Stop worrying about shipping film!

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by PHOTOTONE, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Over, and over again I keep reading about people being concerned about shipping film., or worried about mail ordering fresh film.

    You guys just need to stop worrying.

    I have owned and operated a commercial Photo studio in Arkansas since 1976. During the bulk of this span (from 1976 to now) I have mail ordered my films, of all types 11x14 to 35mm, color, slide and b/w. I have NEVER had an issue with shipping related xray or damage from film purchased from reputable dealers on the East or West coasts, or anywhere in the middle.

    Look, the reality is this. If shipping routinely damaged film, the manufacturers would figure out another way to get film to the end user..because the manufacturers have to guarantee the film. It is on the manufacturers to guarantee you get film suitable for use.

    Film manufacturers do not use "special" transport to ship film to retailers and professional vendors, rather they use the same methods we individuals use. That would be truck, USPS, FedEx and UPS. Film is never kept chilled in transit, never. Retailers and vendors do keep pro film chilled, though.

    Many of our film products are made in factories scattered all over the world, from Japan to England and other European countries. All of these films are sent over here in large shipping containers on freight ships. These containers are NOT climate controlled. They may sit in port awaiting customs for many days in all kinds of weather. If the manufacturers felt this treatment was going to ruin the film, then would not ship.

    I realize, with the demise of readily available film stocks from local camera stores means that many more of you are turning to mail order (phone order, internet order) for your films. I just want to reassure you, from one who has been ordering film in excess of 30 years, that it is OK, your film will arrive in good shape. Film is more rugged than you give it credit for. Consider that the film was shipped to the local camera store that you used to go to in exactly the same way it is now shipped directly to you. What is the difference? The same manufacturers warranty applies.
     
  2. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Very well put.
     
  3. TheDreadPirateRobins

    TheDreadPirateRobins Member

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    I know my local camera shop gets their film shipped by standard methods. I try to do my part by not storing extra rolls on the dashboard of the car.
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Very well put. Use common sense! (I wish I some!)

    Jeff
     
  5. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    The x-ray problem can occur when film is shipped between different countries, and it is not the carrier who x-rays stuff, it is the customs area at the receiving end.
     
  6. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Doesn't matter. It would be up to the USA Importer/distributor to ensure that fresh film arrives in the consumers hands without x-ray fogging.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    And X-ray isn't the worst problem. I know a few people have posted that they have had large format film boxes opened by customs in some countries. Even if the retailer takes it back, it's a major hassle, if you don't know whether the film you've ordered is going to be usable.
     
  8. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    And, I guess that is a problem "if" you directly mail order film from out-of-country for your personal use. My whole post was relating to mail ordering fresh film from an in-country vendor in the USA. But it would be the same in other countries that have in-country mail order vendors.

    Kodak sheet film comes in factory sealed foil pouches inside triple boxes. The foil pouches themselves are light tight, so unless they are open, the film should be good, and if they are open, the product should be returned. I don't know about Fuji sheet films. Their instant film comes in sealed foil pouches inside the packaging. Personally, I wouldn't accept any brand new film that had any of the factory seals broken.
     
  9. OldBikerPete

    OldBikerPete Member

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    With due respect, PHOTOTONE, your long experience with shipping film is largely irrelevant because the anti-terrorist security practices which give rise to current concerns are relatively recent and increasingly draconian phenomena.
    The manufacturers will ensure that their film will reach the RETAILERS intact but there is no way to make the same assurance to an individual mail-order purchaser.
    It would take a written commitment from a retailer to make good transit-damaged film to be of any use to such a buyer.
    Then again what about long-range mail-order purchasers such as myself for whom the freight costs constitute close to half of the cost of purchase? The option of returning the damaged goods to the retailer and having them replaced would still entail at least triple freight costs. The only viable options are 100% freight insurance - further increasing costs or to simply wear the risk (as I do) while agitating for more common sense in security.

    To my mind the terrorists have won, worldwide, disproportionately to the risks thay have introduced because of the fear-induced security gamut we now must endure in going about our daily concerns.
     
  10. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I have ordered tens of thousands of sheets of film since 9/11 without a single problem. And what makes shipping from a retailer to a consumer any more prone to mail damage (within a given country)? Also, some vendors, such as Freestyle allow you to return film and paper for full credit for any reason.
     
  11. TheDreadPirateRobins

    TheDreadPirateRobins Member

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    I have never ordered film by mail. I guess I better keep buying locally if I want to keep that option open to me.
     
  12. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    I just thought I would add a note to this, I'm not sure about the rest of the world but i certainly know Kodak here ships some of their film materials in awesome white insulated boxes which inside have the film wrapped in special thermal plastic surrounded by special iced gel packs.

    Certain lines of Kodak pro stocks are defiantly shipped in chilled containers in Australia.

    ~Steve
    The Lighthouse Lab
     
  13. juanito

    juanito Member

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    X ray film it is not exposed by directly X ray but by light.
    X ray film holders have in each side of the film holder an intensifying screen.
    The x ray film is placed in sandwich between the two intensifying screens.
    The intensifying screens are made with a material that glows when exposed to X rays, and is that light that expose x ray film.
    So it is no really X ray that expose the x ray film or another film.

    I do not worry when my film passes through x ray.

    Sorry for my poor english.
     
  14. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Most carriers offer insurance against damaged goods, and for some a certain level of insurance is standard -- for instance, UPS provides $100 of insurance by default. I can't claim that I've read the fine print on this insurance, but unless that fine print includes a provision excluding damage to film from X-rays, I'd say that X-ray damage would constitute grounds to call in a shipping insurance claim. The carriers, of course, don't want to see this happen, although little enough of their business is in shipping film that it's probably not a big deal to them. It is a big deal to the likes of B&H, Adorama, and Freestyle, though, and I've seen no evidence that they take special precautions on this score.

    Now for my personal experience: I've bought a lot of film (by my personal standards; perhaps 200 rolls) and paper (perhaps a dozen boxes) in the past five years or so. It's been shipped via UPS, FedEx, USPS, and perhaps other carriers. To date, I've seen no evidence of X-ray damage in any of this film or paper. Thus, I'm not very concerned about this issue, at least not for stuff shipped domestically. Since others are reporting similar lack of problems, this bolsters my own view that it's a non-issue. Perhaps it will become an issue in the future, but for the moment, it's not. I'd be more concerned about X-ray damage to film carried on an airplane.
     
  15. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    There are shipping containers that are heated, insulated, refrigerated to 2-4C, frozen at -20C, really frozen at -70C. Who's to say what the film makers actually use. Kodak coat film in china and package it in other countries, I highly doubt those large rolls are sent in a vanilla containers that may not even be water tight.
     
  16. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    That reminds me of an event which happened some 5 yrs ago maybe longer now.... It was a Kodak issue. There was a warehouse fire and paper was heat damaged (or some how damaged) but the boxes looked fine and the material was sent down to us in australia then sold....but the goods were never tested. They were ruined and would not yield even tonality. It took months for the labs to collaborate on the issue and sort out with Kodak what really went on.

    There is a second event I know of and I can not recall the dates but yes materials from China to Australia for Kodak did get water damaged and were also unusable.

    There was also many times around 2003-2005 when Kodak was based in Melbourne
    and goods were being sent to Sydney. We often had to refuse receiving of items as they arrived via Toll looking like the company had played football with them.

    lastly the special transport containers I mentioned earlier as of late the only products I have seen in them have been control strips, infra red materials and various Medical films. The expense of these containers surely added to Kodak's overheads and were scrapped for general films. However I do recall seeing other film types shipped in them.

    ~steve