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  1. #1
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    USA rules for flying with film 3/2006

    Frequently, APUGGERS wonder what the reality is of flying with film in the USA. There usually follows all sorts of good, and weird, information.

    As of 3/2006, this is the official policy of the Transportation Security Administration ( LINK: http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/e...orial_1248.xml AND: http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/e...orial_1035.xml )

    Please check the website before you fly, to see if things have changed. And have a nice trip.

    Transporting Film
    WARNING: Equipment used for screening checked baggage will damage your undeveloped film.

    Traveling with Film

    Never place undeveloped film in your checked baggage.
    Place film in your carry-on baggage* or request a hand inspection.
    * Carry-on screening equipment might also damage certain film if the film passes through more than 5 times.

    None of the screening equipment - neither the machines used for checked baggage nor those used for carry-on baggage - will affect digital camera images or film that has already been processed, slides, videos, photo compact discs, or picture discs.

    General use film **

    You should remove all film from your checked baggage and place it in your carry-on baggage. The X-ray machine that screens your carry-on baggage at the passenger security checkpoint will not affect undeveloped film under ASA/ISO 800.

    If the same roll of film is exposed to X-ray inspections more than 5 times before it is developed, however, damage may occur. Protect your film by requesting a hand-inspection for your film if it has already passed through the carry-on baggage screening equipment (X-ray) more than 5 times.

    Specialty film **

    Specialty film is defined as film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher and typically used by professionals.

    At the passenger security checkpoint, you should remove the following types of film from your carry-on baggage and ask for a hand inspection:

    Film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher
    Highly sensitive X-ray or scientific films
    Film of any speed which is subjected to X-ray surveillance more than 5 times (the effect of X-ray screening is cumulative)
    Film that is or will be underexposed
    Film that you intend to 'push process'
    Sheet film
    Large format film
    Medical film
    Scientific film
    Motion picture film
    Professional grade film
    Other Tips and Precautions:

    If you plan to request a hand inspection of your film, you should consider carrying your film in clear canisters, or taking the film out of solid colored canisters and putting it into clear plastic bags, to expedite the screening process.
    If you are going to be traveling through multiple X-ray examinations with the same rolls of undeveloped film, you may want to request a hand-inspection of your film. However, non-U.S. airports may not honor this request.
    If you plan to hand-carry undeveloped film on an airplane at an international airport, contact the airport security office at that airport to request a manual inspection.
    Consider having your exposed film processed locally before passing through airport security on your return trip.
    We recommend that you do not place your film in lead-lined bags since the lead bag will have to be hand-inspected. If you have concerns about the impact of the X-ray machine on your undeveloped film, you can request a hand inspection.
    You may still consider bringing a lead-lined bag if you are traveling through airports in other countries as their policies may vary. Check with your airline or travel agent for more information on foreign airports.

  2. #2
    Sean's Avatar
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    comments from the previous article system:

    By SteveH - 07:13 PM, 03-10-2006 Rating: None
    Hrmm. I ask again - how do they intend to hand-inspect sheet film ? Sheet by Sheet ?

    By JiminKyiv - 08:55 PM, 03-10-2006 Rating: None
    Actually, since I just got my British client to agree to pay me with 8x10 Delta 100 starting next month, I'm wondering about that very issue.

    By BradS - 12:48 AM, 03-11-2006 Rating: None
    When last I travelled with sheet film, it was a non issue. They simply pull you aside and do the "wipe" test on each box. They **DO NOT** open the boxes. No worries. It was actually much less hassle than travelling with 35mm or 120.

    By claudiosz - 10:42 AM, 03-11-2006 Rating: None
    I have a bad experience. The security personal of Miami Airport tell me "this is an explosive bag" (three J&C unopened boxes, 2x3 sheet film). After see each sheet of film at open light and with some kind of robotic nose, tell me this is an unknowkedge kind of explosive. It´s dangerous and the trip is for you not for this strange explosives. As say some say, human intelligence have serios limitations but stupidity don´t know limits.

    By BradS - 04:24 PM, 03-11-2006 Rating: None
    Maybe things have changed. I flew through Miami, FL in January 2006 and had absolutley no trouble at all. They were very courteous and professional. Same in Equador - of course, you have to ask in Spanish but, if you make an effort, they seem very happy to help and not screw up your vacation.

    By Paul Sorensen - 06:31 PM, 03-11-2006 Rating: None
    I had an interesting experience in the Minneapolis airport. The person at the xray machine was REALLY snarky, he held up my bag of about 20 rolls of film and a couple packs of Polaroid and yelled out "hand inspection...it's going to be a long one" at the top of his lungs. The actual person who did the inspection was very professional and quick about it. The Polaroid boxes were broken open, and he did wonder what the coaters were, but that was about it.

    By genecrumpler - 05:09 PM, 03-18-2006 Rating: None
    I've run ISO 100 film, color and B&W through hand machines all over the world. I've used film that has been through 7-8 times with no effect. I do mark the number of times through on the box, just to be sure.

    By reggie - 12:23 AM, 03-25-2006 Rating: None
    I've gone thru airports with opened boxes of 4x5 sheet film. I make sure to take along a changing bag. I've actually had security agents use the bag to open the box and feel the sheets to be sure there was no device inside the box. They carefully re-closed all the inner boxes under my verbal guidance and were very nice about it. The best part is they aren't allowed to take tips.

