Tipster: Travelling with Film


Many film enthusiasts no doubt love travelling. Hungry for new sights and experiences to document with our own lenses, we travel far and wide for different reasons, may it be to relax with our loved ones, get inspired by different cultures or seek out new or untapped versions of ourselves.

In this quick tipster, we’re giving you a few tips for travelling with your favorite film and cameras. We'll be going over the basics of choosing cameras and film, going through airport check-ins and how to make the most out of your trip with film photography.

Credits: meimeiflower, hodachrome, ryszardl70, dannyfresh & oleman

Choosing film gear for travel

Compact cameras such as the Simple Use Camera, La Sardina, Lomo LC-A+, Diana Family and LomoApparat are great travel companions as they're lightweight and can easily fit into your bag (or even pocket). You can also take photos with a creative flair with these camera's many experimental functions such as multiple exposures, gel filters and the LomoApparat's interchangeable kaleidoscope and close-up lens.

If you're out for a swim or any other underwater activity, accessories such as the Simple Use Underwater Case will also allow you to take snapshots on film without worrying about your film camera getting damaged.

As for film, if the location you'll be visiting is generally sunny and you're planning to engage mainly in daylight activities then film with ISO 100 or 200 will do, but if you're expecting to take photos during night time, try bringing film stocks with ISO 400 and upwards. Note that films faster than ISO 400 have more chance of being damaged under x-rays, which brings us to our next piece of advice.

Credits: philr, beti, colinttierney & lightingale

Airport Check-Ins

The best way to handle film when going through airport check-ins is to keep it in your hand-carry bag and ask to have it manually checked by security.

When going through security it’s best to have the film in a clear ziplock bag. However to prevent the film from damage during your travels check out Lomography’s newly-released Metal Film Case, which is perfect for keeping your film safe and organized while on the move.

When choosing which film stocks to bring, consider this tip from photographer @Philr:

I travel a lot with film, mostly black and white. If you use 400 ASA or lower (100 ASA is better) x-rays do not seem to affect the film. You can try to show your film to the TSA people but you need to unbox it and show the rolls. Even then they might want to x-ray it.
Credits: pmonroe, brettallensmith, litleandi, kylethefrench & gheinz

Community members Klaus and Gudrun (@klawe and @guja), who likewise recommend hand-carrying film equipment for inspection, have a few more tips for fellow film shutterbugs touring with film:

Analogue films and cameras are like drugs, they always belong in your hand luggage. Some UV light sensitive films don't like hand luggage screening with little x-ray. Washi F (and other Agfa x-ray films) should be left at home altogether. The cameras should be presented without film in such a way that the security forces can take a look between the plane of the film and the front lens (e.g. continuous exposure with the rear door open without film).
I calculate with three color films per week and an extra camera (one black and white film per week). All films with 100-400 ISO. We usually travel as two or more people, Gudrun (@guja) uses medium format in addition to our 35 mm films, and I'm responsible for digital photos. With the SLRs for the 35 mm format, we both use the same system so that we can swap lenses. I also use a simple point-and-shoot camera with a LomoChrome film. - @klawe
Credits: klawe & guja

Meanwhile, Gudrun also recommends panchromatic films for black and white film users as it captures a wider spectrum of light compared to orthochromatic films:

For black and white film, take pan films (possibly with red or infrared filters) with you on the trip. The old slide film rule applies to color: Kodak becomes reddish, Agfa bluish, Orwo yellowish, and Fuji greenish (like the Agfa CT Precisa produced by Fuji in 2009-2018). Kodak for normal color photos in the sun. - @Guja

Around the World in Analogue

If you’d like to see how certain film and film cameras work on different locations, you can always browse our enormous archive of bite-sized travel tips under the series Around the World in Analogue.

And of course, you can also scroll through the Lomography website where thousands of community members from all over the world have uploaded millions of photos taken using different film stocks, film cameras, lenses and accessories.

Credits: ksherikhov, yooyye, shoao, shyrsio, tanyadee & vkopetskiy

Sort through the array of photos in every corner of the world by using tags and you'll definitely find some photos taken with the film stock or camera of your choice in the location you're visiting! This can help you get a general idea of how a type of film performs in a specific area, or who knows? It might even expand your itinerary by revealing a few hidden gems that general travel guides might miss.

Last few notes before we wrap up: unless you're travelling specifically to take film photos, don't get too hung up if you got the perfect shot or not! Remain mindful of places that prohibit photography, immerse yourself in local culture, and let your intuition guide you when to press the shutter!

We'd like to thank @klawe, @guja and @philr for sharing their travel tips with us!

Do you have more advice for fellow shutterbugs travelling with film? Share them with us below.

written by sylvann on 2023-04-18 #gear #tutorials #gallery #gear #tipster #community #metal-film-case


  1. sylvann
    sylvann ·

    Ahaha thank you as usual for the help, @klawe! To more travels soon!

  2. katanga
    katanga ·

    I always concern about X-ray in airports security check points, sometimes they allow you to not check the films, sometimes they check the films with some special hand X-ray device and sometimes I get into a trouble and need to explain a lot why I using analog cameras, some of more young custom agents even didn't know what is a film reel and needs to call a supervisor. Other hand my dad traveled a lot in the analog age and never back home with a damaged film but I guess airport checks was not so fussy before 911.

  3. papa-attila
    papa-attila ·


  4. rolfmg
    rolfmg ·

    Good advises nicely compiled

  5. 24horas
    24horas ·

    The only film I have had damaged by x-ray machines at airports has been Ilford Delta 3200, and even then the majority of the frames came out ok. Airport staff told me that anything up to 400 iso will not be damaged by the x-ray machines.

    There is no mention in the article of the new Cat scanners that are being introduced at airports, which will destroy any film put through it. So watch out for those.

  6. sylvann
    sylvann ·

    Many thanks @papa-attila and @rolfmg, also to @katanga and @24horas for sharing your experience and additional advice!

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