Mark Banas

Mark Banas

DPReview Contributor
Lives in United States Washington, DC, United States
Works as a Designer/ Panographer/ Writer
Has a website at
Joined on Jan 26, 2005


Total: 358, showing: 1 – 20
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On article Why brand market share shouldn't matter to you (549 comments in total)

Next, you're going to say we should actually *use* a particular camera (or camera brand) before making sweeping judgments about capability, competitiveness, or suitability for a purpose. You know perfectly well we'd rather just read spec sheets, reviews (!), and marketing drivel in order to pontificate endlessly! ;)

Link | Posted on Mar 11, 2018 at 13:31 UTC as 128th comment | 1 reply
On article Buying Guide: Best consumer drones (35 comments in total)
In reply to:

brn: Have any suggestions for drones that don't transmit GPS data back to China?

Build one yourself? Kidding... mostly. AFAIK only DJI drones require an app be connected to the 'net to pilot the drone (opening up the flow of all telemetry back to the Chinese manufacturer). That's the reason the US Army banned them.

If you're freaked out by any *possible* data connection to China (i.e: apps are made there), look at drones from Hobbico; their drones are built in China, of course, but the apps to fly them are made at their headquarters in Champaign, IL., USA. Of course, that only means a US company has access to your GPS data...

Link | Posted on Nov 23, 2017 at 23:48 UTC
In reply to:

Oleg Ivanovskiy: It works with a wearable IR wrist band only. And probably will become confused as soon as two such bands appear in front at the same time. Looks like this Taro doesn't care much about anything other than the band (subject's head, for example) getting into a frame - a problem for close up shots. Not very useful, in other words.

You could glue the IR band to someone's head! ;)
So, yeah, not very useful for closeups, but how often do you need high speed tracking in a closeup? Lots of cameras now have subject/facial tracking for focus, but this is a 3-axis video stabilizer. Think skiers and bikers, etc.

In the KS comments, the tech people explained that multiple bands can be tracked with the COI split between them (when they are all visible), and they recommend multiple bands for objects that rotate a lot. Also, the "AI" portion of the project is predictive motion-tracking, so when the band is out of sight, the controller estimates the vector and continues tracking until it reappears. Again, increasing usefulness, and reducing errors of confusion.

I'm interested in it because it doesn't require you to buy their pricey gimbal if you already have a gimbal that accepts Bluetooth remote control (so it's a $100 accessory). How broadly compatible it will be is the only remaining question...

Link | Posted on Nov 10, 2017 at 14:53 UTC
In reply to:

Fujica: Original manufacturer seems to be Quinzuadi-
Also know as:
- Beike
- Zomei
- Afaith
- Mactrum,

And now it also seems to be sold by Manfrotto.

If you want this tripod (they are not bad by the way), then buy yourself one of these Chinese versions and safe the money for other things you might like to have.

Nope. Very different from the ubiquitous QingZhuangShiDai tripods you mention. I've handled both. The aluminum Element tripods have been in stores for a while, and they are much better than any of those brands. (Yes, the Element pods are still a rebrand, but starting from a proven, quality product.)

Link | Posted on Oct 11, 2017 at 12:25 UTC
In reply to:

matthew saville: Wow, this is downright embarrassing. Manfrotto profits must really be tanking, if they've decided to just throw in the towel and concede victory to the cheap junk market.

Not that I'm surprised, with the sheer volume of "I bought an XYZ for only $$ and it's great!" ...that I've seen in recent years.

I don't know what you people consider "heavy use" or "smooth operation" WRT tripods, but I've lost count of all the knock-off brand tripods I've destroyed over the years. The center column starts wobbling. The leg angles start flapping incessantly and constantly need to be tightened. The legs start jamming because the cheap plastic shims inside the leg locks get all sloppy after a while. The rubber on the leg locks starts melting off and/or spinning freely, making a catastrophic failure increasingly likely. The rubber on the ballhead knobs dries and cracks and falls off. The ballhead itself gets hopelessly prone to either jamming or sloppiness.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

It's the bean-counter equation, which applies to both the manufacturer and the consumer. Something of quality and durability costs more money (to make and buy), and for the mass market consumer, the ROI isn't immediately evident. You and I might go through tripods like granola bars, but 95% of the market will buy a cheap tripod, use it twice a year, then forget everything about it except how little they paid compared to a Manfrotto.

