ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Summer Vacation: Gone in a Flash

Memories captured with pictures can last a lifetime

New York, Jul 23, 2003

Though many consumers may not recognize their familiarity with common standards, anyone who has used a camera calls upon the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or a predecessor of ANSI, the American Standards Association (ASA), whenever they purchase film.

Film speeds, identified by an “ISO number” and displayed on film canisters and packaging, actually refer to a standard measurement of the film’s sensitivity to light. A high-speed film (e.g., ISO 400 and above) captures light faster than a slow-speed film, therefore not as much light is needed to get a properly exposed image. Higher-speed film is best used when shooting indoors or on a cloudy day. Likewise, a slower-speed film (e.g., ISO 100) requires more light and should be used in bright, sunny situations. Because the international standard is based on an American National Standard, the ISO number identifying film speed is the same as the ASA number (e.g., ASA 100).

Standards help to ensure the integrity and interoperability of not only traditional film and camera, but also the newest digital imaging devices – even cell phones are now providing picture messaging.

The increasingly user-friendly digital camera is becoming more and more popular in U.S. households. A recent survey by the Consumer Electronics Association estimates that 31 percent of American households currently own a digital camera and 65 percent are likely to buy one in the near future. The International Imaging Industry Association (I3A), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, is a leading global imaging industry association that sets standards for the photographic and information imaging markets. Currently, several I3A standards pertaining to digital cameras are being developed as draft American National Standards (ANS).

  • BSR/I3A IT10.7000-200x, Photography – Digital still cameras – Guidelines for reporting pixel-related specifications, addresses reporting pixel-related specifications of a digital camera for the purposes of camera labeling, camera packing and advertising.

  • BSR/ISO 12233-1997, BSR/PIMA IT10.3-1997, Photography - Electronic Still-Picture Cameras - Resolution Measurements, specifies the methods for measuring the resolution of electronic still-picture cameras that output digital data or analog video signals.

Consumers want the photos taken on summer vacation or other special event to last a lifetime. Thus, whether using a digital or traditional film camera, it is important when traveling to know the risks involved of passing unprocessed film through x-ray security scanners at airport departure points.

I3A’s Committee for Integrity in Transportation of Imaging Products (ITIP) tested the maximum x-ray exposure that high-speed film products can tolerate before damage occurs. The committee found that normal x-ray scanning in U.S. airports poses minimal risk to unprocessed film rated at speeds below ISO 1000; however, carry-on items are now randomly subjected to high-intensity scans as part of increased security measures and these scans can cause considerable damage to film and single-use cameras.

No precautions are necessary for unloaded film cameras or digital cameras. X-rays do not affect digital cameras and memory cards; it is safe to pack them in checked baggage.

The I3A and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines urge travelers to:

  • Never pack unprocessed film in checked luggage
  • Store all film and single-use cameras in clear plastic or mesh bags that fit in carry-on bags
  • Remove film and single-use cameras from carry-on bags and request a hand inspection of these items whenever carry-on luggage is subjected to high-intensity x-ray security scanning (hand inspection requests are permitted under Transportation Security Administration regulations)
  • For x-ray scanners used on carry-on baggage, request a hand inspection for film and single-use cameras of ISO 1000 speed and higher
  • Request a hand inspection for ISO 800 speed and lower film and single-use cameras when they are subjected to 5 or more scans on normal x-ray scanning equipment.

“Heightened security measures are there to protect everyone and we fully support them,” said Lisa Walker, I3A’s president. “At the same time, we encourage travelers to take steps to ensure that x-ray scans do not damage the film holding their precious holiday memories.”

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative