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Thread: Carry on film

  1. #1
    Curt's Avatar
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    Carry on film

    Just a question about taking film as carry on in opened film boxes.
    Has anyone been asked to open the box or boxes of sheet film and if so do you carry and use a changing bag?

    One time I asked for a hand inspection and the inspector asked me if I had a changing bag, I asked why and he said he would open the box and "feel" around. I said no, as I didn't have one in the carry on, and he said just put it through the x-ray machine. I haven't had a problem with that since but would like to know about other experiences with boxes of film that have been opened, some used, partially filled or full and unexposed or exposed film.


    Thanks,
    Curt
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  2. #2
    John Jarosz's Avatar
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    I had a bunch of readyloads. A full pack in the foil envelope and exposed sheets in the box. The TSA guy said he either had to open the foil envelope or it had to go thru the xray. He opened the foil envelope and felt each readyload individually. Same for the exposed sheets.

    I also have sent boxed 4x5 thru the xray. I'm sure if I said hand inspect they would open the box.

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    I've travelled with opened boxes and never had a problem, but certainly it could happen---the TSA folks at the checkpoints (and their equivalents in other countries) are empowered to do pretty much whatever they want with your stuff. However, it's well established that the *carry-on* X-ray machines are film-safe; the stronger ones used on checked luggage are not, but people put film through them in carry-ons all the time and as far as I'm aware the total number of problems reported is zero.

    I travel a lot, by most people's standards---well over 100K actual flight miles per year---and I have rolls of film that have been knocking around in my backpack for quite a few X-ray machines before finally getting exposed and developed. I have yet to see a problem even with Delta 3200.

    I suppose carrying a changing bag wouldn't be a bad idea, just in case. Of course then you may have to explain the changing bag...

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  4. #4
    Curt's Avatar
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    The changing bag I have is a Changing Room one and isn't that small so I'll put it in my suitcase, I was thinking of carrying on some Efke 25 5x7 in the "Tropical" foil pouches, 25 sheets to a pouch, if these are opened the film would be exposed. I guess I could take one and try it, an expensive lesson if I'm wrong. I'd have to put it in an empty box when exposed, I really never thought about that until now. Maybe I should put the foil pouch in a film box and use the box for exposed film. Pardon me for thinking out loud.

    Thank you both,
    Curt
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  5. #5
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    I have yet to find a method to the madness with each inspector being different. So far they've all been friendly and understanding and I've made a point of asking about any standing policy. As far as I can tell it's done at the airport-level, so whereas one airport may tell their people they can just swab the outside of a box another tells them to open. And then of course there's the discretion of the individual agent. I've learned to let go and put it all through the scanner.

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I also just put it through the scanner. It's not worth the risk of having an inspector open the box or mishandle film in a changing bag.

    When I have boxes of exposed film, I tape the box on four sides and use two rubber bands to give me some time in case the film goes through X-ray and they decide to hand inspect anyway.

    Another thing that helps is to keep the film in a separate bag from the camera equipment when putting it through the scanner. That way, if they want to look more closely at the camera bag, the film is separate, and a bag with just boxes of film doesn't usually require further inspection after the X-ray scan.
    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

  7. #7
    Curt's Avatar
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    I was going to put the film in my shoulder bag separate form the camera equipment so that's a great idea. It's all going through the scanner, I haven't had a problem with that in the past. I could get one of those "If it fits It ships" from the post office, slip it in my suitcase, unfold, add film and ship it home just before I leave.

    I almost ordered a Pelican 1510 but I saw the weight and realized when full of equipment it would be heavy. I know some airlines have carry-on weight restrictions so I decided to take my Lowepro instead. I'm still investigating the carry-on cases.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

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    Good name for a movie.
    Rick Jason.
    "I'm still developing"

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    AmandaTom's Avatar
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    I went from California to France for 3 weeks this last summer. I took 3 cameras, tank, chemicals (powdered), and film. All the film was in my carry-on along with 2 of the cameras (the 4x5 went in my suitcase--it was too heavy). No one showed the slightest bit of interest in any of it, except in Frankfurt where I had to take the Hasselblad apart. Most film I developed there, but some I brought home and developed here; all of it was fine. I definitely wouldn't send film through the baggage x-ray as it is much stronger than the one used for hand luggage.

  10. #10
    Curt's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing your experiences it helps a lot. I went to France in 05 and Hawaii recently and took my Mamiya 645 and accessories plus film in a backpack as carry on and I had no problems. I have yet to take large format equipment let alone a 4x5 and a 5x7. I was thinking of putting the 5x7 in the check in without the ground glass back which would be carried on. It's a Kodak 2D and not an Ebony so I might chance it. I probably have irrational fears after hearing some horror stories like the United broke my guitar one.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

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