING will be XRayed.

    For now, I believe the safest "for sure" bet is to take your film with you on the plane, and hope for the best when asking for hand inspection along the way. At least you know how many doses have been received (if any). So far, I have only had to submit my film once to Xray (in East Africa)...with no ill-effects...