Carrying film on a plane

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by marcelo_p._lima, Feb 9, 1999.

  1. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips on how to take massive
    amounts of film on an international flight. Now that many airports
    are installing high-dose X-Ray for checked luggage, checking in the
    film is out of the question. What could be the best solution ? Asking
    for a visual check at X-Ray stops, using huge lead bags...?
     
  2. Put the film in ziplock bags so that they're easy to inspect and carry them in a separate bag up to the x-ray gate. Send everything else through x-ray but ask for a hand check of "professional film". Avoid debates about film speed. So far, this has never failed me. I understand that lead bags are a bad idea in priciple since they invite the operator to turn up the juice in order to see what's hidden.
     
  3. Ken's advice is good, and has worked for me. I've found security people pretty cooperative even when I've been carrying huge quantities of film. One thing I would add, however, is not to get too obsessed about it. A couple of passes through a carry-on X-ray machine will not matter.
     
  4. I opted for a lead bag when flying to Mexico City, because there all bags go through an x-ray machine when clearing customs. You could, I suppose flag down a customs inspector for a hand check (of the 10 rolls of film you are allowed to bring in duty-free). Customs officers are like bumble bees. Don't bother them, and hope they don't bother you.
     
  5. Requesting hand inspection does have some limitations.

    First, at Heathrow in mid-January, I was refused a visual check: I simply could not pass unless I put the film through the machine.

    When I shoot 220, I wrap the exposed roll in aluminum foil to avoid fogging the edges. In Valencia last month, each of my carefully wrapped rolls was quite carefully unwrapped to ensure that it was, in fact, only exposed film that had been wrapped to prevent fogging.

    I gave up, and simply stashed the film in my carry-on bag, where it was xrayed. Since it was mostly Velvia, the machine/visual inspections did no damage.
     
  6. I too have been refused a visual inspection--in Athens. No other airport refused in the past couple of European trips I made. I wouldn't take "vast" amounts of film with me, however. You can purchase film in most civilized countries without too much trouble. A dozen rolls of 36 exp. 35mm film would do me on my trips. I did carry the film in a lead bag, and had no problems with the results. The new equipment being installed in some of the big international airports probably would zap it even through the lead bag, however. All bags at this time don't go through the high powered equipment. Shave, cut your hair, and wear clean clothes and it will probably go your way.
     
  7. Marcelo, if you ask for a hand-check in a UK airport you probably won't be granted one. I think that the US CAA gives you the right to have film hand checked (just give them plenty of time to do this, and make it easy by packing film in plastic bags).

    UK airports have installed the high-power Xray machines for hold luggage, but don't warn travellers about their destructive effects on film. The UK magazine 'Amateur Photographer' ran a campaign last year to try to get airports to do hand-checking, and won the agreement of BAA head of security, but this decision was later reversed and the current situation is that all carry-on luggage must go through the Xray machine.

    I find this very annoying as I tend to travel to places where you can't buy or process 120. Last October I carried 50 rolls of Astia/Velvia to East Africa and was forced to have it Xrayed (fortunately there were no ill effects). I'm prepared to have low-speed film Xrayed, but I would also like to try travelling with some of the Ilford 3200, and I'm not as confident about having this Xrayed. 50 rolls of film weight a fair amount, and many of the airlines are simultaneously tightening up carry on restrictions to 6kg (try packing an RZ, 50 rolls of film and keeping everything below 6kg). I'm not prepared to trust either camera or film to checked luggage.

    If you can detect some pessimism here, you're quite correct! I really don't know the answer. I wouldn't use a lead lined bag in checked luggage, since the new machines purposefully turn the Xray power up quite high to see through this sort of thing. As for carry-on, I'm not sure if they change the Xray power. For small amounts of 120 you may be able to carry unwrapped film in pockets (since it won't trigger the metal detector).
     
  8. The first rule is NEVER put in in you checked in bagage. The new sanners (ctx5000) will penatrate lead bags, if it does not recognise something the computer controling it auto maticly up's the power till it does, or gives up ant tells the operator.

