Cameras/Film Through Metal Detectors

Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:28 AM
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Cameras/Film Through Metal Detectors


I recently read in my Fodor's book about taking your camera through the metal detector or the passing through the X-Ray machine is bad for the film. Is it just bad for the film or the camera too? Should I bury the film/camera deep in my suitcase? Or is it safe as carry-on? Haha I don't know. I just don't want it to be fried when I go to develope the pictures.

ThisBuds4ME888 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:34 AM
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When I flew British Airways in Nov 03 from PHL-LHR, they had a sign at the check in lane asking passengers to REMOVE films from their checked bags and place the films in their carry-ons. They did not give a reason for it. I assumed it's because the x-ray for the checked bags is too strong for films.

The x-ray machines for carry-ons usually do not damage films with speed 800 or less.

X-ray machines should not cause damage to cameras.
yk is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:36 AM
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Unless you are using high-speed film (over 800), it will be fine in the X-ray machine. The camera will be fine also.

NEVER put anything valuable like a camera in your suitcase.

However, if you are worried, the security guards will hand-inspect your camera and film if you ask them to.

kaudrey is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:44 AM
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As already mentioned -- both camera and film will be OK in your carry on. If you can get hand inspection, fine. But don't worry if it ends up going through the X-ray machine.

Never, never, NEVER place film in checked luggage. (this has been true for many years in some parts of the world but now that screening equipment in the USA has been upgraded it is also true for domestic flights)
janis is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:47 AM
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You can purchase a lead-lined bag at any camera supply store, designed specifically to carry film through airports. I keep it with me and give it to the attendant for hand inspection.

Having been a commercial photographer for over 30 years I have found that x-ray can certainly adversely affect ALL films, particularly black and white. Generally the problem is no more than a slight fogging, but I?ve had just about every type of film (print with speeds ranging from 64 iso to 800, slide, infrared) damaged by airport security even after they?ve assured me that there will be no problem.

Remember, you can always buy---and process---film wherever you're going.
DiAblo is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Checked luggage gets zapped with much stronger x-rays than carry-on.

I use a lined film bag and then keep the bag in my carry-on.

My concern is that I've never been asked what's in that black hole. I wonder if my film bag does any good.
Myer is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:48 AM
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Not all security people will hand inspect your film.

Several years ago in Rome, I tried to ask a security person to hand inspect my film. After a couple times of saying no, he just pointed one hand towards the conveyer belt while aiming his automatic weapon at my chest.

End of film went through the x-ray machine.

He was a very good negotiator.
Dick is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 10:06 AM
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I'm certainly not an expert in this matter but here's what I know:

What ever you do - DO NOT put it in your checked baggage. They really xray most bags today and the dose is lethal to film.

As far as carry-on goes, my experience is that they may have raised the dose on that as well. Our flights to Europe and back are ussually 4 segments. I film left over from a summer trip which I then brought to Holland at Christmas. The pics came out terribly. All fuzzy and strange exposures and hues. After research I found this was due to the reexposure over and over to the carry on xrays. It is the cumulative exposures that ends up ruining the film.

Luckily I always shoot digital to and have never had a problem with memory cards in either baggage.

In the future I will take all of my film out of the plastic containers and have them hand check the film at checkin. The other option is to simply buy and process your film at your destination.

Good luck.
BDM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 11:32 AM
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I was refused a hand-check in Paris before 9/11. I take my rolls out of the containers and put in a baggie. I put that into a lead film bag and into my carryon. If they want to question or search, they can pull out the film and see it plainly, and it all stays together. Usually, they do not even open the lead bag, but sometimes they will ask me 'do you have a film bag?'.

As a side-note, I put a sticker on every roll with number 1, 2, 3, etc and keep a brief log each day "Roll 1: Paris - Louvre/bridges/Luxembourg" and so on, just to help identify all the pix after I get home.

I don't check bags anymore, but would never leave film in there anyway.
Travelnut is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Thank-You. Makes it understandable now.
Thank-You Travelnut. That's a good idea about labeling the film, hadn't thought about that.
ThisBuds4ME888 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 12:36 PM
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Speaking of labelling film....

If you are taking your film in to be developed, bring the odd numbered rolls in one day and the even numbers the next.

The chances of losing all of your irreplaceable vacation photos is virtually zero.
Dick is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 06:27 PM
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I had a friend who asked the TSA guy what he saw in her "lead bag". "About 20 roles of film, was his response". He showed her the screen, yep you could see the film. So....if you buy one I would make sure it was really expensive and good, it appears the ones you pick up at the mall could be pretty useless.

I have always just sent my film through. However I do not use any speed faster then 800.
CarolA is offline  

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