New Zealand Advice Needed
I have a student in my current Photo 1 class who will be travelling to New Zealand soon and is going to take lots of black and white photos which she will be developing in our darkroom upon her return. I am wondering how the airports are in New Zealand for hand screening photo materials and how bad are the Xrays for carry-on luggage.
Another question is, if she decides to buy film there to avoid airport hassles on the way, is there a good place in Dunedin to buy black and white film, if not, how about Christchurch?
Thanks so much for any advice you might be able to offer.
Unless it is really high speed film, don't worry about the hand-carry baggage scanners. I travel quite a bit, and always take film with me in my carry on bags. I have never seen a problem with speeds up to ISO 400 (I never use any quicker), even when travelling between New Zealand and Europe with multiple stopovers.
Tell the person to take as much film with them as possible, as it is cheaper in the US.
Christchurch and Dunedin are not that big and the centres are pretty compact, but you will still find film without problems (unless you're looking for sheet film, which is less available no matter where you are usually).
Security in NZ is far less strict than many places, unless we're talking bio-security, in which case they are very strict.
Travelling nationally with film, she should have hardly any trouble. Considering the size of the country, if she were brave enough to drive on the other side of the road from the norm, you can pretty much cover 3/4 of each island within 1 day doing a relaxed pace.
As for planes, I've had VERY good experiences with Origin Pacific Airlines. I traveled from Wellington to Nelson a couple of months ago, and informed them there was sensitive camera equipment and film in my camera bag (mostly because my bag was too bit to fit under the seat). They told me "No worries", and let me hand my bag to the hostess at the bottom of the planes stairs, and then put my bag up front in the captians pod. It was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs as I disembarked. She'd probably have more trouble on the international flight getting here.
As for film, I can't speak for Christchurch or Dunedin, but here in Wellington (similar sized city), there's still several stores that have a pretty decent range of film. Where I normally buy film from almost always has 3 or more types of B&W 4x5 sheet film, yet alone all the others.
Having travelled out twice to NZ from the UK recently, I can give you some info on my experiences. However, Sean & John live in NZ so hopefully if they see this thread they will be able to provide you with even better info!
I found standard b&w film a little more expensive than in the UK, with the exception of my favourite film Kodak infrared which was cheaper! The best shop I found for price and a excellent range of materials was was Photo & Video International in Christchurch http://www.photo.co.nz/ I was able to order my films before I went, and collected them on arrival. They also will send stuff out, e.g. if your student was picking up a campervan or whatever, they will send the order to the pickup point (as long as it is paid for in advance). They will also negotiate on price if your order is large Photography shops in Dunedin carried a range of black and white materials but it was much more limited and the prices were higher.
As far as the X-ray are concerned, before I went I discussed this at length with the technical department at Kodak who informed me that scanners (for hand held luggage) at modern airports were pretty much safe as far as they were aware. (They cannot be absolutely precise as for security purposes airports don't give out specifics on scanning). Having said that, Kodak advised that each pass through the scanners has a some affect on the film and this is obviously cumulative, so by the time the film has received 5 passes it starts to show more significant effects. In practice if the film is below 800 ASA it is minor but worth considering.
I took the view that I would prefer to buy my film out in NZ and so reduce the number of passes through the scanners to just the return journey.
At Christchurch Airport they were happy to carry out manual searches of the film, but as most of mine was infrared film this would have been a disaster so I let it go through the scanners...all my film was fine.
Hope that helps...
I don't know much when it comes to the South Island, but if they are coming up North to Auckland let me and John McCallum know..
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As a Dunedin(New Zealand) resident, I can second Kathy on this.
Photo& Video (Christchurch) are very good, and if you decide to buy "in country" they will have better prices than Dunedin.
(I would strongly recommend pre-ordering any film via their site in advance of travel - the dark side of the Force is very strong here..).
If your friend wants landscape, Central Otago is simply "other worldly"
(large chunks of the Lord of the Rings were filmed there).
Hasta la Vista,
I know she will be landing from the US in Auckland, but I am not sure about any plans to visit there for any longer.
Originally Posted by Sean
I am going to direct her to this thread so that she can see all of the great advice that has been given. She knows the country fairly well, having lived there as an exchange student, but now she is doing photography! I was mostly concerned with the large number of flights she was going to have to go on, two airports in the US and two in NZ. It seems she is better off getting the film there and cutting the potential problems in half, even if costs a bit more.
Thanks to everyone!
If your student is coming to Wellington I can organise a darkroom for her if she wants to develop film here. Another option for her is to get her film shipped here and pick it up. I am happy to do this (have done this for other people) but I am sure others would as well.
I have bought large amounts of film from Calumet and Freestyle and never had any problems with it being damaged in the post.
When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money. Oscar Wilde Blog fp4.blogspot.com
Hi Paul. Some great advice already. As mentioned the airports are quite scrupulous about x-raying carry on luggage. Paul H and many others suggest that for slow to med speed films; x-rays aren't a problem - probably quite correct. Personally however, I prefer to have my film checked manually if travelling through more than 4 border controls. If the customs officers are busy, they will give the usual speil about their machines not affecting film slower than iso 1600. However I generally find if you look them in the eye and politely but firmly say you would prefer to have it manually checked, they just roll their eyes and oblige.
Another vote for Kathy's good suggestion of www.photo.co.nz in Christchurch. Good service, best prices, prompt delivery of fresh film.
Yes, only too happy to help if your student is spending any time in Auckland. Feel free to email and I'll give my contact details (My apug pm system is a bit overloaded currently).
Originally Posted by Sean
Last edited by John McCallum; 06-16-2005 at 08:27 PM. Click to view previous post history.