Latest on traveling by plane? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

OK. I've decided I can't go to southern France without taking an 8x10. Instead of the Deardorff, I'll take a much lighter Bender, and a smaller tripod than I usually use. My question is, what is the latest on traveling with film? I'm contemplating shipping film ahead of time, and Fedexing it home.

-- Bruce Schultz (, May 13, 2002


Carry-on x-ray machines won't fog your film unless you're using something very fast. Checked bag x-ray machines *will* fog your film. If it makes you feel better, put the film in a separate bag so that when they rock your camera bag back and forth under the x-ray emitter, they won't be getting the film too.

-- Dean Cookson (, May 13, 2002.

Bruce there was just a nice long thread on going to France and taking film over in the archived section of You should definetly read it as there was many responses concerning this question, and from what I gather there was not hardly any problems going thru their scanners. There was also a rec by many to buy film there. The thread (which was really quite long) drew many responses on where to go to shoot as well, so it is definetly a very good resource on shooting in France. Go here: msg_id=002Djc

-- Wayne Crider (, May 13, 2002.


The guy on was going with a Canon 35mm. I wouldn't bet the trip I'd find 8X10 unless I knew in advance where to buy it and how much they had. You can find 35mm anywhere, but you won't find roll and sheet film very easily in France except in camera shops, just like here.



-- Steve Hamley (, May 13, 2002.

Flew out of PHL early last month, observed a small group of people with 4x5 gear, 4x5 film in boxes, some sealed, some not, and 120 film, some exposed, some still in the box. They tried to be adamant about not running their film through the carry-on xray machine, the security guys insisted on opening the boxes if they couldn't be x-rayed. Not a nice scene. Idiots and semi-reasonable ignoramuses, respectively.

I was shooting only 135 that trip, so just ran my briefcase with 20 rolls of KM and 10 of EB through the machine and went about my business.

Is there a moral? I don't know, but since seems to be the case that the carry-on x-ray machines won't harm slower (ISO < 1000) films I don't see the point of picking fights. FWIW, eventually something-or-other prevailed and the photographers flew.



-- Dan Fromm (, May 13, 2002.

I posted this before, but i'll post it again...

Well, I don't want to cause problems, and my experience was just my experience, but I sent my girlfriend to Mexico (post Sept. 11th) with Fuji 160ASA film (NPS or NPC, can't remember), and she came back with the tell-tail yellowish fog line going through her prints, including shots she hadn't exposed but had processed (i.e., black prints with a yellowish fog line going through the center).

I know everyone says, no problem, under 1000 ASA will be ok, but that's not what happen in this instance, even with "slow" film. I hope that this is an isolated/unique case.


-- Peter Chipman (, May 13, 2002.


I live in Europe part of the year and have found that it is easier to simply by film there. This completely eliminates traveling with film and the attendant worries. I imagine the film you use can be purchased in France, or at least in the EU, in advance and shipped to your address there. Lotus View Camera in Austria and Robert White in London are two reliable sources that I have done business with (the people at Lotus speak great English). I'm sure there are others in France as well.

If you can buy film there, then, if possible, try to develop it there as well. This way you can just carry it on the plane with you on the way home. I know Lotus has a darkroom available for precisely this situation and I would imagine someone in France does as well. Perhaps some of the European participants on this forum can be of assistance in this matter as well.

Hope this helps, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, May 13, 2002.

I agree with the post that suggested it is safer to put film in carry on bag and not in checked baggage. I recently took 3 seperate trips and carried a box with some HP5. After the first trip (4 xray screenings) I pulled some sheets and processed. 2nd Trip involved 5 screenings (cumulative total 9) pulled some sheets and processed. 3rd trip 4 more screenings and processed remainder which had a total of 13 passes. I had a lab check each batch with a densitometer and the first two showed no problems, the third had visible fogging.

There are obviously variables in machines and perhaps the intensity with which they are used, but this has convinced me for now that your ok depending on number of flights the trip involves.

-- James Chinn (, May 14, 2002.

Hi Bruce, I agree with Dean and James, you must keep your sheets in your carry on bag, since carry-on X-rays machines will not fog them(<5 runs, according to Kodak recommendation)( and probably <1600 iso).For checked bags, most of internationals airports are now fitted up with InVision Technologies CTX5000 & CTX5500 tomographs and L3 Scans (rotating tube), they are very powerfull and ONE run is sufficient to damage a film, even the slowest. I hope this can help you. Best regards

-- Daniel Luu VanLang (, May 14, 2002.

try this online shop : the shop is based in paris, you can use chronopost (24 hours delivery)

-- dg (, May 14, 2002.

Kodak has this FAQ:

-- jason (, May 14, 2002.

My recent experience fits with the above info, BUT a recent poster to noted that when a carry-on bag went through the security x- ray and the personnel couldn't identify the contents, they x-rayed it again at a higher dose. You can buy 8x10 without in Paris, so if you're flying there first, stock up and then head out of town. If you're flying into Marseille or Lyon then you should check availability first.

-- Paul (, May 14, 2002.

Be aware that film in France (like anything photographic) is significantly more expensive than in the US.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, May 14, 2002.

I would like to add to my previous post that I am not worried about my personal work. However if I was flying somewhere to shoot for a client, ( I am not a professional, only hypothetical), I would probably arrange to have film available for purchase when I got there and have it processed before bringing it home. The way things operate in my universe, the more important something is seems to be directly proportional to chance of something screwing it up.

-- James Chinn (, May 14, 2002.

I just flew to Las Vegas from Philadelphia, and Austin from BWI, then back. The first trip they would not hand-check my 120 film at either airport. The second trip they hand-checked politely at both airports. I find they are more likely to hand-check if they are not too busy, and if when they say "Oh, it's only 160 ISO, it won't affect film that slow" you answer in a plaintive tone, "But I'm afraid it's cumulative, some of these have already been x-rayed a couple of times." They hear that.

By the way, my SwissCard, which has a sharp knife in it, sailed through the carry-on x-ray four times undetected.

-- Sandy Sorlien (, May 17, 2002.

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