Can film go through TSA security?
We recommend that you put undeveloped film and cameras containing undeveloped film in your carry-on bags or take undeveloped film with you to the checkpoint and ask for a hand inspection. For more prohibited items, please go to the 'What Can I Bring?' page.
The increased radiation dose emitted by CT scanners will have a damaging effect on your film, and once damaged, there is no turning back. Traditional damage by radiation causes fogging on your negatives, resulting in a loss of detail and color accuracy.
Take your film out of all its packaging and wrappers and store it in a transparent, ziplock bag (the same way you would for all your liquids in your hand luggage). This way you can easily show it to airport security for hand inspection!
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) advises the following regarding film in disposable cameras. Never place undeveloped film (disposable cameras) in checked baggage. Security equipment used for screening checked baggage will damage undeveloped film.
In these cases, photographers should request hand inspection or pack the film in a lead-lined bag. We conducted a test at the airport by scanning a roll of Portra 400 three times through a traditional X-ray (not the CT scanner). The results were surprising, with minimal visible damage to the film.
While many airports' X-ray machines aren't strong enough to cause damage to film with one pass, the damaging effect is cumulative, meaning that if you're going to go through multiple airports, you could end up with foggy film by the end of your trip.
X-ray machines affect your film. It's good to keep it in your carry-on instead of checked baggage, but the best option is to ask a security team member for a hand-check instead. Film in checked-in luggage will be most likely affected. In the past, the carry-on x-ray scanners did not damage the film.
if you're going with a camera, you'll need to take the camera out of the bag at the airport and deposit it in a separate bin for screening. You can help guarantee that the security screening procedure runs efficiently and without any needless delays by doing so.
If you aren't able to get it to a lab within a month, then fridging/freezing it (and taking appropriate steps when defrosting it) will preserve the film quality. Exposed film loses quality faster than unexposed film due to a chemical reaction that happens only after exposure to light.
Don't put film in checked luggage. Don't load film into your cameras before traveling. Keep film in a single ziplock bag, removed from any cardboard boxes, but still in the plastic canisters (35mm) or foil wrapper (120). You can ask for a hand-inspection at the security checkpoint.
Can I bring an instax camera on a plane?
To prevent possible fogging of unexposed film during X-ray inspection of luggage at airports, it is recommended that all film and cameras loaded with film are carried as hand luggage and not transported in hold luggage. If facilities are available, then a manual hand search should be requested.
X-Ray Scanners And Film
Traditional X-ray scanners used to check hand luggage are safe for all but the highest speed films – 800 ISO and above. So if you have anything below 800 ISO, you should be fine to have it scanned. This also applies to Polaroid film.
The X-ray used to inspect carry-on baggage is much milder than the X-ray for checked baggage. Low energy X-ray will not cause noticeable damage to films under ISO800 such as Fujifilm Instax mini, Instax wide, Polaroid Originals 600 (ISO640) and SX-70 (ISO160) films.
Most of the modern 35 mm film SLRs support an automatic film speed range from ISO 25/15° to 5000/38° with DX-coded films, or ISO 6/9° to 6400/39° manually (without utilizing exposure compensation). The film speed range with support for TTL flash is smaller, typically ISO 12/12° to 3200/36° or less.
As already mentioned -- both camera and film will be OK in your carry on. If you can get hand inspection, fine. But don't worry if it ends up going through the X-ray machine. You can purchase a lead-lined bag at any camera supply store, designed specifically to carry film through airports.
Firearms, ammunition, and fireworks are prohibited, as are all knives and safety razors (including pocket knives and Swiss Army knives). Straight razors and replacement blades for straight razors are also not allowed. Most tools also cannot be packed in carry-on luggage, as they have the potential to cause harm.
In Standard Screening Lane
Remove your shoes and place them directly on the X-ray belt. Remove personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them into a bin with nothing placed on or under them for X-ray screening. (E.g. laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles.)
Consumer-sized batteries (up to 2 grams of lithium per battery) may be carried. This includes all the typical non-rechargeable lithium batteries used in cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, etc.) as well as the flat round lithium button cells.
Firstly, not all airports have CT scanners. And traditional x-ray scanners only affect films with an ISO of 800 or upwards. Secondly, you can ask airport security to check your rolls of film by hand. Keep your rolls of film in your hand luggage and carry them through security yourself.
10-20 years will see some noticeable deterioration. You will see those blues really start to take over. The grain size will increase, you might even lose a few shots on the roll. Anything older will be hit or miss and on a case-by-case basis.
Will 20 year old 35mm film work?
Yes. Old film doesn't go bad all at once – colors shift, contrast fades away, and fog builds up. Old film (~10+ years past the process date) will have faded, skewing towards magenta. In many cases, this is preferred and authentic to the time.
I always put film in a ziploc and ask to hand check, but on the off chance they need me to put it through the machine, I always travel with this bag in my carry on. I've sent film through in jt 4x over with no damage. And I've had several tsa agents confirm tk me that if it's an x ray bag, the film is fine.
All filming within the gate areas, concessions or other leased spaces is not allowed without the permission of the leaseholders. TSA Public Affairs must approve any filming of the TSA checkpoints in advance. U.S. Customs and Border Protection must approve any filming within customs areas in advance.
United's photography policy, which is typical for a U.S. airline, notes that taking pictures or video on its aircraft is permitted “only for capturing personal events.” It goes on to note that “photography or recording of other customers or airline personnel without their express prior consent is strictly prohibited.”
Checked Baggage Screening
TSA screens approximately 1.3 million checked bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Upon check in, your checked baggage will be provided to TSA for security screening.