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 24-70mm f/4 FE; Sony 16-35mm f/4 FE; 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: 180, showing: 1 – 20
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Hey, not so quick! Go back to the guy bungee-jumping at the waterfall at 3:05 or so.

Link | Posted on Dec 8, 2016 at 05:00 UTC as 9th comment
On article 2016 Roundup: Best Camera Drones Under $1500 (69 comments in total)

Excellent primer on the capabilities and characteristics to look for (at least for a new-to-drones photographer like me). I'm assuming there will be more drones with 1" sensors in the not-to-distant future, which makes things very interesting for a skills photographer. Thanks, and lets have more on these platforms, including in-depth reviews.

Link | Posted on Nov 26, 2016 at 19:58 UTC as 11th comment
In reply to:

joseph papa: You guys are missing the big picture. USB-C and multiple thunderbolt ports is a step forward. Every laptop Ive ever owned needed usb card readers, adapters to connect E-sata drives, drive docks, etc. With the new design there are no limitations. Connect anything without a bottleneck. Charge from inexpensive USB batteries. If a new connector comes out, all you need is a dongle, not a new laptop.
Even the SD card reader isn't a deal breaker. The fastest cards won't read at max speed without the right reader anyway. I personally think Apple is smart. Don't complain they gave us more of the fastest ports...
On my 2013 Retina I would love to exchange to have more thunderbolt ports. The dongle isn't any more ugly than the countless other things we already plug in.

It's an interesting point - that a single universal type of connection has advantages down the road. And new input technologies are constantly coming along.

Apple has never hesitated to orphan its products, unlike Microsoft. The result is an OS that doesn't have a lot of obsolete crap hanging off it. But there's always a need to have stuff hanging off a laptop.

The concept of a single universal port works if the port is truly universal works with even new type of input. But (1) No port has had an unending life cycle. Why will this one be universal in 5 years? (2) why kill the SD card slot? Forcing the use of a dongle for an input device that slides almost all the way into the computer is s a step backwards in convenience, and it uses a potentially precious port. And (3) it would have been a lot easier for customers to swallow the whole concept if Apple had cut prices on the dongles at the same time they introduced the MBP.

Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2016 at 04:33 UTC

Yes, well... if you've traveling around with a laptop, it's a lot less cumbersome t have an integral SD card slot than it is to bring an SD card reader and cable with you. I think Mr. Schiller is being disingenuous. The decision was either an effort to reduce cost or to reduce thickness and weight, or both. Bad move. Apple should repent with the next MacBook Pro.

Link | Posted on Nov 3, 2016 at 21:16 UTC as 317th comment | 2 replies

Foreshadows a touchscreen on the next version of the A7 series - a welcome enhancement.

Link | Posted on Oct 6, 2016 at 16:10 UTC as 233rd comment

Barney laments that Canon is only making incremental changes. Twenty years ago, MIT's James Utterback* wrote that process improvements are introduced by incumbents in an industry, while product innovation comes from outsiders. Thus Panasonic, an electronics firm, introduced mirrorless ILCs; Samsung and Sony led the introduction of new mirrorless technology. Incumbents like Canon (& Nikon) tend to sit on their hands as this is going on.

Sometimes incumbents get into the game late. Sometimes they miss it completely, like Underwood did when IBM developed the Selectric typewriter. So Canon is probably doomed to playing catch-up. It's unfair to expect them to jump from leading the DSLR category to leading the mirrorless ILC category. It's just not in their corporate DNA.

Maybe Sony will learn interface design so we get the best of both worlds

* James Utterback, "Managing the Dynamics of Innovation" -- best book you'll ever read on how disruptive technology gets to market.

Link | Posted on Sep 19, 2016 at 15:22 UTC as 66th comment
In reply to:

Donnie G: How is it that Canon's EOS ILCs, whether mirrorless or DSLR, continues to attract swarms of new buyers regardless of their cameras' higher costs and other inexcusable faults as perceived by the critics on this site? Well, I'll tell you how. Canon's ILCs all have one thing in common no matter what skill level their cameras are aimed at. Ease Of Use! Nobody does "ease of use" better than Canon.

