shipping film/ film holders /camera to - from france : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

hi there

i will be heading to france in august and was planning on using a 4x5 camera. does anyone have experience with shipping equipment back and forth, or would i be better off bringing some of the items with me? i was planning on sending unopened boxes of film, 5 -10 film holders and a camera. when i return i was going to ship everything so i wouldn't have to worry about custom or airport folks exposing my "shot" film.

thanks in advance for your advice!

-- jnanain (, May 24, 2002


I will also be travelling to Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania early next month and given a lot of thought to the whole issue of travel and film. If the fact remains that, checked baggage scanning machines are more powerful than those for carry-on I would strongly suggest you carry your film with you on either to or from destination. It makes no sense to let bombs in the country by DHL i.e not scanning anything that is DHL, FEDEXed, TNTed, or US Post mail. All packages go through the same process regardless of either comming via air or sea - there is even scanning machines for containers, so what difference does it make to DHL??? Just carry and let them be scanned at the airport as a carry-on.

I will carry mine and not wasted $$ on DHL.

-- Adrian Ng'asi (, May 24, 2002.

Why not develop your film in Paris? There are 63 pro labs in the central area, some known to be among the best in the world. It will also cost you much less than in the US. Some are open 24h/7d, most will process E6 in 2 hours.

For film, you can get it from Prophot for about the same price of B&H.

-- Roger (, May 24, 2002.

I use "Picto" when in Paris for E6. I showed them my business card and they discounted the processing about the same as the TVA (20%). Processing took about 3 hours as I remember.

On film, I would buy upon arrival just to be safe.

Good Luck, FWB

-- F. William Baker (, May 24, 2002.

Just forgot to say that Prophot is in Paris. (

-- Roger (, May 24, 2002.

thanks for your input :)

if i was going to be near paris, i might think of sending the b&w film to the folks you mention. i will be staying with family in a small village about 6 hours east of paris. when i say small, i mean really small .. i was just thinking of convenience more than anything else ...

if i have exposed film that i am bringing back with me ( if is don't ship it to myself), do the airport security people ask me to open boxes of film? or do they take my word for it that it is film?

sorry for such a goofy question :) thanks again!

-- jnanian (, May 24, 2002.

I don't know about France but here in the U.S. the degree of inspection seems to vary widely among airports and even among personnel in the same airport. I recently flew from Tampa to San Francisco and back carrying 4x5 film, some in Readyloads some in holders, plus a lot of 120 film. Most of the film was in unopened packages except, of course, the 4x5 in holders. I asked for a hand inspection. In Tampa I got some argument based on the idea that only film faster than 800 (according to one person) and 1200 (according to another) would be harmed by the passenger x ray machine but I did get a hand inspection. They didn't try to open any of the sealed boxes. Returning from San Francisco I got a hand insepction without any argument (though the inspector said only film over 1600 speed would be harmed). The inspector looked at each individual sheet of Readyload film and opened the boxes containing unexposed 120 film. Everything went very well and very fast. However, a friend who was travelling with me but on an earlier flight had a very rigorous hand inspection - opening sealed packages, going into a "darkroom" to check sealed packages, requiring that the foil in which the film came be opened, etc. etc. He said the inspection took more than an hour and the inspector insisted that he open the holders containing exposed film. Since the "darkroom" wasn't all that dark, he declined and sent it through the x ray machine. I don't complain about any of this, better some film be thoroughly inspected than that the plane blow up, but the inconsistency is bothersome.

-- Brian Ellis (, May 24, 2002.

Airport security guys here will problably open all your film boxes. You'd better FedEx everything to yourself, and mark clearly in your package that you have sensible film inside.

-- Roger (, May 25, 2002.

I also will be in France this summer (with 4x5 film), and need a site for E6 processing at the conclusion of my trip in Paris. What would be your recommendation in the downtown area (I will not have a car then). Do you have an address for "Picto".


-- Alan Eisenberg (, May 27, 2002.

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