I've heard that sometimes the x-ray machines that are used in the airports will ruin camera film. I'm planning on taking plenty of pictures (and therefore, lots of film). Will the film get too hot if I put it in my checked suitcase? Any advice on wear to pack it so it doesn't get ruined?
better yet, buy your film in port before your departure and have your pictures developed on the ship-it costs more but its worth it, its cool to bring you pictures to dinner or cocktails and re-live the days memories.
There is a bag that I've seen online that you can put film in to protect it. I think it's available at Travelsmith or Magellan's. I haven't used them, but heard that they were a good way to protect film. Before I got my digital camera, I was just putting the film in my carryon and having it developed on the ship. Not much more than Target prices and didn't have to worry about it being ruined.
You can get what they call a lead bag at most camera stores - comes in several sizes ... I got mine at Ritz Camera. . I put that in my carry-on bag, but lately they've been searching it and I'm wondering if it's because it looks suspicious - being a rectangular package that they can't see through. On the other hand, it could be something else entirely.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012
I just went through this last week. We had 200 speed, and 800 speed film. The airport security said that 800 speed definitely needed to be hand checked, which they did very cordially. But coming on and off the ship, the security officers told us that anything under 1200 speed was OK. All our film turned out just fine. But we did have 1 roll of 800 speed developed on the ship. It turned out so well, we wish we would have done it all there!
Well, I said recently that I wasn't going to reply any more to questions that keep getting asked over and over, but in looking at this thread, and despite all the good advice that's been offered many times before, a few quick things really need to be said:
1. The effect of x-radiation is very real and it is cumulative. So while you may not notice any degradation from putting your film through once or twice, the third (or fourth, or fifth) time might be a killer. The deterioration is gradual (loss of contrast, color shifts, etc.). It isn't necessarily an on/off switch where your film is suddenly ruined.
2. Individual machines are seldom kept in accurate calibration--frankly, nobody bothers to do it very often. So the machine your film goes through may be giving larger or smaller doses than the machine on the next line, much less another city. It's a crapshoot.
3. Those who say that a machine is safe for film of "x" speed are just blowing smoke. There are many assumptions built into such claims (including the important assumptions that you will only pass the film through once and that the machine is not out of whack), and frankly none of these claims is reliable. Neither are anecdotal claims of "I put my film through and it was fine." These "war stories" are unreliable for the reasons mentioned above AND because those who make the claims may not be as critical of the results as a professional who can more easily recognize the evidence of deterioration from x-rays. Once again, it's not necessary for the pictures to be unviewable for them to be damaged.
4. The lead-lined bags are a problem for exactly the reason CruzNut pointed out. They work pretty well at shielding the film from x-rays, but they tend to show up as suspicious items themselves, and you're often back where you started. This will become more of an issue now that there's a special alert out for electronic and camera equipment that is supposedly being rigged with explosives.
The best bet is still to get hand inspections whenever possible and to have the film developed wherever you finish the roll, or mail it back to a reliable US lab.