Do Airport X-Ray Machines Damage Memory SD cards?

Do Airport X-Ray Machines Damage Memory SD cards? If you travel with your digital camera, you may be worried that airport x-ray machines may damage photographs on your digital camera memory or even the memory cards themselves.

Relax! Though I cannot give a 100% guarantee, everything I have read in books, on the Internet, and in magazines states that these machines do not have an adverse affect on such cards, unlike film.

If you are still concerned, you may want to consider archiving your digital camera photos to compact disks before returning on an airplane. This provides an extra level of backup and should ease your mind.

To ease your concerns, the I3A (International Imaging Industry Association) released a press release on December 15, 2004, regarding tests on digital camera media performed by the imaging industry and United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In it, they state that x-ray machines used by the TSA should cause no damage to digital media, whether or not the media is in checked or carry-on bags.

Don’t Forget To Backup

Listen. Stuff happens. Computer hard drives die. Digital media might get damaged. Computer viruses and spyware attack. The wrong pictures get deleted. Any of these things can occur, causing you to lose your precious photographs.  When you are done taking photographs with your digital camera, immediately save those photographs to external media!

Don’t let it happen to you.

As soon as you get back from a vacation or photo shoot, copy all of your digital camera photos to your computer, then immediately back them up to offline storage, such as ZIP disks, CD-ROMs, or DVD-ROMs. Make a second copy of your photos as well and keep them separate from your primary copies, and hopefully you won’t have to panic about your digital camera pictures when that – something – occurs to your primary storage.

As soon as you are done backing up your digital camera images to ZIP, CD, or DVD, make sure to label the media! At a minimum, you should write down the date(s) the photos were taken and the main subjects of the photographs. You may also want to label the backups with the name of the camera used to take the photos, and possibly the resolution of the photos. Start a good labeling system now and you’ll make it easier on yourself when you want to go back and use or print a photograph taken several years ago.

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