The Simplest Designs…

The Simplest Designs…

Have the simplest errors. You can make a minimalist mess very economically. A few examples…

a. I use an Epson flatbed scanner – a V 700 model. You can buy V 800 or 900 ones right now, and if you need to scan your negatives or transparencies – or even your larger prints – this is a wonderful machine to do it with.

There’s a dedicated holder for 4 x5 films, 120 strips, 35mm strips and mounted slides. there’s a large glass plate that will swallow an A4 sheet of paper with room on the sides and ends. It scans line/art. magazines, illustrations…whatever you want. But it doesn’t scan ’em square.

The large glass plate through which the light goes has no engraved lines on it – of course. So there’s no way of knowing if the material you’re placing on the plate is going to scan out squarely. You will always have to level it up in a photo-editing program after the scan is done.

The answer has been crude and effective – An old wooden school T-squae slides up and down the side of the cabinet to give something to rest the copy on. My solution, but Epson’s problem.

b. I Use Epson, Ilford, and Hahnemühle paper in my Epson printer. On a good week it steams along and produces near-perfect prints. I need to remember to cycle it once a week to keep the ink channels patent – a month’s inattention means a muti-cycle for cleaning and some serious ink use. Two simple mistakes:

i. The Epson is full of electricity and salesmanship but it misses out on a simple internal timer that could turn it on once a week and spit a small amount of ink through to its capture tank to keep it healthy. Then I could safely go about other tasks knowing it was ready.

ii. The paper is sometimes quite different on the front, printable face from the rear face. This is fine – if you can tell which side to use you never make the mistake of putting it in upside down. But when its Epson Archival Matte paper the print side is darn-near the same appearance as the back side. A number of times an expensive sheet has gone through wrong-side up and been wasted. Good for Epson – bad for me.

The packaging puts the paper into a celluloid sleeve with a paper note that the top side is prinitable – but that’s on a separate, losable piece of paper.

Far better if Epson and every other paper maker would put a very light notification on the back that says ” print other side “. Even a distinctive blue dot would help.

c. Nearly every aftermarket coupling plate for cameras – the thing that sets onto a tripod as a quick release – is a large affair that covers a considerable part of the bottom of the camera it holds. If it is a larger casting it can be designed with a cut-out to allow the battery door to open while still locked onto the camera. Well and good – you can get fresh juice into the camera and – more importantly – extract the memory card easily for transfer into a computer. But the middle-sized ones all need to be unscrewed before you can do this

We need a camera with an Arca-Swiss rail integral to the bottom of the camera. Or a camera with side or back, mounted card slot  ( Thankfully many cameras are like this.) Or a small plate that drops into larger baseplate but doesn’t obscure the door. Novaflex used to make them but no more.

The heading image? Well even straight arrows break…

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