Airport x-rays and film

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by SpAtZ, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. SpAtZ macrumors regular

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    #1
    I'm leaving for the galapagos friday. I am taking some film for underwater photography. Should I check it or should carry it on? Are there ways to get around the x-ray altogether? Will it actually make a difference? Also, I am taking several Mini-DV's. How should I bring those?
     
  2. dvdh macrumors 6502

    dvdh

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    #2
    Anyone going through airport security used to have the option of having film manually inspected. It's been a couple years since I have tried, but I assume that option is still open.

    Otherwise, it is unlikely that your film would be exposed unless it is higher speed than 800 or so.
     
  3. SpAtZ thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    That could be a problem it is 800.

    But how about the mini-dvs
     
  4. asherman13 macrumors 6502a

    asherman13

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    #4
    Carry the film on with you if you can; if not take as much with you of whatever you think you'll want most.

    Most airport security people who do security for carry-on baggage (JFK for sure) will allow you the option of having your film hand-searched. They do it right in front of you, it's no hassle or anything, but make sure that you ask for hand-searching of your film, because they won't ask you about it or have signs about it.

    Also, I say just have them hand-search all your film, just to be on the safe side.
     
  5. SpAtZ thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thanks. Think my external hadrive will be OK checked?
     
  6. SpAtZ thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Thanks. Think my external hadrive will be OK checked?
     
  7. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

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    #7
    Your hard drive should be ok. I've had my portable HDs go through the X-ray and come out fine. So long as there's no magnetic field coming from the scanner, you shouldn't have any worries.
     
  8. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    #8
    Who does puckhead hate the most right now..... lol jk
    I've always wanted to go! Be sure to post pics... or else... ;)

    But just ask for a hand check for your film and other equpiment
     
  9. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #9
    Definately don't check it, they use higher powered machines to probe that baggage. Hand check, I doubt mini-DV will be affected as it is digital, and probably thus less susceptible to stray photons.
     
  10. SpAtZ thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Dont worry ill have plenty up. Ill give iweb some work to do. Im probally gona average 500-600 frames a day. (Im trigger-happy)

    I guess im gona try to some how manage to get the external drive carried on its a lacie porche so its not too big. Im worried when im in Guayaquil, Ecuador some idiotic baggage checker is gona give me a hard time about a hand search. Same thing when Im at Galapagos airport.

    Edit: I posted this earlier this week but does anyone have sucess dialing up with a bluetooth phone? IS there an easy way other than cingulars 40 steps(there realy is) including using terminal.
     
  11. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

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    #11
    scheisse...thats like 20 rolls/ day! eek! you'd probably pay for a digital camera+psd just on film savings :eek::eek:
    this page has what thom hogan has to say about it (he's a pro photographer) http://www.bythom.com/galfilm.htm
     
  12. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #13
    NEVER place film in the cargo hold.It should always be carried with you. Also x-ray exposure is cumulative. Always ask for a hand inspection of film and carry a roll of 3200 ISO in that bunch.
     
  13. Felldownthewell macrumors 65816

    Felldownthewell

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    #14
    I always have my film hand checked, especially when going to a country where I don't speak the language. Firstly, anything under 800 SHOULD be fine; however, the less time it spends in an x-ray machine, the better.

    So I get the film checked by hand in the US where I speak the language and know that I am allowed to request a handcheck. When I go to Germany I let it go through the machine because I don't know how to ask for a hand check. Two or three scans probably won't do anything, but the less, the better.
     
  14. AllieNeko macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO CHECK IT! It WILL be destroyed if it goes through a modern machine.

    Carry-on X-ray is usually no harm, but you have the right to hand checks in the US so take advantage. They use TED (a chemical check) instead of the x-ray.
     
  15. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #16
    TSA - travelling with film

    Absolutely NEVER allow any film to go checked baggage. Never. The only exception ... if you really want to call it that ... is a gate-checked bag.


    In the USA, the answer is Yes.
    In other countries, the answer is maybe.

    Here is the TSA's official webpage on the subject. More on it shortly.


