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  1. #1

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    possible fogging from airport x-ray

    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. #2
    BradS's Avatar
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    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. #3

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    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. #4

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    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. #5
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapguy View Post
    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.
    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 Ian Grant; 03-07-2014 at 03:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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    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. #7
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    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.



    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  8. #8

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    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. #9

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    possible fogging from airport x-ray

    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. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mexipike View Post
    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?
    You still have to get back, or get it developed there.
    "If its not broken, I can't afford it."

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