Are airport x-ray scanners safe for DSLRs / lenses / storage media?

  • While traveling by air here in India, one is instructed to remove all electronics like cell phones / media players / laptops and pass them thru the X-ray scanners separate from the rest of one's hand baggage (carry-on).

    Is a modern-day DSLR (specifically a Nikon D90 / D3100) and the SD card contained within affected? Is is safe to pass it thru or do I insist on a manual check and bypass the X-ray machine if possible?

  • John Cavan

    John Cavan Correct answer

    10 years ago

    I've done a lot of travel with dSLR equipment and cards, I've never had an issue, it's safe to send through. The issue, historically, was with film since x-rays are light and could affect the film.

    Actually the issue, historically, was with intensity. For several years now you can put your films into modern X-Ray-scanners at the airport with about the same effect as on memory cards: insignificant (although existing).

    no problem! @Leonidas - AFAIK, there's a lot of debate about where the threshold lies: what speed film can be scanned what number of times. I'm not aware of anyone who's argued that there's a speed which can be scanned an unlimited number of times.

    There is a threshold, of course, as there is a threshold for flash-memory to be affected noticeable by (the ionizing) X-rays. Older generations of X-Ray-machines used more intensity, thus darkening your films fast. It is the same with the CCDs of X-Ray-machines as with camera-CCDs: they got better/more sensitive, so intensity of the "lighting source" could be and was lowered. Of course flash-memory still benefits from being digital instead of analogue ...

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM