Ski Small, Ski Easy, Ski Akagi!

The Fuji GF670 has never done well in cold weather; at least not the one I have. Quite a contrast with the other medium format rangefinder I use, the New Mamiya 6. I’ve never had the batteries go out in any kind of weather on the Mamiya but if it’s cold out I can almost be guaranteed that the Fuji will run out of juice. Saturday was no exception. Right from the start the meter info was blinking in the viewfinder, meaning it’s time to change batteries. This was with a battery that was working just fine moments earlier in my house. After taking five frames at our adorably petite neighborhood ski slope I just left the camera open (which leaves the power on). After about ten minutes I kept walking and noticed that I wasn’t getting any readout from the meter. So I figured it might be defaulting to 1/500s in mechanical mode and exposed accordingly. But when I developed the film I was disappointed to see that there were only five frames captured and the rest were blank. A quick review of the user’s manual confirmed that this is what happens when the battery runs out. Oh well… Fuji Acros is probably the cheapest 120 film available in Japan and I have lots so I wasn’t heartbroken.

In a couple days we are headed to a week long conference in Thailand. In addition to my digital stuff I really want to take a film camera and the GF670 is clearly the most portable. So I’m taking some spare batteries and counting on warm weather!

On a side note, I have been increasingly unhappy with my scans lately. The critical sharpness just isn’t there. Epson has just released a new model of their flagship scanner and the only meaningful difference is new film holders that keep the film flat with a layer of glass and are height adjustable for focusing. I’m definitely leaning towards getting a set of the new holders. Epson’s official line is that they won’t work with the older scanner model, but a little digging revealed that the only incompatibility is in the software, and I don’t use Epson’s software anyway so I think it will probably work. I just can’t see spending over $500 on a new scanner when all I’m really getting is the holders when I can order the holders for about $150! Of course one more layer of glass means one more surface to collect dust so I may end up regretting it but we will just have to see.

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4 Responses to Ski Small, Ski Easy, Ski Akagi!

  1. Before you go that far, have you been to betterscanning.com? It might be worth checking out if you haven’t, because the improvements in the film holder (the anti-newton ring plate) are ones that this company has already addressed (so I’ve read) and would save you a bit of cash, I’ll bet.

    Personally I’ve never been a huge fan of Epson scanners, but it seems to be the only reasonably affordable machine right now for people shooting medium format. Still, I suppose you’re getting what you pay for here, and I myself would rather save up for a used Imacon.

  2. revdocjim says:

    I’ve looked at those options pretty seriously a few times. Cost wise I don’t think it would be much different. The holder is $90 and the ANR inserts are $30 a piece. If I order the Epson holders I’ll get the whole set (35mm slides, 35mm strips, 120 strips and 4×5 sheets) for something like $150 and they all have ANR plates.

  3. LackMe Sing says:

    First off, the GF670 is a fully electronic camera and has no mechanical shutter speed setting at all so I don’t know where you are getting our information.

    Second,the betterscanning film holders have a stellar reputation and are demonstrably better than the Epson film holders. They are lightyears ahead of anything that Epson has ever offered.

    • revdocjim says:

      LackMe, if you read my post it should be clear that I’m saying I was mistaken in thinking there was a mechanical default shutter speed when batteries are depleted. I was thinking/hoping it might be so, but as I mentioned in the blog, when I reviewed the manual I discovered that I was wrong. And of course the results were the final confirmation of that. :) As for the film holders, have you actually compared the betterscanning models with the just recently released Epson holders that have ANR plates built in? I’m certainly no expert but I’m pretty sure this is the first time Epson has ever made such a holder, and it just came out in the last few months. I don’t doubt the excellent quality of the betterscanning units but so far I’m pretty happy with the new Epson holders and the improvement over their past models is quite significant at a lower cost than other options.

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