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: 41 – 60
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On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2159 comments in total)
In reply to:

Marb67: I am in a good position as I am replacing my Nikon D200 which has served me well. I need a good enough video facility to afford me short clips to sell as stock (not so interested in 4K at this stage). I have thought long and hard between the Nikon D750 and the D810, especially as the prices are so good at the moment. I know the 2 cameras are the best DSLR's for video at the moment and image quality is excellent. Now the A7R ll has been thrown into the ring I have wondered about this but some things put me off:

1) The huge price
2) Lack of lens choices/High cost of native
3) Noise issue/hot pixel
4) Overheating video mode
5) General flaky unreliability of the software in the camera.
6) Many poor reviews on B&H
7) Poor Raw files
8) Massively large files.
9) Poor battery life

Hi dcolak- No, I'm not turning off the NEX-6 after every series of photos, but there is a "sleep" function,after all. If I didn't have various Canon DSLRs I might be happy with the NEX-6's battery life, but... I'm not. It's possible that the WiFi on the NEX-6 is draining the battery, but it doesn't seem possible to completely shut WiFi off on that particular camera. With the 7Rii that arrived a couple of days ago, I've put it into airplane mode to eliminate any drain from WiFi, so that may help. We'll see. I'm not the only one with these concerns, but I think the 7Rii's advantages outweigh the shortcoming.

Meanwhile, after a couple of days' use, the other concerns expressed by the OP have been answered at least regarding stills. The lens choice issue has been answered by a Metabones IV adapter w/the latest firmware. Third party lenses autofocus OK in good light, tho not enough to follow fast moving subjects. Canon lenses do better - and very well in good light.

Link | Posted on Sep 30, 2015 at 14:46 UTC
On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2159 comments in total)
In reply to:

Marb67: I am in a good position as I am replacing my Nikon D200 which has served me well. I need a good enough video facility to afford me short clips to sell as stock (not so interested in 4K at this stage). I have thought long and hard between the Nikon D750 and the D810, especially as the prices are so good at the moment. I know the 2 cameras are the best DSLR's for video at the moment and image quality is excellent. Now the A7R ll has been thrown into the ring I have wondered about this but some things put me off:

1) The huge price
2) Lack of lens choices/High cost of native
3) Noise issue/hot pixel
4) Overheating video mode
5) General flaky unreliability of the software in the camera.
6) Many poor reviews on B&H
7) Poor Raw files
8) Massively large files.
9) Poor battery life

(2) No question that the choice of lenses is limited, unless you want to focus manually or have one of the Canon lenses that will autofocus well with a Metabones version IV adapter.

(9) I can't comment yet on how many shots the 7Rii will get from one fully charged battery. But my experience is that the same battery's life on my NEX-6 is mediocre at best. I get no more than a couple of hundred shots at best, and that's with the LCD set to display settings, not the image. You do get 2 batteries with the 7Rii, but you have to bring them and remember to recharge them as soon as you get back to home base.

I think the rest of the things you wondered about are, well, not really a concern. You can find bad reviews of just about any top-rated product, and yes, the files of uncompressed raw images will be 80MB, but both SD and HDD storage are very inexpensive.

Link | Posted on Sep 28, 2015 at 20:39 UTC
On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2159 comments in total)
In reply to:

Frank C.: sold all my gear and didn't buy this, just sold all my gear, my iphone is sufficient for my photographic needs, the camera companies and their overpriced hype can stick it anywhere they want

SmOL. (Smiled out loud - just short of LOL, but thanks.)

Link | Posted on Sep 28, 2015 at 03:30 UTC
On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2159 comments in total)
In reply to:

palie: now i'm on a roll. what practical price all that detail in any case ? if we're talking giclee, you can blow up a 6mp image to a massive size before it begins to pixellate. step back to a normal viewing angle, and they disappear in any case. litho ? sorry to tell you this, but printers' RIPs write all images down to the equivalent of 300 dpi ... that effectively means you can shoot a double page spread in national geographic with a 10 year old canon rebel ... and unless you specifically tell it not do so, the highest quality adobe acrobat PDF preset for litho printing turns your precious raw based photoshop file into - wait for it - a JPEG !!! think i'm joking ? ask a printer ...

