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06-28-2008, 08:58 PM   #1
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Film & Airport X-ray

Maybe I'm being paranoid but I don't fly much and I'm only just getting back in to photography.
Taking two bodies and about 25 rolls of B/W and colour film on a trip - this will be in a pelican case that I intend to take as carry on luggage.

Will the security x-ray do any damage to the film (we've got 4 flights during the trip) and can I ask the security staff at Aussie airports to manually check the case instead of using the x-ray?

06-28-2008, 09:28 PM   #2
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You may ask for a manual inspection. As an alternative, you might want to purchase a lead-lined film bag that will shield your film from repeated x-ray inspections: Domke | Film Guard Bag, Large | 711-15B | B&H Photo Video
06-28-2008, 09:29 PM   #3
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Paul, I spent 34 years working for an airline and from experience carrying film through the checkpoints in the US when travelling, I will say it should not. I once took several rolls of film and exposed them one, two, three, four, five, etc times through the x-ray and it was only around the sixth exposure that you could see degradation of the pics. If I remember correctly that was ASA 160 film. Also, your machines should x-ray at the same strength as the ones here. If you're really concerned, you can always ask them to visually inspect it (don't know how that would go over down there) or get one of the bags to protect film from x-ray. Something like this: SMFSU Sima FilmShield XPF 20 FSU Maximum strength x-ray protective film bag for film of all speeds

06-29-2008, 04:56 AM   #4
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I've used the Domke bag that Christine linked (i think I have the medium) and it works well. Film developed beautifully after 4 trips through an x-ray machine (in the bag). With the hightened security these days, sometimes you have to explain what the bag is because it shows up as a lead blob on their screens. Sometimes they will want to look inside...

06-29-2008, 07:41 AM   #5
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i have done thousands of shots where the film goes through at least 2 x-rays before exposure and 2 after exposure, without any issue. ALL 400 ISO Kodak Gold.

In reality, I don't think there is an issue unless you are at above ISO 800
07-09-2008, 05:19 PM   #6
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Hi, I used own a one hour photo. Severe X-ray flattens the image (dull, low contrast and grainy). It depends on the power. It varies from machine to machine and from airport to airport. Right after the 9.11 it was really bad.

Request hand inspection with a little attitude. Tell them "I am a professional and I exposed (pushed the film) all at 1600 iso". They know that 1000 and above is sensitive to X-ray. Two lead bags, one inside the other is recommended just in case. Good luck.
07-09-2008, 06:34 PM   #7
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Ask for manual inspection.
Thats the best way


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