    The basic process is to have the film out & ready, and ask for a hand-inspect as you're putting your other stuff up on the X-Ray belt.


    Note that some TSA'ers will immediately say "its not necessary".

    Even though it is technically your right no matter what kind of film you have, the proper response is to say "I have high speed film" and/or "I have Professional film".


    Next, do yourself a couple of favors before you go.

    First, repackage all your film to make it easy for them to inspect. Take it out of the boxes and put the translucent cannisters into a ziplock bag. I find that two rows of 5 fit pretty nicely into a quart-sized ziplock.

    Second, rush down to your local photo store and buy a roll or two of the fastest film they have...it will probably be Black & White, and if you're lucky, you can find a roll of ISO 3200. This is your "See, I told you I had fast ISO film" roll in case any TSA'er has any doubts about ISO 800 film.

    BTW, if they insist on zapping it anyway, this ISO 3200 roll is your sacrificial lamb that you then make it a point to actually shoot, just so that you can have some fogged photos to then use with a nasty letter to the TSA afterwords to identify which airport, date, time, etc.

    Third, print out two copies of the above TSA webpage. The reason for this is in the event that you get someone particuarly obstinant, having something in writing gives you more credibility than anything you may verbally claim, particularly when its from their own website. Make it even less ambiguous by previously taking a pen to your "give away" copy, where you've underlined the "should remove" types of statements and to put net, meticulous checkmarks next to each catagory that your film qualifies under.


    Yes. Even the TSA's official website now admits that some amount of damage occurs with every X-Ray exposure.


    A few personal tips/comments on the TSA webpage:

    General use film **

    ...If the same roll of film is exposed to X-ray inspections more than 5 times before it is developed, however, damage may occur. Protect your film by requesting a hand-inspection for your film if it has already passed through the carry-on baggage screening equipment (X-ray) more than 5 times.


    This means that when you're on an international multi-flight itinerary where you expect to have 5 or more exposures before the film gets back home to be developed, you can tell them that...do note that this TSA recommendation is independent of film brand, grade, ISO, etc...it is all-encompassing.


    Specialty film **

    Specialty film is defined as film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher and typically used by professionals.


    Okay, but also note that that's not exactly what it says below. Here's all of the areas that are pretty easy to claim that apply to you:

    Film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher
    Film of any speed which is subjected to X-ray surveillance more than 5 times (the effect of X-ray screening is cumulative)
    Film that is or will be underexposed
    Film that you intend to 'push process'
    Professional grade film


    Comments:

    For 'will be underexposed', that's probably just different verbage for "push processing", since pull processing is very, very rare.

    For qualifying under the 'Professional grade film' line, it depends on what you bought. For example, if you bought Fuji Velvia (or Provia) instead of Sensia, or Kodak Portra instead of Royal Gold. Again, its probably not too late for you to run down to your local camera store to pick up a couple of rolls to take along if you don't already use these, because if you have a mix of film types, ISO's, etc, TSA inspectors generally find it easier just to test everything rather than to sort it and put just half through X-Ray. However, do be careful with your ziplocks in that you don't accidentally make it too easy to segregate your film ... this is generally more of a problem when outbound.

    Finally, always remember to:
    - be polite and generally upbeat/cheerful
    - have enough time (not be in a rush for your flight)
    - to apologize for causing them the hassle of a hand-inspect


    Do be aware that their SOP is generally to swab the stuff down to run a Nitrates (explosives) test.

    FWIW, I have had one or two TSA inspectors be a flaming jerk and threaten to pull the film out by its leader (destroying the film) as his form of "hand inspection". I think that the proper response here is to keep your cool and shrug: "well, you have to do your job", but with him knowing that you are most definitely observing.

    First off, do remember that if the leader is external to the can, its an unexposed roll, so they're just destroying property, not images: no reason to panic yet.

    I've never had a jerk actually do pull a roll, but if they did, I think my response would first wait to see if he's going to pull a second one. If he just pulls another, I'd probably say "I know that you're just doing your job, but the TSA says that I'm entitled to compensation for that: who here do I now have to speak to to get a receipt to file a claim for damage?"