Real world shoppers, for the most part, aren't gear-heads who are prone to argue over whether or not the camera records 4k video, has a mirror box or not, etc, etc.. Real world shoppers buy Canon because those cameras are "easy to use". Easy to use exposure controls, focusing tools, menus, connectivity, and the list goes on and on. Add to that, Canon's world class customer service, and it becomes easy to see why Canon is the preferred choice among Real World Shoppers. :))

Easy to use - yes, Canon does an excellent job on the user interface, and it looks like they did quite well with the M5 . But... I teach photography classes to "un-advanced" amateurs and almost all of them (a) don't ever take their cameras out of Program mode and (b) when the class has first session, they have no idea what aperture or shutter speed to select for a given situation. Canon sells well to that market because of brand, not design, even though the design is indeed excellent,

Link | Posted on Sep 15, 2016 at 20:34 UTC
In reply to:

ttran88: Apple is projected to sell more iPhone 7 this coming weekend than Canon can sell all year ;)

Yes, and Coca-Cola sells 1.7 billion servings each day, which is a lot more than the total number of iPhones that Apple has sold in the whole history of the product.

So...???

Link | Posted on Sep 15, 2016 at 20:23 UTC
On article Striding Forth: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review (2084 comments in total)

If Canon had introduced this a year ago, the Sony Aloha 7Rii would not have gotten off to nearly as strong a start as it did (speaking as a former 5DII owner who switched to Sony). As it turned out, the competition seems to have spurred Canon to speed up the introduction of a señor with much improved dynamic range. It will be interesting to see whether A7Rii sales slow, in which case Sony will be out here with an A7Riii that much faster.

Link | Posted on Sep 15, 2016 at 01:46 UTC as 147th comment | 7 replies

impressive improvement. Very nice. Thanks for this (and other) useful review slices.

Link | Posted on Aug 31, 2016 at 19:33 UTC as 105th comment
On article Canon EOS 5D IV: What you need to know (185 comments in total)
In reply to:

Ran Plett: Looks like a crippled video offering, even to the point where they don't provide a choice of codecs. The video functionality is even being promoted as a 8mp 30 fps stills feature. That begs the obvious question: does Canon have an attitude of "we're too big to fail" and are afraid of product canabalization? Or have they done extensive market research and found that although everyone seems to want those bells and whistles, not many 'togs are actually using them? Probably a mix of both.

On to stills... what we really need to see, and I'm sure those will arrive shortly, is high quality sample images that shows exposure latitude and high ISO noise characteristics. If these are underwhelming compared to the competition, a lot of potential buyers aren't going to be thrilled and would probably care less about the dual pixel parallax benefits.

I would have thought I'd be one of the first to preorder a 5D4 because I skipped a generation and still shoot with a very capable 5D2. With my style of shooting, I drool over higher DR, and really wonder what's down the Nikon D800 series pipeline.

I too kept my 5D Mark II and skipped the Mark III. My "drool over higher DR" got to be too much. I bought a Sony a7RII and an adapter so I could use my Canon lenses. This edition of the 5D does not make me regret that decision. Canon has better ergonomics, a touchscreen and far,far better battery life, but Sony has outstanding dynamic range, focus peaking, zebras, and drive options that are ideal for hand-held HDR when the better DR isn't enough, plus a flip-up LCD, which is immensely useful. Between touchscreen and flip-up screen, I'd go with the flip-up. (Of course Sony will have both in its next iteration...)

Link | Posted on Aug 29, 2016 at 02:06 UTC
In reply to:

Eric Hensel: I'm a DPR fanboy, and I can't for the life of me understand the thinking behind this list, or the recommendations -there's not much meat on these bones.
Having said that, I'd love to see a comparison of *output images* between the known converter leaders :DxO, Capture 1, Lightroom etc. A real review, in other words?

Wemmel --Yes, it would be useful to have in-depth reviews of alternative to Photoshop. To answer your question, I started with Elements in 2003 and moved to Photoshop. Since then I've tried Lightroom, DxO, and now Affinity. Each of them does some things better that Photoshop, or does several things more intuitively. but none of them cover the full range of functionality that Photoshop does.

For example, prompted by this article, I downloaded a trial version of Affinity, It might become a full-blown alternative to Photoshop, and it would be an easy transition for Photoshop users because it imports .DNG files and outputs .PSD files But at this time it doesn't include any built-in lens profiles. And it doesn't manage image libraries, which you can do (up to a point) with Bridge.

Photoshop is loaded with more functionality than most still photographers need, but each of us wants our own slice of that huge cake. Matching that range of capabilities takes time and investment.

Link | Posted on Aug 26, 2016 at 03:18 UTC
On article Sony a7R II versus a7 II: Eight key differences (396 comments in total)
In reply to:

davev8: """""Sony's a7-series marked the debut of full-frame mirrorless, and Sony still dominates this market with its a7S II, a7 II and a7R II.""""
obversely sony dominates the FF mirrorless market .. and it sound impressive until its pointed out that sony market share has not improved since 2008 so basically they have traded A mount sales for FE mount sales

Well that's just the point. High market share doesn't necessarily lead to high profits. :-)

Link | Posted on Aug 7, 2016 at 17:01 UTC
On article Sony a7R II versus a7 II: Eight key differences (396 comments in total)
In reply to:

davev8: """""Sony's a7-series marked the debut of full-frame mirrorless, and Sony still dominates this market with its a7S II, a7 II and a7R II.""""
obversely sony dominates the FF mirrorless market .. and it sound impressive until its pointed out that sony market share has not improved since 2008 so basically they have traded A mount sales for FE mount sales

"...making 1 £$ 1000 times is better than making 10£$ once."

No, not necessarily. If you make a higher profit per unit and have lower unit sales, you earn a much higher return on sales (obviously) and probably a higher rate of return on capital. It's sort of like Apple phones vs. Samsung phone. Samsung sells more units but Apple makes a much higher profit per phone. If you'e an investor, you probably prefer the latter results. And Sony seems to do that in cameras, despite their poor profitability in other markets (notably consumer electronics).

Link | Posted on Aug 7, 2016 at 14:45 UTC

The Mavica was a neat product for its time - 1999 - but the use of a floppy disc drive highlights how much changed in just the next few years. By 2002, there were 5 MP sensors and 256 MB CF cards, which left the Mavica in the dust. The shrinking cost of sensors and memory were omens of the limited future of film.

It's interesting to note that after the Mavica, Sony stepped back from the leading edge, sticking largely with small sensor cameras, while Canon and Nikon stepped forward with practical DSLRS. Now Sony seems to be intent on reclaiming its position as an innovator, a position they held briefly with the likes of the Mavica.

Link | Posted on Aug 6, 2016 at 02:37 UTC as 28th comment | 2 replies

10+

Link | Posted on Jul 15, 2016 at 02:39 UTC as 11th comment
On article Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 (122 comments in total)

The less mushy buttons and the criticism that a lot of mirrorless cameras are afflicted by much control prompt a question (from a Sony Alpha 7Rii owner): Could the mushiness be fixed if a camera repair shop installed stronger springs under the buttons on some of these cameras? (Maybe we need a teardown from iFixIt or LensRentals to show us how).

Link | Posted on Jul 7, 2016 at 16:26 UTC as 13th comment | 4 replies

Thanks - excellent article, with lots of detail about "how to" both in the field and on the computer. I've done HDR panos, a tiny bit of astro and lots of cold weather work, and seeing someone combine all the pieces is inspiring.

Link | Posted on Jul 3, 2016 at 18:17 UTC as 18th comment

Wonderful. I've been a frequent visitor to Singapore and this is a perfect way to capture the feeling of energy in the architecture and changing skyline.

Link | Posted on Jun 14, 2016 at 01:17 UTC as 28th comment
On article Looking Sharp: A focus stacking tutorial (224 comments in total)
In reply to:

ktjones: An alternative program to Photoshop for performing the post-process stacking is Zerene Stacker. Its website is here:

zerenesystems.com

Although it's mostly used for macro imaging, Zerene Stacker will work on any focus-stacked image series, including landscapes, as described here:

zerenesystems.com/cms/stacker/docs/tutorials/stackinglandscapes

Yes, I agree. Stacker is reliable and a great deal easier than going through the process in Photoshop. The only thing in favor of the laborious method detailed in this article is that you get complete control over the blending of frames. But of you want to try focus stacking and not spend 30 minutes or more blending multiple layers, do try Zyrene Stacker.

Link | Posted on May 29, 2016 at 20:40 UTC
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