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 7Riii; Sony 16-24mm f/4 FE; Sony 24-70mm f/4 FE; Sony 70-200 f/4 FE; Canon 24mm TSE II; Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro; Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye; Leica R f/2.8 135mm Elmarit; Novoflex R to EF converter. Epson 3880 printer. Sony NEX 6. Started with a Balda 35mm rangefinder in 1956.

Comments

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On article Sony a7R Mark III review (1088 comments in total)
In reply to:

roneybr: OK!

"Buttons and dials still need more feedback, especially with gloves"
???????????

And now that I actually have the camera and used it with gloves in a snowstorm... I agree about the AF-ON button in particular.

Link | Posted on Dec 12, 2017 at 16:08 UTC
On article Our favorite gear, rewarded: DPReview Awards 2017 (464 comments in total)

Thanks for including a "best accessory" pick. The Godox flash is a deserving winner, and it has a twin, the FlashPoint Zoom Li-on sold by Adorama.

Link | Posted on Dec 11, 2017 at 15:42 UTC as 74th comment | 2 replies
On article Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III: Which is best? (1042 comments in total)
In reply to:

Iloveaircraftnoise: Just out of curiosity I'd like to ask the Sony shooters out there what it's like to handle the A7 series cameras when shooting all day events and functions with, say, a 70-200.

Is it ok? Is it front heavy? Other than a quick play around at the store I have no experience handling this sort of combo.

The OP asked for comments on what it's like to handle the a7 cameras with a 70-200 mounted. Reasonable question, which I hope I answered reasonably. No quarrel here with anyone who's happy with some other camera.

Link | Posted on Dec 6, 2017 at 13:26 UTC
On article Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III: Which is best? (1042 comments in total)
In reply to:

Iloveaircraftnoise: Just out of curiosity I'd like to ask the Sony shooters out there what it's like to handle the A7 series cameras when shooting all day events and functions with, say, a 70-200.

Is it ok? Is it front heavy? Other than a quick play around at the store I have no experience handling this sort of combo.

Spent four hours at an event yesterday hand-holding an a7 series plus a Sony 70-2-- and was quite comfortable.

Link | Posted on Dec 6, 2017 at 01:38 UTC
On article Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III: Which is best? (1042 comments in total)
In reply to:

entoman: It's utterly pointless arguing whether the D850 or a7Riii is "best". The differences in specifications and performance have now reached the stage where they are negligible.

But there is a huge difference in the way they handle. Some people like EVFs and a compact design, others like OVFs and traditional DSLR ergonomics and will buy accordingly.

Both cameras have negative aspects (e.g. the mirror clatter and blackout between frames on the Nikon, and the more fiddly controls and menus on the Sony). These will be the deciding factors, not the specs or performance.

Will Nikon fans switch to Sony? Unlikely.
Will Sony fans switch to Nikon? Unlikely.
Canon fans continue to wait, and pray.

entoman -- Check your assumptions, sonny. I'm 74 and just bought an alpha 7R iii, a follow-on to the alpha 7R ii I bought in 2015, when I switched from Canon. :-)

Link | Posted on Dec 6, 2017 at 01:36 UTC
On article Gear of the Year 2017 - Richard's choice: Sony NP-FZ100 (247 comments in total)
In reply to:

sts2: Surprising, but good choice. Battery life is one of the most significant drawbacks of mirrorless cameras (i.e. a dealbreaker for many), and this upgrade helped Sony close the gap with DSLRs in terms of usability/reliability big time.
This battery is more of a "game changer" than the entire A9, dare I say.

This is true. A battery with 650 shots in it's belly isn't going to last as long as a DSLR barely with three times that many. Everything has its tradeoffs. The D850 is a superb tool for photography, as is the a7Riii. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and if you already have a D850 you'd be nuts to think about switching. Enjoy the Nikon in peace.

Link | Posted on Dec 1, 2017 at 02:47 UTC
On article Gear of the Year 2017 - Richard's choice: Sony NP-FZ100 (247 comments in total)
In reply to:

sts2: Surprising, but good choice. Battery life is one of the most significant drawbacks of mirrorless cameras (i.e. a dealbreaker for many), and this upgrade helped Sony close the gap with DSLRs in terms of usability/reliability big time.
This battery is more of a "game changer" than the entire A9, dare I say.

Guilty as (not) charged

Link | Posted on Nov 30, 2017 at 14:05 UTC
On article Gear of the Year 2017 - Richard's choice: Sony NP-FZ100 (247 comments in total)
In reply to:

sts2: Surprising, but good choice. Battery life is one of the most significant drawbacks of mirrorless cameras (i.e. a dealbreaker for many), and this upgrade helped Sony close the gap with DSLRs in terms of usability/reliability big time.
This battery is more of a "game changer" than the entire A9, dare I say.

I'm an amateur, not a pro, and the a7Rii's short battery life was a PITA. I carry 2 spares, but batteries choose to die just when you're about to take a good but fleeting shot. And the spares lose charge sitting on the shelf. (I know that will still happen, but from a higher level of capacity.) A battery upgrade was a necessary condition for me to switch to an 7Riii.

But most of these comments miss the point Richard is making -- when you compare the Nikon D850 and the Sony a7Rii, the mirrorless vs. pentaprism distinction is altered. A battery that narrows the overall performance distinction MILCs and DSLRs and focuses attention on the things that matter to the image, like focus speed and dynamic range.

Link | Posted on Nov 30, 2017 at 01:34 UTC
On article Sony a7R Mark III review (1088 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Question: On the a9 and so presumably on the a7Riii, DRO (digital range optimization does the following: "By dividing the image into small areas, the product analyzes the contrast of light and shadow between the subject and the background, and creates an image with the optimal brightness and gradation."

The a7Riii has hybrid log gamma HGL available for stills. The a9 doesn't have that capability. How do DRO and HLG interact? Does HGL replace DRO? Supplement it?

Randomguy, thanks -- it took me a bit of time to figure out what you meant, but I got it.

HGL is applied to Picture Profiles, so DRO would have to be turned off. HGL is available for both movies and stills, just as the review says. It's covered in the User Guide, which can be downloaded from the Sony Australia support site, even from the US. Several pre-set HGL profiles are available for movies and one profile is available for stills. Some aspects of the HGL setting do not apply when you're shooting RAW - Black Level, Black Gamma, Knee and
Color Depth. (Being a stills person and not a video person, I have no idea what "knee" is. )

The URL to get both the printed user manual that comes with the camera and the downloadable and much more detailed online user guide is: http://www.sony.com.au/electronics/support/e-mount-body-ilce7-series/ilce-7rm3#manuals. Sony's US support site has not yet posted these files. Perhaps they're being revised for the US market.

Link | Posted on Nov 24, 2017 at 05:04 UTC
On article Sony a7R Mark III review (1088 comments in total)

Question: On the a9 and so presumably on the a7Riii, DRO (digital range optimization does the following: "By dividing the image into small areas, the product analyzes the contrast of light and shadow between the subject and the background, and creates an image with the optimal brightness and gradation."

The a7Riii has hybrid log gamma HGL available for stills. The a9 doesn't have that capability. How do DRO and HLG interact? Does HGL replace DRO? Supplement it?

Link | Posted on Nov 23, 2017 at 02:32 UTC as 117th comment | 3 replies
On article Sony a7R Mark III review (1088 comments in total)
In reply to:

roneybr: OK!

"Buttons and dials still need more feedback, especially with gloves"
???????????

Hmmm... I handled an a7Riii at the introduction at Photo Expo in NY City, and OK, I didn't put gloves on inside the Javits Convention Center, but the controls were far more responsive and easy to use by feel than my a7Rii controls. I think the review is really scratching here for things that are "cons".

I do agree that backlit control buttons would be a very nice feature, like the Nikon D850 has.

