Gigs/Festivals - Low Light Photography and Video (amateur)

Started Jan 16, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Gigs/Festivals - Low Light Photography and Video (amateur)
Jan 16, 2011

I like to shoot both video and photography at gigs and festivals, and until now have been using 1/2.3" sensor compacts albeit with crappy results in low light situations.

I was about to upgrade to an LX5 to get used to playing with basic manual functions, as I haven't had a chance to experiment with a DSLR or M4/3 camera (yep true amateur here), and I thought buying an LX5 would be a logical step forward, especially with the manual video controls before spending out on a more expensive set-up in a year or so.

However, from the low-light test videos that I have seen on youtube, the LX5's CCD sensor results in the dreaded vertical pink streaking, which is not good for recording at a concert (I assume the soon to be released Oly XZ-1 will have similar results).

I don't really want to buy both a camera and a camcorder, as the video recording - although important, will be secondary to the photography, so I would like a camera that takes excellent low light photos, and very good video.

After being put off with the potential vertical streaking of the LX5, I was then about to plunge for the Sony NEX5, but the mic's audio distortion put me off (I used to own a Sony T900 compact with built in stereo mic and that was terrible for handling any low frequencies) and I don't want to have to either spend more cash or bulk out the dimensions with an external mic.

So, if I was to take a chance and go down the M4/3 route now, would it be worth considering either the GF1 or GF2 for my needs? I am very tempted by the GF1's external controls and long battery life compared with the GF2's stereo mic and full HD video (although I am put off by the touchscreen, shorter battery life, and lack of external manual controls of the GF2 - seems a bit pointless upgrading if I cannot learn techniques with it's lack of external manual controls).

I did also briefly look into a DSLR with the Pentax K-7, for under £700 but I am thinking that this would be a) still a bit large to lug around festivals, b) costs more than my budget, and c) would be too hard to conceal at the door when going to gigs.

Then there's the upcoming E-PL2, which looks bit bigger than the GF1, and although I understand Oly are renowned for their excellent on-board jpg processing, I am put off by the semi-plastic body and chunky build (if the body is similar in build to the E-PL1 - and from what I understand, it is). I wouldn't say no to the EP-2 though, but that is too expensive for my budget of £600 and I am put off by the low res screen, as I cannot afford an EVF at this point either.

So if you were in my position of not having any experience with any camera except a compact, needs low light capabilities in a small(ish) package, and video with some manual control (but without vertical streaking), and wants to start learning photography or at least to be more creative and with a total budget of £600 (for at least the first year when I will then be able to afford more glass, and possibly an EVF), what would you suggest I buy now? Online, I cannot find the older GF1 anywhere with the twin lens package for under £600 but I can find the GF2 with the twin lens kit for under £600 - strange!

I am thinking that there is no perfect camera for my needs, but even advice friendly would be appreciated. Thanks in advance (and sorry to waffle on a bit).

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