Mike Sandman

Mike Sandman

Lives in United States Brookline, United States
Works as a Retired management consultant
Joined on Mar 20, 2003
About me:

Sony Alpha 7Rii - switched in Sept 2015 from Canon 5D Mark II; Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f/4; 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; Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye. Epson 3880 printer. Sony NEX 6. Started with a Balda 35mm rangefinder in 1956.

Comments

Total: 146, showing: 1 – 20
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In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Digital cameras - A company that can increase profits despite a drop in revenue is doing somethng right. In this case, they've succeeded in shifting from higher volume, low profit point & shooot to low volume, high profit ILCs.

Sensors & batteries - the slide shows an impairment charge aggainst the battery business. That means Sony's auditor looked at the battery business's book value vs. it's profitability and decided the book value was unjstifianly high. So they reduced book value via an impairment charge. This is a.very unhappy event for the managers of the battery business, but it doesn't have a direct effect on the camera business. And even though sensors and hatteries are combined into the same reporting unit, it doesn't mean that the sensor business is in trouble.

Well, it's an interesting strategic question. As an investor, do you you want to own shares in business that's strong in a highlly profitable niche market segment (like Apple) or have a very high market share in a low- margin market (like Dell in PCs and Nokia in cell phones)?

If you're a corporation executive, the answer depends on whether your goal is profitability or revenue.

Sony earned about 12% operating profit on its camera sales in the third quarter of 2015, when the sales of alpha series II cameras was just ramping up. That's a very high return for a consumer electronics product line. The total profit was up despite a drop in revenue and, very likely, a steeper drop in unit sales.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 1, 2016 at 05:03 UTC

Digital cameras - A company that can increase profits despite a drop in revenue is doing somethng right. In this case, they've succeeded in shifting from higher volume, low profit point & shooot to low volume, high profit ILCs.

Sensors & batteries - the slide shows an impairment charge aggainst the battery business. That means Sony's auditor looked at the battery business's book value vs. it's profitability and decided the book value was unjstifianly high. So they reduced book value via an impairment charge. This is a.very unhappy event for the managers of the battery business, but it doesn't have a direct effect on the camera business. And even though sensors and hatteries are combined into the same reporting unit, it doesn't mean that the sensor business is in trouble.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 31, 2016 at 18:18 UTC as 7th comment | 6 replies
On article Sigma 20mm F1.4 'Art' lens real-world sample gallery (135 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Thanks for posting these. Where are the shots using the a7Rii? Only the Canon shots seem to be available.

Thanks!

Direct link | Posted on Jan 28, 2016 at 20:08 UTC
On article Sigma 20mm F1.4 'Art' lens real-world sample gallery (135 comments in total)

Thanks for posting these. Where are the shots using the a7Rii? Only the Canon shots seem to be available.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 28, 2016 at 19:04 UTC as 37th comment | 2 replies
On article Going Pro: We interview Fujifilm execs in Tokyo (365 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Interesting interview and commentary -- thank you.

APSC vs FF: I spent some time in B&H handling the XT-1 and the Sony Alpha 7 (at the time), along with a Canon 5D Mark III (and I was a Mark II owner). The Sony wasn't very much bigger than the Fuji XT-1. a7ii series bodies are a bit deeper and heavier, so the latest FF Sonys carry a moderate size and weight penalty vs. the XT-1, but nothing like the penalty Nikon and Canon exact with FF (or even prosumer APSC) DSLRS.

The Fuji executives are certainly right in in alluding to Sony's lack of depth in lenses -- FE mount in particular. Adapting Canon lenses certainly alleviates that, but with some obvious negatives (no film-related pun intended). All in all, there are tradeoffs with any manufacturer's system. If Fuji makes it to the top three (or even top 4) by sticking to a well-designed APSC product line, more power to them.

It's truly stunning to read that Fuji's film sales are less than 1% of what they were in 2000.

FE lenses are too few for sure. Too big... yes, compared to the very well designed Fuji lenses. Too expensive... well, Fuji lenses are not inexpensive. There are tradeoffs with both and I came close to going with Fuji instead the alpha. The fact that we and others are able to have this discussion about Fuji vs. Sony is a bad sign for Canon and Nikon.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 21, 2016 at 03:38 UTC
On article Going Pro: We interview Fujifilm execs in Tokyo (365 comments in total)

Interesting interview and commentary -- thank you.

APSC vs FF: I spent some time in B&H handling the XT-1 and the Sony Alpha 7 (at the time), along with a Canon 5D Mark III (and I was a Mark II owner). The Sony wasn't very much bigger than the Fuji XT-1. a7ii series bodies are a bit deeper and heavier, so the latest FF Sonys carry a moderate size and weight penalty vs. the XT-1, but nothing like the penalty Nikon and Canon exact with FF (or even prosumer APSC) DSLRS.

