International shipping and X-Ray Damage

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Robbedoes, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Robbedoes

    Robbedoes Member

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    I just read the thread about "X-Ray Damage" and I'm wondering what will happen to film material when I buy some in the US and let is ship to the Netherlands? More generally, how is packed film handled?
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    This has been handled here before and a lot of specualation was done concerning x-raying at logistic services, but to my understanding with no clear outcome. Which is not surprising as this is a security related matter.
     
  3. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    When I mailed my stow of film to America last year (I followed it on a plane the next week), I just wrote in big letters, "PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM - DO NOT X-RAY"
    I have absolutely no idea if it made any difference, but my film isn't fogged at all now I've gotten around to developing it, and it's been mailed both ways.
     
  4. apochromatic

    apochromatic Member

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    Fedex cannot promise anything either

    I made an enquiry about sending exposed film by courier - Fedex and some other international one and they both gave the same answer: they had no control over customs and excise who pull items from their consigments at random and xray it, get a dog to sniff it etc...
     
  5. jackc

    jackc Member

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    In that case, labeling your package as "FILM, DO NOT X-RAY" might actually induce one. It'd be like declaring "There's no bomb in this box..." May be just send it unmarked and hope to be the 90% that don't get x-rayed.
     
  6. mexipike

    mexipike Subscriber

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    I once asked a question on this forum about what kind of lead bag to use. Then after carefully planning how to safely get my film through the Tijuana airport, I completely forgot and let my bag go through the x ray. (I thought the film was in a different bag) I yelled stop, so the x ray tech stopped the machine, giving my film an even longer time under the rays. I was carrying about 6 rolls of Delta 3200 in 120 all shot at 1600 ISO. I developed with HC110 dil b, as it's supposed to be good for fog. They all came out fine, you could see the fog creeping up on the edge but it didn't enter the image. So if you do let your high speed film get x rayed try HC110 (although silvergrain claims it's good for nothing).
     
  7. Robbedoes

    Robbedoes Member

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    Factories ship film material worldwide. How do they do, illegal :smile:
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    They most probably use containers sealed at the plant by a customs officer.
    Or something like that...
     
  9. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    In the late eighties we were using so much paper and film we were getting it direct from the container which had come straight from the dock. We had a Kodak employee with us to check the stock, other than that we unloaded it ourselves.

    The 6' wide rolls of colour paper came in a metal container that looked like a smallish coffin. They held five rolls of paper and required a fork lift to move them. They were locked and had seals in strategic places.

    Film was another matter, we used 48" wide roll film for our big graphic cameras, five or so that size, but the rest all used 24" or 12" wide rolls. These films also came in coffin like containers which were sized accordingly to the film sizes. Two people could just lift the 12" wide roll coffin.

    With roll film, which we purchased by the pallet load, it sometimes came in a small airfreight container, which is about the size of a normal dumpster bin seen around the world. I know that this stuff had special customs clearance at either end, it was sealed as well.

    Things have changed a lot since then, but I would assume with sensitive materials most large manufacturers, and there are only three left, would have some kind of system with the authorities for getting sensitive material delivered.

    Mick.
     
  10. jackc

    jackc Member

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    What about the film shipped from online shops like adorama, bhphoto and freestyle? These are ordinary cartons shipped by UPS, FedEx or the post office. They are not even marked special in any way, nor any indication of film inside. Are these also X-rayed at airports where they are shipped? If so, why aren't the shops saying anything about X-ray damage?
     
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Most probably as they don't know much more either...

    But as far as I remember reading posts on fogging here, there was no specific evidence of radiation caused fogging. This whole issue might rather be a risk than a problem. I don't know.
     
  12. Robbedoes

    Robbedoes Member

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    I just posted an order at Goat Hill for a 25 feet Minox-sized film roll. Before loading it to my cassettes I'll cut of and develop a little piece as a check.
     
  13. jackc

    jackc Member

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    If you are specifically trying to look for the damage (by airport X-rays), I imagine it may not be easy to find or prove conclusive. Looks to me that the damage, which surely exists however small, would be incremental and circumstantial, depending on many random factors, such as which airline, which airports, how many hops the route has, size and markings of the book, terrorist alert level of proceeding days, the operator's experience, his mood of the day, how the boxes pile on the conveyer belt that may or may not shield your package, etc, etc. Even if the damage gives you the equivalent of a year's worth of cosmic radiation, it may not be easy to tell.

    So if you develop an unexposed piece and compare it with an unexposed "unshipped" piece (where do you find this "unshipped" piece?), then any additional density you perceive probably indicates damage. But if you don't perceive additional density, it probably proves nothing.
     
  14. Robbedoes

    Robbedoes Member

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    @jackc, Cynical but fun.
    I'll promise to not even try to find something.
    Joe of Goathill is sending film stuff to Europe for more than ten years and has never had one complaint.
    I just have to trust him I guess.
     
  15. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

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    I recently made an enquiry about possible X-ray damage during the shipping of film to Australia to Freestyle and they replied that while my concerns were understandable and the threat was real, they have no control of what gets x-rayed in different customs depts around the world. Having said that, he also told me that they have never had customers report that film has been fogged as a result of x-rays.
     
  16. jackc

    jackc Member

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    The longest experience anyone can claim is 6 years 7 months, not 10 years. This is because the use of X-rays at airports have changed a lot since the 9/11 attacks on New York. Now everyone and everything is presumed a bomb until proven otherwise. You read about this sort of thing in the news all the time.
     
  17. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Once upon a time....

    .....the X-ray machines used for passenger baggage scanning really blasted the subjects. I passed many a roll repeatedly in those days in a lead bag and never had a problem. They get better results now with far less energy. So, that's good.

    Just saw on the telly the other night that only 10% of air freight is scanned at any point on the journey. So, that's good. But our ever vigilant "security" is trying to ramp that up by having the shipper X-ray the containers. ""Lesseee, Mr. Atta, you want a position in our shipping department, eh?" So, that's bad if your film is in some freight consolidator's container. Of course, you might ask Freestyle's great customer service to put your film order inside the lead bag you ordered.

    If it's your own product, put it in a lead bag, for Pete's sake. No need to carry more than a few rolls in your carry-on, generally. I just hand them to an agent and ask for a hand check. Never a problem, sometimes they open a box but mostly just look puzzled and pass them on past the X-ray machine.

    Frankly, I think we all have much bigger problems than this hypothical or if, if, if one.
     
  18. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I've bought lots of film, paper & other photo products from overseas & had them delivered by post. Pretty much have to when you live in Australia. Never had a problem with any scanner damage. I buy from Freestyle in LA, Megaperls in Japan, Frugal Photographer & various other suppliers incl ebay sellers.
     
  19. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I'm afraid I did not say that.

    Pictorial b&w film users (most of us here) are better served with D-76 or XTOL in terms of image quality, period. Sure, HC-110 gives lower fog, but so does Microphen. The real advantage of HC-110 are the speed, convenience and cost, which are all important factors to some users. Users of electron microscope films, Tech Pan users (those who used TP for light microscopy or other low contrast images), some industrial radiography films, and press photography all liked that developer. In short, some of the D-19 users got the advantage of HC-110 much more than D-76 users.

    Besides, the use of PVP and amine-sulfur dioxide adduct in a liquid concentrate developer is quite an innovation at that time.

    Among pictorial film users, some large format users seem to prefer the above advantages over penalty on granularity and speed loss.