Avoiding x-ray damage to film

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If your trip is going to cover three weeks or more, here is an option which guarantees no film damage by x-ray machines at airports.

Take an inexpensive, empty 35mm camera. Wait until you arrive and then purchase a couple of 24-print rolls. Have your film processed as you use it at one of the plentiful one-hour Kodak kiosks. Keep one roll ahead as you go.

No pleading with rigid airport inspectors who lie to you about the possible film damage their x-ray machines will cause. No waiting until you return home to assess the possible damage done to your entire sack of unprocessed travel film.

On a trip to Australia in fall 2002, I paid an average of US$5 to buy a roll and about the same to have it processed at one-hour machines. Prices are flexible, so always ask the going price. At the smaller kiosks, bargain.

We spent 10 weeks touring the major sites and found Kodak signs everywhere. Processing equipment used to fill a small room, but now prints can be produced by a machine about the size of a fat microwave. Any store that has extra table space buys one of these machines, puts up the Kodak sign and is in business. Our prints were always of high quality.

I might mention that I own an excellent Sony digital camera but chose not to take it. That let me skip the bundle of cords needed for the battery charger plus the cords needed to patch into a TV to evaluate the day’s results. I also did not have to carry the needed extra storage sticks or cards or batteries — or the thick owner’s manual that I would have had to refer to hourly.

An interesting option for some digital camera users would be to pay for a more expensive processing charge, be given a disc instead of prints and carry the smaller-sized CDs home with you. Or find an Internet café and send the pictures home to friends via your e-mail program.

KEITH LARSON
Portland, OR

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

If your trip is going to cover three weeks or more, here is an option which guarantees no film damage by x-ray machines at airports.

Take an inexpensive, empty 35mm camera. Wait until you arrive and then purchase a couple of 24-print rolls. Have your film processed as you use it at one of the plentiful one-hour Kodak kiosks. Keep one roll ahead as you go.

No pleading with rigid airport inspectors who lie to you about the possible film damage their x-ray machines will cause. No waiting until you return home to assess the possible damage done to your entire sack of unprocessed travel film.

On a trip to Australia in fall 2002, I paid an average of US$5 to buy a roll and about the same to have it processed at one-hour machines. Prices are flexible, so always ask the going price. At the smaller kiosks, bargain.

We spent 10 weeks touring the major sites and found Kodak signs everywhere. Processing equipment used to fill a small room, but now prints can be produced by a machine about the size of a fat microwave. Any store that has extra table space buys one of these machines, puts up the Kodak sign and is in business. Our prints were always of high quality.

I might mention that I own an excellent Sony digital camera but chose not to take it. That let me skip the bundle of cords needed for the battery charger plus the cords needed to patch into a TV to evaluate the day’s results. I also did not have to carry the needed extra storage sticks or cards or batteries — or the thick owner’s manual that I would have had to refer to hourly.

An interesting option for some digital camera users would be to pay for a more expensive processing charge, be given a disc instead of prints and carry the smaller-sized CDs home with you. Or find an Internet café and send the pictures home to friends via your e-mail program.

KEITH LARSON
Portland, OR