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: 165, showing: 21 – 40
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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.

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?

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 (734 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.

Link | Posted on Dec 20, 2015 at 04:57 UTC
On article In Fine Detail: Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R In-Depth Review (734 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.

Link | Posted on Dec 19, 2015 at 03:54 UTC
On article In Fine Detail: Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R In-Depth Review (734 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.

Link | Posted on Dec 18, 2015 at 19:31 UTC as 107th comment | 5 replies
On article Primer: Why would I buy a mirrorless camera? (562 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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Link | Posted on Nov 25, 2015 at 22:47 UTC
On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2159 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.

Link | Posted on Nov 18, 2015 at 22:41 UTC
On article What's missing? Ming Thein on the state of mirrorless (744 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.

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.

Link | Posted on Nov 4, 2015 at 21:24 UTC
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Most cameras now come with wifi and an app for controlling the camera remotely. If you have a camera with wifi, the manufacturer probably offers an app for controlling it from a tablet of smartphone. So you can use Tether Tools products that make it possible to mount your iPad or other tablet on a swivel attached to your tripod. The cost is around $150, and you don't have to worry about cables. (But wifi eats batteries...).

The Manfrotto device (and the CamRanger and Camera Control Pro) don't stream photos back to your iPad. They give you a live view with the ability to adjust focus point and the usual shot parameters -- aperture, speed, exposure compensation. Some apps (and the CamRanger) let you set bulb exposure and allow you to set up interval exposure for time lapse.

Link | Posted on Oct 30, 2015 at 03:06 UTC
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: Most cameras now come with wifi and an app for controlling the camera remotely. If you have a camera with wifi, the manufacturer probably offers an app for controlling it from a tablet of smartphone. So you can use Tether Tools products that make it possible to mount your iPad or other tablet on a swivel attached to your tripod. The cost is around $150, and you don't have to worry about cables. (But wifi eats batteries...).

Depends on the camera & app. True for some, not for others.

Link | Posted on Oct 29, 2015 at 23:04 UTC

Most cameras now come with wifi and an app for controlling the camera remotely. If you have a camera with wifi, the manufacturer probably offers an app for controlling it from a tablet of smartphone. So you can use Tether Tools products that make it possible to mount your iPad or other tablet on a swivel attached to your tripod. The cost is around $150, and you don't have to worry about cables. (But wifi eats batteries...).

Link | Posted on Oct 29, 2015 at 22:07 UTC as 12th comment | 9 replies
In reply to:

Duckie: A universal mount will force compatibility above capability (just like PCs). Vendor specific mounts will allow optimised performance (like a Mac). What's the point? People typically spend time/money finding what they like and spend on "dream combination" and get settled (or move on). It is not a necessity to be able to mount everything with one mount. You just select your gear with good judgement and move on. If you can't make the judgement, the ability to mount more is even more confusing. The planet of so full of excess gear that they need to invent new excuse to sell more.

Brian Smith seems to have an infinite variety of lens mounts to play with, but his hype about that really obscures the main point:
If you're switching from a Canon or Nikon DLSR to a Sony or Olympus mirrorless camera and you have Canon or Nikon lenses, the mirrorless cameras' adaptability to 3rd party lenses removes a significant switching cost. It's a lot easier to change systems when you can keep using your existing lenses.

I suppose you can settle on "dream combination," but dreams last a night, not a lifetime. Canon & Nikon led the DSLR market for a dozen years, but now there's a viable and perhaps even superior alternative to the DSLR. And if lens adaptability makes switching easy, why not dream anew?

Link | Posted on Oct 23, 2015 at 20:57 UTC
In reply to:

jhinkey: Sony giveth and likely Sony taketh away in some way . . . hopefully the camera doesn't now behave poorly in some other way as a result of using the uncompressed RAW files.

brendon1000 - Well, you're right about that the lossy 40MP files were OK in most situations. But for those of us who are shooting at night, the artifacts at the boundary between very bright and very dark could be a problem. Lossless RAW gives us the the full potential of the sensor in those shooting situations. That's a logical and practical reason for welcoming Sony's update.

If it also helps Sony sell more cameras to people who were otherwise concerned about this admittedly small issue, that too is a logical, practical reason for Sony to make the effort.

Link | Posted on Oct 16, 2015 at 15:19 UTC
On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2159 comments in total)
In reply to:

PVCdroid: This article should have referenced the Michael Topes video on Luminous landscape which does a better job of visually comparing the results and commenting skiing the way. Here is the link.

https://luminous-landscape.com/sony-a7r-ii-review-dynamic-range-compared-to-canon-5dsr-canon-1dx-and-nikon-d810/

Yes, that's an excellent and comprehensive comparison, and its conclusions are nuanced.

Link | Posted on Oct 7, 2015 at 03:34 UTC
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