Where should you pack unexposed film? What about exposed film? Carry-on or checked luggage. I thought I read something about that it can be ruined by the xray at the airports. I would hate for the film to be ruined but worse yet all our vacation pictures.
Many people will tell you to buy film at your destination (usually expensive) and get it processed before coming home (did I mention usually expensive). Others will tell you to buy a protective bag. I have carried hundreds of rolls of unexposed film in carry on luggage over the years and the same amount of exposed film on return. I work for a photography company . I have never had an issue with damaged film.
The new machines used for Check-In luggage at some airports are MUCH stronger
and may damage film. Don't know for sure , but I wouldn't check in my film anyway.
Really want to be sure? Go digital.
Some security check points will still hand check film if you have removed the packaging and carry them in a zip loc bag. The cruise lines seem to be particularly good about that. The rule seems to be no to carry film, exposed or unexposed, in check luggage. Buying film at vacation sites is prohibitive, but a way around carrying exposed film back is to take some pre paid mailers; York, Seattle, Dale, Mystic, Kodak or Fuji, and mail them as you use the film. So far, the postal service isn't zapping packages but that day is coming.
I've only had a problem with film once and it was all the rolls on that trip, I had different kinds of film and a couple disposable cameras. So I'm fairly certain it was the x-ray machines. I changed planes several times throughout the vacation and went through multiple x-ray machines. I think one or 2 times through the machines don't seem to make a difference, but I'm more careful now, I do the zip lock baggie method for personal inspection now.
Most of the info here is good. Do not put any undeveloped film in checked baggage even if in lead bags. This also applies to digital memory cards. I have read articles and warnings about damage. Hand checking film is always the best method if possible. My two flights since 9/11 did not allow it, even though the law says it is allowed. Popular Photography magazine has a updated article on this in the current months issue.
Whether the carryon machines impact film if done several times is still a matter of debate. I have read articles and posts on photo boards from professionals concerning this issue. Using local labs for developing and mail in envelops has become more common among professionals. The cost factor is not as important to these people who get paid for what they do. They need results. We will try to get some of our film developed in Anchorage while there if time permits and will check on the ship prices to avoid multiple checkins.. Hope this helps, I have been asking and researching same for several months.
I returned last night from Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. I was chosen (Oh lucky me!) to have my checked in bags x-rayed. I don't take photos. That's my daughter's job since she's a really good photographer and I'm not. So I had no film in my bag, but over and over again there are signs saying that unexposed film will be damaged. If you had film in your bag, they give you a chance to remove it and put it in your carryon. My daughter's photography teacher told her the leaded bags were a waste of money.
If you notice any Xray damage or not, zapping film doesn't do it any good. The hand check seems to work only in the USA and that was before airline employees were replaced with the brain dead psychopaths which now pass for federal security. If you hand security personnel overseas your ziplock, they will toss it on the conveyor. Best bet seems to be to carry unexposed film on you and be nice to people, then try to have your exposed film processed, either on the ship, or through the use of mailers, before plunging into the system on your return.
Another option for exposed film is to mail it home to yourself or UPS it home to yourself
before you get to the airport. You can always bring a padded envelope with you with postage on it and put it in a mail box,
I was reading through LLbeans Travel Stuff Catalog last night. They sell a protective bag , but, right in the product description it says"not for checked luggage".
One of our photographers pointed out today that this is for two reasons. 1) the high radiation levels of the new machines used for checked baggage make most of these bags useless, 2) he speculated that if you had a really effective bag, it would show up as an "un xrayable" blob and it might prompt security to open your checked bag. They don't bother to use keys on your locks or to call you down to open your combinations. From that point on your baggage is going through the system unlocked and certainly not as carefully packed as when you left home.
While handchecking is always the best alternative, running it through the hand carry machine just once or twice on a trip should not cause a panic attack for most retail film of 800 speed or less. The mailers and local processing are still good possibilities. When the Deputy Sheriff told me it was through the machine or no flight, dispite what regulations say about allowing handchecking, I decided maybe I wanted to be on my flight and ran it through. But I did get all of it developed at my destination, which took a couple of hours out of my vacation time but reduced the risk going home.
Been through security 5 times since 9/11. Carried film in all speeds from 200 to 800. Had no problems. Some rolls went through the x-rays 2 and 3 times with no problems.
Begining to think this is another urban myth.
The best pictures are in our heads anyway.