Over this past year numerous airports across America have introduced the use of CT scanners for carry-on luggage at roughly 145 airports. These types of scanners are most widely known for use in hospitals as advanced medical imaging of patients. CT scanners allow patients to be x-rayed at multiple angles to produce three-dimensional ‘cross-sectional’ images at a higher and more in-depth quality than conventional x-rays. The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) decision to employ Computed Tomography (CT) scanners means that undeveloped film canisters may be damaged during the process.
Earlier in the year Kodak announced a warning on its Facebook page about these scanners and how they may affect Kodak negatives, claiming that Eastman Kodak Research facilities had experimented placing Porta 400 film into JFK Airport’s CT Scanner and noted the results:
‘The initial results are not good. Just 1 scan shows significant film fogging, leading to smoky blacks and loss of shadow detail. This will be more significant for higher speed films. Although it’s possible that a roll of 100 speed film would show less degradation, we strongly recommend against putting any unexposed or exposed but unprocessed film through a CT Scanner.’
The company therefore, insists film users avoid placing their undeveloped films into luggage for scanning:
‘Kodak Alaris and Eastman Kodak have warned photographers not to check their film, but rather to carry it on and request it be hand-checked by TSA agents at Security’
Since this announcement, Fujifilm has followed suit by issuing its own warning on its website, claiming ‘those machines may provide more damaging to unprocessed film and install film than previous generations of scanners’. Like Kodak, Fujifilm suggests carrying film in carry-on bagging and asking for a ‘hand inspection’. The website specifically details the potential damage to QuickSnaps (single-use cameras), Instax films (instax mini, instax square and instax wide) and all Fujifilm films.
According to reports the only airport in the UK currently using the machines is London’s Heathrow Airport, but the machines will be introduced to airports across the country over the next couple of years with a view to installing them at most UK airports by 2022.
If you are considering travelling to or around America, you can read the TSA’s information regarding the scanners and a list of airports using them at their website here.
For more news and information about Analogue photography, visit the RPS Analogue Group page here.