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Going back to film, problem at airports

Trevor121 1 13 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2020 10:28PM
I recently made a big decision, I'm going back to using film, shock horror I hear from the back of the room, shouts of sacrilege have been, venomously, yelled at me, but I don't care, I really do have good reason's to take this, apparent, backwards step, and here's why.

First and foremost, I took a serious look at my equipment, I put all my gear on the dining room table and realised, I only have one decent digital camera, my trusty Nikon D200 which I have been using constantly over several years, I now feel that it has been left behind by, everything produced in the last 10 years never mind the latest models, it's now 15 years old, and the results, compared to today's technological offerings, are sadly lacking, so do I upgrade, or do I change direction

I have a lovely old Nikkormat FTn which dates back to 1967, it is a wonderful work of mechanical engineering, 53 years old, it feels like it will go on working for another 153 years, it still takes photographs as good today as it did when it came out of the factory.

My trusty Nikon 801s, the camera that paid my mortgage back in the days when I made my living writing for Amateur Photographer and other mags as well as being a freelance photographer for many national and local newspapers. I used to use a Nikon F3 as a back up, but was hardly ever used, the 801s never let me down, day in day out through all weathers it got the job done, it's as good now as it ever was.

I purchased a Nikon F4 as a replacement for the F3, but again, I preferred the 801s, it's had very little use, built like a tank, it's going to out last me that I'm sure.

Then I bought a Nikon F90 which was going to replace the 801s, but it never has, it's like new, all my film cameras take the same quality of photo as they did when I first bought them, they rely on the quality of the lens and the film stock rather than the number of pixels in a digital camera

I have all the lenses I'll ever need from 24mm to a 80-200 F2.8 Nikon zoom and a wonderful Tamron SP90, so, what's all this about?

Since I retired, I have found that I now have the time to travel abroad to all the places I couldn't get to before, I like photographing wildlife, and I have found my spiritual home in Florida, I spend as much time as I can, wandering around the lakes and backroads, I'm in my element there, so it's film I'll be using in future, or will I?

Last week I read two reports from Kodak Alaris, the first was the news that the company is committed to continue to making colour film, they have been contacted by the big production companies who still want to use film, this is good new for all users of yellow giant, it will filter down to us mere mortals, it will be available for years to come.

Second was news about airport x-rays and CT scanners. Kodak are advising that ALL unprocessed film is manually examined by airport security, putting it in hand or hold luggage will cause the film to fog. These new scanners are being rolled out to airports across the USA, I'm sure it won't be long before we in the UK and Europe follow suit, and this creates a problem.

I recently travelled to Madeira, before I went, I posted on forums and requested if it was possible to purchase film in the country, and places to get it processed before coming home, I didn't get a single response, I ended up taking the D200, leaving some very good equipment at home.

So, this week, I contacted Manchester Airport, it's the one closest to my home. I asked if I could have my film examined manually by Airport Security, I am well aware of the need to be vigilant, I have completed the full terrorist awareness course, as run by the UK Government, and I cannot see why it would cause any major problems in presenting rolls of film in a clear plastic bag, however, the reply I received is not good reading, I have pasted it below.

Dear Mr Smith,

Thank you for your enquiry.

Manchester Airport will require you to place this item through a screening tray, which will underpass the X-ray Imagery. Screening process is only adjusted on medical grounds with some supportive medical evidence.

Thank you again for understanding our security procedure and the advise about future. However, at this moment there has been no change in search procedure advised by the security compliance department.

I hope this guidance helps.

Kind Regards,

Mehran K.

Mehran K.

MAG Airport Advantage Team Customer Service for Manchester, East Midlands and London Stansted Airport

So that, for me, rules out taking film through the airport.

Due to the places in the USA that I visit, I think it should be easy to buy film when I am in the country, processing should not be a problem, but I want to go back to Black and White, I have recently bought some film directly from Ilford and was hoping to take a couple of rolls with me on my next trip, I'm not sure about the availability of black and white film in Florida.

I would love to hear if anyone has encountered any similar problems with film at airports, meanwhile, I am refamiliarizing myself with ISO's and all the other things I have forgotten over the last few years, I am now committed to film again, and it's like falling in love with my hobby again.
pablophotographer 9 1.7k 389
2 Feb 2020 11:25PM
Hi. I had the same worry 4 years ago, films passed in my hand luggage, not loaded in the camera, prints came out well.
Trevor121 1 13 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2020 11:30PM
Yes, previously I have been through security with film without problem, I'm not sure that it will be the case when the latest scanners are installed
pablophotographer 9 1.7k 389
3 Feb 2020 12:07AM
Try getting an answer from Harman Labs USA, They could possibly tell you who sells their film in Florida.

Trevor121 1 13 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2020 12:10AM
Thanks, will do
pablophotographer 9 1.7k 389
3 Feb 2020 3:14PM
And could you please tell us what they said about the new scanners? It is good to share knowledge...
Trevor121 1 13 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2020 3:29PM
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
4 Feb 2020 1:02PM

Quote:all my film cameras take the same quality of photo as they did when I first bought them, they rely on the quality of the lens and the film stock rather than the number of pixels in a digital camera

Your digital body is 14 years old, its very outdated but it takes the same quality of photo as the day you got it, it behaves no differently in that respect.