    -R

  3. #3

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    Interesting how some people believe that somehow the laws of the physical univrese can be altered by airport x ray machines. Last I knew, xray radiation had enough energy to reduce silver halides. The fact that you have a limited number of passes before you begin to notice is confirmation that the machines are damaging. The fact that you don't notice.... well not everyone practices the zone system or owns a densitometer. We all have our standards.
    Don Sigl
    www.drs-fineartphoto.com

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by don sigl View Post
    ...well not everyone practices the zone system or owns a densitometer. We all have our standards.
    Yes, we do. And many of us DO have densitometers, and know that you can see smaller variations in the shadows than are easily measurable with one. For this and other reasons we may not necessarily have a high opinion of that small subset of basic sensitometry called the Zone System.

    I've run fast film through multiple X-rays (how about Delta 3200 through Heathrow-Goa-Bombay-Goa-Persian Gulf) AND done sensitometric tests that reveal no problem. Ilford confrms that it ain't normally a concern. Their 0.03 increase in FB+F from Concorde (London-NY) with Delta 3200 was ascribed to cosmic rays, not X-rays, because they ran a control that wasn't X-rayed.

    Oh, and thanks, Don, for hard information and good links.

    Cheers,

    R

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    Yes, we do. And many of us DO have densitometers, and know that you can see smaller variations in the shadows than are easily measurable with one. For this and other reasons we may not necessarily have a high opinion of that small subset of basic sensitometry called the Zone System.

    I've run fast film through multiple X-rays (how about Delta 3200 through Heathrow-Goa-Bombay-Goa-Persian Gulf) AND done sensitometric tests that reveal no problem. Ilford confrms that it ain't normally a concern. Their 0.03 increase in FB+F from Concorde (London-NY) with Delta 3200 was ascribed to cosmic rays, not X-rays, because they ran a control that wasn't X-rayed.

    Oh, and thanks, Don, for hard information and good links.

    Cheers,

    R
    Y Not sure what your last sentence refers to, but then most of what your saying is counter to basic photo science and physics in general. Sorry, but I would rather rely on the reality of physics than anything Ilford has to say. Its simply not true that the Xray machines are not fogging your film. They Are. That you can't see it or can't find any significant difference with your densitometer only means you find the difference trivial or should invest in a new densitometer. The whole idea is ridiculous and flys in the face of basic science. Anyone who believes it is fooling themselves. On the other hand, you can find it acceptable. Thats fine. Like I said, everyone has their own standards. But to say its not happening... thats total#$%^%%. BTW, the last time I checked Xrays were considerably shorter in wavelength than visible light. Of course cosmic rays will fog, and so will Xrays.
    It never ceases to amaze me what people will accept, or believe. I've got science on my side. But if you can see better than a .01 density change by eye (The capability of my Xrite 261T in ortho or UV), then I'll be ready to throw physics out the window and believe you have Xray vision. I guess Superman didn't think much of the zone system either.
    Don Sigl
    www.drs-fineartphoto.com

  6. #6

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    Its simply not true that the Xray machines are not fogging your film. They Are. That you can't see it or can't find any significant difference with your densitometer only means you find the difference trivial or should invest in a new densitometer.
    Does the idea that the fogging is so little that nobody notices occur to you?

  7. #7

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    Actually people do notice. Just run it through several times and see what happens. Maybe you have been lucky, but the effect is additive. If people wish to take the chance, then fine with me. What I contest is the bogus argument that the machines have no effect on film, which in affect claims that Xray radiation will not reduce the silver halides. Such a statement is misleading, inaccurate, and misinforms the genera public. It spreads ignorance. And that is never OK with me.
    Don Sigl
    www.drs-fineartphoto.com

  8. #8
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Sure, all films are exposed to some extent by xray machines, but of course it is a matter of degree. I would think that taking the film up to high altitude for a 6 hour flight may actually be a bigger issue. How much exposure you get depends on the shielding and altitude and such.

    Now, I have taken all manner of film, even high speed stuff, on flights etc. and have not seen any fogging. With inspection personnel, I have always taken care to explain how to treat the any film faster than ISO 200; my understanding is that one always has the right to request a hand inspection. Now that CTX devices are being used in some places it may be prudent to always request hand inspection, for any film. Last time I checked, the passenger always has the right to request hand inspection. Of course, it's your responsibility to make sure that you get into the line soon enough to have this done properly by someone who knows what they are doing.

    If I had to take valuable quantity of large sheet film then I think I would just save the hassle and have it mailed to my destination; you can indicate "film- do not xray" and add insurance. Pulling out one test sheet would allow you to test for fogging immediately upon arrival. If in doubt, check it out.

    Just another point, after the Chernobyl disaster, a photographer actually got in very close to the reactor, and was able to get a photo of the glow. Unfortunately he now suffers all manner of cancers and other ailments. As I recall some of his films fogged and some did not. Check it out:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6177927.stm
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  9. #9
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    Just another point, after the Chernobyl disaster, a photographer actually got in very close to the reactor, and was able to get a photo of the glow. Unfortunately he now suffers all manner of cancers and other ailments. As I recall some of his films fogged and some did not. Check it out:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6177927.stm
    That' no point at all, and has nothing to do with x-rays. He (and his film) suffered massive doses of alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation as well as radionuclide contamination. That's like comparing snowflakes and rifle bullets in terms of hazard (both are solid objects that move through the air, so both must be equally dangerous).
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  10. #10
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole View Post
    That' no point at all, and has nothing to do with x-rays. He (and his film) suffered massive doses of alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation as well as radionuclide contamination. That's like comparing snowflakes and rifle bullets in terms of hazard (both are solid objects that move through the air, so both must be equally dangerous).
    I didn't say it was related, I simply find it interesting that he got anything out at all. I started my career in a nuclear lab so I find these things interesting.

    As for comparing bullets to snowflakes, this is about capture cross sections and attentuation coefficient as a function of energy, not mass. And as we all know, xrays and gammas are the same massless beast, simply with different energies.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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