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Film and TSA
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Feb 12, 2019 11:50:11   #
DougBlearning
 
How do i get film (not digital) through a TSA checkpoint without ruining the film??

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Feb 12, 2019 11:56:09   #
pquiggle
 
I used lead bags. The brand name was Film Shield. Have not traveled with film lately so I'm not sure how TSA agents will react to an opaque block moving through their x-ray machines.

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Feb 12, 2019 11:56:25   #
orchidalan
 
You can use a lead lined bag, but I think that now they say that the xrays used now don't harm film.

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Feb 12, 2019 11:59:40   #
rmalarz (a regular here)
 
Simply, and politely, ask them to hand check the film. Prior to heading to the airport, remove all the film from your camera(s). If your cameras are going to be carried on, prepare to remove the lens, cock the shutter, and release the shutter to show them it's really a camera. Politeness is the key.
--Bob
DougBlearning wrote:
How do i get film (not digital) through a TSA checkpoint without ruining the film??

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Feb 12, 2019 12:01:49   #
rook2c4 (a regular here)
 
Other than maybe extremely sensitive high speed film, it should be alright in your carry-on luggage. I've been doing it for decades, never a problem!

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Feb 12, 2019 12:03:42   #
pesfls (a regular here)
 
rmalarz wrote:
Simply, and politely, ask them to hand check the film. Prior to heading to the airport, remove all film from your camera(s). If your cameras are going to be carry on, prepare to remove the lens, cock the shutter, and release the shutter to show them it's really a camera.
--Bob

Correct. I’ve hand passed film to security without difficulty. An occasional frown is the worst I’ve experienced. But no trouble.

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Feb 12, 2019 12:24:33   #
Longshadow (a regular here)
 
I used to nicely ask them to hand inspect as it is film. Never had a problem.

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Feb 12, 2019 13:01:38   #
CHG_CANON (a regular here)
 
In the past, there were small signs indicating something like "The X-ray machine that screens your carry-on baggage at the passenger security checkpoint will not affect undeveloped film under ASA/ISO 800." I have not experienced problems where my film speeds are typically 100 to 400.

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Feb 12, 2019 14:32:03   #
a6k
 
The idea that x-rays don't harm film is a generality that might be true some of the time. However, consider this: if it's OK for ASA 400 once, is it OK for the same film twice? Four times? If your ASA is lower then it's less affected but it's not zero. It simply cannot be. There is a big difference between "affect" and "harm" but it's a matter of degree and ultimately it is a subjective conclusion.

My point is that "base + fog" is affected and there is no getting around it. The best you can do is to experience a small enough effect that you either don't notice or don't care. Exposure is cumulative. That's not debatable.

If you care about the image quality then have them hand-inspect it. There is no acceptable alternative. If the lead bag is good enough to prevent X-rays from penetrating it then it will be unacceptable to TSA for obvious reasons. Also, you can be sure that not all such machines are exactly the same. How do you know if the one you are at is not out of spec and much higher than it should be? You don't.

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Feb 12, 2019 14:48:44   #
Longshadow (a regular here)
 
CHG_CANON wrote:
In the past, there were small signs indicating something like "The X-ray machine that screens your carry-on baggage at the passenger security checkpoint will not affect undeveloped film under ASA/ISO 800." I have not experienced problems where my film speeds are typically 100 to 400.

They may have changed the machines over time, but I knew of a guy years ago that came back from Europe with four rolls of "yucky green" slides, not even the frame numbers were visible.
I still won't trust them.

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Feb 12, 2019 14:59:40   #
CHG_CANON (a regular here)
 
Like lots of things, you can trust to your experiences, your expectations, the published guidelines on the TSA website or even the anecdotes you've been told. The TSA has the final decision on how they operate their checkpoints. I've heard tell of the rubber Giottos rubber rocket blower being rejected, so you can guestimate the potential of the photographic knowledge of the team you encounter with your high-speed film, lead bags and requests for hand inspection. In 2019 it's likely film has already passed through some form of x-ray during the original distribution process.

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Feb 12, 2019 16:29:44   #
Longshadow (a regular here)
 
CHG_CANON wrote:
Like lots of things, you can trust to your experiences, your expectations, the published guidelines on the TSA website or even the anecdotes you've been told. The TSA has the final decision on how they operate their checkpoints. I've heard tell of the rubber Giottos rubber rocket blower being rejected, so you can guestimate the potential of the photographic knowledge of the team you encounter with your high-speed film, lead bags and requests for hand inspection. In 2019 it's likely film has already passed through some form of x-ray during the original distribution process.
Like lots of things, you can trust to your experie... (show quote)

I saw the slide film first hand - I worked at the camera shop where he brought it in for processing.
Needless to say, he was VERY disappointed. Maybe European scanning was much stronger at the time?

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Feb 12, 2019 17:01:31   #
CHG_CANON (a regular here)
 
Longshadow wrote:
I saw the slide film first hand - I worked at the camera shop where he brought it in for processing.
Needless to say, he was VERY disappointed. Maybe European scanning was much stronger at the time?

I don't have my own time travel machine to say ...
I only have the posted TSA statements and the film and relevant US-travel I've done in the past 12-months as a basis of opinion.

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Feb 12, 2019 20:43:20   #
DougBlearning
 
thank you all

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Feb 13, 2019 05:27:40   #
wdross (a regular here)
 
DougBlearning wrote:
How do i get film (not digital) through a TSA checkpoint without ruining the film??


Ask for a hand check. That is allowed. Depending on whether or not they know they obligations to photographers, you still may have to put your film through the scanner. Usually they are of low enough power that it will not affect the film with 2 to 4 X-ray exposures.

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