possible fogging from airport x-ray

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by C Som, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. C Som

    C Som Subscriber

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Just returned from an overseas trip. Took my film (Ilford HP5) over in hand-carry , but packed most of the exposed film in my checked baggage on the return. I noticed when developing the film that the film which had been checked was much darker on the rebate and ends, and contrast was lower. I purchased a new role when in Britain, and that was in the camera and was hand carried back. It looks just fine -- the ends clear with a light purple cast and contrast is good. Just finished making contact sheets, and they demonstrate the same issues. There are no 'wavy lines' or other stripes -- just a dark, dull foggy look. Is this problem due to X-Ray, or may it be another issue?
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,218
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Yes. Most likely, the issue you describe was caused by the Xray machine used to scan the checked bag.


    It is well known that the X-rays used on checked baggage are higher energy and the exposure is longer than used for carry-on items. Film transported in checked baggage will definitely be ruined.
     
  3. jspillane

    jspillane Member

    Messages:
    175
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The advice I've always heard is to NEVER put film in checked baggage-- the x-rays they use are way stronger than the stuff that goes through a carry-on. I've have film hand checked when possible (easy in the U.S., so-so in Europe). If it has to go through the carry-on machine, I've never seen any issues (with film up to ISO 800-- I think 3200 stuff you should insist on hand checking).

    So, while I don't know for certain, I would guess the checked baggage x-ray was what did the damage.
     
  4. snapguy

    snapguy Member

    Messages:
    1,295
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2014
    Location:
    California d
    Shooter:
    35mm
    led to believe

    I have been led to believe that some airport Xray equipment is faulty and may put out a lot more power than is intended. If this is true, then going through the machines is a bit of a crap shoot.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,094
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If it's that faulty its just as dangerous to the operators if it'll fog film it's giving them a radiation dosage that's illegal.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2014
  6. akaa

    akaa Subscriber

    Messages:
    223
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I haven't flown much with film, a couple times to Hawaii and once to Mexico, but I always ask for the film to be hand checked. The Security Personnel so far has been perfectly amiable.
     
  7. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,040
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Monroe, WA, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just returned from a trip requiring two runs through airport security checks. On one of them apparently some backup 'AA' cells I carry in my camera bag (as checked luggage) looked suspicious, so a second trip through the scanning machine was awarded for bad behavior.

    However, no damage resulted to my film as there was no film. I waited and purchased my required film at my destination. Then I mailed it all back to myself before leaving to return home.

    Problem solved.

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  8. Minarik

    Minarik Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I always put my films in the carry on. Never had a problem. Occasionally the check every each of the items in my bag and scanning all cameras and lenses one by one.
     
  9. mexipike

    mexipike Member

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I'm traveling to Europe in a month or so and plan to mostly shoot my favorite, ilford delta 3200. I was going to go the hand check method but that's sometimes a pain. I'm considering buying film when I arrive, how hard is it to obtain ilford products in Paris, or Munich? Are the prices crazy?
     
  10. trythis

    trythis Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,108
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2013
    Location:
    St Louis
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You still have to get back, or get it developed there.
     
  11. Voyager

    Voyager Subscriber

    Messages:
    161
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Damariscotta
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    ...no one has mentioned lead lined film bags...a viable option?...
     
  12. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,272
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Not really. If X-ray examination cannot penetrate and explain something and there are reasonable grounds to investigate, the luggage will be stopped and inspected and...potentially, the contents passed through for xray examination. Pray that is not the checked luggage machine for that inspection, Carry-on security screening is fairly innocuous. Last July my sister came back from a long trip to Canada and two rolls of Provia 100F had passed through a total of 16 x-ray inspection points (including cruise docks). There was no damage at all to these, taken as carry-on but three SD cards in checked baggage (along with digi camera) were not at all readable, necessitating contact with a minilab in Vancouver to post a CD of images from the trip.

    The best advice is to never ever put or conceal film in checked baggage. Any object that cannot be reasonably explained by passive xray examination will be yanked out for inspection. It's the nature of air security now.
     
  13. jspillane

    jspillane Member

    Messages:
    175
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would expect film prices to be a bit higher; about the same but in euros, which adds up quickly. I'd buy here and hand check when possible (probably 1-2 passes on 3200 would still be fine, but I honestly don't know). I was recently in France and Spain and very happy I brought film with me.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. mexipike

    mexipike Member

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Thanks for those responses! I haven't made all of my travel arrangements yet, but I may end up flying into London and having a few hours there in which case I may pickup film there then shoot it all then maybe get it to ilford uk for there develop/scan/print service a day before I leave or even have them ship the processed rolls back to me. That all may work quite nicely!

    I'm distracting a bit from the thread though. I haven't had a roll of film damaged by x-rays though I rarely as the. Through the x-rays before. I always carry the film in a plastic bag unboxed and request a hand inspection. I usually don't have any issues, but recently I've had some troubles. The last time there was a big fuss about it in Mexico, I didn't have any high ISO film but i had pushed tri-x. Anyway to avoid that stress in anyway would be great. Having 3200 stamped on my film ought to help. Sometimes makes me wish for digital :sad:
     
  16. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

    Messages:
    798
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Location:
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    If you put it in your checked bags it got blasted for sure. I always carry film on the plane and have never had an issue.

    From Baggage X-ray Scanning Effects on Film by Kodak:

    X-ray equipment used to inspect carry-on baggage uses a very low level of x-radiation that will not cause noticeable damage to most films. However, baggage that is checked (loaded on the planes as cargo) often goes through equipment with higher energy X rays.

    If you check that link you can also see examples of what X-ray damage looks like.
     
  17. Clovis Blevins

    Clovis Blevins Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Today's x-ray scanners are capable of producing photons between 5keV to 250keV depending on the nature of the material they are scanning. A camera with brass parts triggers these machines to go to the highest energy settings. It doesn't take very long to fog even low speed film or riddle solid state storage with errors if exposed to twice the beam energy of a chest x-ray.
     
  18. hoshisato

    hoshisato Member

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Luxembourg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  19. Nuff

    Nuff Member

    Messages:
    550
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As above, never check in your film unless it's developed. I fly a lot and I had lots of rolls xrayed. Few even around 10 times, but I always ask for handcheck for film which is 800 iso or higher. Or film that I have pushed higher than 800.
     
  20. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    12,201
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What makes you believe that mailed film is not X-rayed?
     
  21. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,040
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Monroe, WA, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Densitometer checks of film base plus fog levels between mailed and non-mailed negatives developed together from the same emulsion batch. Plus the fact that the mail order film processing industry could not even exist if that threat were present.

    So far, so good...

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  22. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    12,201
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So far so good.

    I know of one case of fogging of film sent intercontinentally by a dealer. But I admit so far this is the only case I got to know. But I also know of X-raying of parcels at customs controls.
    Furthermore there is that X-/Gamma-raying of complete containers, though that likely will not be done on parcel post containers as they are loaded/unloaded at premises under control anyway.
     
  23. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,528
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    X-ray in carryon Security is very different than X-ray of checked baggage. Checked baggage involves use of a much higher dose of radiation, in order to generate a CT Scan of the checked baggage. Kodak has long stated to NOT put film into checked luggage at all. Film easily survives multiple passes thru carryon x-ray machines, but zero passes thru CT.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2014
  24. stormpetrel

    stormpetrel Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    Wellington,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I did not know they were such a difference of X ray exposition between the carryon X ray machine and the checked baggage CT.
    Damned, I have 30x 120 rolls I used in Antarctica and last summer in France to develop. They all went through the checked baggage CT :sad:

    By the way, do the courier and USPS shipping go trough powerful CT too?
    This would imply that any film & paper ordered from B&H, Freestyle... by non-US clients receive a bad dose of XRay?
     
  25. Nuff

    Nuff Member

    Messages:
    550
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sorry to hear that. It might depend on each counties customs, but here in Australia every sing package gets xrayed and so far so good. After ordering film from B&H, macodirect and various places in Asia.
     
  26. stormpetrel

    stormpetrel Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    Wellington,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was in such panic reading this thread that I went straight in my darkroom and processed one roll of Trix 400 from my Antarctica trip. The neg looks fine. It looks like the Hobart airport CT machine are gentle machine compared to their north American cousins.

    Might be a different story with my rolls used in France...