    They dont scann all bags but you never know when you may get hit. The exception hear is Manchester (UK) which uses a ctx5000 on all to be checked in bags before you check them in. dont remember if they have warning signs.

    So far i have had no bad expeiences carying film in my had cary I have even caried tmax 3200 which when i developed had been half exposed - no noticible damage on either the shots or the unexpose section.

    With 120 roll film i usualy put it in a large jacket pocket (10 roll - 2 pro packs) but you cant do this with 35mm because of the can.

    In the US there are now reports of some airports using these scanners randomly on cary on bagage. but there you have the right to a hand inspection. In most of europe you will be refused. Question of liability if the airport gave you an hand check and you got a bomb on they could be sued.

    What botheres me most about the ctx5000 scanners it that CCD cells degrade when exposed to x-rays. they dont just die but degrade graduly, the more they get exposed the less sensitive they become. I dont know the treshholds involved and can get no one( nikon, kodak, pentax ) to to give me x-ray tolerance specs on the ccd cels used in their light meteres, but buy a ccd from an electronics shop and you can get the spec. from what i have seen of the hobby ccd cels the threshold is very ear the norm on x-ray machines and well below the capabilities of the ctx5000.

    If i compare the picture takes when my p&s was new compaired to now there is certainly a diferance. whether this is aging (its 3 years old) or x-rays i will never know

    For me the botom line is - hand carry all cameras - camcorders - light meteres

    Julian
     
  9. To put this into perspective, none of the above correspondents have reported problems with X rays. I certainly haven't, and I have put 400 ASA film into checked luggage (although this was before I realised they gave it such high doses). Even 400 ASA films should survive several passes through X ray machines. Given that you wish to take 'massive' amounts through, and you are limited in the amount of hand luggage you can take, you might have no alternative but to check the film in.

    It is worth remembering why airline companies have this policy. It is to stop people being killed. I certainly feel safer knowing that all luggage is X rayed, whatever the minor inconvenience to me. Policies vary depending on where you are. Europe is much stricter because we have more of a terrorist problem (the IRA and ETA to name but two organisations). North America doesn't have such a problem therefore it is not so strict. Given the broader issues I would not even ask for a hand check wherever I was. There are more important things than photography. And as it doesn't even affect the films anyway, what's the problem?

    Alan
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Send everything else through x-ray but ask for a hand check of "professional film". Avoid debates about film speed. So far, this has never failed me.
    Totally unneccessary. In the US, you have the right to a hand search of film. Unless, of course, a problem results in higher security. Click here for the FAA regulations on this. This only applies to the US.
    I opted for a lead bag when flying to Mexico City, because there all bags go through an x-ray machine when clearing customs.
    Mexico allows film hand checks on entry. I've done this in three different airports in Mexico.
    I wouldn't take "vast" amounts of film with me, however. You can purchase film in most civilized countries without too much trouble. A dozen rolls of 36 exp. 35mm film would do me on my trips.
    This is the Medium Format Digest - your dozen rolls translates into 43 rolls for someone who shoots 6x7 (and I carry my 6x7.) My experience has been that outside of major cities (even in the US), medium format availability is quite poor. And I have never seen the few types of 120 film found in stores in hot countries to be refrigerated. And the two films I use seem to be fairly hard to find outside the US, even though one of them comes from Europe.
    To put this into perspective, none of the above correspondents have reported problems with X rays.
    You never know when a machine is going to whack out or an operator is going to make an incorrect setting. I have put very high speed film through numerous xray machines (during the Gulf War, when I was not given a choice) without problems. But I would never see this as a reason not to worry.
    Fed X will ship film without X-raying.
     
  11. I do have experience of film being affected by XRay security checks. I had about 2.5 frames exposed on film in a 35mm camera. It was definitely the XRay as the exposure went to the edge of the film and across frames that were across the shutter when I boarded. I wondered if the rays had been concentrated on the film plane by the lens??
    I have also had times when I was not allowed to pass professional film around the XRay machine no matter how much I argued.
    I now carry small numbers of rolls in my pockets and hope that I don't set off the alarm. This is usually OK with medium format as there is less metal than 35mm. The rest I put in a lead bag and hope for the best.
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I have also had times when I was not allowed to pass professional film around the XRay machine no matter how much I argued/
    Carry the document found at the link I gave in my prior post. It's the law. You have a right to hand inspection of film. (In the US)
     
  13. Andrew's posting from Australia, so US rules don't apply! The US is just about the only place I know of which gives you the right to a hand inspection of film (note there's no requirement on how long they can make you wait if for some reason they decide they don't like you, so arrive early for your flight!). Many other countries (e.g. UK) give you zero choice - it gets put through the scanner. Other countries may or may not allow hand inspection, depending on what sort of a day the security guard is having.
     
  14. I have had a couple of 35mm rolls of Delta 3200 (which is only ISO 800) wrecked by x-rays. They were in my pockets at Heathrow, but I accidentally left them in my bag at Bahrain and Goa. One of these machines did the damage. It was just one machine: the film is very badly fogged, but shows 'shadows' at the sprockets. It was my own stupid fault.

    With a little ingenuity, you should be able to carry 50 rolls of 120 in your pockets for places like Heathrow, but ensure you have NO metal in your pockets, or you will be 'pat-searched'.
     
  15. >>With a little ingenuity, you should be able to carry 50 rolls of 120 in your pockets for places like Heathrow, but
    ensure you have NO metal in your pockets, or you will be 'pat-searched'. <<

    Apparently the way to go with 120. I recently bought some plastic snap top containers for 120 from Porters that work well, and could be used to protect the film from light although they add bulk.

    Interesting comment though, change it to "With a little ingenuity, you should be able to carry 50 small rolls of C4 in your pockets for places like Heathrow, but
    ensure you don't put the pen detonator in your pockets, or you will be 'pat-searched'."

    Makes you wonder just how safe checks make it if someone is really determined.
     
  16. >>Europe is much stricter because we have more of a terrorist problem (the IRA and ETA to name but two organisations). North America doesn't have such a problem therefore it is not so strict<<

    If European nations would start prosecuting and pursuing them rather than slaps on the wrists you might not have such a problem. I'm thinking of cutting up some lead lined bags in the form of stenciled letters and taping it to the inside of my luggage; "if you knew how to catch terrorists you wouldn't be messing with me".

    Look at the bright side fellow photographers; at least WE aren't the ones standing 8-hours a day next to a device emitting X-rays powerfull enough to penetrate a lead bag.

    This thread has really been informative. I'm planning a trip to Scotland in a month and everything from the rudeness of booking flights with B-A to the treatment of film at Heathrow is really reinforcing stereotypes. Shame.

    As for the main topic at hand what if I wrap my film in 4 leaded bags? Can a ctx5000 get through that? Would the operators just pull the film from the bags and toss it through on the "well done setting" just for spite? Am I subject to mandatory film scanning leaving the U.S. or coming back from Heathrow? Is non-carry on luggage subject to less powerfull scanning?

    One thing is baffling. I have more metal in the fillings of my teeth and plates in my legs than half a brick of 35mm cassettes. Am I to understand 35mm cassettes can set off one of the airport metal detectors?

    //scott
     
  17. Non-carry on baggage is likely to get more x-rays, not less.

    Leaving Heathrow, your bags will be x-rayed. They admit the scanners may be harmful to 3200 films, so I suspect those can be hand-examined.

    If you use sufficient lead bags, perhaps the scanner won't be able to penetrate them. You can then expect the alarms to go off, with whatever consequences the operators feel like on that day.

    A couple of 35mm cassettes might or might not set off the metal detector.
     
  18. Scott, if it makes you feel any better, after the security official at London Gatwick refused to hand inspect my 50 rolls of 120 he told me that they would receive more radiation during a 13 hour flight at 30000 feet than they would passing through his scanner.

    No - it didn't make me feel any better either.
     
  19. A very good reason not to hassel the airport security too much:<p>
    About 1 1/2 years ago I was travelling with a histronic photographer. There was a delay at the metal detector; my photographer companion started screaming and yelling, demanding to see superiors, etc. The security was not impressed, asked him to step aside and began going over his baggage with the fine toothed comb. We just made it on the plane with out a moment to spare; if we had been delayed another 30 seconds we would not have been able to board.<p>
    We can all shout about our rights and priveledges, but if your goal is to get on the plane and go to your destination, ask sensibly for a hand inspection. I've done a bit of location photography assisting out of state and have found that security peiople are doing a thankless job and get treated like dirt. If you hassel them, they can and will delay you --- their reasoning might be that you are trying to avoid close inspection of your baggage or person by being uncooperative. If you are respectful, you might get your way.<p>
    In some other countries, there seems to be a lot more leeway in how security people do their job. In Germany, they xray it all no matter how you protest. In eastern europe, maybe, maybe not. I have carried lots of 100 and 400 asa film and had it xrayed (e-6, c-41 and BW) and never had a problem other than some TMAX 100 that got fogged in Mexico -- but that might have been from heat.
     
  20. Scott - Carryon baggage gets less of an X-ray dose then checked baggage. The new checked baggage scanners are high dose. On no
    account ever put film in your checked bag!

    You will get a hand inspection when you leave the US, your film
    will be put through the scanner when you return from the UK. If
    you are highly paranoid, send it back to the USA via FedEx. They
    don't X-ray it.

    Never, NEVER, try playing games with UK security. You may find
    yourself in a lot more trouble than you can dream of. Missing
    your flight will be the least of your worries. If you are
    lucky, they will just deport you, but you will regret playing
    games.
     
  21. Scott and Marcelo both asked about lead bags which, for all the discussion about x-rays, are rarely mentioned on photo.net. I suspect that's because many participants fly mostly in the US and are accustomed to getting hand inspection (because there are regulations that require it). But outside the US, assume that you will NOT be afforded this courtesy.

    If your film will only pass through x-rays once or twice, it probably doesn't matter (carryon, not checked). I travel out of the states quite a bit, and if I have more than one security check to go through, I use the lead bags. My experience has been that they work, by which I mean I believe they shield the film from x-rays and the operators don't turn the machines up to see through them. (Whether the film would have been fogged without the bags, or how many times through is "safe", I can't say.) I usually get through the metal detector before my carryon comes through the x-ray, and I wait where I can watch the screen. I see a deep black area where the lead bag is and the skeletal outlines of everything else in the carryon. I've never seen the operators linger over the bag, or seen any evidence that they "crank up" the dosage. The black hole remains a black hole. What they're supposed to do is ask to open the carryon if they see anything suspicious. Occasionally they've asked me to open the carryon, but it's always been my hair dryer they were interested in - they've NEVER asked to look in the lead bag. I've read that if they don't ask to look in the lead bag, either the bag isn't working or the operators aren't doing their jobs, but my experience is that the bags work and security concentrates on small electrical items (the Lockerbie bomb was supposedly in a small radio or tape player). Unfortunately, this doesn't give me much confidence in the whole system.
     
  22. About lead bags, I use a Kenko bag that's claimed to protect to iso 800 (they also have another model up to iso 400). When I ran the bag through the hand-check machine in Munich, they didn't say anything about the bag. I wasn't able to see the screen, but my guess was that they could see through the bag. Elsewhere when I've used the bag (in Thailand, Hong Kong), I've been given hand inspections upon request although they certainly aren't obligated to do so. Just ask courteously. Europe is the only place that absolutely will not hand inspect your film. I've had my velvia and E100 films zapped a half dozen times in France/Germany with no problems. Of course, you want to minimize the amount of zapping. After twenty times, who knows what happens?

    BTW, film already loaded in magazines seems safe in the hand-check machines. My magazines are chunks of aluminum, so I just see a black blob on the screen. The X-ray machine operators in Munich have asked me to take a shot, as film was loaded, and did check each lens to see that it transmitted an image from one end to the other. I guess MF lenses are large enough that someone could conceivably pack quite a bit of C4 into a tele.
     
  23. Carrying a camera loaded with film when facing security checks at German airports is a bad idea in my experience - chances are really high that you will be forced to waste at least 1 shot; if the officers are more bored/huffy than usual, they might request that you open the camera back regardless wether film is loaded or not (happened 2 times to me at Nuremberg airport).<p>
    The more `unusual' your camera is (and of course, the more embarrassed you react), the higher the probability that your equipment will be examined `closely'.<p>
    Luckily, most security officers seem to be a bit, hm, technologically handicapped... I was able to avoid wasting film several times by pretending to shoot (quite easy with a double-stroke operated Fuji GW690, where you have to actuate the film transport lever twice before the camera is ready for shooting :).<p>
    Regarding the X-ray machines, I wouldn't ask for hand inspection of carry-ons (again, at German airports), because I'm under the impression that many of those friendly officers tend to be quite happy if they can force you to do something you don't like. So, I carry all film (I use MF only) in my pockets, leave the camera unloaded and let them play their ego-boosting games to their satisfaction. A bit annoying, but the most efficient method to deal with the authorities most of the time, IMHO ;).<p>
    What bothers me more are the rumours about X-rays degenerating CdS-cells - the imagination of my Profisix getting fried in the long term is quite disturbing. Has anyone more technical details?
     
  24. From an Article published in British Journal of Photography,17.02.99.reads as follows:
    British Airways has clamped down on its hand baggage allowance for economy travellers meaning Photographers shooting abroad now have to facethe dilemma of putting film in the hold and therefore run the risk of X-Ray fogging. ( Writes Darren Hogan)
    BA introduced its 6kgs ( 13.2lbs) hand baggage limit in April 1997, but has only begun enforcing the policy over the last couple of months.Anyone flying with the airline must have their hand baggage weighed at check-in and any excess items must be placed in the hold.
    However the British Airport Authority (BAA) advises photographers to carry film as hand baggage, as it is generally rocognised that some hold baggage X-Ray machines fog photographic film.
    Photographers should travel in either business or first class where they are permitted to carry 9kgs, recommends BA spokesman, Iain Burns
    Other airlines are not so strict , American Airlines is far more lenient , allowing two bags to be taken into the cabin, each weighing up to 30kgs but Virgin Atlantic has just a 5kgs limit, although a spokesperson said it is rarely inforced.
    New X-Ray tests have been carried out in connections with BAA and the BPLC the results will be published in the next two weeks....

    Watch this column for the ever changing rules......

    The problem arise is that how many other airlines will follow the example set by BA??

    Jack.
     
  25. This is more another question than an answer for Marcelo.... I'm traveling to some pretty remote parts of Kenya this year with over 300 rolls of 35mm ASA100-400. I will not have the luxury of return shipment by Fed-X but may be able to ship film to meet me there. Any ideas?

    So far in my international travelling, I have had 6 rolls of ASA400 fogged while passing through Heathrow in had carry luggage. You are right, these folks "love" to be idiots about this type of thing regardless of hwo polite and cleancut you are. I know it happened at Heathrow because everywhere else I go, they are happy to oblige a request for hand inspection...however, I've never had to carry this many rolls at one time before.
     
  26. I think that most security "officers" work for minimum wage or close to it. In my experience their training is minimal. So is their intelligence and education--otherwise, they would be doing something better. They are "officers" in the same sense that bank tellers are bank officers. I think that in such a position, a person would be afraid of making a mistake that could lives; or their jobs, so prefer to err on the side of caution. It would help to have a uniform international policy for inspection of cameras and film, but I suspect it's too small a matter for governments to get excited about, unless enough of us start writing letters. Any takers?
     
  27. When I was in college, I had a metal film can with 100 ft. of 35mm bulk transparency film that I didn't want to go through the x-ray machine because I was going to be shooting it for graded assignments. I asked for hand inspection and they wouldn't give me one. I even offered to go with someone onto a dark room and let them feel inside the can to insure there were no explosives! Finally, I asked to speak to the guard's shift supervisor, and presented the same arguement. After 20 minutes of disscussion, the supervisor stated to the guard, "Just let him take the film, and if the plane blows up, then we know who did it!" I guess persistance can pay off, but I wonder what would have happened if they had delayed me to the point of missing my flight? I probably would have caved and sent the airline a bill for the damaged film. It's hard to make that kind of call when you are going to be critiqued on color balance. Print film is easier to correct. Transparancies, on the other hand, are quite a different issue.
     
  28. During my Mexico trip in May 2000, the Mexico City airport customs did run my bag through their X-ray. I had a dozen rolls of color film ranging from Velvia through Fujichrome 200. They were all in a lead bag. There was no perceptible fogging of any of my rolls. I've had no damage from X-rays in the US, either. This all applies to carryon baggage only. I don't put film in checked baggage, as I understand it's a bad idea, with stronger X-rays being used there.
     
  29. The only piece of luggage I carry onto an airplane is my Photo Trekker backpack. It carries a 35mm body with 2 lenses, a MF body with two lenses, 3 MF backs, a light meter, a toothbrush and an extra change of underwear.

    I generally carry about 30-50 rolls of 120 and 15-20 rolls of 135(Kodak Portra NC 160, Ektachrome 100, Fuji NPH 400, and NHGII 800). I pack it all in 1 gallon zip-lock bags, and put it in the soft pocket on the outside of the back-pack. (I also carry an extra baggy for exposed film.) When I get to the X-Ray machine, I take the film out of the back-pack, send the cameras through, and ask for hand inspection of the film. I have never been refused a hand inspection in Seattle (where I depart from), and I think most USA airports will grant you a hand-inspection of your film (sometimes grudgingly).

    I have gone through inspection at about a dozen European airports. There appears to be no uniformity regarding the practice of hand inspections. Frankfurt was adamant about X-Raying everything. They did have a sign (in English) on their X-Ray machine that said "Photo Safe through ASA 1000. If the airport does require X-Ray, I send my film through seperately and ask the operator to use the lowest possible power. (I think I do this for my own peace of mind. I don't really believe they change any settings for me -- in fact, since I always ask in English, I'm not really sure that most of them catch the photographic significance of what I'm really requesting.)
    But the most important thing is that I have *never* had a single case of a fogged negative. I still ask for hand inspections, but I don't push as hard for them anymore.

    Cheers,
    Ernie
     
  30. doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> If you use a very large windbreaker with those giant front pockets i can carry easily a 100 rolls of 220 with me onto a plane, I do tend to look a bit distorted but usually you can get it on the plane with no problem. Make sure to just have all the film in ziplock bags for easy inspection.
    Altaf Shaikh
    http://www.usefilm.com
    Projects for photographers
     
  31. I have just noticed this fairly old but still breathing thread and am only adding to it because something confuses me. Are you sure that the operatives of carry on baggage X-ray machines have that much discretion to turn up the power? I can imagine them having say 2 or 3 levels within a narrow band but surely any greater latitude would be a health risk? - remember these are security staff not trained radiologists. I have never had a fogging problem but I've never carried anything above 400ASA, which is a limitation. I use lead bags and now and again the staff ask to examine the contents because the X-ray can't see through it.
    BTW I don't believe the variations in practice/attitude on hand searches between US and Europe have anything to do with "Europe having more terrorism"; objectively this just isn't so. And by the way, Scott Eaton, if US authorities did something about those little collecting tins passed around Irish American bars, then there wouldn't be so many terrorists to catch here in the UK.
     
  32. Hey guys.... it's a simple solution. DHL. You pack the box in front of them, tell them no x-ray, and the package is waiting for you when you get there.

    If you don't want to process the film while you're there... DHL back again. I'll tell ya, it's cheap insurance and you're guarenteed no x-ray problems.
     
  33. David...

    I was interested in your DHL comment.

    Do you have to go to a DHL office, or will DHL come to your
    location to pick it up, and can you pack the box in front of the
    driver? Is the idea that the box is in DHL's control the entire time,
    or could it get x-rayed by customs officials without DHL knowing?

    Would Fed Ex work the same way, or only DHL?

    Anyone know if Fed Ex x-rays inside the USA?

    Thanks,
    Doug
     
  34. Well, I use DHL for international. I've sent various things many times and they're consistently the fastest, cheapest, and most relaiable. I happen to go to the office, but if you have a question about it, call 'em up and ask. As a side note, I noticed that DHL is the carrier for the US Postal Service's "global express mail", so I'd guess you can go to any post office and get the same service.

    I also use the Post Office's Express Mail for domestic. They don't x-ray either, and it's cheap and fast.
     
  35. While I have never had a problem having film hand-inspected on request in the U.S., the same is not true of European airports. There are no consistent policies in Europe, even within the same country, or even in the same airport, respecting hand inspection of photographic film in lieu of X-ray inspction. I've arrived at the conclusion that policies and laws purportedly eliminating the right to have film hand inspected are not to blame, but rather the generally surly attitude of European service personnel. This attitude seems to reach its zenith in places like Holland and Germany. Hand inspecting film takes time and effort, something European airport personnel are generally loath to expend. There's nothing in the exercise of hand inspection for them. Nevertheless, I have developed countermeasures to the European hand inspection problem. First, carry all 120/220 film in your pockets and onto the plane. Second, place all 35mm film in clear plastic bags without plastic canisters. This way the film is easy to inspect, just in case your polite entreaties to airport personnel turn out to be successful (which can actually happen if you are lucky enough to meet an airport employee who actually enjoys working). Third, and in case the second stratgy does not work, write numbers like "3200" on the film cans themselves and tell the airport personnel that you are pushing your film to ISO or ASA 3200, which is one stop faster than the best "safe" X-ray machine now being used in Europe. This last countermeasure has failed me only once (in Belgium).
     
  36. Tom, I agree, speaking as a European, that the unwillingness to hand inspect film is a staff attitude problem, but more usually that of management rather than front line staff who have not been briefed to do anything other than X-ray everything. After a series of tests about 2 years ago, conducted on behalf of the British Journal of Photography and BAA (who run most but not all major UK airports), it was agreed professionals would get a hand search if this was requested in advance (how!?); however, this just hasn't been implemented or BAA have reneged on their commitment. BTW I ahven't come across many security staff at UK airports who are familiar with concepts like 3200ASA or pushing film (they might offer you a trolley)
    [BTW also, as an "alien" entering the US, the immigration staff at Miami beat anything in Europe hands down for surliness,rudeness, hostility, lack of humour and extreme pettiness]
     
  37. Nigel, US Customs seems to have developed a well-deserved and nearly universal reputation for aggressive hostility towards "aliens" that goes considerably beyond the mere surly. While you may have your film hand-inspected in the US, you might also wind up being subjected to a full body cavity search for lipping off to Customs Agents, not to mention the risk of being shot with a sawn-off shotgun in the K-Mart parking lot after you clear customs. Such problems can be neatly avoided by flying to Winnipeg and entering the U.S. through the North Dakota or Minnesota borders.
     
  38. I heard that coating is thinner on APS 240 film making it more suceptible for Xray fogging. Is this true?? Any suggestions?? I hope my three months in Europe aren't wrecked when I leave Heathrow in a couple of weeks with all of my photos.

    Best,

    Chris
     
  39. If so, it's not because of the shielding effect of the emulsion. Otherwise we could use film to protect other stuff from x-rays!
     
  40. Just because the film will recieve a dose of cosmic rays at altitude doesn't mean it's a great idea to nuke it some more on the ground ;) The emulsion will stop some X-rays because of its silver content.
    Try to avoid the X-rays period! Under the Code of Federal Regulations, film doesn't have to be x-rayed in US airports (except maybe film backs)! It does not matter what speed it is. It can all be hand checked if you like. Print out the regulations 49CFR1544.211(e)(4) to show the screeners! There is too much information on my page to put here. Here is how to avoid the X-ray machine: Check my page on it! Here is your definate answer to x-raying in airports. There are links to all the relevant regulations for printing along with an explanation of the federal structure and tips to make things go easier: http://home.kc.rr.com/aaronphoto/xray.html
     
  41. As to the gentleman who wondered why 35mm would set off the metal detector but not his fillings... I believe 35mm containers are made of a ferrous material whereas his mercury filling are not magnetic at all.
     

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