Film is Dead for Overseas Travel…

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by DB_Gallery, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. While not my preferred method, I use digital capture when flying, and photography domestically. But this also depends upon destination. Hoping to visit Japan when conditions allow, and will simply buy film there. Develop BW negatives myself and have color negatives processed locally.
  2. I don't know about the CT scanners, but the previous ISO 800 safe X-ray units use both
    20keV and 70keV X-ray beams. The latter can see through 1cm of steel or lead, and still not
    affect film. By using both, and displaying them in different colors on the view screen, they can
    get a better idea what material they are seeing.

    I went through a TSA station with a Film-shield lead bag in my carry-on bag.
    They saw it, and then sent it through the X-ray separately, but without opening
    the bag. I could sort-of see the screen, and the film rolls probably the metal shells
    of 35mm cassettes, were visible.

    The X-ray absorption curve for lead is shown here:

    NIST: X-Ray Mass Attenuation Coefficients - Lead

    You can put another atomic number in and get another element, or look them
    up from this table.

    NIST: X-Ray Mass Attenuation Coefficients - Table 3

    In any case, the absorption goes down with increasing energy, except when you
    cross a K, L, or M edge, which is where it just has enough energy to knock out
    an electron from the K, L, or M shell. You read them about the same as
    those for a photographic filter, except the x-axis is in MeV instead of eV
    (or wavelength).

    A 3eV (blue) photon absorbed by AgBr generates a developable grain.
    A 70keV X-ray photon also generates a developable grain where it is absorbed,
    even though it has 20000 times as much energy. I suspect that is for Ag.
    So, film isn't so X-ray sensitive as you might think.
    Films meant for X-ray photography have some material to absorb X-rays
    and generate (a lot of) light.

    In any case, a thin layer of lead doesn't bother the 70keV X-rays much
    at all, so they can see through them. Maybe 1cm or 2cm if you want to
    slow them down.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Pretty simple - this posted on another thread.
    Just search this do the newest airport security scanners harm photographic film. Vast amount of info - read what seems authoritative and decide.
    There are undoubtedly means to get undamaged film delivered for arrival, and returned exposed. Likely a PITA and expensive, but possible.
  4. And, as nearly everyone here knows ad nauseum, some lenses are themselves radioactive.
    Radioactive lens?.jpg
    just don't nestle them in your lap when driving....

    Then there's Konstantin Chernenko, Gensec of the Soviet Union and famous nuclear pile glow ( Черенков?)
  5. Now that Fukushima has decided to dump its radioactive waste water into the ocean, be careful of your underwater Nikonos shots and watch for fish that glow in the dark.
  6. Really? 100% photon efficiency?
    Last time I was even remotely interested in such things, I read that it took at least 3 photons, on average, to make an AgBr crystal developable.
    If you're talking about colour film, that's about $5000 in film and processing costs alone. Going a fair way toward buying a Fuji GFX 100 system, or similar.

    You've got to be pretty sure of publication or print sales to outlay that amount 'on spec'. And then any agency or publisher is going to want, or make, digital scans as an interstage to any kind of mass distribution. So where's the advantage to using film? When the images are only going to end up as a collection of numbers in AdobeRGB space?

    Plus you can't erase and re-use any duff pictures with film. It just doesn't make commercial sense at all, unless you're in with a crowd that are overly impressed with the fact that you can shove a roll of paper and plastic into a camera before pushing the button.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  7. It's often in the attachment to film as a means rather than as an end. Some people like the feel of working with film and film cameras. And, though the negs might be scanned for professional use, perhaps there will be a more personal use of prints directly from the film as well. People's mileage varies.
  8. In case you have not noticed it before, Joe is NOT a fan of film.
  9. REALLY???

    But there are plenty of film fans still out there, desperately working through the Kübler-Ross five stages.

    I have many friends who are film users and since I really love old film cameras, I still shoot a fair amount of it myself, but it is not getting any easier.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  10. FYI, I am a BIG fan of film
  11. LOL. I've noticed. Still worth a reminder now and then that there are others in the world with different needs, tastes, and desires. :)
  12. As well as I know, one is developable with one photon, though maybe not enough for good photography.

    But putting 70keV into a grain does not make it 10,000 times more developable than 7eV.
    (But yes probably a little more than 3eV.)
  13. When I go on trips, I usually take a film camera and a few rolls of film, along with the digital camera.

    Not 500 rolls of film!

    I try to have mine hand inspected, as I often use Diafine for higher EI, even if the actual film is less than 800.
    Though I do remember one time the TSA agent commenting on the expiration date on the roll, probably before he was born.

    As far as I know, TSA rules still require them to hand inspect when asked, and they are usually nice about it, though not always fast.

    So far, I don't know any other country that has that requirement.
  14. Not sure if you're aware of it--sounds like maybe not--but one of the folks (some would say one of the greats) who clung to film for publication use long after most people went digital finally gave it up way back in 2008 because he was worried about losing months (or more) of hard work (and on one occasion did lose over 50 rolls of film) because some officious jobsworth at an airport somewhere was going to ruin it by refusing to hand inspect it and maybe zap it with some destructive level of radiation.

    Sebastiao Salgado now shoots digitally--although his assistants produce simulated contact sheets for him, and he has the digital image "printed" to a 4x5 inch film negative, so that the final, published images at least have some of the look of film. (The POV Interview: Sebastião Salgado – Point of View Magazine)

    I love to shoot film--I just bought an RZ67 kit so I can shoot more of it, including loads of color film I've had in the freezer for ages. But any idea that you can demand hand inspection at some foreign airport (again, TSA officials in the US have been, in 100% of my many experiences, totally okay with it) and that you're going to get satisfaction every time may very well, I fear, run up against the reality that the world--and particular individuals in it--don't always move to our expectations.
  15. film and digital for BU. film cost $$, suck it up. If you cant afford all that film entails then that is your answer. No way round doing film cheap anymore. This is not the 1970's.
  16. Film expensive today v the 70s?? Not so sure. In 1970 a roll of Tri-X cost me about $1.25. (maybe a little less) Today, the same roll costs ~$8.00 depending on where you buy it. In 1970 a large Snickers bar cost 10 cents, or perhaps a bit more. Now? Even the smallest bar is over $1.00. And don't forget the price of gas back then. It's all relative.
    Vincent Peri likes this.
  17. Slide film prices have been going up faster than others. But overall, they aren't so bad.

    Over the years, processing prices have gone down, at least prints. When I first started
    in darkroom work, I remember that the prices for reprints (3x5) were $0.07 for black
    and white, and $0.22 for color. That was 1967, and one of the things that convinced
    me that darkroom work was a good idea.

    It is today easy to get color prints for less than $0.22, in addition to the inflation
    difference in 54 years. The popular films and sizes are mostly reasonable.
    Though Super-8 cartridges are over $30, black and white or color, which does
    seem high.
  18. For the cost of 300-500 rolls of film and processing, you could easily buy or rent a digital MF camera. You didn't say which camera, but an used 50 MP CFV back for a Hasselblad is less than $6000. The net cost of 120 film with processing, without printing or scanning, is over $20 per roll.
  19. It seems that the film is already bought.

    Unless there is another use for it, it doesn't help so much to have it.

    But that still leaves $10/roll. And the Hasselblad will also be useful in the future.
  20. I did just that and was asked to take the film out of the lead bags and everything was put through the scanner at NY's JFK ; mind you this was before the new scanners were installed. I suspect that I would be asked to do the same again.

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