Film and X-Ray machines

Old Nov 21, 17, 6:24 am
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Film and X-Ray machines

Has anyone had their film fail by going through too many X-Ray machines? I know Kodak recommends a maximum of 4 passes though x-ray machines. Iíve had mine go though more than that and havenít seen any repercussions. I also sometimes have my film hand inspected rather than pass it though.

What happens when film passes though too many times?
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Old Nov 21, 17, 6:56 am
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X-ray scanning used on checked bags will ruin film in a single pass. I've had this happen and it adds a blur/fog to the entire image.

Carry-on bags use a less destructive scanning mechanism, either lower power x-ray or a different mechanism altogehter, and is OK for a few scans unless you're using high speed film. I always had it hand checked, even with 100 speed going through for the first/only time.

Kodak's POV
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Old Nov 21, 17, 12:39 pm
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Back in the day, I used one of those lead foil bags when taking film through airports. I don't even know if they are available anymore. Without the bags, my rule was to ask for hand searches and use film up within one trip. Leftover film was rotated out of the travel kit and used at home. Only fresh, previously unscanned film went on trips.
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Old Nov 22, 17, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by TwoShrimp View Post
What happens when film passes though too many times?
It gets a bit higher fog level, unless it goes through one of those CT scanners they use to scan checked bags, in which case it can imprint patterns on your film. The problem is, in the States the TSA is planning to install CT scanners for carry-on bags as well. They were supposedly running trials of these devices at PHX and BOS over the summer, though I never saw one at either airport. If they roll those out nationwide, be sure to request a hand inspection of your film (by FAA reg, you have a right to that in the US), though I haven't bothered to ask in years.
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Old Nov 23, 17, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
Back in the day, I used one of those lead foil bags when taking film through airports. I don't even know if they are available anymore. Without the bags, my rule was to ask for hand searches and use film up within one trip. Leftover film was rotated out of the travel kit and used at home. Only fresh, previously unscanned film went on trips.
Yup. Always have your film hand inspected.

They say it's safe up to ASA 800--but exposure is cumulative. You buy some film, fly somewhere, shoot, fly home--two passes, now it's only safe up to ASA 400. If the operator backs the bag up for another look at one airport, ASA 266. Same if your trip is international with a domestic leg. Back in the film era I always had some 400, thus I always had it inspected. Got some grumbling but they always compiled.

One thing I found that helped was I found some tubes--clear plastic with water-tight end caps. While they were built for 5 rolls I put only 4 in them, this meant that someone could look the film over without unpacking. (With a full 5 rolls the ends of two rolls would be covered and you couldn't get a look at the ends of the cans by tipping it back and forth.) Most of the time that was enough to make them happy. (Note, however, that the caps can become a pain to remove with altitude changes!)
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