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How do I protect photography film from Xray while traveling?

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I am relatively new hear and love to see the wonderful photos here and I visit site to see the authors work but I have a question.

 

In my search on Google I read that xrays will effect film by turning it black. If this is the case how do I protect it while going through airport security?

Help...

I suppose I could but it through checked baggage but I've heard this sometimes get xrayed too.

 

I'm excited. I get to use my R lenses on my film Leica film cameras and on my Canon digital. My first real outing in quite some time.

 

 

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The checked luggage which you think 'sometimes gets x-rayed' actually gets x-rayed THE MOST, way more than the carry on luggage

 

 

Should be fine, I sometimes ask if they hand check it instead. They ask the ISO and I just say 1600

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Use hand check.

Besides that, in the analog time I used to use special protected boxes.

Those days you could buy those in photo stores which where selling pro films.

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I fly regularly on multi-airport international trips, and carry film both in hand-carry and checked-baggage. I have never had a problem with X-rays affecting my films, although the highest ISO I use is 400.

I don't use lead-lined bags, and I don't ask for hand-check. Maybe I'm just lucky.

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Haven’t had any problems with ISO 400 color film either - although I’ve never convinced anyone to give my film a manual inspection (despite almost always asking). One new annoyance is museums sometimes wanting to x-ray bags - although I’ve found that putting the camera in the basket under the stroller always gets just waved through without being put through the machine.

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I am relatively new...

 

I'm excited. I get to use my R lenses on my film Leica film cameras and on my Canon digital. My first real outing in quite some time.

Welcome Huu. Hope you enjoy the experience...we look forward to some of your pictures.

 

Just a side note...you won't be able to use R lenses on a Leica film camera. It is necessary to have live view to focus those lenses...does not work with range finder focusing. Those lenses may work with Canon...it depends on the adapter and sensor to camera mount registration distance.

 

As for x-ray fogging...views have been always been split on this discussion.

 

...

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Welcome Huu. Hope you enjoy the experience...we look forward to some of your pictures.

Just a side note...you won't be able to use R lenses on a Leica film camera. It is necessary to have live view to focus those lenses...does not work with range finder focusing. Those lenses may work with Canon...it depends on the adapter and sensor to camera mount registration distance.

As for x-ray fogging...views have been always been split on this discussion.

...

R lenses don’t work on Leica film (SLR) cameras? Since when? SLR cameras are constant “live view”.

 

OP didn’t mention only using Leica M bodies, did they?

 

As to film scanning, take your film in carry-on only. I’ve not seen any ill effects from at least four scans on 400 ASA film.

 

Enjoy your trip!

 

Cheers

 

J

Edited by Mute-on

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R lenses don’t work on Leica film (SLR) cameras? Since when? SLR cameras are constant “live view”.

OP didn’t mention only using Leica M bodies, did they?

True, my mistake. I assumed an M camera...oops

 

 

...

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.

 

Just a side note...you won't be able to use R lenses on a Leica film camera. It is necessary to have live view to focus those lenses...does not work with range finder focusing. Those lenses may work with Canon...it depends on the adapter and sensor to camera mount registration distance.

 

 

 

...

 

Wow, I must be doing something wrong. I can use my R lenses on my Leica R3 and my Canon bodies.

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@Huu,

 

Welcome to the forum - I hope your time here will be enjoyable and educational!

 

As for protecting your film when flying/traveling, the most important thing of all is to never put film in your checked luggage. 

 

I have used lead lined film shield bags and have had good results.  Domke bags come in different sizes and are the best bags of this kind in my opinion - see https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/185375-REG/Domke_711_15B_Film_Guard_Bag_Large.html?sts=pi

 

When I have used the large size Domke Film Guard bags when flying, I take my film out of the boxes and plastic canisters and put the rolls of film in a one gallon Ziploc freezer bag that then goes inside the Film Guard bags; You will be able to put 5-10 more rolls of film in each bag by using this method, too.

 

I put them through the x-ray machine that is used for carry on luggage.  They look like a black square to the x-ray machine operator, so they ask to open them at the other end.  I open the bags for them and take out the gallon Ziploc bags; they see a pile of 35mm film cans and that's us ally the end of the inspection.  Sometimes they will swab some of the film canisters or the inside of the bags to test for explosive residue which they never find.

 

If you don't have or can't get the Film Guard bags, in the U.S., airport security must hand inspect your film if you request it; that doesn't mean that they won't try to talk you out of it, though.  Just remain calmly and politely continue to make your request and you will get the hand inspection.

 

There are dozens of articles online about airport x-ray scanners and whether or not they will damage your film.  A lot people say they won't damage your film, but I have talked with a few serious film photographers and darkroom printers who insist that yes, airport x-ray machines will damage the grain structure of undeveloped film - even low ISO film - with the damage showing up as loss of detail in the shadow areas.  Why take a chance on that if you don't have to?

