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Slide Film And Airport X-Ray Machines

Wed Sep 24, 2003 4:13 pm

This has surely been posted before, but to make a long story short, I shoot Sensia 100 and Provia; and since I went digital, I've been shooting less and less slides. I have around 5/6 unused films in my camera bag along with another exposed one in my EOS 30 which have been carried along since the last spotter meeting at LHR in July.
So basically I've been 9 times through security screening since then and I am going to LGW next week . Will all this have affected the film's integrity ? and should I forget about these and buy new rolls ?
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RE: Slide Film And Airport X-Ray Machines

Wed Sep 24, 2003 4:47 pm

Hi, Will

9 times shouldn't be "too" much. I've had my films screened for about 20 times and they are just as fine as normally.

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RE: Slide Film And Airport X-Ray Machines

Wed Sep 24, 2003 6:48 pm

At VIE they have special stickers on the machines informing that they are safe up to ISO 1600. And they were right, my films, although not slides, were in ok condition after arrival.

How about other airports?
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RE: Slide Film And Airport X-Ray Machines

Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:47 pm

If they were with you they should be okay. But remember that if they were in checked baggage they probably went through a much more powerful machine that WILL fog the film to the point that it is totally ruined.
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RE: Slide Film And Airport X-Ray Machines

Thu Sep 25, 2003 2:51 am

One important thing to remember about how film reacts to X-rays, airport or otherwise, is that the effect if cumulative. This means that the total dose is being added to each time you pass through an airport x-ray device.

Of course, this cumulative effect is most noticeable at higher film speeds (asa or din) and while airport signs might legitimately state that they do not damage film, they are correct if a single pass does not cause noticeable image quality loss. So the real question is how much you wish to gamble?

Personally, my film is NEVER x-rayed unless it is protected by lead foil. I always insist on a hand search which is your legal right whenever possible if I have the extra time. When x-ray is necessary, I package my film in lead foil Filmshield bags for further protection. In an ironic light, there are many times that the lead foil bags have gone through x-ray and screening and not once have I ever had any screeener ask me "what is inside the lead bag?". Kind of silly when you consider what could be hidden in these lead bags. I've seen the screeners x-ray screen and it's just shows a total blank where the lead foil bag is. Can you say placebo instead of screening and security??? Oh well, such is life.


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