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  1. #1

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    Stop worrying about shipping film!

    Over, and over again I keep reading about people being concerned about shipping film., or worried about mail ordering fresh film.

    You guys just need to stop worrying.

    I have owned and operated a commercial Photo studio in Arkansas since 1976. During the bulk of this span (from 1976 to now) I have mail ordered my films, of all types 11x14 to 35mm, color, slide and b/w. I have NEVER had an issue with shipping related xray or damage from film purchased from reputable dealers on the East or West coasts, or anywhere in the middle.

    Look, the reality is this. If shipping routinely damaged film, the manufacturers would figure out another way to get film to the end user..because the manufacturers have to guarantee the film. It is on the manufacturers to guarantee you get film suitable for use.

    Film manufacturers do not use "special" transport to ship film to retailers and professional vendors, rather they use the same methods we individuals use. That would be truck, USPS, FedEx and UPS. Film is never kept chilled in transit, never. Retailers and vendors do keep pro film chilled, though.

    Many of our film products are made in factories scattered all over the world, from Japan to England and other European countries. All of these films are sent over here in large shipping containers on freight ships. These containers are NOT climate controlled. They may sit in port awaiting customs for many days in all kinds of weather. If the manufacturers felt this treatment was going to ruin the film, then would not ship.

    I realize, with the demise of readily available film stocks from local camera stores means that many more of you are turning to mail order (phone order, internet order) for your films. I just want to reassure you, from one who has been ordering film in excess of 30 years, that it is OK, your film will arrive in good shape. Film is more rugged than you give it credit for. Consider that the film was shipped to the local camera store that you used to go to in exactly the same way it is now shipped directly to you. What is the difference? The same manufacturers warranty applies.

  2. #2
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    Very well put.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  3. #3
    TheDreadPirateRobins's Avatar
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    I know my local camera shop gets their film shipped by standard methods. I try to do my part by not storing extra rolls on the dashboard of the car.

  4. #4

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    Very well put. Use common sense! (I wish I some!)

    Jeff

  5. #5

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    The x-ray problem can occur when film is shipped between different countries, and it is not the carrier who x-rays stuff, it is the customs area at the receiving end.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob-D659 View Post
    The x-ray problem can occur when film is shipped between different countries, and it is not the carrier who x-rays stuff, it is the customs area at the receiving end.
    Doesn't matter. It would be up to the USA Importer/distributor to ensure that fresh film arrives in the consumers hands without x-ray fogging.

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    And X-ray isn't the worst problem. I know a few people have posted that they have had large format film boxes opened by customs in some countries. Even if the retailer takes it back, it's a major hassle, if you don't know whether the film you've ordered is going to be usable.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    And X-ray isn't the worst problem. I know a few people have posted that they have had large format film boxes opened by customs in some countries. Even if the retailer takes it back, it's a major hassle, if you don't know whether the film you've ordered is going to be usable.
    And, I guess that is a problem "if" you directly mail order film from out-of-country for your personal use. My whole post was relating to mail ordering fresh film from an in-country vendor in the USA. But it would be the same in other countries that have in-country mail order vendors.

    Kodak sheet film comes in factory sealed foil pouches inside triple boxes. The foil pouches themselves are light tight, so unless they are open, the film should be good, and if they are open, the product should be returned. I don't know about Fuji sheet films. Their instant film comes in sealed foil pouches inside the packaging. Personally, I wouldn't accept any brand new film that had any of the factory seals broken.

  9. #9
    OldBikerPete's Avatar
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    With due respect, PHOTOTONE, your long experience with shipping film is largely irrelevant because the anti-terrorist security practices which give rise to current concerns are relatively recent and increasingly draconian phenomena.
    The manufacturers will ensure that their film will reach the RETAILERS intact but there is no way to make the same assurance to an individual mail-order purchaser.
    It would take a written commitment from a retailer to make good transit-damaged film to be of any use to such a buyer.
    Then again what about long-range mail-order purchasers such as myself for whom the freight costs constitute close to half of the cost of purchase? The option of returning the damaged goods to the retailer and having them replaced would still entail at least triple freight costs. The only viable options are 100% freight insurance - further increasing costs or to simply wear the risk (as I do) while agitating for more common sense in security.

    To my mind the terrorists have won, worldwide, disproportionately to the risks thay have introduced because of the fear-induced security gamut we now must endure in going about our daily concerns.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldBikerPete View Post
    With due respect, PHOTOTONE, your long experience with shipping film is largely irrelevant because the anti-terrorist security practices which give rise to current concerns are relatively recent and increasingly draconian phenomena.
    I have ordered tens of thousands of sheets of film since 9/11 without a single problem. And what makes shipping from a retailer to a consumer any more prone to mail damage (within a given country)? Also, some vendors, such as Freestyle allow you to return film and paper for full credit for any reason.

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