Stillman & Birn has sent me a few of their new soft cover sketchbooks to test drive. Same great paper inside (this is a Zeta, my fav) so that's already a plus.
There is no perfect sketchbook, there's only the perfect sketchbook for your priorities, preferences and projects, (and yours like mine may always be changing depending on what I'm exploring or focusing on). There's always a give and take on features, durability, paper weight, adaptability, and media friendliness.
I'll start by saying that I love the Zeta paper, smooth, heavy weight (180 lbs) and wet media friendly.
I also love working across a two page spread. I will work across a spiral if need be, because I do work in spiral books sometimes, and I will frequently work across the gutter in a hard bound sketchbook, which means I'm always looking for a sketchbook that lays really flat.
I also scan my sketchbooks and having one that lays very flat is really necessary to get a good scan with out shadowing.
Paper weight, quality, and wet media friendly is priority #1. Laying Flat is priority #2, and durability is priority #3. The weight of the sketchbook is also a consideration and the longer I travel around with a sketchbook in my bag or in my hand the more important that becomes. That may eventually become priority #4.
In the video I'm checking out the construction of the sketchbook to get a feel for how well it's put together and whether or not I think it will stand up to daily use out in the field.
The second part is my demo of how I reinforced the soft cover to give it more stability, and a bit of protection from water/weather.