Film Damaged By X-ray on Mt Tremblant, Quebec?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by david_lau|3, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. Please see the attached image. All frames on this roll and another roll have this S shape fogging pattern. The reason as explained by my lab and Kodak is that they were damaged by X-Ray, and I tend to agree. But how they were affected is a mystery. Let me tell my story about the trip: I went to NE US/Canada during Oct 2003. I flew from Hong Kong to San Francisco then to Boston, where I started my trip by a rental car. The land trip (no air in between) was from Boston to Maine, Quebec, Ontario, New York State, Vermont and back to Boston, where I repeated the same air trips but in opposite direction to go back home. I put all my film (40 rolls Veliva 100F and 15 rolls Kodak Gold 200) inside 2 X-ray proof bags. I didn't ask for hand inspection during my air trips. On road everyday I took several new rolls from the X- ray proof bags into my camera bag which followed me everywhere. At the same time I put back used rolls into the X-ray proof bag. Of the 55 rolls only 2 rolls of Kodak Gold 200 were affected. The strange thing is that these 2 rolls were taken in consecutive order around Mount Tremblant area in Quebec. The first roll was already in my Ricoh GR-1 when I arrived at the Mt Tremblant Village. I then took a cable car up to the peak. At the peak I changed to the second roll. After went down by cable car and before I left the village for Ottawa, I changed to the third roll. The first and second roll were damaged as shown in my attachment. If they were damaged by airport X-ray then why the others are intact? Is it just a coincident that the damaged rolls were taken in order? Is there something on Mt Tremblant that may casue the damage? But I had also taken many Veliva slides using my EOS 3 there and had changed rolls, and all slides are OK. Can you think of any possible reason? Thanks for reading my long story.
  2. Two questions arise:

    was the film always carried in your carry-on or sometimes in your checked airline baggage?

    Did you see any microwave, radio, cellphone, or radar installations on or near Mount Tremblant?
  3. Frank,

    1. I did put the 2 X-Ray proof bags in my checked luggage. (When I put the used film back into the bags they are placed randomly and the bags had been handled many times before I return by air, so it is unlikely that these 2 films are adjacent to each other in the bag)

    2. I cannot remember precisely but I imagine there must be some sort of telecommunication equipment up there, as it appears to be one of the tallest peak in the surrounding area.
  4. it


    I doubt the telecommunications equipment could cause this type of problem. Putting film in checked luggage is a far more likely source of the problem.
  5. My bet is the damaged occured when the film was in your checked luggage.

    NEVER put film in checked luggage! They use extremly HIGH levels of xrays on luggage. Even the TSA will tell you not to do this.

    Also, forget about using the X-ray proof bags. When the xray operators encounter a lead bag, all they do is crank up the xray level until they can see what's in the bag.

    Always ask for a HAND inspection. In the USA they have to give you one BY LAW, no matter how slow your film is.
  6. <<I did put the 2 X-Ray proof bags in my checked luggage.>>

    I guess you thought all those signs warning you not to put film in checked baggage were just a hoax, huh.
  7. Lead does not block X-rays, it merely reduces their intensity. Whether the attenuation is sufficient to prevent film damage depends on the thickness of the shield and the intensity of the source.

    If the damage is due to X-rays, all of the images on the roll would be affected in nearly the same way. If due to light fogging during changing, only the outermost images on the roll would likely be affected. If due to light leaks in the camera, the effect varies with the time between exposures and ambient light. It could also be due to some out-of-focus object, like wire-glass, or reflections, when the picture was taken.
  8. Forget any concerns about VHF, UHF, and Radar/Microwave. I taught and worked with both S-Band and X-Band Radar for several years, So unless the intensity is high enough to "fry" the film there shouldn't be any damage to your images. (I am certain that you would feel it before your film would.)

    Your problem surely looks like X-Ray damage.
  9. The answer is simple-- you put the film in your checked baggage.

    You are very lucky that more damage wasn't done. I've heard of film in xray bags recently
    being exposed completely white. The Transit Safety Administration has signs in airports
    now virtually guaranteeing that any film in checked luggage will be damaged or ruined.

    Why was it those two rolls that got damaged? They probably were together in the part of
    your bags that got cooked the most. But it's random. The Velvia 100 is fine because it's 1
    stop less sensitive than the 200.

    Or, maybe you have the first pictures of paranormal activity on that mountain. You could
    make a killing with the first images of the ghosts of Mt. Tremblant, Quebec.
  10. X-Ray operators CAN NOT adjust the levels on their machines. They have NO ability to increase the power on their machines!!!
  11. Thanks for the answers.

    I know putting X-Ray bag in checked luggage may be dangerous. I keep on doing it due to laziness in hand carrying them and nothing has happened by doing so in the past 20 years with numerous air trips. I think I will hand carry my film in the future.
  12. So now you know NOT to pack your film in checked luggage....right? question is where did you get your film? Is it US manufacture, or gray market? If it is gray, do you know where it has been or how it has been shipped?

    I'm a working pro...and when I see great buys on film at state or national trade shows I always ask how the film got here. If they say we brought it with us then I ask if it was checked or carried on. If they say it was shipped, I ask by whom and did they place "do not Xray" on the boxes (yes, FedEx WILL xray at random packages).

    This looks like xray damage and the fact that no other film shows any suggests that it was a batch where these two rolls came from. One stop of difference shouldn't make that much difference and I was told by a Kodak rep that ASA 100 and 200 film were exactly the same, except the the 100 speed had a ND layer built into it to slow it down (marketing purposes).

    If you got that film from a camera store, do they take returns on sensitized products? I once worked for a camera store that would ("Heck, take 20 rolls and bring back what you didn't shoot").

    I think it's an isolated incident with where these two rolls came from...and remember, don't be lazy! Take film with you!
  13. The Kodak Gold 100 (the 2 rolls damaged by X-Ray and the other 3 rolls intact are of the same batch) are made in China. In a reply from Kodak to me about the reason for damage, they rejected any possibility about problem caused by film manufacturing in China. They said they are actually consolidating their consumer film production lines in other countries and move them to China (probably due to cost reason). Since the other 3 rolls in the same batch are intact I think manufacturing defect may not be the cause in my case.
  14. Carrying unprocessed film in checked baggage invites trouble. Many international airports now use either the older 'smart' CTX 5000 or the new InVision L3 scanners for checked baggage. These scan initially with a mild beam, then zero in ferociously on anything suspicious like, say, things in lead bags. Lead pouches are not only ineffective, but invite more active scans that are almost certain to ruin film. Even tests by the manufacturers (of the bags and the machines) confirm this.

    There is no list of which airports use machines with adjustable power, for obvious reasons, but none are known to for hand baggage. On the trip I just concluded, my 400 film got x-rayed six times (the security people in London will hear no excuse not to put your film through) and there is no noticeable fogging.

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