Film and airport x-ray machines?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by bighilt, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. bighilt

    bighilt Member

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    I hope this is the right place to post this question. I have not had to take film through airport x-ray machines for a number of years but now will be undertaking a trip that will require passing through the machines a total of six times.
    The film stock will primarily be 400 ASA Fuji colour neg and 100 ASA colour neg.
    Am I likely to have problems with fogging etc? Any tips, advice, precautions I should take etc?
    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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  3. sidearm613

    sidearm613 Member

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    Heres my two cents. most of the modern airport xrays are film safe. Especially with standard color film, you should be fine if you take a few precautions:

    1) put the film in some sort of wrapping, in between clothes in a bag. Leather works best but anything is good unless you are planning on carrying IR film.

    2) Ask a TSA person if the xray is film safe, if not, you can try to avoid the xray entirely by reasoning with a TSA person.

    3, and most important) DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT THE CHECKED LUGGAGE XRAY!!!!! NOT EVEN A THOUGHT! If you want your film safe....CARRY ON!
     
  4. bighilt

    bighilt Member

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    Thanks very much for all your help.
     
  5. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    If it's below Iso 800 you won't have any trouble.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    All film is fine with repeated scanning in carry on baggage. Do not check your film.
     
  7. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Remove the film from the cardboard boxes leaving it in the plastic containers. Place the film in a clear zip lock bag. Remove it from your carry on bag before your items go through the x-ray machine and ask for a hand inspection. These are the steps that I took when I flew to Washington D.C. for the inauguration and had no problems whatsoever.

    By the way, I had 40 rolls of film ranging from 25 to 3200 ISO and they inspected each roll individually by hand, no questions asked.

    Jamusu
     
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  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  9. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Ask for a hand inspection. Don't risk it. They are likely to hand sample every roll of film for explosive residue, so plan in a few extra minutes (you never know what's in those 35mm film cartridges.) They say that the X-ray will not effect film under 800 ASA, which is a complete lie because it will effect them exactly half or a quarter as much.

    If you're worried pack slower film.
     
  10. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    ____________________________________________________________________

    They checked all 40 rolls of my film in this manner.

    Jamusu.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i have asked both in the usa and overseas to "hand inspect"
    and they refused. seeing i did not want to start a scene in the line
    they passed my sheets and rolls through
    the machine ...
    sometimes the hand inspect is easier said than done ...

    oh, this was logan, heathrow, basel (bale), zurich ...
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Your film is more at risk from being out in the light and fiddled with by a non photographer (and likely a dumbass and/or jerk) than it is being scanned by carry on x-ray machines. Just put it in your carry on bag, and you are fine. If you have any doubts, read the Kodak data sheet that talks about it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2009
  13. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    I think it is harder in Europe.

    However, I asked in the US once and they agreed, but then saying how they were going to open every packet, foil packed 120 film etc etc - it worked in putting me off and put the stuff through the machine.
     
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  15. Romary

    Romary Subscriber

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    I have been in many airports (Paris, Lyon, Milan, London, Birmingham, East Midland, Berlin, Toronto, Los Angeles and others) with films (HP5+, FP4+, Acros 100, delta 3200, 135 and 120), I never had any problems. I even never had a question about film. The only question I had was from a guy who saw on his screen my box modify in a pinhole he has a collection of camera and we had a chat.

    I also once forgot the film in my main luggage so they have been X-rayed. The films wer OK. That does mean that somewhere with a machine you cannot have problem. But obviously, the problem have been taken in account.
     
  16. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    Delta was fine still?

    I'll do a very important trip for me in 2-3 years. I'd be carrying lots of Provia 100F and also Provia 400X (or it's replacement in the future). The 400X rolls would be most important, since they would carry the snaps of our relatives.
    If we take the shortest way, the film may pass 7 scanners Counting possible scans between the connections. If I'm wrong in that, the film may not pass more than 3 scans. If things don't change, there are 3 routes that we could take:
    Singapore Airlines: BCN-(Milan)-Singapore. Singapore-Cebu
    Qatar: BCN-Madrid Madrid-Doha Doha-Cebu <= this is the mentioned above
    KLM: BCN-Amsterdam-Manila Manila-Cebu


    This carry-on X-ray discussions are kind of confusing, some say it's perfectly safe. Others say never do. Others say manual check.
    I've heard that there are various types of machines. Tacho I don't know what else, is unfriendly for film. The normal older type, is ok.
    Manual check may be tricky here, in Europe. If they want to open the film canisters... Pff. Worse even. Goodbye 150-200€ spent on film. That would piss me seriously. Go and buy lots of "pro" film and having it ruined.
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    "This carry-on X-ray discussions are kind of confusing, some say it's perfectly safe. Others say never do. Others say manual check."

