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Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Perfect Fit

Lest anyone think the most important equipment debate is between a shirt-pocket compact cam and a sling-over-the-shoulder entry level DSLR, here's Carl Weese's new Honda Fit packed up for a two-day photography jaunt through Massachusetts and New York State. Carl tells me that the small brown bag on the far right, besides a laptop and two hard drives, contained a change of clothes and some toiletries. All the rest is photo equipment. Also, there's another case under the tripod that you can't see; it held extra 8x10 film holders and two big lenses for the 7x17" view camera.

Incidentally, Carl noted with some amazement that over the course of one 366-mile leg of the 874-mile trip, the Fit's mileage was 10% better than the EPA Highway MPG estimate, even though he ran the A/C part of the way! It outperformed its EPA estimate for the trip as a whole, too. Not too shabby for hauling all this gear.

It has to hold Carl, too. Although he's not wide, lucky sod, he's quite a bit taller than the average Joe.

Carl Weese, Ballfield, Keeseville, New York

And here's an example, if you can call it that, of why Carl goes out. The web image was scanned from a 7x17" contact platinum/palladium print
made on Masa paper, a Japanese tissue with a rough surface that Carl says works surprisingly well for contact prints. The original is of course exquisitely detailed, and vivid and luminous despite its gentle contrast. The web image is only the merest approximation of the print.

Here's the 7x17 set up at the Transit Drive-in Theater, Lockport, New York, 5/22/07.



Blogger Unknown said...

The Honda Fit is a fine, fine automobile. I hope Carl got one with a stick, because it's about the most fun you can have for the (little) money. My wife and I just bought a matched pair of 'em. Sweet.

1:55 PM  
Blogger CHASE said...

I just got a black Honda Fit 3 weeks ago, and must say the gas mileage is awesome. Memphis to Knoxville on less than 10 gallons(39mpg)! And it holds about 2/3rds the stuff my old Explorer would(12mpg).

2:21 PM  
Blogger Carl Weese said...


The only drawback I can find to the fit is the inadequate footroom (and the difficulty of finding a car in stock). I'm six-four and while most of me fits just fine, there isn't enough room for my size fourteens to work three pedals. So when I found one on a dealer's lot I grabbed it even with an automatic: with a slushbox and cruise control I can manage despite the cramped pedal area. A side note: the transmission was designed for teenage boys to impress their girlfriends. Without a VERY delicate touch on the throttle the car will spend all its time roaring at 4500 rpm and getting "only" 30 mpg. Feathering the pedal and sometimes using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel to demand an upshift, it did 38.5 mpg on this trip.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Robin P said...

Always amusing (and often confusing) to read what you Americans have to say about cars. Thanks to wikipedia I learn that the Fit is called the Jazz here in Europe - we'd have a fit of laughing if someone tried to sell us a car called "fit" (though many buyers, mostly over 60's or those not interested in cars seem strangely immune to the daft names given oriental cars).
Yes I know your gallon is slightly different to our gallon but 39mpg really is nowhere near good enough in the 21st century - even my 9 year old Citroen Xsara will do 49mpg on a trip.

Cheers, Robin

4:55 PM  
Blogger angryfredplanet said...

But oh, man...the Drive-In! That shot brings back so many memories (most of them not legal). In the summer of '69 my GF & I actually WATCHED one of the movies: "Five Million Years to Earth" (aka "Quatermass and the Pit"). Terrific story, and the next-to-last Quatermass film.

How I'd love to be 17 again--and driving a Fit!


5:05 PM  
Blogger Alfonso said...

Hi Mike,

I agree with Robin regarding the mpg you are use to. My little Citröen C3 makes 44,38 mpg of diesel, driving mainly in urban (city) circuits: home to work and back.

At a price of more or less 1.19 $/litre of diesel (petrol or gasoline is even more expensive), this is a relatively cheap fuel price for a European country. UK or France prices are 30% more expensive and those on the Scandinavian countries have to pay almost double.

Cheers, Alfonso

12:36 AM  
Blogger Rob Povey said...

Hope his car never gets nicked with that lot inside!!

I worry when I have my SLR and 4 lenses in the boot!



3:41 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Robin and Alphonso,
Americans are currently complaining bitterly about $3+ gasoline prices, but actually we pay about $6 or $7 per gallon if you factor in the cost of the war to "enable" the Iraqi oilfields. The price is paid in taxes by wealthier Americans and in the form of diminished government services by poorer Americans. Currently the war is costing about $36 a month for every resident of the United States above the age of 17.


7:14 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Rob Povey,
Carl can chime in here if he likes, but I recall he told me he likes cheaper motels because the entrances are on the ground floor and open directly on to the parking lot. So he can park directly outside his motel room, greatly simplifying the job of ferrying all the equipment inside the room for the night.


7:18 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

To be fair though,

a) Diesel =/= Gasoline, energy density is quite a bit higher with diesel fuel, anecdotally >40 mpg is not uncommon for VW TDI models. But again that's really an apples to oranges comparison.

b) What's the hp and displacement of the engines you're using over there? The stock engine in the American and European models of the same car are often different, if I'm not mistaken, owing to the (relatively) cheap gas price here in the states.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Carl Weese said...


I like cheaper motels because they're _cheap_

...AND because you can back right up to the doorway instead of carting half a dozen heavy cases through a central entry, hall, and stairs.

7:46 AM  
Blogger H. Wijoyo said...

Just thought you guys wants some Jazzy/Fits stories:

In my country (Indonesia) it's called Honda Jazz,has 2 engine options, the sporty 1.5 vtec and fuel efficient 1.5 i-dsi engine w/o Airbags (Yes, life are cheap here hehe), and both are available with manual and 7spd cvt auto transmission. And if jazz/fit isn't big enough, there's the Honda new city (the sedan version with cargo volume thats bigger than an accord). And if i am not mistaken 4-5yrs ago, Honda motor indonesia ran a series of fuel efficient contest in each of Indonesia's major cities for both Honda Jazz/fit and new city. Anyhow, the benchmark (from said contest) for the i-dsi/MT.. Jazz/Fit 1 ltr for 100 km, New City 1 ltr for 76km. (or something close to that, i forgot the real measurement, but the result were published for honda's ads campaign in most national newspaper). However, The thing that makes this Jazz/Fit/city's record more absurd is that.. the contest are open for everyone who owns jazz/fit or new city. The contest runs on a public street under normal traffic situations on a basically showroom stock car, no mods of whatsoever (like striping some weights here and there).

And, as i recalled, the winners of that contests weren't a profesional race car driver.

PS: Sorry for my english :)

7:56 AM  
Blogger Andy Frazer said...

Why does Carl need such a large bag for his clothes and toiletries??? Maybe "clothes" includes his photographer's vest.


Andy Frazer

10:24 AM  
Blogger Apprentice said...

7 x 17" ?


11:53 AM  

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