Traveling to Europe with lots of film, what's the best strategy?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by mexipike, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. mexipike

    mexipike Member

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    I've done a few searches and read as much as I can on this site about airport x rays and film but wanted to hear some current answers and come up with a good plan for my trip.

    I will be traveling with a bunch of film almost all of it Ilford Delta 3200. Obviously I understand that this is going to be some of the most sensitive film to X-rays. I guess one advantage to it is that at least the X-ray technician will recognize it as high speed film.

    I will be flying from Austin to London then taking a train to Paris then on to Munich with possible other excursions after. From what I understand I probably won't get x rayed for the train, right? On the way home I will fly from Munich, change planes in London then on to Austin.

    In the past I have always brought all of my film in a ziplock bag and carried it on. I've flown from various places in Texas to Mexico and have rarely had an issue except a long argument once in Mexico. I plan to use this same method but have heard that sometimes European officials will not allow it. I've read that heathrow is especially problematic. I assume I won't have to pass through security again there since I will be flying in on one end and changing plaines on the other, though when I arrive I may have to,

    Anyways I guess my main question is what's the best way to avoid the scan? Also, is it wise to ship film back to the states or will they most likely x ray it as well. If I do have to give in and have my film scanned will the 3200 survive one pass?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Carryon only. You will need to pass security for every boarding, plus at some train stations etc.

    I would not travel with such a fast film, personally.
     
  3. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    There are many locations where you can buy film in London. Unless you are very short of time, I would buy there if you are concerned with X rays.
     
  4. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    (duplicate post deleted)
     
  5. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    If you need to go thru Security at London Heathrow, they absolutely refuse to pay any attention to any requests for hand inspection of film, even for film rated faster than ISO 1600! The security guys must only speak very early versions of Old (pre-Chaucerian) English, as they do not comprehend any requests in modern English. Never have, and I have gone thru London dozens of times, put my film in clear plastic bags, etc.
     
  6. nWmR12

    nWmR12 Member

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    I would not bet on them seeing you have film, and expect to have it hand inspected. Specially in a very busy airport. Also I personally would never carry such High speed film while doing x-rays. There was x-rays for the train ride from Paris to London, you have to go through security from what I remember from being there last year.
     
  7. hoshisato

    hoshisato Member

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    Don't bring anything faster than ISO 400 (you can always push the film) and you'll be fine as long as long you put all undeveloped film in your hand luggage.
    As for London Heathrow, I used to live in London for 8 years, the security people are always seemingly on the verge of a nervous breakdown but that seems to be everywhere now. Most airports have advice for film photographers up on their website: http://www.heathrowairport.com/plan-and-book-your-trip/travel-advice/advice-for-photographers
     
  8. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    I'm doing this next weekend. My strategy, as above is: Low speed film (Fuji Neopan Across 100 (80 rolls of 120) & Kodak TXP320 (150 sheets of 5x4"), all stuffed into my 5x4" camera backpack and carried on.

    I've done this for a few years, and even with lots of connections (and x-rays), I've not noticed any fogging at all. Higher speed films and I'd begin to worry. Hand inspections are a recipe for making travelling stressful - if I had to do that every time I'd almost (almost) take a digital camera...!!

    Marc!
     
  9. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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  10. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    That film is a worry. Delta P3200 in 120 format is the very last film I would want to take on an international tour, because of so many x-ray examinations and so much propensity for getting a great many noses out of joint to protect it. It is at the trigger/high point of film speeds that will potentially be damaged. Avoid a scene with security by remonstrating re hand inspections (it also holds up the already impatient people behind you). If security insists on putting everything through x-ray, do that, even if on returning home your worse fears are realised. Heathrow does appear to have an unsettling reputation when it comes to dealing with photographers and their film.

    I've reported here in other threads how my sister last year took with her to Canada two 35mm rolls of Provia 100F for her small film camera. One roll loaded in the camera, another in the checked-in luggage. The luggage went through at least 16 x-ray passes over 4 weeks — neither roll of film was damaged in any way. BUT, two SD cards containing the bulk of her travel adventures were somehow ruined and unreadable — that was the major upset.
     
  11. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Something I have done at London airports - Wear baggy trousers and slip a few rolls of film into the pockets. This only works with 120 film and limited quantities of boxed sheet film :whistling:


    The security oiks are too busy concentrating on getting my belt through the scanner - Nylon webbing, plastic buckles, zero risk, but because it holds trousers up, it has to be scanned....
     
  12. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Does the OP realise where Delta-3200 is made? I assume so, hence this implies that there is a massive difference in film-prices between the Precision Camera, or Freestyle, and European outlets. Freestyle D3200/120 is about $7, AG it's about $9, Maco it's about $8. The price difference is approximately the size of the 19% tax here on film.

    If you are very worried about the cumulative effects of x-rays on the material, just buy and develop the film here. If you know which hotel you are staying at, then make your film-orders online and have them delivered to the hotels. Take a tank, a changing-bag,a graduate and some neg-sleeves with you, buy chemicals with the film and develop each evening - or buy some mailers from IlfordPhoto (or another lab) and have them develop the film - before you have it x-rayed again.

