Featuring Damian’s Trip to Japan: Lessons from Carrying 35mm Film

Hi everyone,

So Damian recently travelled to Japan for a family trip, and took the opportunity to use take some (hopefully) memorable shots with a 35mm film camera! The camera of choice was the Pentax MX, coupled with a f/2 50mm manual focus lens! Wary about the supposed woes of carrying film through X-ray scanners, he had read up about some suggested tips, including carrying the film onto the plane (instead of checking them in), getting the film hand-checked (where possible) and bringing low ISO-speed film.

However, hand-checks were not possible at all customs checkpoints, and therefore the Fujifilm 35mm film (ISO 800) had been exposed to 2 or 3 X-ray scanners. When we processed the film in Singapore, the results were a surprise:

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It appeared that most of the frames were ‘fogged’ out, leaving only a few processed photos.

Initially, we had assumed that the X-ray scanners (for carry-on luggage) might have been the culprit for causing the apparent ‘fogging’; however, we have since spoken to some learned professionals, and discovered that the film was simply underexposed. This was likely due to the camera failing to capture shots at a shutter speed of 1/1000, which was unknown to Damian when he shot it.

As a result, we are able to share only the ‘surviving’ shots, and this has taught us a valuable lesson: get your cameras checked before travelling!

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This effect was more likely due to the expired nature of the film rather than any fog caused from the X-ray machine.

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Clearly, some of the developed photos were still pretty good, which indicates it could not be the X-ray scanner which caused most of the film to be ruined. However, a valuable lesson would be to request for hand-check when possible, anyway!

Thankfully, our SLR 680SE was working fine, and Damian managed to capture some glorious photos of his time in Japan:

Image (89)b
Himeji Castle
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Nunobiki Falls, Kobe.
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Deer, Nara Park.
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Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto.
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Bamboo Forest, Arashimaya.
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Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto.
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Dotonbori Street, Osaka.

Do you have any unfortunate experiences when travelling with film? Do comment to let us know! We would love to hear from our readers! Happy holidays to one and all!

 

Till next time,

Damianwithsandra

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