Good question -- what are all those pixels good for if you can make a huge print from an 8 MP camera:

One answer: It's not all about the megapixels. For me, it's about dynamic range and the ability to push an image in ACR or another RAW converter and bring out shadows. And there are many other improvements over that 10-year-old Rebel (or current 5D Mark III in some cases), depending on what the subject matter: less noise at higher ISO; focus peaking; a wide range of bracketing options; remote control from a smartphone or tablet; tilting LCD...

And of course all those extra megapixel make it possible to crop more aggressively, so you may not need to cary that extra tele lens.

Link | Posted on Sep 26, 2015 at 18:36 UTC
On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2159 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mike Sandman: I ordered this today, before seeing this partially complete review. I have no regrets based on what I've read here. My Canon gear will be on eBay shortly - as soon as I get a camera with which to photograph it.

Thanks.

Ahah - Competition! :-)

Link | Posted on Sep 26, 2015 at 18:20 UTC
On article Sony Alpha 7R II Review (2159 comments in total)

I ordered this today, before seeing this partially complete review. I have no regrets based on what I've read here. My Canon gear will be on eBay shortly - as soon as I get a camera with which to photograph it.

Thanks.

Link | Posted on Sep 25, 2015 at 21:31 UTC as 385th comment | 3 replies
On article MindShift introduces BackLight 26L Photo Daypack (26 comments in total)

15" laptop + tablet + FF DSLR + 6 lenses + 2 large water bottles + a tripod... Will it come with a camel to carry it?

Link | Posted on Sep 18, 2015 at 21:08 UTC as 8th comment | 5 replies
On article Sony brings uncompressed Raw to a7S II, a7R II and... (562 comments in total)
In reply to:

aquarta: "“The voice of our α community remains the most important guiding force of our product development plans,” said Neal Manowitz, Deputy Vice President for Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “The addition of Uncompressed 14-Bit RAW processing is a direct result of customer feedback. Widely requested by photo and video enthusiasts, we believe the choice of RAW processing types will further elevate the performance of these extraordinary cameras.”"

What's not to like about Sony at this moment? There should be no complaining whatsoever from any of us.

Now if only dPreview could persuade Canon (and Nikon) to take mirrorless seriously... :-)

Link | Posted on Sep 15, 2015 at 21:58 UTC
On article Sony brings uncompressed Raw to a7S II, a7R II and... (562 comments in total)

Thank you, dPreview, for pushing this issue on our behalf.

Sony, you need to ramp up production.

Link | Posted on Sep 15, 2015 at 16:08 UTC as 143rd comment | 3 replies
On article Sony Alpha 7R II: Real-world ISO invariance study (369 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.

Link | Posted on Aug 24, 2015 at 16:43 UTC as 95th comment | 1 reply
On article Fujifilm X-T10 Review (514 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.

Link | Posted on Aug 4, 2015 at 18:20 UTC as 96th 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.

Link | Posted on Jul 10, 2015 at 01:35 UTC
On article #1 in France: Hands-on with DxO ONE (278 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.

Link | Posted on Jun 18, 2015 at 20:01 UTC as 114th comment
On article Sony rides wave of US Mirrorless sales surge (733 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.

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

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

Link | Posted on May 2, 2015 at 17:30 UTC as 155th comment | 1 reply
On article Sony Alpha a7 II Review (848 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.

Link | Posted on Apr 20, 2015 at 01:32 UTC as 61st comment | 1 reply
On article Sony Alpha a7 II Review (848 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.

Link | Posted on Apr 4, 2015 at 03:30 UTC as 91st comment | 19 replies
On article Sony Alpha a7 II Review (848 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.

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.

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

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