PIX 2015
Mike Sandman

Mike Sandman

Lives in United States Brookline, MA, United States
Works as a Manager
Joined on Mar 20, 2003
About me:

Canon 5D Mark II; Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS; 70-200 f/4 IS; 17-40mm f/4 L; 24mm TSE II; 420EX; 580 EX II; Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro. Epson 3880 printer. Canon Powershot S-95. Started with a Balda 35mm rangefinder in 1956.


Total: 112, showing: 1 – 20
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On Sony Alpha 7R II: Real-world ISO invariance study article (333 comments in total)

As a practical matter, the ability to push images 4 or 5 stops without much penalty (except for the artifacts at high-contrast boundaries) means that most of the time, we won't have to mess with combining shots using HDR software. This could make it a lot easier to get very good images in high dynamic range situations without a tripod.

With regard to the lossy compression and the effect at high-contrast boundaries, I agree with dPreview that this is a strange choice on Sony's part. If you keep pestering them, perhaps they will issue a firmware update to fix this. However, the size of the files may be 80MB or more, which may be a problem for ay computer with less than 8GB of memory. Is it also reasonable to think that loss-less RAW would slow down the save process in the camera?

In any case, interesting report,and please keep pestering Sony about lossy RAW.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 24, 2015 at 16:43 UTC as 85th comment | 1 reply
On Fujifilm X-T10 Review preview (444 comments in total)

Two suggestions for future reviews:

(1) Obviously we can see for ourselves that the low rating for the XT-10's video capabilities has affected the overall rating, but dPreview might want to offer both a comprehensive rating that takes all the camera's attributes into consideration and a separate assessment for stills only.

(2) For ILC reviews, please consider adding an adding an attribute along with the ones for value, image, etc. to take into account the range of lenses and accessories that are available (in the native mount, but not just from the OEM). Fuji has built a fine stable of lenses that puts Sony to shame, and while it's possible to use Canon and other lenses on a a6000 by adding an adapter, that's an imperfect solution.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 4, 2015 at 18:20 UTC as 81st comment | 7 replies
In reply to:

Barry Goyette: I think whats not being answered with all this focus on Dynamic Range and SNR is "does 14 stops of DR produce a photo that LOOKS BETTER than one taken at 12 stops. Sure I get that the Nikon/Sony will let you shoot directly into the sun while you focus on your tulips...but when I look at that shot....I see a very strange looking sky, which is where most of that DR is being utilized. I shot some tests with the 5dsr today in stupidly backlit situations and was able to get very satisfactory results exposing for the highlights and pulling up the shadows. The shadows had a bit of noise in them sure, but at this resolution, who flipping cares...you're never gonna see it won a print shy of 24x36.

But here's the thing, when I maximized these images with their paltry 11.7 stops of DR, frankly...they looked a little fake to me. They looked a little like DPR's tulip photo...(HDR anyone?) My question is this. Would stuffing 2 more stops of DR into that shot make it look any better?

This is why I cling to HDR shooting. If you're careful combining 3 or 4 shots taken a couple of stops apart, you can have a natural looking photo with extended dynamic range, and it will look better than simply a photo that results from pushing the shadows slider to the right in Photoshop.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 10, 2015 at 01:35 UTC
On #1 in France: Hands-on with DxO ONE article (237 comments in total)

Intriguing, ingenious. A coup for DxO, and a great semi-bilingual review for DPr. (Will you do the same thing for Japanese cameras?)

From the pictures of the camera+iPhone, I have my doubts about the ergonomics. If your right hand is on the camera and your left in holding the phone, you must have be very careful not to twist the two in a way that puts a strain on the connector. And if you use one hand to change setting on the screen, that means the full weight of the iPhone is bearing on the connection, unless you can make changes accurately with your thumb while you grip the phone in your fingers.

French engineering is sometimes simultaneously brilliant and quirky - witness the Citroen DS19. But if one comes to a camera store near me, I'm definitely going to check it out.

Direct link | Posted on Jun 18, 2015 at 20:01 UTC as 86th comment
On Sony rides wave of US Mirrorless sales surge article (732 comments in total)
In reply to:

Robert Holloway: I've been a Canon SLR and DSLR user for 35 years. Look at my avatar. I've used an A7 and A6000 and am now selling my entire collection of L glass through 2015 and switching.

I'm not a Canon hater or a Sony fanboy.

Canon has a huge 12 months coming up as their innovation seems to be more driven to protect the status quo and their position within DSLR. I learned in my corporate life that if fear of cannibalization is your driving force, you simply open the door for others to do it for you.

The numbers from NPD are not inaccurate. NPD tracks all sectors and is not affiliated to any one company. I'd been scoffing at Sony for years as I strutted about with my Canon and 300/2.8L IS. It's now gone and I'm another data point in this market shift.

Over recent months I've read and watched countless videos and reviews and the world of mirrorless is a fresh and very exciting place to be.

Canon makes great cameras, but Blackberry also made great phones.

