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Home >> China Travel Tips >> Photography

Film & Equipment

Processing standards have increasingly improved as Kodak has opened a nationwide chain of film developing outlets. Color print film can be found everywhere, but it's almost always 100 ASA (21 DIN). Slide film can be found in camera shops in big cities only. B&W film is harder to find, but speciality camera shops sometimes carry it.

Finding the special lithium batteries used by many cameras is generally not a problem. You're allowed to bring in 8mm movie cameras; 16mm or professional equipment may cause concern with customs. Motion picture film is next to impossible to find in China.


Photography from planes and photographs of airports, military installations, harbor facilities and railroad terminals are prohibited; bridges may also be a touchy subject. With the possible exception of military installations, these rules are rarely enforced.

Photography is prohibited in many museums and at certain archaeological sites and temples. There should be a sign in English advising of such restrictions, but ask if you're not sure.

Airport/Railway Security

Most X-ray machines in China's airports are marked 'film safe', and this seems to be the case. However, films with a very high ASA rating could be fogged by repeated exposures to X-rays - you may wish to carry such film by hand rather than have it zapped. A number of train stations also pass your bags through an X-ray scan before you are allowed to board your train.

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