Link | Posted on Oct 10, 2017 at 13:48 UTC
In reply to:

maculatum: Wow, Troy, you apparently know little about bear biology. Once you experienced this you apparently did little or no research. Bears and other wildlife have frequented the trash dumps and landfills for as long as they have existed. When I started photographing wildlife in the 70's the best place to see and photograph bears was at trash dumps and landfills. It was the one place where bears concentrated in any given geographic areas. Plus in the 70's and 80's there were a lot more local dumps in the less human populated areas of the US and Canada.

I am truly shocked that seeing and experienced this caused such a reaction with you. It is not a big deal. Simply wildlife doing what wildlife does. Look for the most expedient and accessible means of acquiring the necessary calories to survive.

Yep. It's not National Geographic, but it's life. Still worth thinking about, though.

Link | Posted on Oct 7, 2017 at 15:33 UTC
On article Live coverage of the Google Pixel 2 launch on DPReview (38 comments in total)
In reply to:

Dee Fitch: What comes after a Dxo score of 100? Can they score higher? Or does the device blow up?

They go to 11.

Link | Posted on Oct 4, 2017 at 17:54 UTC

GoPro has great promo videos, but pricing the Fusion at $700 (to protect their Hero-line) is going to slow sales of this 360 cam down to Karma levels. Yes, it has lots of nice features (5.2K, waterproof) but this is a niche product, even in the niche action-cam world. That said, the GP marketing juggernaut will expose more consumers to these types of cameras and 360 video, so I guess that's a win for the market!

Link | Posted on Sep 29, 2017 at 15:57 UTC as 11th comment | 1 reply
On article Throwback Thursday: Sigma SD1 (237 comments in total)
In reply to:

Michiel953: Edsel.


Link | Posted on Sep 28, 2017 at 13:11 UTC
In reply to:

Daft Punk: I have never seen anyone using one of these out in the field.

Anyone with experience care to share what they are like ?

I've used an older Tokina 500mm f/8 mirror lens for a long time. It came in native K-mount, had drop-in rear filters, and weighed about as much as a 50mm prime, all for $150. The downside is that manual focus was hard on an APS-C body (small prism and viewfinder going to a dim lens), and the contrast of the resulting shots was pretty low.

Sharpness and bokeh of mirror lenses are the price you pay for a small, light, 500mm reach. That old Tokina was reasonably sharp for the reach (like a modern kit 18-50mm "sharp" - not some $6k prime), while Pentax in-body stabilization meant it didn't require a tripod. However, the 'bowl of Cheerios bokeh" is another matter; some subjects minimized it (BIF), while others were nearly ruined by the rings (until I ran over them with a P-shop blur brush).

Link | Posted on Sep 12, 2017 at 18:43 UTC
In reply to:

jadot: Tape a few Ice Lights together? Lot cheaper.

How could that be cheaper? Ice Lights are $500 a piece. This is a 4-light kit for $650.

The cheaper knockoff tube lights, or $30 work lights, won't have anywhere near the color accuracy (heck, many high-end LED panels struggle to get TLCI ratings in the 90's), so you still need to pay for quality LED emitters. Otherwise you're stuck in Photoshop trying to recover colors that your lights didn't even illuminate.

Link | Posted on Sep 1, 2017 at 13:17 UTC
In reply to:

Mark Banas: Nice to see that the beta firmware and app were able to perform the headline features (real-time stabilization, post-tracking, and fairly good stitching), however the overall image quality doesn't inspire much confidence. Will be interesting to see production reviews and full-res samples!

Also, pre-emptively, I had no problem understanding the bi-lingual presenter.

