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07-05-2009, 01:41 PM   #1
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Is x-ray safe?

Hi all! I will be travelling abroad in a couple of weeks and it is my first time to carry my photography kit with me. I'll be bringing 2 DSLR bodies with grips, 4 lenses, a flash, chargers, filters and other accessories. My question is, is it safe for DSLR bodies, lenses and memory cards to be x-rayed at the airport? Also, what is allowed to carry onboard and what is prohibited? I have read in one article that a rocket blower was disallowed! Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

07-05-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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I've brought my K100D Super along with memory cards and lenses thourgh airport security, x-rays and all, with no problems.
07-05-2009, 04:58 PM   #3
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I can't imagine why anyone would disallow a rocket blower. I've traveled with one before with no problems. With the latest restrictions, I guess lens cleaning solution might be out. That's the only common thing I can think of that might be disallowed.

Although if they really were concerned about restricting sharp objects on planes, they'd have confiscated my DA40...
07-05-2009, 05:25 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
...Although if they really were concerned about restricting sharp objects on planes, they'd have confiscated my DA40...
I had that fear with my FA 50.
I fly quite a lot, with most of my gear. The only thing I check in is a sensor-cleaning kit which uses compressed air. Rocket blower and everything else I can think of go in my photo bag, and are cabin luggage. Never had an issue. Also never noticed any adverse effects of X-ray machines, not even the old fashioned ones you'll find in developing countries.. (not with film, either)

07-05-2009, 05:30 PM   #5
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Loose batteries won't be allowed. They are fine in the equipment, camera, flash but any spares will have to be in checked baggage.
07-05-2009, 06:15 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by fishy Quote
I had that fear with my FA 50.
I fly quite a lot, with most of my gear. The only thing I check in is a sensor-cleaning kit which uses compressed air. Rocket blower and everything else I can think of go in my photo bag, and are cabin luggage. Never had an issue. Also never noticed any adverse effects of X-ray machines, not even the old fashioned ones you'll find in developing countries.. (not with film, either)
I don't believe compressed air is allowed as check-in or carry-on.
07-05-2009, 06:30 PM   #7
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just flew cross country and to Hawaii - no blower, but had a bottle of aerosolized lens cleaner in my camera bag. Went through x-ray eight times - no probs.
07-05-2009, 06:38 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Loose batteries won't be allowed. They are fine in the equipment, camera, flash but any spares will have to be in checked baggage.
Now thats obsessive.....different rules in different jurisdictions obviously, as I've never had that issue travelling around Europe.

X-rays will not affect your gear as the photons pass straight through. The energies are low, and the photon flux is low, so there is no issue really.

X-rays issues only really apply to film stock, and to those of us who wear radiation monitoring badges.

07-06-2009, 09:19 AM   #9
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I've never had problems with carrying spare AA's (usually NiMH, perhaps sometimes lithium, but they've never actually then them out of the case to check).
07-06-2009, 10:13 AM   #10
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Batteries are covered under FAA (aviation safety) rules in the US, not TSA (security). (The TSA doesn't care about batteries unless they are not sealed, like maybe a 12V wheelchair battery.)

Security rules vary more, safety rules might apply to many countries. What rules are actually enforced varies the most. The actual FAA battery rules are here:

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/ha..._batteries.pdf

I wasn't aware of the exact rules until now. I often carry Eneloop-type AAs in my camera and flash, plus an unopened package of lithium AAs as a backup. I guess that's why I have avoided trouble.
07-06-2009, 10:28 AM   #11
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X-rays and spare batteries

There is no danger to your camera equipment or accessories from airport x-rays, either carryon or the ones used for checked luggage.

I always carry spare batteries, especially lithium batteries, in individual plastic bags, to prevent the possibility of short circuits. A direct short on a lithium battery can result in a lot of heat and possibly start a fire. Baggies are cheap.

I suppose that an overzealous TSA screener might think that a Rocket Blower is somehow threatening or could be used to disguise a weapon, but AFAIK, there is no specific rule that disallows them. Perhaps, in an x-ray, it looks like a hand grenade.

Interestingly, there have been reports that TSA testers have successfully smuggled dummy hand grenades, that really do look like the real thing, past screeners at several airports.
07-06-2009, 09:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I've never had problems with carrying spare AA's (usually NiMH, perhaps sometimes lithium, but they've never actually then them out of the case to check).
I've also carried loose AA's and AAA's as carry-on, both domestic and international, without issue.

Surprisingly, TSA put up a stink about a spare set of guitar strings once. Go figure...

The only photographic equipment that can be damaged by x-ray is film. No worries with digital.
07-06-2009, 09:26 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
...if they really were concerned about restricting sharp objects on planes, they'd have confiscated my DA40...


Good one. Have had my DA40 for a month now and *still* haven't gotten around to trying it out. Shame on me...
07-07-2009, 08:49 AM   #14
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Thanks for the replies, guys! I just wanted to make sure that nothing happens to my prized possessions. As I said I will be taking two bodies (an Olympus E-3 and a Pentax K10d) and will be totally devastated if one or both gets damaged. Both have adapters to take m42 lenses so don't worry about the different mounts.
07-09-2009, 01:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
I've also carried loose AA's and AAA's as carry-on, both domestic and international, without issue.

Surprisingly, TSA put up a stink about a spare set of guitar strings once. Go figure...

The only photographic equipment that can be damaged by x-ray is film. No worries with digital.
Why would the TSA care about your spare metal garrote strings, er, guitar. I meant guitar.
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