I agree with the view that Canon (and Nikon) have put themselves in line to follow typewriter manufacturers and landline phone companies. When DSLR sales go down significantly and mirrorless ILCs go up, it's the beginning of the end. Canon has maybe a year to get competitive products into the market, and that will be a struggle because their first iteration is not likely to be fully up to speed. The one thing that troubles me about Sony (and the A7 series) is the lossy RAW file compression. FIx that and I'm buying an A7ii.

Direct link | Posted on Jun 4, 2015 at 20:05 UTC

Signed by the artist.. $6200...
Maybe if it was signed by Picasso.

Direct link | Posted on May 2, 2015 at 17:30 UTC as 155th comment | 1 reply
On Sony Alpha a7 II Review preview (837 comments in total)

Dan Barcaglia... If, as you say, the A7ii is within a stone's throw of equalling a D750, Sony's done very well. I've spent an hour with the camera in a store, and I think the heft is actually an advantage vs. the A7. The bulk that bothers you is a function of adding the grip, which improves the camera. (In the review, you show the A7 next to the A7ii with a larger lens, which is not quite fair.)

I use a 5D Mark II, and the A7ii is a lot lighter and it's a great deal smaller. For a FF DSLR user, it's a very comfortable step away from lugging a brick. It's only bulky compared to its lesser APSC brethren.

The only thing holding me back is the lossy RAW, and I thank you for making a strong point about that. Maybe Sony will do something about that with a firmware update... Fuji would.

Direct link | Posted on Apr 20, 2015 at 01:32 UTC as 50th comment | 1 reply
On Sony Alpha a7 II Review preview (837 comments in total)

Sony, if you're listening out there... fix the RAW compression issue via a firmware update and I'll place my order the next day.

I think the review is on target with its complaint. They say you're a "stone's throw" from being fully equal to a FF DSLR. You'll be a hair's breadth away with lossless RAW, or perhaps an option to save as an (uncompressed) DNG.

Direct link | Posted on Apr 4, 2015 at 03:30 UTC as 80th comment | 19 replies
On Sony Alpha a7 II Review preview (837 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike99999: There's something you reviewers are not getting, and that is the target market.

People buy their initial Nikon DX or Canon Rebel. They like the size. But then they learn there's barely any upgrade path. There's only a handful of lenses and most of them suck. Nikon and Canon force them towards a big and heavy full frame DSLR, nothing to do with the original camera size they fell in love with.

That's why the Olympus OM-D and Fuji X-T1 are so popular. You still have a crop sensor, but at least you get a fantastic lens selection.

And now Sony has their own "full frame OMD". And let me tell you this. The A7 II despite its added bulk is still smaller and lighter than my original D5000, my first camera and the camera that made me fall in love with photography. You get full frame performance in a DX-sized package. It is fantastic for most of us.

This is why the A7 series are so successful as well. So many people frustrated with the Canon/Nikon upgrade path now have another great option.

True as far as it goes, but there's not much of an upgrade path with regard to lenses unless you use an adapter. Sony is way behind Fuji and 4/3rds brands on this.

Direct link | Posted on Apr 3, 2015 at 18:13 UTC

This is great news. I use Amazon's "Glacier" service to archive about 400 GB of photo files at a cost of about $4.00 a month, and those files are stored in a way that delays access depending on Amazon' Web Services (AWS) traffic load. No-delay access for an unlimited amount of photo storage for $12 a year is a very good deal. Amazon's AWS is the largest provider of on-line storage, and there's excellent redundancy & uptime.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 26, 2015 at 16:49 UTC as 76th comment | 3 replies
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: For 23 years, I consulted globally in the field of competitive intelligence (no, not corporate espionage). My clients included divisions of companies like Canon, Sony and... Kodak. Not everyone (even at a firm like Sony) accepted the idea that they needed to pay attention to competitors, but the ones that did were more successful than the ones that didn't.

A company that wants its internal teams to compete with each other rather than encouraging them to compete with the outside world is making a significant mistake. If Canon really thinks there's nothing to learn from Nikon or Sony, it's reached an intellectual dead end.

Thoughts U Us writes, "Rarely do you get much of a sense of where the company is truly headed." True, true. That's the problem - they're not headed in the right direction.

The Fuji and Sony interviews were specific in giving credit to competitors - even to Samsung! But Canon's CEO talked about how Canon looks inward for its competition by encouraging teams to compete with each other. To me, that means they're looking in the wrong direction. Perhaps they're superior in DSLRs, but their competitors are superior in mirrorless, and Sony and perhaps Fuji seem to be superior in some aspects of sensor design. Canon's mirrorless team should be trying to learn from and compete with Sony, Samsung, Panasonic & Olympus. This is a textbook case of having a blind spot about one's capabilities vis-a-vis competitors

Direct link | Posted on Mar 15, 2015 at 01:59 UTC

For 23 years, I consulted globally in the field of competitive intelligence (no, not corporate espionage). My clients included divisions of companies like Canon, Sony and... Kodak. Not everyone (even at a firm like Sony) accepted the idea that they needed to pay attention to competitors, but the ones that did were more successful than the ones that didn't.

