Use Film Bag - Anybody Else?

Old Mar 31st, 2004, 11:20 AM
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Use Film Bag - Anybody Else?

I've been using a film bag for several years and am getting a bit concerned.

I assume that when my carry-on goes through the x-ray machine the viewer sees a black hole.

Shouldn't that raise a question?

Maybe my bag isn't doing anything.

Any experiences from others would be of interest.

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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 11:24 AM
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Eons ago when I first started to travel, I bought a film bag. Used it once. Including very recent trips I keep film and camera in my carry-on, no problems with film being affected. I use 200 or 400 speed.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 11:35 AM
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I use a )lead) film bag and always carry it for hand inspection, no problems. I too have wondered about the "black hole" that must surely appear during a scan of checked luggage.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 11:55 AM
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I always use a lead lined film bag for all my film.

I used to asked them to hand check it, but once they wouldn't and instead they'd take all the film out of the bag and put it through the scanner (which really irritated me even though the film was totally fine).

Now I just put the lead lined bag with film in it in my carry on.

Not too long ago, in Chicago, I was at a line where someone was in training and the supervisor pointed out to the trainee that it was a lead bag with film. But they didn't ask to see it.

So I think it might be a black hole, but perhaps the size and shape make it okay? I've wondered too?
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 12:25 PM
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Since I've got to keep my film in some sort of bag, I use a lead one. Only once has the the "black hole" been questioned and the bag inspected. I've started using a clear plastic bag instead the lead bag for US travel ever since there has been a consistent policy of hand inspecting 800 and faster film. For overseas travel, I still use the lead bag. It makes me feel that my film is safe!
If you expect to pass through a bunch of security checkpoints during your trip (i.e., at historical sights, etc.), the lead bag could spare you the potential damaging of film because of the frequent passes through xrays.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 01:05 PM
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Make sure you have DECENT lead bag. Some of them have so little lead that what the screener sees is rolls of film, so of course they don't need to ask you what is in the "black hole" There isn't one!

I spent a long time talking with the head of security for an airport on a plane one day. He told me that he had several complaints that customers were not questioned about "black holes" so he did some investigations and that in a majority of cases the screener could see the film.

My impression was that since 9/11 every one is selling these bags, but most of them are not very good. If you have an old one from before the rush you might be in better shape. If you want to know and the airport is slow just ask. After I told my friend about the above conversation she did ask. Security screener said Mam, you have about 20 rolls of film in your carry on" So much for her hundred dollar bag!
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 01:35 PM
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I had the lead film bag in my carryon a couple of weeks ago and was asked about it in both directions between JFK and Narita. Both times they took it out, inspected it and I think put it through the xray machine as well. I don't think I will use it again as my film is not that highspeed to be injured by the carryon xray.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 03:20 PM
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CarolA - What kind of bag did you get that you paid $100?

I've used the lead bag for film for all my trips, especially if taking loads of film. For 1 or 2 rolls, I don't bother.

The lead bag has gone thru in my carryon bag, it shows as a black hole, and only twice has it been questioned. And snce I don't use more than 200 or 400 there isn't much to worry about. On last trip to Asia, my film and camera went thru between 6 and 8 scans and there was no effect on film in camera, exposed film, or unused film (used at future date). Guess the lead bags work.

Old Mar 31st, 2004, 03:38 PM
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I have a lead film bag from the 1980's, which my mom bought when we went to China. The thing weighs a TON, and now I just take my chances, and put my film in my carry-on. All my pictures have come out great, even after being screened at least 10 times.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 08:24 PM
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Before I went digital I used a lead bag. I used a couple lead bags, actually, since I took 60+ rolls of film. I was always asked to open them so they could make sure it really was film. They glanced in, saw the film and sent me on my way.

I've had to go through x-ray machines as many as six times on one trip due to oddities of scheduling so felt the lead was necessary. It is really heavy though, so keep that in mind.

Have you thought of a digital camera? It makes life so much easier.
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Old Apr 1st, 2004, 05:58 AM
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I don't have a lead bag. This was a friend and I have no idea what kind it was or even if she REALLY paid $100. I just got to listen to her vent when she found out security could see right through it.

I have always just taken my chances and NEVER had film ruined. (And some of it has gone through lots of scanners) I use 800 and 400 speed film.

However, for my trip this spring I am going digital which eliminates the whole film issue.
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Old Apr 1st, 2004, 06:13 AM
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I do not understand why someone would use an item they know isn't necessary Ref the SRS post above about being "irritated" when film was removed from the bag and scanned "even though {the film] was totally fine."
And as to not being questioned about the appearance of a "black hole"..well, if that behavior reinforces your notion that the billions we are spending on so-called "tightened security" then I guess it is understandable why you would also continue to use something that apparently isn't necessary.
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