Edited by Herr Barnack

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Next time someone will claim about x-ray damaging film asks them then exactly it was. Most likely these stories are 20+ years old. This is then film and printing from it was serious

.

 

Here 2016 story.

RPX400 Maco direct made film (bulk roll) was delivered first from Germany to Moscow.

Then it was shipped as the gift to Canada. It was tossed for coupe of months between shipping and customs in Russia. 

Then it was checked on Canadian customs. 

Then film was rolled on re-usable cassettes and was in carry-on bag at Pearson airport. No fancy purses, no hand checking,  just went to machine.

Film was exposed in Moscow and was checked same way in Sheremetievo aiport. Just in the plastic box and in my bag with me.

Then it was same way at F.Shopen airport after more of the same film was exposed in Warsaw.

 

Guess what? Nothing wrong with it. Not on scans, nor on darkroom prints.

Edited by Ko.Fe.

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...As for protecting your film when flying/traveling, the most important thing of all is to never put film in your checked luggage...

I fly internationally on average every couple of weeks, often with multiple airport check-ins, and have never experienced a problem with film to 400 ISO.

I’m right now shooting 135, 120, and 4x5 film that has come through checked baggage on a trip to Australia, and don’t anticipate any problems beyond my own photographic abilities.

For all the “never’s”, I have yet to see any scientific evidence from others, let alone had evidence from the grotesque number of airport check-ins I have done myself.

If my experience changes (I’ll be on another flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur this weekend, with exposed and unexposed film in check-in), I’ll post a correction.

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I just flew from NYC to HK then Shanghai, Shenzhen, and back to NYC. Carried 400  ISO 35mm and 120 film out of their cardboard boxes and all in a clear baggie. When I got to x-ray machine I handed it to the security people and there was not one problem. They hand checked it, I was very nice, polite, and patient (after all these are government employees and I am asking them to do more work), and they were all nice to me as well. When I flew out of Shanghai I still had some film in my cameras and handed them the cameras too. They asked that I take a picture with my Leica R6.2, which I did (offered to take a picture of them, and they laughed and said they preferred I just took a different shot, which I did, see below). Anyway, point of the story is -- if you are going to make a lot of stops it is best to hand check and it isn't a problem as long as you present the film as I did (was told by others to it this way), have a smile, and understand they are doing you a favor so have patience.A few times in the US I even got into a nice conversation about film v digital. These guards are, after all, people too.

 

 

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I would like to take my Linhof to China on coming trips. Any suggestions for carrying the 4X5 sheet film safely? I would have two film boxes (one for unexposed and the other for exposed film). The problem I see is that the film boxes do not look special (like obvious film cassettes) and would be securely taped. I will ask in the US for hand inspection and should be OK, but am concerned with language barrier (I guess I can ask a colleague to write a note in Mandarin and tape it to the box). Any suggestions?

Thanks!

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I would like to take my Linhof to China on coming trips...

I’m right now traveling with 4x5 Delta 100, Neopan Acros 100, and Tri-X 320, having just been in India and Vietnam over the past few weeks, and now in Australia, returning to Malaysia this weekend.

As noted above, I haven’t experienced any issues with X-rays and, when it comes to sheet film, I’d much rather that they X-ray them than try to open the boxes.

Edited by EoinC

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I’m right now traveling with 4x5 Delta 100, Neopan Acros 100, and Tri-X 320, having just been in India and Vietnam over the past few weeks, and now in Australia, returning to Malaysia this weekend.

As noted above, I haven’t experienced any issues with X-rays and, when it comes to sheet film, I’d much rather that they X-ray them than try to open the boxes.

 

thanks for the information; I agree about opening the box! Do you just let them x-ray it then? Sounds like yours has been x-rayed multiple times with no issues. 

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Never had any issues either with X-ray machines at the airport and carrying film inside my carry-on luggage camera bag. Last year a friend of mine handed me old film stuff, and one item was a lead-foil bag to transport film rolls that they can't be harmed with X-ray. I can fit up to about 7 rolls of film easily in this bag, and I am using it since when travelling between airports. So far I wasn't even being asked about it or had to show it at security. The bag itself might not be necessary but it can't harm to use it either.

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thanks for the information; I agree about opening the box! Do you just let them x-ray it then? Sounds like yours has been x-rayed multiple times with no issues. 

 

As I mentioned above, the manufacturers of the x-ray machines state that they're safe for multiple passes (I think 8 is usually mentioned but that's probably allowing for a safety margin too).

 

You can find the technical information if you spend a few minutes researching on google.

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I stopped worrying about my film a long time ago, I have never had a film damaged from being x-rayed, even after multiple passes. Last year I had some 800 ISO Instax film x-rayed 5 times with no ill effect.

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