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  1. #1
    BuddhaBelly's Avatar
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    Should i process film in China or wait until i get back?

    Hi, i will be in China and i'm wondering shall i process my film out there or shall i wait until i get back. I'm not sure if a) the chemistry i use in a photo lab may not process/fix the film properly... and b) whether the latent image will be damaged by x-ray machines at airport.

    Any help is appreciated. Sorry if question has already been addressed on here.

    Best wishes.

  2. #2
    BuddhaBelly's Avatar
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    it's colour film...

  3. #3

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    ...likely depends where you get it done in China. I heard of some very good shops there, but if you ask me the name or location, I'd be drawing and blank. I would do that over risking it. I've had too many negatives destroyed by xrays at the airport to chance that one again. I'm only going to buy/ship film to my destination, then process there or mail back from now on.

  4. #4

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    Don't mailed items get sent through X-ray as well? If it is i guess it wouldn't be as powerful... I have ordered films from abroad with little problems.

  5. #5
    amsp's Avatar
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    If you can find a reputable pro-lab do it there, if you can't put the film in a clear plastic bag and ask them to hand check it at the airport.

  6. #6
    wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBelly View Post
    Hi, i will be in China and i'm wondering shall i process my film out there or shall i wait until i get back. I'm not sure if a) the chemistry i use in a photo lab may not process/fix the film properly... and b) whether the latent image will be damaged by x-ray machines at airport.

    Any help is appreciated. Sorry if question has already been addressed on here.

    Best wishes.
    I would think that C41 in China and C41 in North America should give the same results, after all film photographers in China get it done there all the time
    Paul Schmidt
    See my Blog at http://clickandspin.blogspot.com

    The greatest advance in photography in the last 100 years is not digital, it's odourless stop bath....

  7. #7
    Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    RattyMouse's thread (link) about film processing in China may be relevant to you.

  8. #8
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    If your film is slower than ISO 800, going through CARRY-ON x-ray twice or even four times (assuming you have a connecting flight) will do it no harm. How do I know this? I flew from Washington DC to Cambodia with I forget how many rolls of film - some black-and-white, some color, some Kodak T400CN (black-and-white that you process in C-41 color chemistry), and even a few rolls of Kodak HIE 35mm infrared. On the way TO Cambodia, I flew from DC to New York, changed planes, then went from New York to Amsterdam, had a layover, then on to Singapore. Two days in Singapore, then Singapore to Cambodia (Siem Reap). Five days in Cambodia, then from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh to Singapore, half a day in Singapore, then Singapore to Amsterdam, layover in Amsterdam, Amsterdam to New York, and then New York to DC. On the way to Singapore, I had the film hand-checked at every stop (even though we never left the departure area in Amsterdam, there was still a baggage scan when re-boarding the flight). On the way to Cambodia from Singapore, the security boy couldn't grasp the idea of a hand-check for my film, so I let it go through instead of fighting with him and missing my flight. I had the same thing in Cambodia when returning to Singapore. The X-ray machines in Singapore are ultra-modern, so I wasn't too worried, but the X-ray machine in Cambodia was positively ancient. I figured if anything would dose my film to ruin, it would be the Cambodian X-ray machine, and any subsequent exposure wouldn't make a bad situation any worse so I let it go through all the remaining checkpoints without a hand inspection. So on the return, it got dosed twice in Cambodia, once in Singapore, once in Amsterdam and once in New York. Nothing got fogged or damaged, not even the HIE. Your film gets more radiation exposure while in flight at 35,000 feet than it does going through five X-ray passes.

    Frankly, I would be more worried about getting film processed in China than X-ray fogging. I've had terrific experiences with getting C-41 processed locally in Bangkok, and not-so-great experiences in Buenos Aires (at a Kodak franchise lab no less). I'd do some online research and see if you can find a pro-quality lab in one of the major cities in China that you're visiting. I can ask a friend of mine who is a photographer in Beijing and see if he knows a good lab to recommend.

    If you make the mistake of putting your film in checked baggage, a single pass is sufficient to cause damage. How do I know this? I made the mistake of leaving some 4x5 film holders loaded when I checked them in my suitcase. The sheets of film that were closest to the CT-Scan emitter had horrible fogging, with the sheets that were further away were less fogged.

  9. #9
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    When I lived in China from '96 to '01 I had C-41 developed all the time there with no issues per se. But like anywhere some labs are better than others particularly on the handling of the negs post development. Go in the place you are considering and if anyone is seen doing the pull the negs to tighten the size of the roll thing then walk right out. Or ask how they would return your negs uncut and if they point to a plastic film canister again walk out. Or buy some neg sleeve pages and see if they will cut and return them in the pages. Best would be if they returned them in the glassine long sleeves.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    If your film is slower than ISO 800, going through CARRY-ON x-ray twice or even four times (assuming you have a connecting flight) will do it no harm. How do I know this? I flew from Washington DC to Cambodia with I forget how many rolls of film - some black-and-white, some color, some Kodak T400CN (black-and-white that you process in C-41 color chemistry), and even a few rolls of Kodak HIE 35mm infrared. On the way TO Cambodia, I flew from DC to New York, changed planes, then went from New York to Amsterdam, had a layover, then on to Singapore. Two days in Singapore, then Singapore to Cambodia (Siem Reap). Five days in Cambodia, then from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh to Singapore, half a day in Singapore, then Singapore to Amsterdam, layover in Amsterdam, Amsterdam to New York, and then New York to DC. On the way to Singapore, I had the film hand-checked at every stop (even though we never left the departure area in Amsterdam, there was still a baggage scan when re-boarding the flight). On the way to Cambodia from Singapore, the security boy couldn't grasp the idea of a hand-check for my film, so I let it go through instead of fighting with him and missing my flight. I had the same thing in Cambodia when returning to Singapore. The X-ray machines in Singapore are ultra-modern, so I wasn't too worried, but the X-ray machine in Cambodia was positively ancient. I figured if anything would dose my film to ruin, it would be the Cambodian X-ray machine, and any subsequent exposure wouldn't make a bad situation any worse so I let it go through all the remaining checkpoints without a hand inspection. So on the return, it got dosed twice in Cambodia, once in Singapore, once in Amsterdam and once in New York. Nothing got fogged or damaged, not even the HIE. Your film gets more radiation exposure while in flight at 35,000 feet than it does going through five X-ray passes.

    Frankly, I would be more worried about getting film processed in China than X-ray fogging. I've had terrific experiences with getting C-41 processed locally in Bangkok, and not-so-great experiences in Buenos Aires (at a Kodak franchise lab no less). I'd do some online research and see if you can find a pro-quality lab in one of the major cities in China that you're visiting. I can ask a friend of mine who is a photographer in Beijing and see if he knows a good lab to recommend.

    If you make the mistake of putting your film in checked baggage, a single pass is sufficient to cause damage. How do I know this? I made the mistake of leaving some 4x5 film holders loaded when I checked them in my suitcase. The sheets of film that were closest to the CT-Scan emitter had horrible fogging, with the sheets that were further away were less fogged.
    Ahh.. Your Username suddenly makes a lot of sense

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