The Fuji executives are certainly right in in alluding to Sony's lack of depth in lenses -- FE mount in particular. Adapting Canon lenses certainly alleviates that, but with some obvious negatives (no film-related pun intended). All in all, there are tradeoffs with any manufacturer's system. If Fuji makes it to the top three (or even top 4) by sticking to a well-designed APSC product line, more power to them.

It's truly stunning to read that Fuji's film sales are less than 1% of what they were in 2000.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 21, 2016 at 02:48 UTC as 80th comment | 11 replies
On Connect post CamFi is a wireless controller for your Nikon or Canon DSLR (44 comments in total)
In reply to:

JanMatthys: Does the camera have to be in Live View Mode to use this gadget? or is it using the HDMI signal?

Both this CamFi and the CamRanger put out a wifi signal with its own SSID, and you connect your smartphone to that wifi source. You don't have to be in Live View, and there's no cable connecting your camera to your phone, so you can set up the camera and walk some distance away from it.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 5, 2016 at 04:06 UTC
On Connect post CamFi is a wireless controller for your Nikon or Canon DSLR (44 comments in total)

I used a $299 CamRanger with a 5D Mark II and it was very useful for night photography. All of the controls were available on the screen of my iPhone, and the intervalometer feature added a functionality that was missing from the Canon. If this device has functionality equivalent to the CamRanger, it's a worthwhile tool at a far lower price point.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 4, 2016 at 21:27 UTC as 16th comment | 2 replies

OK, the suspense is killing me. Where's Rishi's pick?

Direct link | Posted on Dec 24, 2015 at 03:03 UTC as 19th comment
On article In Fine Detail: Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R In-Depth Review (668 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: A thorough review, but I question the conclusion. How does a camera that has:
Less dynamic range
Noisier Base ISO images
Poorer low light performance
A low ISO cap
Less JPEG detail
Slower AF tracking
Limited video features
No zebra or peaking options
Slow AF in Live View and video

...get an 83 compared to the 90 for the D810 and a7Rii, unless you count the first series of a7 cameras, which have different but significant shortcomings, as contemporaneous competitors.

No problem. I try to be balanced when I comment, but I screwed up in that first post.

I shoot a lot of urban night images and a lot of HDR, so better dynamic range is more important to me than the number of MP.

I admit to being rather grumpy about all of this, having owned three Canon DSLRs including a 5D Mark II before reluctantly switching to Sony. I see long range implications for Canon. The latest Sony FF bodies can readily use Canon lenses with a good adapter, so the switching cost of moving to Sony has been sharply reduced. And while 50 MP is class-leading, the Sony a7Rii has 42 MP -- not much of a gap. Canon needs to wake up or it will become the Blackberry of the camera industry.

It's enough to make any recovering Canon fanboy grumpy.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 20, 2015 at 04:57 UTC
On article In Fine Detail: Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R In-Depth Review (668 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: A thorough review, but I question the conclusion. How does a camera that has:
Less dynamic range
Noisier Base ISO images
Poorer low light performance
A low ISO cap
Less JPEG detail
Slower AF tracking
Limited video features
No zebra or peaking options
Slow AF in Live View and video

...get an 83 compared to the 90 for the D810 and a7Rii, unless you count the first series of a7 cameras, which have different but significant shortcomings, as contemporaneous competitors.

It's a bit scary to reply to someone who introduces an an analogy to an evil dictator in the context of a comment about cameras. But you're right that the 50MP should produce superb image quality to photographers who know how to manage the camera and who have suitable lenses. And you're also right in pointing out that Canon was aiming for class-leading image quality. It is also true that they packaged that IQ potential in a camera that has disadvantages compared to competitors, but would have been more balanced to include the camera's key advantage in my original post.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 19, 2015 at 03:54 UTC
On article In Fine Detail: Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R In-Depth Review (668 comments in total)

A thorough review, but I question the conclusion. How does a camera that has:
Less dynamic range
Noisier Base ISO images
Poorer low light performance
A low ISO cap
Less JPEG detail
Slower AF tracking
Limited video features
No zebra or peaking options
Slow AF in Live View and video

...get an 83 compared to the 90 for the D810 and a7Rii, unless you count the first series of a7 cameras, which have different but significant shortcomings, as contemporaneous competitors.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 18, 2015 at 19:31 UTC as 85th comment | 5 replies
On article Primer: Why would I buy a mirrorless camera? (551 comments in total)
In reply to:

AnitaBower: What is preventing me from buying a mirrorless is uncertainty about available light macro performance. The available macro lenses are at most 90mm. I would like a crop mirrorless with image stabilization and a 100mm macro lens.

The Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro and the Sigma with Canon mount will work on many mirrorless cameras (with an adapter) So will other makers' lenses (depending on the availability of adapters). Since you probably use manual focus for macro, the potential loss of that capability may not bother you. I think you'll find that manual focus with focus peaking on a mirrorless camera is easier and faster than focusing with an optical viewfinder.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 8, 2015 at 04:19 UTC
On article Canon 35mm F1.4L II: a photojournalist's perspective (86 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Thanks for the photographer's perspective. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art is half the price of the Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II, but without IS. Any comments from the photographer comparing the image quality from the two lenses?

Interesting info. Thanks very much.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 7, 2015 at 18:06 UTC
On article Canon 35mm F1.4L II: a photojournalist's perspective (86 comments in total)

Thanks for the photographer's perspective. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art is half the price of the Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II, but without IS. Any comments from the photographer comparing the image quality from the two lenses?

Direct link | Posted on Dec 7, 2015 at 16:33 UTC as 25th comment | 3 replies
In reply to:

nebulight: The Pentax 645Z houses a 51.6MP CMOS sensor that measures roughly 44x33 cm. Oh baby, 44x33cm or 17x13in, talk about low light abilities!! ;)

The United States mandated the acceptance of the metric system in 1866 for commercial and legal proceedings, without displacing their customary units. (Ref.: Wikipedia).
Also see http://www.nist.gov/pml/div683/museum-timeline.cfm

But... customary habits persist for a long time.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 27, 2015 at 19:58 UTC
In reply to:

nebulight: The Pentax 645Z houses a 51.6MP CMOS sensor that measures roughly 44x33 cm. Oh baby, 44x33cm or 17x13in, talk about low light abilities!! ;)

Mm, cm, all those European-y metric things are so confusung.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 25, 2015 at 22:47 UTC
On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2124 comments in total)
In reply to:

darngooddesign: Hopefully Sony is forcing Canon to release a Pro version of the SL1. That way people who like DSLRs can get a top performing but small camera.

DSLRs have one set of capabilities and a mirrorless has an overlapping but different set. For example, it's hard to imagine a DSLR that could accept a very wide range of non-native lenses. On the other hand, DSLRs have the advantage of having optical viewfinders It would be very interesting to see a pro DSLR the size of a Canon SL1, but it wouldn't match the 7RII's full set of capabilities, just as Sony can't match the Nikon 810 in every way.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 18, 2015 at 22:41 UTC
On article What's missing? Ming Thein on the state of mirrorless (751 comments in total)
In reply to:

Paul B Jones: For me one of the most interesting insights Thein provides is towards the end of the piece where he speculates that Canon or Nikon could step into the mirrorless games in a serious way late in the day, but after many of the design kinks have been worked out by others. If so, big thanks to Olympus, Fuji and Sony for doing the heavy development lifting and to all you passionate mirrorless shooters for beta testing the system while the bugs are being worked out.

The dynamic inside industry leaders like Canon is to wait too long to react to a new kind of product, and to respond with half-measures. Witness the Canon M, a nice camera with limited ambitions. There's a long, long trail of companies that have waited too long -- see "Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation," the superb book by MIT professor James Utterback. He talks about the tendency for new types of products to be brought to market by outsiders like Sony.

For me, Canon waited too long. The technology available with its 2nd generation of Alpha FF mirrorless trumped the poor battery life. I'm not a pro. I sold my 5D Mark II and switched to Sony Alpha.

Ming Thein is understandably bothered by more things because he has to make a living with his cameras.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 6, 2015 at 23:40 UTC
In reply to:

Lee Jay: 700 shots on 3 batteries? I shot 2,250 shots at an airshow on one battery.

700/3 = 233 shots per battery. I wasn't dead at 2,250 and some of those were videos, so it looks like the battery life difference is about a factor of 10 between this camera and my 7D Mark II.

I usually carry 3 batteries. No way I'm buying a camera for which I'd need to carry 30!

No question that the battery life is a potential Achilles' heel for the 7RII. It seems to depend a lot on whether you're using the LCD vs. only the viewfinder and whether you've turned the automatic review off, but even when I take all the steps to conserve battery life, it gets a fraction of what my Canon used to get. In return, of course, you get technology that Canon hasn't matched in a smaller, lighter camera. But I'd give up CC or two of additional bulk and 50 grams to get a bigger battery.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 4, 2015 at 21:24 UTC
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