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Italy.... film or digital?


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I go slightly nuts when planning for any big trip.  I just completed 5300 miles on a Harley up around Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.  I had a really hard time selecting the photography gear to take.  I ended up with a FujiX-T4 with the equivalent of 35f2 and 85f1.2 and it did everything I asked of it and did it well.  I am loving the mirrorless viewfinder and see it as the next logical step compared to a traditional SLR.

But on the third day or so, I started missing my M4 but could not do anything about it.  Now, I am back in Alaska and since I abhor cold weather I am plotting a six week escape to Vietnam and SE Asia at the end of November.  Although I usually don't make final gear decisions until the last moment on this trip, my gear will be an M4 with a 35 and a 90.  And the FujiX100f is so small it fits into one of the lens compartments of my Billingham Hadley so it goes too.

I have traveled with film from the days when it was all we had.  I ask for a hand inspection and so far have never been refused.  As far as I know I have never had any film ruined in over 50 years of travel.  I am not saying that it can't happen but it has not happened to me.  People on this forum have stated they only travel with digital because of their worries about film fogging.  I would be more worried about someone stealing a nice new digital camera but ignoring my old film camera.

Take what you want.  Don't live in fear.  Fear is the killer of dreams including the use of film vice digital when traveling.

Edited by ktmrider2
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On 6/27/2022 at 3:27 PM, Linford said:

We have made plans for a trip to Italy this fall preceded by a few days in Paris to meet with friends. I have been to both France and Italy on various occasion. This time I am tempted to do something different--capture it all on film. The idea of traveling without batteries and adapters or even a laptop is very tempting and a definite first. Over the years I have gone nearly no where without my M10-D across my chest. Before that it was the M10, SL, M240, M246 and M9M--always a camera with me. At home and around town I love shooting my Leica MP (film), and the various film cameras I own. However, I haven't used them exclusively on a trip for many years. I am concerned about the logistics of navigating multiple international airports with film. Should I be nervous about that? Of course, there is the confidence and security that comes with the digital advantage. I would hate to come home and be massively disappointed. So, I guess I am a little insecure too. Though the logistics are my greater concern. Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome on film could be an awesome experience. If I dare...... Any thoughts? Cheers--lt

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Yes. Do take your film camera. Once I took film cameras (one with color and other for BW) on a road trip, leaving digital M at home. It was such a relaxing and enjoyable experience. No battery charging every night. No chimping every shot. Not trying to shoot everything I see. And not coming back home with 4000 pictures to sort through. I still shot around two roll each day though. 😊

Also, I don’t think air travel is a concern. I have travelled in USA and EU without spoiling any film. I have always carried it in carry on and have asked for no special treatment. My fastest film wa 400. In fact I found one unexposed film hidden in my bag after several years and it must have flown dozens of time. I used it after finding it and it was ok! Talk about free film. 😁

Finally, just to add to relaxation, carry no more than two lens, leaving one in hotel. You won’t shoot everything, but whatever you shoot, will come out awesome. 😊

Enjoy your trip. 

Edited by jmahto
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Jmahto makes several good points.   Don't take the kitchen sink but one body and  only one or two lenses.  Travel light and you will travel happier.  I carry the 35 and 90, and not the fastest versions. Since I don't shoot night or much interior, I have found f2.8 lenses to be fine.   Have looked at the Tri-Elmar but not real happy with f4.  Have fun on your trip.

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50 minutes ago, jankap said:

It should be possible to use a digital camera in the same way as an analogue one. Perhaps if one uses smaller SD-cards? Are there ones for perhaps 40 pictures?

You should get 20 of those fancy $300 Angelbird SD cards, shoot only 36 exposures on each, then throw them away after you download the images.  Because if you want that film experience you should only use them once, the way a roll of film can only be used once. That should satisfy you.

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Here's how it went. A wrap up on the travel experience with film. We made it back without any exposures--except for one baggy with 4-rolls that fell out of the larger bag. I marked them with an X to see if there is any effect. Phoenix, Chicago, Paris and Rome--the only one to give me any "resistance" was Rome. The guy just didn't want to hear it. Insisting the machine was safe for the film. I insisted, "no it is not!". He shook his head and asked if I was a professional. I said "No, but I do have 3200 ISO film in there and it is not safe for the machine". He reluctantly walked away with the package and handed it to a colleague to inspect. With a final moment of bravado he commented, "I am just trying to do my job". I said, "Thank you". His colleague who actually dod the inspection could not have been more kind to considerate. Overall, it was not a bad experience. I will not hesitate to do it again in the future. Cheers--lt

 

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My girlfriend would wear my Leica M10 with whatever lens I am not using. I would use my Leica MP and whatever lens I was wanting to use. I'd document everything with film and she could enjoy the experience of learning to use a rangefinder while also not knowing she was my leica lens bag. 

Being Russian she also had 2 soviet union rangefinder cameras from her grand father. 

 

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Edited by maxfairclough
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  • 1 month later...

Just my experience. I recently did three international flights in modern airports with 35mm Portra 400 no inspection. All totally fine.

I think some people take the same unexposed rolls on multiple trips if they don’t shoot much and maybe that can dog them. I plan to take a test film through five X-rays to test. A lot of places however you can just have dev only when you’re there. A pain? Or a chance to meet and talk to people, see a different part of a town or city.

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On 7/30/2022 at 8:36 PM, stray cat said:

scanner I’ll have to insist that it goes through in this lead-lined pouch, to which he (much to my surprise) readily

I have traveled to South America and Australia 4/5 times each… no issue with film (exposed or not) or camera. I unload camera prior as they might open it up. My film is 400. I will travel with enough rolls n purchase more if needed. But this next trip I am planning on taking 20 rolls so will be a new experience. I have never regretted taking film. I do take either a Ricoh gr or x2 backup 

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Am presently in Vietnam and left the FujiX100f at home but have the M4 with 35/90.  I have not taken very many photos because it is the rainy season and both the light and weather suck.  I have used my phone more just to send snapshots of exotic locales home.  I still enjoy the film experience but traveling with an expensive camera in bad weather by motorbike (both front and back) is a PIA!  

Vietnam is a exotic country and has a lot of unique landscapes and is easy to photograph but if the light is not right, do not waste your film.  Years ago, I was an assistant/guide  for a friend shooting for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC in Alaska and we could go a couple days and she would not pull her camera from the bag.  I asked her about it and she explained "godlight", just taking snapshots of fantastic scenery would not bring home the bacon for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. 

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I'm in Italy right now on a three week trip through Campania, Calabria, and Sicily.  I have my MP and 50mm 1.4 with me and about 20 rolls of film, mostly Tmax400 but some Portra800 and Tmax3200.  As much as I would rather have the smaller 50 Summarit or Summicron, I'm glad I have the 1.4 aperture because it gets dark around 4:30pm and the extra stop is necessary.  Shooting with the MP is really enjoyable.  I had them hand inspect the film on the way over. It's usually not an issue with the US airports but I had problems with hand inspection last year flying out of Italy with film. They ended up running it through the xray, but it didnt cause any problems.  I was using Trix and Tmax100 last year.  With the 800 and 3200 I have this year I will put of more of a fight if they give me problems. 

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