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Old July 17th, 2006, 10:04 AM   #1
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Location: Louisville, Ky
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X-RAY's and Your Equipment: Traveling with Your Gear

I'm curious what everyone does when traveling with all your gear. Do most folks try to do it as carry-on luggage? For those who do, how do you handle the X-Ray machines? I've heard of people who NEVER let the gear through the machine and those who don't seem fazed by having all that equipment exposed to the rays. Does any of this equipment really need to be hand checked or is this the kind of thing that starts becoming an urban legend after so many years that we assume it's hazardous to our equipment when it really isn't?

Additionally, what do you do to prep your gear for air travel? Any kind of lists, pictures, etc showing your gear in action so if a TSA agent asks you can easily show them what it all does? Is that even necessary?

I'll be traveling in the middle of August with the bulk of my equipment for the first time and I'm trying to plan my equipment layout for the least amount of hassle.

Thoughts? Ideas are greatly appreciated.

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Old July 17th, 2006, 10:19 AM   #2
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I've traveled with my camera, they x-rayed it, and I had no problems. I think you may be able to check with your manufacturer about wether or not x-rays are a problem.
The only other thing you will probably need is a battery handy as they may as you to turn the unit on and show that it is truly a functioning camera.
Be very wary of checking any gear as luggage. I came across a website completely dedicated to camera equipment theft, and there were many reports of people getting their stuff stolen after checking it in to the airline as luggage. Basically, there was no doubt it was being stolen by airliine employees but there was nothing the airlines would do about it. I'm pretty sure most carries offer no warranty or guarantee of safe transport of gear, so carry it on if you can, and the gear you can't, think about renting it at the location.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 10:26 AM   #3
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I put about 50k miles in the air last year with my gear. And yes TSA wants to see it every time. I hand carry my camera and never let it out of my site. The other stuff I carefully pack into my pelican case and check it. (BEFORE I LEAVE THE AIRPORT EVERY THING IN THAT CASE GETS LOOKED AT AND INVINTORIED) with that said I have yet to have a problem. My still set up comes with me in my backpack and they just run that throught the Xray the Video camera they want in its own tray and gets Xrayed also. I have never had anyproblems with tape or cards damaged from the machines. I have a five point lowell light kit that makes the trips also and I just check it also. They did crack the hard case once, but none of the lights were damaged. After you shoot put all of your master tapes in a carry on bag!!!! Stuff you check can get lost very easily. Which brings me to my next point INSURE YOUR STUFF!!!! Another option that I have used, is to Fed Ex my gear minus camera and still set up to your location. Again INSURE YOUR STUFF!!! Hope this helped. Traveling with gear is a pain and heavy and puts more wear and tear on it, but you gotta go where the work is and mine is all over the friggin palce. Beats having a real job! :)
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Old July 17th, 2006, 11:29 AM   #4
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These question come up often; have a look at some existing threads. Some of them are camera-specific but the basic principles should still be of interest:

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Old July 17th, 2006, 12:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the help. Those threads are nice and combine to offer lots of great tips. I don't want to learn this stuff the hard way and those are very spot on for what I need to know.

Greg Watts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 18th, 2006, 09:19 AM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Portland, OR
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I felt the same way around X-rays. So far so good though. But still, I would hate for crazy gama rays to mess with my camara.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 04:07 PM   #7
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I have put my XL2 through the Xray machine 4 times now. Never had any problems.

TIP: When you put your camera on the xray belt, ask the screener to hold it in there till you pass through security. That way it will not sit on the other side waiting to be stolen while you get held up in security.
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