The review linked on the blog is a little weird in how critical it was of the paper options. I haven't spend a lot of time with my Field Journal since I'm in between semesters, but the first thing I did was try my Lamy Safari and Noodlers fountain pens in it and they looked fine to me. I used Noodlers ink and the ruled paper that came with the journal. I can see the writing on the opposite side but it didn't seem that bad. The writer did specify it was just her opinion, but still seemed a bit odd to me ruling out fountain pen users. I also remember when they were testing the papers out in the forums, but the reviewer probably wasn't aware of that.
The binder mechanism is thinner than the original one, it le space for my
planner and do not press to much on the pockets.
Now that I have a base plate I'll do other models, perhaps with a circa binder
system or an other A5, thicker but keeping the front cover.
I am not a big Cranes user...partly the reason you cite. I also find the paper minus its perforated left edge to look oddly narrow after looking at wider verge de france paper for so long. I also like to write on fronts and backs and don't like bleed-thru. But I think getting stationery that I like and getting it to work for me is an enjoyable part of customizing the process. And someone who isn't as picky as I am won't need to go through all of this.
I also do a lot of work with mechanical pencils and graph paper, and I think this will work for me without such modification.