Protecting film while traveling

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by thenikonknight, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. thenikonknight

    thenikonknight Member

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    Later this year I have a great opportunity to visit 2 national parks for a once in a lifetime trip. I'll be staying in 2 separate vacation homes for this photo excursion. Needless to say, I want to make the most out of it. Currently, I have a Nikon D7000 as well as 3 professional lenses.

    However, for this trip, I am planning on shooting with a medium format camera using Fuji Velvia 50 as well as some outdated but well stored Kodak Technical Pan B&W film. I am sure this has been addressed before but I do not want to ruin this once in a lifetime event. Heck, I bought a medium format outfit specifically for this trip!

    Therefore I'd like to know: Can I go through security x-rays at the airport without harming these films? What procedures / precautions should I take? Is mailing the film to and from my destination a viable or better option? If mailing is a better option, is one carrier better than another (USPS vs. UPS vs. FedEx) for the handling of film?

    All input is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I take the film (MF black&white) out of the original boxes but leave it in the wrappers and put it in a large ziplok bag and ask for hand inspection. I also carry a nylon-mesh bag to put the ziplok in after inspection. on the few occasions hand inspection couldn't be done I had no problems with x-ray inspection. If this is a once in a lifetime trip I would be cautious about long out dated film perhaps you should check it first. Personally,
    I prefer film with a higher ISO even though I use a tripod depth of field and shutter speed can be an issue if it is windy.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  3. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Yes you can. Go and have fun... stop any worries you may have.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The checked baggage X-rays are bad for film.

    The X-rays used for carry-on baggage should be fine.

    But it doesn't hurt to request hand inspection.
     
  5. Dismayed

    Dismayed Member

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    I requested hand inspection once when travelling through Portland, OR with large format gear. The TSA agent insisted that I needed to open my 4x5 film boxes. I explained why I could not, and they sent me to have everything swabbed for explosives. My advice is to buy film on location whenever possible. Otherwise shoot slow film and let TSA run it through x-rays.
     
  6. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

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    I travelled for a living, often completing 25 to 35 round trips per year in the US and 2 or three overseas trips for nearly 30 years and never had film damaged by x-rays. Maybe I was lucky, but maybe the worries are not as bad as people think. My film of choice was Kodachrome 64 and Plus-X. If I was carrying really high speed I may have worried more, but I think you will be safe.
     
  7. k.hendrik

    k.hendrik Subscriber

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    MattKing is right: keep your film as hand baggage! Ruined a lot of film(400TX) in a suitcase during a flight from NY to Amsterdam; "wave-like shapes" on the film :sad:( Have a great trip !
     
  8. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    On my trip to india I ran some tri-x through around 300 X-rays and there was no problems. I always carries in on planes.
     
  9. redrockcoulee

    redrockcoulee Member

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    I have had film hand inspected which means swabbed for explosives in both Canada and the USA in both big and small airports and the procedure is usually easy and quick, just leave a little extra time so you do not feel rushed. On the other hand I have taken film through carry on inspection Xray in Canada the US and Cuba with no harm to the film and that included 400 ISO films. The ones you are taking are slow films, unless you go through multiple inspections I would not worry about it at all. If you are going to go the route of hand inspection make everything as easy as possible for airport security, it is only natural for a person to be less helpful to some one who makes their job more difficult and more cooperative to some one who makes their job easier and is polite and friendly.
     
  10. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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  11. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    You'll be fine with your film in carry-on. Ask for hand inspection if you're really really concerned, but don't make headlines if you hear a no.

    Once the number of gates I pass hit double digits per trip I switched to buying locally and processing as I go. Before that I used lead-lined bags. 6 gates max without lead, Europe only, 400 ISO, no issues.
     
  12. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    I've never had a problem in the USA asking for a hand check. When questioned about worrying about ISO 400 film I just tell them 'but I shoot it at 1000, not 400, and stand develop in Rodinal' (True). Their eyes glaze over but they hand check, and are always quite polite when doing so. (I'm quite polite when asking too.) Rather unlike the lady in Frankfort security who asked me to turn on my Nikon F and I told her I couldn't. :smile:

    s-a
     
  13. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    Shoulda told her "It's mechanical. It's always on." :smile: