TRAVELLING WITH FILM-NEED ADVICE

Discussion in 'Travel' started by marlin_olynyk, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. Hi, i'm hoping that someone has some good advice and has run into the same problem as i
    am right now. how does one go about carrying 6 months of film for a trip to China and India.
    would travellers who have been there and are serious photographers with film let me know
    what they have done. I'm just not sure if it is best to carry the raw and shot film around for 6
    months, mail packages of exposed film home periodically, or buy film there? What works?
    Please help me out. Thanks.

    Marlin.
     
  2. >>carry the raw and shot film around for 6 months

    I definitely would NOT do this! It gets rather hot in India (you heard it here first!).

    >>mail packages of exposed film home periodically

    Yes, that would be my preference. Try to find companies that will do this for you before you leave. UPS, DHL and FedEx have branches in India now.

    >>buy film there

    6 months' worth of film is a lot! You may have to do this to some extent, but I would take as much as you can carry with you (which should NOT be in your checked luggage).

    Film availability is difficult to predict. It depends on exactly what you want. You may find that it is difficult to get, e.g. Velvia, Provia, outside of one or two pro places in big cities. Look for previous threads in this forum for pro labs in, e.g. Delhi, Beijing. There are a few threads I remember with recommendations for India. Probably the same for China.

    Call the best places beforehand and see if they have what you want. Ask how it is stored. If they don't have what you want, can they order it for you?

    If not, see if you can get UPS, FedEx or DHL to ship film to you when you are out there!
     
  3. How much film do you expect to use?

    The best, if you can possibly manage it, is to send film home by some reliable method as soon as you can, and have someone at home to get it processed for you and have a look at it. You don't want to find out about a camera malfunction before it's too late.

    The second best is to get your film processed locally, as you travel, but that assumes you'll be somewhere with a lab you want to trust it to.

    The worst is too carry it exposed and unprocessed with you for a long time, simply because you're increasing the risk of it getting damaged or the bag it's in getting stolen, etc. That might be a negligible risk, but it depends how you're travelling.

    As for buying, it depends on how fussy you are about the type of film you want to use and how well it might be stored by the people that sell it to you.

    Can't really offer much more without more info.
     
  4. thanks for the responses everyone. Norm, to give you some more info., specifically i shoot a
    lot of delta 100 and 400 as i am more of a black and white shooter. if i shoot slide i shoot
    provia., and i'm figuring that i need at least 180 rolls of film to feel comfortable. i guess i'm
    just wondering how reputable the postal system, courier, etc. is from china and india to
    canada. i'd hate to come home and have my film gone missing in transit.

    marlin.
     
  5. you could carry a tin of the film around. buy a 100 foot roll of delta 400 (since it would be a nice all purpose film) and then cut it, roll it, shoot it and then send it home. i don't know how practicle that is in terms of bulk (the film will be fine but the loader and the empty cassettes will take up some space in the luggage)

    my experience in traveling (and i haven't been to asia) is to go as light as possible, since by week 2 you'll hate every gram in that bad you have to lug around.
     
  6. of course a tin of film might get added attention from the airport guys. and that is best avoided.
     
  7. I just got back from 6 months cycling through south america (very hot and very cold) with 60 rolls of proviaF and two Leica M6s. I just kept all the exposed film with me (it was not easy to send stuff home) and developed it all when I returned to the UK. I could not detect any difference between the first and last rolls - not a bit of difference. Not sure I would carry 180 rolls (that is an awful lot of film), so perhaps DHL or fedex is a good idea to get stuff sent out and to return it. Are you sure you need 180 rolls? Have fun, both India and China are pretty amazing places.
    00Deht-25782784.jpg
     
  8. Of course it is David. A roll a day is a good rule of thumb as some days I might shoot none at
    all and some days more than one.
    Marlin.
     
  9. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    My wife and I carried approx 85 rolls of 35mm film with us on our 3 week trip to England and Germany (used all but a few rolls) it fit in a small soft side cooler approx. 4" X 7.5" X 10.5" I made a way to clip this with small carbiners to the outside of my Canon 200 EG photo backpack. When we were out and about we would only take a 1/2 dozen rolls and leave the bulk in the room or car. If backpacking I would split your film into 3 packages that could be mailed to you along the way. Using DHL or FED EX type delievery you could easily have a resupply in less then a week from most places around the world. You could also ship out as needed.
     
  10. We have been to the Australian Outback for a research project for 6 months. We stored the exposed film in the car for the whole time (I think it doesn?t matter whether one has to store the exposed or unexposed film in hot conditions). As we had no possibility to use a fridge we wrapped every single film canister in aluminum foil to keep it at least a bit cooler. We only shot slide film (Sensia 100) the results came out pretty good there was no difference to other film we shot at home.
    If you have the possibility to visit a 1hour photo lab I would strongly recommend that you shoot a couple of pictures with a color print film (maybe once a month) and develop it at the 1 hour photo lab (the prints also make great gifts to the locale people). We did this to make sure our cameras are working. It turned out the shutter of one of our Nikon F4s failed after the second week. We lost a couple of pictures but without the prints I would have used it for the whole trip.

    Good luck
    Gerhard
     
  11. The above advice seems accurate. I travelled to India with 80 rolls of film, using a lead pouch and asking for hand checking. Most of the time hand checking was granted. But in the US, security insisted on radiating my film on at least one connecting flight. They ended up hand inspecting it anyway when they found the lead pouch. It was a royal pain to carry around that much film for a month. For a longer trip I would consider sending film home, but I would also worry a little that the package might be irradiated by ignorant inspectors, maybe even with high dose equipment. It might be safer to develop the film locally before sending it back, if you find a store that you trust.
     

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