Yes, it is permissible to take a film camera on a plane as a carry-on or checked item. However, it is advisable to check the regulations of the airline before traveling, as there may be restrictions on the size and type of camera that can be brought onboard.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states that "cameras and camera equipment are permitted in carry-on and checked bags. You may place cameras, camera bodies, lenses, flash equipment, and other camera accessories in your carry-on and checked bags."
In terms of carry-on cameras, the TSA advises travelers to pack them in a way that will prevent any damage during the security screening process. They also suggest that travelers should remove the camera from its case and place it in a bin for X-ray screening.
As for checked cameras, it is recommended that travelers pack them in a hard-sided, protective case to prevent any damage during the baggage handling process.
Additionally, it is important to note that film cameras may require special handling during security screenings. Film is considered a hazardous material by the TSA and must be declared if the total volume exceeds 16 ounces (453 grams). If the film is undeveloped, it can be carried in either a carry-on or checked bag, while developed film must be placed in checked baggage.
In conclusion, film cameras can be taken on a plane as either a carry-on or checked item, but it is important to check the regulations of the airline and to follow the guidelines provided by the TSA for safe and efficient travel with camera equipment. The TSA is the authoritative source for information regarding the transportation of cameras and other equipment on flights within the United States.