Are you planning on taking your Fujifilm Instax camera onto a commercial flight but are unsure if you are allowed to do so? Then keep reading to find out more.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, all Fujifilm Instax cameras, regardless of the model, can be brought onto a plane in carry-on or checked luggage.
However, certain precautions should be taken when traveling with undeveloped film within the Instax camera since the radiation emitted by the x-ray scanner could damage it.
Related: Can you bring a camera on a plane?
Frequent flyers argue that the Instax film will not get damaged by the hand luggage scanner since the x-ray machines used to scan hand baggage are less powerful than those used for checked bags.
Luckily, Fujifilm came to the rescue by stating that new and improved CT scanners will damage the Instax film.
You should request a hand search for it and never place the Instax film inside the checked baggage.
This statement was made in 2020, so you should ignore all previously issued statements.
In the past, it was safe to travel with your Instax in your carry-on since the x-ray scanners were less powerful.
On March 18, 2022, TSA announced that they will spend $781.2 million to procure additional CT x-ray scanners for airport checkpoints-source.
Nobody knows how many airports have received them at this time, but I expect that by the end of 2023, most airports will have CT scanners installed for carry-on bags.
Can Instax film go through airport security?
Instax film can go through airport security, but as I previously said, you should pack it in your hand luggage.
Once you arrive at the screening area, request a hand search for it or for the Instax camera that contains it.
Please try to arrive early at the airport if you have many rolls of film since hand-searching them one by one takes a while.
There is no need to encumber yourself with many Instax films as they are widely available, so unless you plan to take many pictures inside the airplane, it’s better to buy them at your destination.
Are Fujifilm Instax cameras digital?
No, Instax cameras are not digital.
They use a similar technology as Polaroid cameras.
Although the camera has batteries that power the flash, no digital process is used when taking pictures.
Related: Can you bring a GoPro on a Plane?
In essence, the process happens this way:
The film inside is exposed to the outside light for a short period, and the photosensitive chemical layers of the film react to the light and create the picture.
Currently, there are no Fujifilm Instax models that are digital.
What would happen if the TSA scanned my Instax film?
There isn’t a definitive answer on this one.
Some people who left their Instax film inside their hand luggage said that nothing happened and the photos were crystal clear.
Others said that their photos were foggy. I believe that this happens because not all airports upgraded their x-ray scanners.
If you somehow forgot your Instax film inside a carry-on, you should ask the TSA agents if a CT scanner was used for your bag.
If the answer is no, then you should relax. Your Instax film is fine.
However, if the new and improved CT scanner scanned the handbag containing it, the film might be affected even after just one passing.
Instax film deals slightly better with x-ray scanners than Polaroid does.
Fujifilm states that distortion in shadowy areas and poor image reproduction might occur when Instax film is exposed to a newer scanner –source.
Nobody will be able to tell you how and if the film was affected until you start to take photos.
Since Instax film is chemical-based, if it was scanned by the hand luggage CT scanner, I advise using the film as soon as possible.
The film’s chemical layers might degrade right after exposure to the x-ray radiation, but there is also a chance that the damage will occur after a few hours or even days.
However, if you forgot the film inside the checked bag, you should consider it ruined.
Nowadays, checked luggage scanners are way too powerful, and the Instax film wouldn’t stand a chance.
Will the original package protect the Instax film from the x-ray scanner?
Unfortunately, no. The film will not be protected by the aluminum foil of the original package.
It makes no difference if you have it inside the Instax camera or in the original package. It will still get damaged.
The only good news is that once the film is developed and you have the actual pictures, they will not be affected in any way by the CT scanner regardless of whether you place them inside the carry-on or checked luggage.
On another note, Instax film might get damaged in hot weather, so don’t expose the film and the Instax camera to direct sunlight.
If you go to the beach with your Instax camera, keep it under a towel when you are not using it.
Are Instax and Polaroid the same?
We all know the saying: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
In the case of these two, however, there are some differences.
Instax and Polaroid cameras use the same process when a photo is taken. The difference is that the chemical formulas for the two films are slightly different.
I consider the Instax film superior to the Polaroid one since it results in sharper pictures, and the Instax film requires less light than the Polaroid.
Remember that Instax film performs well at all temperatures, but with Polaroid, you will have a hard time taking a picture in the cold.
The main reason that I prefer the Instax film is the price. Polaroid film is just too expensive, and I don’t see why I would pay more for less.
Nevertheless, most people consider Instax to be the same as a Polaroid, and they are not far from the truth. You can think of Instax as an improved Polaroid.
Are Fujifilm Instax cameras waterproof?
Instax cameras are not waterproof or resistant to water. If you want to take photos in the rain, you should buy a cheap clear case like this model sold by Amazon.
It will not make your camera waterproof, but rainy days will not stop you from taking photos outside.
As you can see, you can bring your Instax camera on a plane. You just need to be careful and avoid scanning the camera itself or the spare film.