Link | Posted on Nov 22, 2017 at 23:10 UTC
On article Sony a7R Mark III review (1088 comments in total)
In reply to:

elementare: At this point I think that it's quite hard for both Canon and Nikon to release a FF mirrorless camera. By this time they aren't in the position of neither being able to project a so technologically advanced camera without taking away resources from FF dslr cameras. Canon's mirrorless apsc is a good example of how Canon put the same sensor inside mirrorless and dslr but crop a lot of functions of the first.

And they aren't in the position of being able to release FF mirrorless unable to compete with mirrorless cameras like Sony A7RIII without collapse themselves. It's quite obvious that none is going to buy a Canon or Nikon FF mirrorless with a new mount that it's not able to match a Sony A7RIII like this.

At this point they have two possibilities, release just some aps-c mirrorless for amateur and enthusiast market (as Canon is already doing) or convert the whole pro dslr FF production into a pro FF mirrorless one, something I think it's never going to happen.

The OP presents an example of a principle that was described by James Utterback of MIT in "Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation." Process innovation (like improvement in a DSLR) usually comes comes from within the industry. Product innovation often originates within the industry, but it's brought to market by outsiders.

Incumbents are concerned about having to write off their existing investments, and they fear "eating their own lunch," failing to see that others will eat it for them. Mirrorless high-end cameras are an example. Producing competitive FF pro-level mirrorless is not in the DNA of Canon or Nikon.

Link | Posted on Nov 22, 2017 at 23:02 UTC
On article Sony a7R Mark III review (1088 comments in total)
In reply to:

ewelch: And you don't even bother to address weather sealing? At least in a way to track it down without reading the whole thing. That is what's keeping me away from Sony. My Canon 1Dx and Olympus OMD E-M1 Mark II make Sony look like a toy because of this one issue.

Perhaps there is a place in the for a third party to offer upgraded sealing with proper gaskets for the various weak links in Sony's (and others') weather sealing.

Link | Posted on Nov 22, 2017 at 22:49 UTC
On article UPDATED: Sony a7R III is still a star eater (469 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Until the a7Riii was released, I hadn't heard about the star eater phenomenon. And now that I've heard, I am...confused.
Page 129 of the A9 manual says:
"Long Exposure NR On: Activates noise reduction for the same duration that the shutter is open...
"Off: Does not activate noise reduction..."
And then it goes on to explain situation in which long exposure NR will not be applied.
Page 179 of the a7r2 manual says much the same thing.

Are you folks saying that even when Long Exposure NR is turned off, it comes back on with exposures of 4 sec. or longer? If so, I agree with the many posters who think that's a bug, not feature. But if you can turn off long exposure NR in the menu, well then, do it.

Further explanation welcome, but please be gentle. I confess to not being up to speed on this matter.

Thanks, sharkmelly & Victor -- Now I understand why everyone is so upset (to put it mildly). Sony is screwing with our RAW files, there's no way to block that action via the menu, and as a matter of principle, RAW files are not meant to be screwed with. I'm primarily a landscape and architecture photographer, so it will probably never matter to me, but the upset is understandable.

Link | Posted on Nov 22, 2017 at 01:24 UTC
On article UPDATED: Sony a7R III is still a star eater (469 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Until the a7Riii was released, I hadn't heard about the star eater phenomenon. And now that I've heard, I am...confused.
Page 129 of the A9 manual says:
"Long Exposure NR On: Activates noise reduction for the same duration that the shutter is open...
"Off: Does not activate noise reduction..."
And then it goes on to explain situation in which long exposure NR will not be applied.
Page 179 of the a7r2 manual says much the same thing.

Are you folks saying that even when Long Exposure NR is turned off, it comes back on with exposures of 4 sec. or longer? If so, I agree with the many posters who think that's a bug, not feature. But if you can turn off long exposure NR in the menu, well then, do it.

Further explanation welcome, but please be gentle. I confess to not being up to speed on this matter.

Thanks - LoneySpeck's explanation and the links in his blog are helpful, although it's still not clear to me whether the problem occurs with all exposures of 4 seconds or longer, or just those made in bulb mode.