Like the rest of us, I haven't seen full-res samples yet, but these video samples and the ones on the manufacturer website are lacking in dynamic range. That's still the challenge for 360 cameras, since they capture both the light source(s) and any shadows they cast. Of course, these are made with cell phone/ action cam sensors...

Link | Posted on Aug 30, 2017 at 19:39 UTC

Nice to see that the beta firmware and app were able to perform the headline features (real-time stabilization, post-tracking, and fairly good stitching), however the overall image quality doesn't inspire much confidence. Will be interesting to see production reviews and full-res samples!

Also, pre-emptively, I had no problem understanding the bi-lingual presenter.

Link | Posted on Aug 30, 2017 at 14:40 UTC as 8th comment | 4 replies
In reply to:

Silentshuter: All photos are great,..all but first one,....that one is totally fake and it doesn't deserve to be here!! Other than that Dpreview is the best photo site EVER and does AWESOME job!!

@Silentshuter: Wow. Just wow.
Have you ever used GPS navigation? Made an intercontinental phone call? Watched a weather report? Thousands of man-made satellites have somehow gone beyond the belts with sensitive electronics intact... and no melting!! (Amazing how physics continues to work even for those who don't understand it, or refuse to believe it.) I'm sure you can pivot to another straw man even more outlandish, but the Van Allen belts misinformation is a personal thing for me (James Van Allen taught at my alma mater while I was there).

(Bonus: I can like my own posts, too!)

Link | Posted on Aug 22, 2017 at 23:59 UTC
In reply to:

KevinG: Ya know, I've been around DPR for around 17 years and I try very hard to stay positive,not get involved in any dustups, rudeness, etc. but this is just nuts!! No matter what the reason, or excuse for this is, it should be a call to anyone considering DJI stuff to just look elsewhere.

Pretty much. AFAIK Yuneec doesn't require a data connection to launch or use their drones...

Link | Posted on Aug 22, 2017 at 19:38 UTC
In reply to:

Elliot H: ATT: Mr Posner,

Please note the comments DPR/AMAZON has allowed here along with the M E G A sized B&H logo to open the story on the homepage, seems their true colors may very well be showing.

Regarding comment moderation: most of the DPR staff (of which I'm not a member) is still asleep or just grabbing a coffee on the way in.

As far as "true colors," enter "B&H" in the article search bar at the top and read through the 500+ results. Not seeing much of a slander campaign. Or would you prefer not to read news related to camera shops?

Link | Posted on Aug 17, 2017 at 13:23 UTC
On article Ten expert tips for successful macro photography (130 comments in total)

Thomas is great; rockin' the venerable Pentax and reversed lenses!

Link | Posted on Jul 23, 2017 at 22:17 UTC as 31st comment

Great video. Dustin is an awesome educator, and a real-life rocket scientist!

Link | Posted on Jun 30, 2017 at 23:44 UTC as 39th comment | 1 reply
In reply to:

Roland Karlsson: Hmmmm ... maybe I am imaging things. But those newly taken portraits lacks something that old portraits had. A kind of pride and authenticity and more alive and a kind of aura. The images here looks kind of boring. Not that they are bad, just that I do not get the feeling like looking at the real thing. Then - the trick of "no real whites" in the prints is kind of tiring in the long run.

@c45: Since when is wanting clean drinking water and some control over your own land considered "intended hatred?" Or do you know nothing about the protests in question, dude?

Link | Posted on Jun 16, 2017 at 22:36 UTC
In reply to:

BinHereBe4: If I can take REAL picture of the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and some other stars with my $1200 telescope, why can't NASA take any REAL pictures at all with their mighty equipment?
Just another fraudulent CGI is all they can give.

I remember the good old days, when people tried to hide their ignorance and idiocy. Alas, now it seems like a badge of honor to be a "skeptic" of everything scientific (including NASA), while still happily enjoying the fruits of all that science (internet, cmos, leds, pasteurization, lack of polio, etc.).

Link | Posted on Jun 15, 2017 at 12:42 UTC
Total: 358, showing: 1 – 20
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