A company that wants its internal teams to compete with each other rather than encouraging them to compete with the outside world is making a significant mistake. If Canon really thinks there's nothing to learn from Nikon or Sony, it's reached an intellectual dead end.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 11, 2015 at 03:06 UTC as 98th comment | 4 replies

The photos are artfully-composed and they show the lens's capabilities at f/1.4, an aperture where you'd expect a shallow depth of field. I much prefer this sort of samples gallery than pictures of Yokohama from a hotel hoom, even though it's easier to discern corner sharpness from bland rectangular buildings than it is from these.

And FE lenses are particularly interesting because I'm think of jumping from Canon FF to Sony FF. Thanks for posting, and please give us the"shooting experience" page of the Alpha 7ii review soon.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 7, 2015 at 18:49 UTC as 12th comment

I agree with the earlier post by Edymagno that the 410 is so heavy that it unbalances a carbon fiber tripod. So the almost 1 pound drop in weight is most welcome, despite the loss of capacity. But it appears that they've designed this one like the 410 in that it doesn't pan/pivot over the center of the tripod. That's a problem when shooting panos. You can buy a 3rd-party Swiss-Arca replacement mount from Hejnar to fix that on the 410; perhaps that will work for this head as well.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 5, 2015 at 04:16 UTC as 15th comment | 1 reply
In reply to:

princewolf: If they don't give full refunds to backers, it's a rip-off, as that amount of money brings them huge interest in any sensible bank.

Uh... banks don't pay depositors as much in interest as they charge borrowers. Last time I looked, interest rates that banks were paying depositors in the US, Europe and Japan were under 1%. If they raised UKL 300,000 and held the money for a year without spending any of it, that would be about UKL 3,000 in interest. Not what I'd call "hugh interest."

Direct link | Posted on Mar 4, 2015 at 00:55 UTC

It's very refreshing to read so many un-hedged, direct statements from a camera company executive. Thanks, dPreview, for asking the questions, and thanks Fuji, for answering them forthrightly. Mr. Iida even acknowledged Samsung. This kind of thinking is responsible for Fuji's successful transition from film to digital vs. Kodak's failure.

It would be very nice (and quite a surprise) to see an equally frank set of answers from Nikon or Canon about how their cameras stack up against the competitors.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 14:43 UTC as 69th comment | 11 replies
In reply to:

Randy Veeman: For those who said Canon mirrorless is doing well in Japan, here you go. They are outselling Fuji, Pentax and Nikon.

3 kinds of falsehoods - lies, damned lies and statistics. Thus, Canon is "outselling Fuji, Pentax & Nikon."

Well, yes. The graph shows Canon had an 11% market share in 12/14, just about tied with Panasonic & Ricoh. Sony & Olympus together have a 55% share. Not a very stirring performance for Canon, but not dead either. The surprise (to me) is the low share held in Japan by Fuji. That may be a function of aiming for the top end of the mirrorless market.

Makes one wonder who has the highest profit. It's not always the market leader. Apple has 92% of the smartphone market profit despite having a much smaller market share than Samsung.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 11, 2015 at 22:21 UTC

Quoting from the editorial:
"By not participating I suspect these two giants hoped that the acidic CSC would just go away or at least not be encouraged to grow. Instead, Nikon and Canon have allowed new and struggling brands to multiply their wares like bacteria in a dirty petri dish."

So true... ! Excellent editorial. Thank you for giving Canon the kick in the rear that it deserves.

Canon has the classic problem of a market leader facing disruption: "Should we introduce a product that will eat our own lunch?" The answer is, "Do you prefer to eat your own lunch or have someone else eat it for you?" Apparently Canon still thinks Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Samsung & Olympus will just nibble on the garnish, but ultimately they'll grab the whole sandwich.

Case in point: I'm have a Canon 5D Mark II (and Sony NEX-6). I was waiting for 5D IV, hoping for significant innovation. But now that the shape of the next generation of 5D's has been revealed, I've ordered a Sony Alpha 7ii.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 11, 2015 at 15:30 UTC as 258th comment
On Nikon D750 Review preview (1946 comments in total)

Excellent explanation, and interesting even though I don't own the D750. Thank you.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 21, 2015 at 21:56 UTC as 146th comment
On Gary Fong launches virtual camera tutorial service article (140 comments in total)

Wow -- there are a lot of snarky comments about this! All you so very sophisticated critics, wouldn't you like to spend enough time fooling around with the controls on an expensive camera before you plunk down you credit card? Here's a way to do it, albeit within the limits of doing things virtually.

It's NOT just for a newbie trying to learn how to focus. I'm a Canon FF DSLR owner thinking about jumping to FF mirrorless, but concerned about Sony's hitherto odd ideas about how menus. I'd love to go through the Alpha 7ii menu to be sure it won't drive me nuts.
Take all the time you need - something you may have time to do in a camera store, or maybe not. Want to see the effect of different levels of focus peaking? Want to know if it's easy to go from single shot to time delay? To change focus points? Check it out. Obsess as long as you want without ticking off the photo store sales clerk. No matter what you think of Gary's "Tupperware," this idea has merit.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 15, 2015 at 04:53 UTC as 23rd comment | 5 replies
Total: 112, showing: 1 – 20
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