If the star eater phenomenon was introduced as a result of an early firmware update meant to solve a larger problem with hot pixels, it may be that Sony hasn't figured out how to fix this it without having the earlier problem recur.

Link | Posted on Nov 21, 2017 at 21:44 UTC
On article UPDATED: Sony a7R III is still a star eater (469 comments in total)

Until the a7Riii was released, I hadn't heard about the star eater phenomenon. And now that I've heard, I am...confused.
Page 129 of the A9 manual says:
"Long Exposure NR On: Activates noise reduction for the same duration that the shutter is open...
"Off: Does not activate noise reduction..."
And then it goes on to explain situation in which long exposure NR will not be applied.
Page 179 of the a7r2 manual says much the same thing.

Are you folks saying that even when Long Exposure NR is turned off, it comes back on with exposures of 4 sec. or longer? If so, I agree with the many posters who think that's a bug, not feature. But if you can turn off long exposure NR in the menu, well then, do it.

Further explanation welcome, but please be gentle. I confess to not being up to speed on this matter.

Link | Posted on Nov 21, 2017 at 20:23 UTC as 69th comment | 8 replies
On article Sony a7R III added to studio scene comparison (453 comments in total)
In reply to:

dbm305: There are lots of comments here comparing sharpness of small details between similarly resolving cameras. DPR maybe you should have a message telling people what to look for, and what aspects of the scene are likely down to lens and shooting, and what may actually be sensor performance.

Yes, that would be helpful.

Looking closely at these comparisons, one thing is clear. They all have superb image quality, and pixel shifting brings them close to the Phase One benchmark. Whether it's Nikon 850, Sony a7Rii and iii, Pentax K1, or Canon Mark IV, the IQ differences are small, most notably in noise.

Image quality is not much of a differentiator for this class of camera - you have to look really hard to see differences. What you should choose depends on what you're looking for -- mirrorless technology, ruggedness, weather sealing, dynamic range, range of lenses and accessories, size/weight... to each his own. Whatever criteria you prefer, there's an amazing option.

Link | Posted on Nov 18, 2017 at 00:24 UTC
On article Sony a7R III added to studio scene comparison (453 comments in total)

dPr staff: I assume that comparing JPEGS is a less "accurate" way then looking at RAW files to compare cameras. But there's a question about RAW, too:

Why is the a7Riii RAW file 82MB while the a7Rii is 41.4 MB? Are you using uncompressed RAW for the a7Riii and the default compressed RAW for the older version? Doesn't that introduce some uncertainty in comparing these two Sony cameras?

Link | Posted on Nov 17, 2017 at 21:44 UTC as 41st comment
In reply to:

zavart: It is really strange that DPR has suddenly discovered ...CRISPNESS . It has existed for many years in all Foveon pictures ...even the ones which I took almost 14 years ago with my SD9 . The resolution is NOT everything as Foveon has already proven so many times. Actually in this comparison chart I placed Sigma Quattro H in High resolution mode, It is incredible how well it can compete with Sony especially since it has only 24Mpx sensor and the picture was taken WITHOUT sensor shift !!! Oh I know the colours are not perfect and I still have to spend a lot of time in post processing but for B&W photos...at this price point NOTHING comes close !

Zavart, thanks for the post. when I read the article, I wondered how an unshifted Foveon sensor would do vs. a Bayer array with pixel shifting. It's difficult to make a completely neutral comparison, given differences in the number of MP and other aspects of the sensor design, and of course there are differences in lenses. But it does seem like pixel shifting is a kludgy way to get around an inherent fault in the Bayer design.

Link | Posted on Nov 13, 2017 at 03:19 UTC
On article Shooting the Presidents Cup with the Sony a9 (239 comments in total)
In reply to:

LessMirrored19: The best camera of 2017 ......

But in either case, it's nice to have two technology tours de force to argue about.

For someone who started before light meters were coupled to cameras, this is a wonderful time to be a photographer, and to be a gearhead.

Link | Posted on Nov 2, 2017 at 17:49 UTC
Total: 248, showing: 1 – 20
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