    Note that this is NOT an "You're in trouble, buddy" type of threat. It is an acknowledgement that they are doing their job property (even if they're not), but you know that your rights allow you to financial compensation.

    FWIW, it appears that www.tsaclaims.org is the official website for this, and it looks like the paperwork is an SF-95 Form . I think I'll start packing one of these in my paperwork, and if I ever encounter such a jerk, just say "I have an SF-95 Claim Form with me that I'll be asking you and your supervisor to sign".

    Guess you can't tell that I'm a Federal Employee, can you? FWIW, I have gotten hassled at VPS - - turns out that that dangerous beep from their wand search was the metal of my 20 year service pin on my ID badgeholder. Gosh, that seemed to cause them to get awfully polite real fast once they found that :D



    They'll be fine in Carry-on. They probably would be OK too in checked, but the 2005 airline statistics are that roughy ~1% of all checked bags are getting lost, so this is an item that's probably small & light enough to keep with you and not take that risk.


    -hh
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17

    How can you shoot that much underwater? The dves there are deep, you're going to need a decent surface interval of over an hour. You could average maybe 5 dives per day if you push hard but the nitrogen loading will catch up with you You can't change film under water and only get 36 exposures per roll that's just under 200 per day tops.

    This is way most people have gone digital for UW work. THose multi-gigabyte cards hold a LOT. and you can review your work. It used to be the some of the boats had E6 development onboard so you could review your work. That's gone now. A housed D100 or D70 is just the perfect UW photo tool. With digital it's basically only the flash re-cycle time that limits your shooting
     
  17. SpAtZ thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    I am mainly shooting on land with my Dslr. My film is just for UW. I was reffering the 500 shots a day for land. You go on two several hour hikes a day.
     
  18. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #19
  19. KingSleaze macrumors 6502

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    #20
    For 'carry on' items, the x-ray is many times less powerful than the one used on 'checked' baggage. For film, if in doubt, ask for it to be 'hand checked'---the worst that can happen, is they will tell you No. Film is available in so many locations, if really in doubt, buy it, develop it at destination.
     
  20. ScubaDuc macrumors 6502

    ScubaDuc

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    #21

    True, true! But, the number of dives depends on the time/depth profile as you pointed out, and perhaps the OP wishes to use the camera on land as well. I have a lead lined bag to protect film and I have watched how in Nice, the French security refused to do a manual inspection on film, and to top it (the guy argued and he was American), they scanned his films four times.... :rolleyes:
     
  21. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #22

    BTW, what ISO film are you planning on shooting UW?

    Reason I asked is that I took my usual ISO 100 slide film (Sensia/Provia) and I found that it was "too darK" for wide angle on most of my dives, even if I resorted to shooting at 1/30sec - - I really needed ISO 400. It was a lot darker/gloomier at 80fsw than I was expecting...

    IIRC, I think I burned through ~55 rolls of 36 on my 2 week trip, and it was divided up as something like 30 rolls in the first 5-6 days, at which point I went "Holy Bovine!" and really had to throttle myself back, even beyond the slowdown that occurred on week two with doing 4-5 dives/day on the Peter Hughes liveaboard...I ended up being very miserly over the last ~4 days. I could have easily shot 80 rolls, probably more.

    With digital for land and film UW, I'd say that 500/day + 5 rolls/day is what I'd start my planning at.

    BTW, what's your "digital wallet" daily backup plan?


    -hh
     
  22. SpAtZ thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    I was told to get ISO 800 from the people at my nearby photo place. So i got 5 rolls its just gona be for snorkeling. I might pick up a few more.

    For backup I have my macbook an external hd and a a bunch of dvds/cds. And another person is bringing there ibook as well. I think Im pretty much set for that. Plus I have a 2 GB's worth CF. (1gb Sandisk, 512 Sandisk(Both ultra) and one 512 Generic.
     
  23. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #24

    For snorkeling, ISO 400 is fine, even without any strobe.



    -hh
     
  24. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

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