Does Airport Security Ruin Disposable Cameras? Explained

does airport security ruin disposable cameras

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If you are so passionate about travel photography, undoubtedly your camera is your great companion. Some photographers love to take their disposable cameras on their trips. But, they are always concerned about the airport security check. The common question most new travel photographers might ask is does airport security ruin disposable cameras?

When it comes to taking a disposable camera with you on a trip, you will have two options left. Either you can take the camera in your checked luggage or the carry-on bags.

Experts suggested that you should take a disposable camera in your carry-on bags to protect it from heavy X-ray radiation. Because all of the checked luggage may need to go through a heavier X-ray scanner which is not in the case of carry-on bags.

If you are still confused, this article is completely focused on this topic. So, continue reading to clarify all of your confusion.

Does Airport Security Ruin Disposable Cameras?

It is the job of the Transportation Security Administration to check our luggage and baggage during a plane trip to ensure the best level of security for us. So, it is quite obvious that your checked luggage and even the carry-on bags will go through a strict security check-up process.

Whether you put your disposable camera in checked luggage or a carry-on bag, the TSA will run an x-ray on them. So, you have to take your decision very strategically. Typically, the checked luggage goes through a tight security check-up.

That is why all of your belongings kept in the luggage must go through heavy X-ray radiation. So, if you put your favorite disposable camera in checked luggage, chances are it may get damaged due to heavy X-ray radiation.

Especially, the camera film will be in the most vulnerable situation. On the other hand, if you take it in your carry-on bag, it may not have to go through such a heavier X-ray. Because typically, carry-on bags get exposed to a lighter X-ray checkup process.

So, you should always try to take your disposable camera with you in your carry-on bags. Otherwise, yes, in some cases, airport security may ruin your favorite camera.

Initiatives You Should Take to Protect Your Camera

Now that you already get an idea about the entire situation, you must take some initiatives to protect a camera. You should always try to get a digital disposable camera in the first place. Because in the case of a digital camera, there will be digital memory that is less exposed to X-ray radiation.

Then, you should pack your camera in the carry-on bag very carefully. According to Kodak, cameras can be highly exposed to heavier X-ray radiation if they are carried in checked luggage.

Whenever it is possible, you should request the authority to hand-check your disposable camera. Typically, there are multiple security checkpoints. So, your camera might not handle the multiple times of exposures of X-ray radiation.

In that case, if the authority allows you the hand-check procedure for the camera, that will be great. Fortunately, the Federal Aviation Administration allows hand search of the camera films and equipment. But you have to request them for that. However, you should keep in mind one thing here.

You may get this permission in the US only. But, there may be different rules in foreign airports. Another initiative you can take for the ultimate protection of your camera is to take it in a lead-lined carry-on bag.

Typically, most manufacturer of carry-on bags specifies the level of protection in X-ray exposures. But, when you talk about the lead-line carry-on bag, you will get the maximum level of protection from X-ray exposures.

If you are still worried about all of the risks discussed above, you can simply mail your camera to your destination. By doing so, there will be no risk of any kind of X-ray exposure.

Nonetheless, you should also keep in mind that your mailed packages can also be X-rayed in some specific situations. To avoid that risk, you should write clearly “Undeveloped photographic film, please don’t X-ray.” This write-up must be visible clearly. It may save your day.

How to Travel with Disposable Cameras Confidently?

You can easily travel with disposable cameras confidently. Just you have to remember some cautions during the travel. If the film of your camera is rated up to ISO 800, most of the older security machines in airports will not harm the unexposed film of your camera.

But, if your camera is exposed to repetitive X-ray check-ups, your camera film may get damaged.  It can jeopardize your unprocessed film. So, I will never recommend going through a heavy security checkup if you have a higher-speed camera such as 3200 ISO.

Here is a notable point for you. Nowadays, most airports installed new scanners which are quite powerful. In that case, your camera may get exposed to a heavier level of radiation and may get damaged even in the first scan. So, to avoid this situation, you should never carry your disposable camera in your checked luggage.

If you want the maximum level of protection, you should keep all of your disposable camera equipment and film in a plastic bag and try to get permission for a hand inspection. Also, make sure that your transparent bag can be accessed easily in your carry-on bags.

Otherwise, it will unnecessarily prolong the process. Also, try to reach the airport at least half an hour earlier so that you can complete the checking process early.

Wrapping Up

For any people who love photography, a camera is one of the most beloved things. If you are a photographer by any means, it is very obvious that you will try to take your camera with you even on the plane.

I hope now you know the answer and take the necessary initiatives to protect your camera in the airport security checkup.

Palash is an entrepreneur in the tech industry and the author of the Smart Home Protector. As a tech entrepreneur & reviewer of a home safety gadget store, his job helps customers remain on top of what's coming next in our rapidly changing world.

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