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  1. #1

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    Jan 2003
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    OK, I know this has been here a million times but the security is always changing. I'll be flying out of Logan (Major air port in Boston Mass) to Ireland in late April. I just purchased a lot of film for the trip. The film is all black and white (OK, a roll of color slide film too) with ISO ranging from 50-3200. This is a big trip for me and I don't want the film to get ruined. I'll be shooting 35 mm and 120. What would be the best way to present the film at the airport? Shipping it in advance would be difficult because I will be staying some where different every night. I have 50-100 rolls of film. If they insist on it being X-rayed should I still use the 400-3200 film? I'll be traveling with a lot of equipment will this make me seem of less of a threat (opposed to some random person with a lot of random film)? Any advice?

  2. #2
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    I frequently travel to the US carrying up to 200 rolls of film, 100 Delta, TriX 400 and 3200 Delta and have always allowed it to be x-rayed, sometimes up to 10 times depending on how long I'm in the states and where I travel too. I carry it in the smallest bag that I can manage to get it in to as well as a rucksack with a 35mm outfit and a 645 outfit. To date I have had no problems in getting into the aircraft with that little lot. Sometimes I have to politely explain why I have so much kit and have found that a quiet polite approach always works. I have been told by a number of airline staff that this approach will always pay off. The last time I visited the States was September 2002 when I did expect some resistance but had no problems.

    I have never had problems with film fogging even though it may have passed through the x-ray machines a number of times. Don't load any cameras with film for they will probably ask you to open them and take off the lens. The only airport that I will not use is Amsterdam where I did have a rather unpleasant experience when I was accused of smuggling camera equipment when travelling back from America. The customs people there told me that I should carry receipts for my equipment. When I spoke to the British customs people they said that the Amsterdam customs had a terrible reputation for this sort of accusation.

    Don't worry about you film provided you carry it on board with you and enjoy Ireland, it's a magic place. Have a pint of the black stuff for me.

    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  3. #3
    Aggie's Avatar
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  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I haven't had trouble putting film through the X-ray either, and I fly fairly frequently, though I rarely shoot more than 400 speed film. If I'm going to a civilized place, I sometimes try to buy most of my film when I get there to save one trip through the X-ray.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #5

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    In the US, the new rule is they will automatically hand check anything 800 ISO and over. And it is my experience (and I fly all the time to airports big and small) that you can ask them to hand check at any time. They are remarkably knowledgeable.

    I just few to Mexico and back with some D3200 and forgot to ask for the hand inspection when leaving Mexico. But the film did not fog. Of course that could mean that the machine was off.

    dgh

    David G Hall

  6. #6

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    Nov 2002
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    I flew international out of Logan (Boston) last year. My film (fastest was 400) was left in my carry on bag, and gotted zapped there and overseas several times with no noticeable affects.

    I've never had a problem leaving film in my carry on bags since 9/11, even in several foreign countries (but then again, I never shoot anything over 400). I accidentally left some Velvia and APX 100 in checked in baggage recently for some domestic flights, without problems either.

    But, from experiences from people I know, the TSA people have been very friendly and accomidating when it comes to asking for hand expections... just be nice, and realize it may take longer to get through security.
    Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

  7. #7

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    Since I fly a lot for my work in the computer industry, I've been placing a roll of Portra 800 and Provia 400F in my carry on bag just to see what happens, of course, my real film is being hand checked. I usually shoot a MacBeth and drop it into the bag the night before I leave.

    I had no problems at Logan in December. However, the Portra showed effects after flying back from SeaTac. Both films showed effects after coming back from LAX and Las Vegas.

    The films were nuked once in Indianapolis and then once when coming back at the destination airport. Of course, this is 120 film, so with SF, I'm not sure. A friend of mine does the same thing and recently went to Paris. On the way there, he had to get his film x-rayed at JFK and then at DeGall. It was fine. His rolls from when he left Heathrow to JFK, got nuked like hell.

    The usual contrast reduction, wavy lines were seen in all the nuked film. In the US, the TSA has rules about hand inspections and you'll always get one (if not, ask for a supervisor and plan on quoting their own rules). Outside the US, you have no rights to hand inspection. If you present yourself as a professional, and don't look like a potential terrorist, you'll probably get one, but don't count on it. The brits are still paranoid of the IRA, it seems.

    BTW, if you are planning on taking any flash units, pack the strobes, don't leave them in your carry-on. Even though the TSA people are more knowledgable, they still freak out when they see a Metz through the x-ray machine. Pack your favourite brand of peanuts instead...

  8. #8

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    Oh, and BTW, anytime you travel out of the US, it's a damn good idea to carry a receipt listing all your equipment, photo and electronic. Even if you go to Canada, customs will hold your equipment if they feel like it claiming that you "purchased it outside of the US and are bringing it back" which will get you a nice tariff tacked on. It is usually good to have a receipt and a photo of all your gear, then get it all notarized in your home town. When customs sees this, they will 99.9% of the time, not hassle you about it. Just fold it up and put it in your passport wallet for easy access.

    Plus, be careful what type of pack you are carrying your gear in. Outside the US, if you carry your gear in an obvious case that screams "CAMERA GEAR IN HERE...PLEASE RIP-ME-OFF!" it will get ripped off.

    I travel with a Tamrac backpack that I've attached every kind of patch and sticker to, just to make it look like a poor-broke-college student's backpack. They'll not want to steal it as much, but to be careful, I'd still hook the strap around my leg when I sit down to eat, etc.

  9. #9
    bmac's Avatar
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    Good info Doc. Also, when I travel, I put stickers on my Nikon gear that says "Minolta" never had a problem JK.
    hi!

  10. #10
    Aggie's Avatar
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