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  1. #1
    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    Lead lined bags to protect from X-Ray

    Hi Guys-
    I was wondering what happens when you go through an airport with your film in one of the lead bags. When put through the machine what do the TSA see? Do they question you? Thanks
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  2. #2
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    They'll either hand inspect it or make you take it out of the lead bag to X-Ray it. A lead bag kind of defeats the whole purpose of the X-Ray. It may even prompt them to take a closer look at you than they otherwise might have.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
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    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Your film will not be damaged by carry-on x-ray machines. Thus, the question should apply to checked baggage, IMO.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  4. #4

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    Carried 800 film in a lead bag to Hawaii and back in Dec-jan and they took it out ofthe luggage, examined the film, put it backin and ran the bag without the lead bag. Then gave it to me still protected from the x-ray. No problem from TSA at all. Also had a lot of fiim camera equipment going through so they didn't find it odd to have protected film.

  5. #5
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Like they said above save your money and buy more film.

    Steve
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  6. #6

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    I tried a lead film container years ago before TSA, 911 and all the rest. Prior to using it, my bag would sail through the scanner. The one and only time I used it, my bag went in, they stopped the belt, and studied things for a couple of minutes, or so.
    30 seconds zipping through the machine, vs a couple of minutes of collecting x-rays (presumably), made it an easy decision to ditch the lead container. I don't know how much lead it takes to stop whatever the machines can produce over a few minutes, it's not an easy thing to test. OTH, I've had various rolls x-rayed in carry-ons, sometimes multiple times, off and on for 20-30 years, and have never had a problem.

    For checked bags, if there is anything they have doubt about, they'll open the bag and look. I often have varous electronics and thick manuals in my checked bags, finding the little TSA greeting card in my bag on arrival is a pretty common thing. I don't think I'd trust the foil bags to checked bag x-ray. Consider the difference between those little bags and the vest your dentist puts on you for getting tooth x-rays.

  7. #7

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    to answer the original question--they do see your film very clearly, on a slightly darker background of the bag shape. a couple of times (out of a hundred perhaps, worldwide) they asked me what it was; normally it just glides through. based on shading levels, the bags offer little protection. since i have them already, since they help me organize those dozens of rolls, and since the film has never suffered any harm--i keep using them one for fresh, one for exposed

    my hama bag comes out darker on the screen than my domke bag

  8. #8
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Depends. There are heavier lead bags now than there were several years ago, and they do offer some protection. I often use them for 4x5" and smaller formats in my carry-on luggage. I would not put film in checked baggage, even in a lead bag. Sometimes the inspectors will ask to see the contents of the bag or run the film without the bag, but often, if they see the bag with a lot of other photo equipment and nothing else looks out of the ordinary, they'll let the film through without asking to see the bag, or they might just do an explosive swab. I figure that if I might be traveling and it cuts down on the cumulative exposure, then that's a good thing.
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  9. #9
    mts
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    A number of years back, for a government project, I took some 1000' rolls of P3200 through as carry-on. I packed these inside a box that was lined with 1/4" thick lead plates with the result that there was a hand "inspection," although they did not ask to open the film cans that were clearly marked with Kodak factory labels. That was one heavy box to carry! Recently I took film in a lead bag through with the same result mentioned by others--a sniffer swab and examination of the 35mm casettes but no further problems. As most of us know film has a definite odor when one opens a can containing a long roll. Evidently the aromatic film compounds are not the correct ones to give a result on the swab tests.
    By denying the facts, any paradox can be sustained--Galileo

  10. #10
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    These days using a lead bag will only raise suspicions and cause more vigorous checking, and European airports are far more thorough thanthose in the US, they'll open the bag then scan then through again.

    Ian

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