    Forget about having film "hand-checked". In practical terms, it won't really happen at a public location. Your bag will be x-rayed at international transport hubs (air or train) and also many museums, hotels, or tourist-locations and occasionally even some shops or restaurants.

    Edit: Note that the linked instructions for Heathrow do say that hand-checking might be possible, but you should to book in advance through a professional photographic organisation and then it is at the discretion of the staff. Make sure your travels are at low-traffic times of the day and with long changeovers. Book months in advance.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2014
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    There is a shop in London called Silverprint which stocks a massive range of materials. It's worth a visit for just a look and chat. Martin Reed who has taken a bit of a back seat in its running as I understand things, used to be a contributor here. No need to bring any film with you at all. We are only quaintly third world in Hollywood films or more recently "baddies with Cockney accents". Neither is reality.

    The great thing is that this shop is willing to sell to CONUS residents even when they are not in CONUS. :D Sorry couldn't resist based on another thread

    pentaxuser
     
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  15. argyrotype

    argyrotype Member

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    I bought my 120 b&w and color film in Italy, (Venice and Rome), had it developed there. MUCH less stress!!! You WILL have your film X-rayed at Heathrow-- coming and going, and the jerks at Heathrow are a major PITA,
    they are obstinant and very annoying, self-important asses. Ask me how i really feel!!
     
  16. TimFox

    TimFox Member

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    I'm always amazed at how many times one submits to x-ray inspection at European airports. Entering Munich airport from street level, I had an immediate x-ray, another x-ray when reaching the floor with departure and retail, and a third x-ray before boarding the aircraft. At O'Hare, I only get one x-ray and US FAA rules mandate a hand inspection when requested. Unfortunately, the EU rules have no such liberty for photographers.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    In that case I withdraw what I said. We do have "baddies with Cockney accents" The Hollywood producers obviously had the same experience as yourself:D

    On the other hand it is just possible that the jerks at Heathrow had tried to buy an item on APUG that was CONUS only and this affected their normal affable behaviour. :D

    Seriously some people who are born PITAs succeed in getting jobs that suit their outlook on life. They speak all languages and live in every country on the Earth unfortunately

    pentaxuser
     
  18. jspillane

    jspillane Member

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    Everything said here is true in my experience: traveling in Europe, you WILL be required to run film through x-rays. 80% of time airports have refused my requests for hand checking. That being said, I have never had any issues with fogging, although I also only shoot ISO400 and below (mostly ISO100). I suspect that Delta3200 would be OK for at least a few passes through the x-ray machine, but if you are bopping around a ton, I would strongly consider pushing a 400 speed film instead.

    I always buy all my stuff in the U.S... while prices aren't terrible some places, I've never found something that competes with B&H/Freestyle prices.
     
  19. mexipike

    mexipike Member

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    Alright so it's not sounding like I would have very much fun carrying delta 3200' which really sucks since it's my favorite film lately!

    I could try to take everything with me and develop as I go, but I feel this might take time away from being with my girlfriend etc.

    I'm actually just landing in London in the morning and then take a train to Paris later the same afternoon. I had thought about purchasing film in London bit didn't want to spend the time on my limited trip. It also sounds like right after I purchase it they will try to make me X-ray it on the train!

    Maybe my best bet is to give up and shoot delta 400 pushing when necessary. Wouldn't pushed films have similar issues with fogging?
     
  20. mexipike

    mexipike Member

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    It seems the general consensus is that the film shields just encourage X-ray techs to increase the intensity.

    Would such a bag at least get by museum and possibly train inspections?
     
  21. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    I have traveled all over Europe and beyond, always with my camera, many time with rolls of Delta 3200, always had it X rayed, and never had a problem with fog or whatever. I really wonder whether these two pages of hysterical warnings here are based on practical experience or just propagated myths.
     
  22. mexipike

    mexipike Member

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    That was kind of why I was asking this question, to find some people with practical experience with delta 3200 and X-rays. My thoughts are to try my hardest not to get it stayed the. To not sweat it of it does.

    I'm considering returning my film to bh and buying in London then risking the X-ray on the train to Paris then developing as I go. Though seems like a hassle.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As I understand it, the X-ray emissions are fixed, and the inspectors can only increase the gain of the sensor, so that is not an issue.

    I do carry film in lead bags sometimes, and sometimes they go through without further worry, sometimes not. Increasingly, I'd say not.

    If you don't have time to buy film in London, they sell film in Paris as well, and Munich.
     
  24. mexipike

    mexipike Member

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    Unfortunately the prices I seem to find in Paris don't seem ideal, anyone know a good retailer?
     
  25. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I think the prices are about the same. For example, Silverprint sells Delta 3200 in 120 size for 5.63 pounds, and in Paris Prophot sells it for 6.76 euros. According to the exchange rate, they're virtually the same price. Of course, it's more expensive than in the States, but then again, most things are.
     
  26. mexipike

    mexipike Member

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    If I can get the paperwork together and they will signi it to refund vat I'll be paying about the same as bh.