    This is why you should not get important information like this from a message board. Regardless of actual knowledge, everyone on a message board has equal say. It could be Mr. Eastman himself responding, or it could be a 10-year-old kid. Contact Kodak via phone or post, like folks had to do in the days of old, or read their online data sheet that talks about this.

    As for the film issue, I have already stated what I know and feel about it in my two previous posts: All film is 100% safe with repeated carry on x-ray exposures, and I would rather have it scanned by these machines than let someone else fiddle with it.
     
  18. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    Films of ISO 400 and slower are all fine, and show no harmful effects from repeated scanning in airport Xray machines. Kodak testing proved that point years ago!

    The suggestions of hand inspection are from the folks in the USA, where we have such 'rights' to ask for this treatment and expect our wishes to be complied it. Outside the USA, hand inspection requests are a waste of the breathe it consumes to ask!
     
  19. sanking

    sanking Member

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    That is pretty much where I am on this. Certainly all film with ASA below 800 is fine for repeated scanning in carry on baggage.

    I get so irritated at the misinformation some people give on this it makes me want to scream. Over the past decade I have made well over 200 trips by air, in the US and abroad (to Canada, Europe, South America and Asia), always carrying with me sheet film and MF film in ASA up to 800. In all that time I have not seen one single piece of film damaged by the hand bag screeners. No one sheet or roll, and on some long trips the film would go through the screeners 10+ times.

    My advice is pretty simple. Don't ask for hand inspection as the risks go up a lot when the TSA folks put their hands on your film. Just carry your valuable film in your carry-on luggage, send it through the scanner without a second thought, and you will not have a problem.

    Of course, there is always this report from a person who flies twice in five years and reports multiple cases of damage to the film. Simply put, I don't believe it. As we all know there are many ways to damage film. The screener for hand luggage is not one of them, unless you send film with high ASA through many, many times.

    Sandy King






     
  20. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    My very recent experience was this. TSA in Minneapolis was very accomodating, they wiped each roll down with a hand inspection and ran the test for explosives. When I got to Detroit for my connection to the UK I had to re-check my luggage as I clear customs there. I had a similar experience. This time it was a film buff TSA guy who asked what camera I used etc. and he would ask for hand inspection if he was flying. I went about my trip and exposed my film in the UK. On the way back from Gatwick, the dopey jobsworth TSA type there said NOTHING goes on the airplane without being scanned, period! Hand searches are not allowed. He was a complete p####k about it also stating the cosmic radiation would do more damage than the scanning itself. Even when I stated that the effects are accumulative, he still said no. So I guess it all depends on who you get. If you get a dink, then it's no dice I'm afraid. That said, my film only got scanned one time instead of 3 times.

    Andy
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Given that carry on x ray machines quite simply *will not* harm your film, why all the discussion over the various specifics of hand checks? There is only one important issue here, and that is carry on scanners versus checked baggage scanners. Carry on scanners do not tickle the silver, and checked baggage scanners do. That is all you need to know. You can go find out from Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, et al, rather than leaving it up to we with varied responses on the Internet message board.
     
  22. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    It's worth noting that in Les McLean's book, he says he likes Delta 3200 because you can take it through as many carry on x-ray machines as you want.

    Matt
     
  23. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

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  24. bighilt

    bighilt Member

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    Thank you all for your informative responses. I guess it's pretty much a case of taking your chances putting your film through the scanner if you can't get it hand-examined (also risky). It seems machines in Europe and the USA will not cause any problems but that may not be the case in Africa. In some countries there are reports of ancient x-ray machines still with very high levels of radiation. I don't know if anyone here has tried asking a security official in a tin-pot banana republic to do something other than he or she usually does -- it's an exercise in futility!
     
  25. climbabout

    climbabout Member

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    I can concur with what Sandy and others have said. I used to always ask for hand inspection, but after polling this forum and others, I just send my film through the scanner(carry on only). Film goes in 1 bag, cameras in another. Doing it the first time was the hardest, but I have now made several trips with fp4+ and tmax 400 - up to 4 passes through the carry on xray machines with no harmful effects. I process in pyrocat hd (known for giving maximum or greater film speed) - and have processed up to n+3 - absolutely no problems. The hassle of hand inspection is just not worth it. I recently travelled with a close friend who asked for and got a hand inspection and personally witnessed the inspector open a box of film on him. Luckily he only took the top cover off the box, but he very nearly ruined 5 days worth of shooting. Traveling is enough of a hassle, not needing to ask for hand inspection makes it a little more tolerable.
    Tim
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2009
  26. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    I have carried on Delta 400 film (120 size and 35mm) that was rated as ISO1600 through a total of 8 Film scans in a row. Never had a problem. DO NOT CHECK IT IN....otherwise, I am yet to have a problem. Also carried various other films in very large quantities through similar numbers of scans. I do alot of travelling on business, and though I was worried at first, and I still minimse the film quanities...I have no event of a fogged film. Kal