You have a wealth of experience but it's a shame that you're spending your time worrying about xrays and airports instead of taking photos.

You have fab lenses, you just need something modern that can get the best out of them.

Something like this

Nikon's latest lightweight 24.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor delivers outstanding levels of detail and tonal range, even in low light situations

High-speed, high-performance EXPEED 3 image-processing engine - transforming digital data into superior quality images with smooth colour and spectacular detail.

High-speed continuous shooting at approximately 6 fps and newly developed quiet continuous shooting (Qc mode) at approximately 3 fps

Auto white balance that achieves natural colour reproduction
Trevor121 1 13 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2020 1:10PM
If you read my post, I already said my D200 is outdated, at my age now, I don't feel the need to go to the expense of purchasing a new Digital SLR, especially when I have film cameras that are capable of taking the quality of image that I want. I also said that I should be able to purchase film when I go to the USA, the point of my post was to make others aware of any problems that may be encountered when passing through airport security.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
5 Feb 2020 12:02AM
I read your post and I maybe misread the bit where you asked:
"it's now 15 years old, and the results, compared to today's technological offerings, are sadly lacking, so do I upgrade, or do I change direction"
Big Bri 19 16.6k United Kingdom
5 Feb 2020 8:49AM

Quote:I don't feel the need to go to the expense of purchasing a new Digital SLR

How much film are you planning to shoot, and have you factored in the cost of buying and developing it? Over time there will come a point where this cost goes above that of a new DSLR.
Trevor121 1 13 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2020 4:07PM
If I were to consider upgrading my digital camera, I would have to look at a model similar to my existing models, so, looking at a Nikon D5, which would be the equivalent of my F4, would cost in the region of 5200.00.

But if I were looking to replace my D200, I would have to look at the D500, which costs in the region of around 1500.00, still a lot of outlay.

Having a quality neg/transparency scanner and the ability and equipment to process, B&W, C41 and E6, I don't really need a photo lab, I also have a quality Inkjet that can print up to A3+.

I also have a LPL 7700 enlarger, which will be useful when I go back to Medium format, plenty of reasonable priced Bronica SQ's and Mamiya RB/RZ's out there for little money.

Working out the cost's of photo chemicals isn't practical at this stage, it depends on what I use and the frequency of use. Take out any cost's for ink and paper, I would be using those on a digital anyway.

I can buy a 50 pack of HP5+ 36 exp, direct from Ilford for 226, 250 sheets of 10 x8 RC Gloss paper is 170, I am never going to use all this in a year, so working on the lower cost of a D500, it will take me 3.75 years to break even. Working on the cost if I were to go for the D5 (5200), it would take me 13 years to get my money back.

I am not anti digital, far from it, but I just cannot see the need to abandon some top quality equipment just to pander to the (perceived) ease of use, and instant results of today's technological mega machines, but as someone said in a earlier comment where they were lauding the ability for a camera's ability to shoot at 6fps, my Nikon F3 with a MD-4 used to achieve those speeds, very handy when I was on the newspapers, but really, do I need to use those speeds? I now prefer quality over quantity., and if it was ever needed, my F90 fires at 3.6 fps.

Kodak, Ilford and Fuji are committed to making film, and will continue for years to come, I recently read that film sales are now the highest for 10 years, it may never be as popular as it was pre digital, but defiantly, a resurgence in it's use, and long may it continue.
thewilliam2 3 1.5k United Kingdom
5 Feb 2020 4:38PM
I stopped taking film cameras by air because many types of film ARE ruined by X-rays and many airports give a simple choice: films get X-rayed or I don't board the plane.

Some films are more sensitive than others with Kodak TMZ as the worst with cross-processed Kodak EPN as runner-up.
Trevor121 1 13 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2020 4:56PM
Thanks everyone for the response, the aim of this post was to inform people of the impending upgrade of scanners and the reply fro information from Manchester Airport, basically, a heads up.

I do have contacts in the USA and Germany, when I next travel to these countries, I will get advice on the availability of film and processing (Getting film processed, even though I would only want the negs, would be required before coming home).

Another reason for the post was the lack of information coming from Madeira, this would, possibly, be the same in other countries.

Hope my post has helped, it has never been a digital Vs film debate, but am happy to continue If anyone wishes to post any relevant comments.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
5 Feb 2020 5:24PM
Trevor, nobody is suggesting that you get an equivalent to your F5 or your D200, just get a more modern digital body for a few hundred to add to your kit for the times when the airports are too scanny. Posting the specs of a cheap modern DSLR wasn't anything to do with how fast it shoots, more trying to point out how affordable a full frame Nikon is.

If you do not want people to comment on your choices and the post was merely to warn film users to be wary of new airport scanners then you could have done that without the first eight paragraphs. Instead you accuse me of inciting a film versus digital debate, which I did not at all. Go and Tippex that bit out.

Quote:So that, for me, rules out taking film through the airport
You could always go via Hot Air Balloon,

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