Overall best digital compact for concert photography

Started Apr 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP David Pastern Contributing Member • Posts: 726
Re: Overall best digital compact for concert photography

neil holmes wrote:

David Pastern wrote:

Hi everyone,

Thinking way ahead for a future concert (probably a year away) - probably wouldn't get away with bringing my DSLR stuff to a concert, so thinking of getting a digital compact.  What I'd want in such a camera?


Sounds like a major concert...do you know what the camera policy is?

Sometimes it is none, others p&s ok and sometimes no restrictions.

Do you know where you are likely sitting?

At this point of time Neil, she hasn't even announced concerts in Australia, let alone venues, or seating layouts etc.  All I know is that I want to *try* and get some shots of her - just purely for my own personal connection, not to sell etc.  Imaging is fine from prior experiences seeing her, and I know she's publicly said she's OK with small cameras etc.  I am of course, referring to Taylor Swift (I'm an absolutely HUGE fan, oops, I mean, "swiftie").  I'm so jelly of the US guys who are seeing her on the RED tour and us poor Aussies have to wait :-/

I'll be aiming to get tickets to both nights (she's traditionally done 2 nights in Brisbane, Australia in the past) and will probably fly to either Sydney or Melbourne for a 3rd show if funds allow.  If they're selling meet and greet tickets, I'll buy at least one.

Fast minimum aperture

zoom out to 200, maybe 250mm

great high ISO performance

good AF performance

don't want to spend a total fortune as this would only be used for concert photography from time to time - ordinary photography would be my usual Canon DSLR kit

Does such a beast exist (I'm doubtful) and what would your suggestions be?


I usually use a dslr and get a photo pass but I think one camera that is going to be excellent for concerts from the crowd is a Pentax Q.....with a fast prime.
In my experience af is not that much of an issue.

The Q is small enough to get into most venues and a fast 50mm manual focus prime is not huge and can be pocketed often....a 50 1.4 gives you the "reach" of around 280mm with 1.4 shutter speeds and iso 1600/2000 is ok, I would probably use 3200 only if I had to. (but then again you do not need as high iso as you would at f4).

Fast longer lenses (like 85 and 100 and 135) would be good from the furthest seats but are bigger and might be more of an issue getting in (I would love to try my 85 1.2 on the Q at a seated indoor concert).

I think it will need practice but might be a great choice if a larger dslr or mirrorless is too big.

I'd love to get a photo pass, but I'd have no idea how to do so, and I'm not a pro photographer or press affiliate.  I'm just a fan.  I don't want to risk a DSLR or pro looking camera and get booted out of the concert, I'd be devastated.

All of this is simply ground work to give me some ideas on what might be feasible etc.  I've never done any concert photography before, and so much will come down to where I can get my bum to on the night.  That's going to be the tricky thing.  If I can get into a good location, I'm sure I can get some decent shots after some initial trial and practice, etc.  That's the plan!

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.


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