120mm film and X-ray (and London issues)
Good morning friends,
next week I'm going to London for a few days. I intend to take my Rolleiflex and shoot mainly MF. Last time I was abroad I had a pretty bad experience with color 120mm film and Xray scanners. A few shots got wierdly beaten by the Xray.
What should I do to prevent it? I have an X-ray bag, but I heard that the security guys might ask me to scan its content or might boost the Xray and fry the film.
I heard so many different and contradicting opinions/suggestions that I really don't know what to do. Asking them not to scan the film can be nice, but it doesn't always help.
Besides that, if there are city residents here, that know where MF film can be bought in London and the prices, that can really help me
(and information about labs, used gear stores, galleries, photo oriented used bookstores, and other photography and non-photography related links in the city)
You should be able to buy what ever film you need while there, just let the folk here know which area you're staying in a I'm sure someone will be able to direct you to a local camera shop. Then just post the film home again when you're finished.
Enjoy the trip
As long as your film is in your hand luggage there's no problems. They will insist on scanning your film possibly twice, but these scanners use a combination of techniques and are safe for films. My 120 films were scanned at least 20 times with no problems last year on a trip to South America.
Shouldn't be a problem in your hand luggage, I'm not sure but if you smile and ask for a hand search you should be fine.
I think the hand luggage machines are lower dose than the baggage hold.
The Photographers gallery on Gt Newport St is one place to visit:
Its about 5 mins walk from Leicester square tube.
120 roll film and x-ray checks
Ask for hand checks, or buy your films in London at SILVERPRINT!
Originally Posted by Assaf
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Mark, haven't you noticed the operators don't wear radiation dose badges, which everyone working with X-rays and radiation is required to do
If you smile and ask nicely I can tell you from experience you might get a hand check at Heathrow & Gatwick, they will pass a metal detector over your films, then they put it through the scanner as well, usually with no exceptions.
2 years ago I queried this at Gatwick and ended up talking to an official from BAA who sat on a committee with people from Kodak, Ilford, Fuji etc which liased with airport security to ensure the safety of films and airport scanners. In fact the BAA employee also represented the RPS, and was photographer himself, he was extremely helpful and produced a printed leaflet which gave ample reassurance that multiple passes through modern hand-baggage scanners had no damaging effects on B&W and Colour films, even the highest speed versions.
During my recent travels (multi-leg trip to America, flying from London), I hand carried my film.
I packed in a very orderly manner all my rolls in a see-throw bag, it was a tight and neat, to facilitate my case when asking for hand inspection at airports.
Because of the bulk, the film was x-rayed once on my transatlantic outbound leg. But thenafter, while travelling in the US, it was never a problem to have a hand check after asking for it courteously. Even better, at JFK for my inbound leg, there was a notice board asking people carrying film to ask for hand inspection.
I did not find that the one x-ray exposure of the film had any effect on the film that I was carrying (and there was some 3200 iso in the lot!).
I was glad I had my film with me, I found it was more expensive in the US.
As for buying film while in London, have a look at BobF's post in this thread. He summarised pretty well where are the best places to get the film.
I hope this helps. Enjoy your travel in London !
Thanks a lot!
Well, I'm concerned with xray for the following reason: I never had a problem with xray and 135mm and thought that it was the same with 120mm, so I used no protection. It was scanned in numerous airports in
South America, and also in some places in Madrid. I got the following results
(look at the magenta stripe)
(way underexposed due to a slow speed problem but what is it?)
(underexposed, but xray or light leak?)
If you want to see better and non messed up pictures look in my pbase and flickr
Well if you are worried, then buy it in London and have it processed there too. It's not like you are going to some third world country where you can't buy the films and have them processed before you leave.
There is no inherent reason why 120 should be susceptible airport scanners while 35mm is not. As others have noted, film can go thru airport scanners (carry on baggage) numerous times and never have a problem. Just because your film went thru a scanner doesn't mean the scanner caused the problems you're seeing.