Which lenses for concert

Started Jun 8, 2013 | Questions thread
DtEW Senior Member • Posts: 2,711
Re: Which lenses for concert

tomiga wrote:

Mel Snyder wrote:

What kind of band? How close will you be able to get to them? Do you know the club lighting?

Given the low light in most clubs, I would very strongly you find someone with a 50mm f1.8 or f1.4 lens and buy an adapter for it. There are likely lots of film cameras and lenses available in Poland - I saw some nice ones on ebay.pl for less than 200 zloty.

Then, with that lens, zoom with your feet. You need a fast lens with some reach.

a) Distance: I am not sure (I have never been in this club) but I suppose it is not big (so not too far)

b) Lighting difficult to judge but there is a place where concerts are usual so I expect some ligh at least on stage

c) Type of event: rock concert

d) Band: 4 persons in band but probably I will concentrate on single members

e) What I want to shoot: portraits and individuals

The problem with legacy lenses is that I am not an expert and would need some additional support during transaction.

Nevertheless thanks for suggestions.

I was about to write one post, and now I am writing another.

I have a friend who does this sort of thing professionally for an agency in the city. We talked about this and I remember mention of a Nikon D700, a 5-year-old tank of a camera that still holds its own in low-light performance to this very day. I was about to write a post based on that, and my own low-light street shooting.

Then I studied his work.


...which to my surprise was mostly taken with a Nikon D90 at not-terribly-huge apertures, and fairly slow shutter speeds. And flash, often.

So there you go.

Given what you have, and not knowing the layout of the venue and your ability to move... I'd take both the Sigma 30mm and SEL16F28. You will decide which is appropriate and change your lens once. If you are indeed stage-side to a small stage, you might really need the 16mm.

The other camera should have the SEL55210 and a flash to augment its slowness. Assuming you only have the kit flash, you might want to consider making a bounce card if the ceiling of the club isn't too high. Then be sure to talk to the band, with whom you go talk to the management of the club to establish who you are and get permission to use flash. It needs to be remembered that you are using a NEX, and therefore you do not really look like a "professional photographer" (to a bouncer, the anti-BBC effect) that is there by the band's request.

Being that he uses relatively slow shutter speeds, timing is very important, as is stability. I'd probably use speed-priority continuous and burst with a fast SD card. Be aware that after each burst it'll take time to write.

It almost goes without saying, but turn off AF-assist light, use 25-multi-point AF, and enable face detection.

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