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

Well, the concert is done and dusted.  Had a terrible time photography wise.  Was in the pit section (Left) at the Brisbane concert, and unfortunately, both the Left & Right pits collapsed and we were evacuated out.  This happened at the start of the 4th song of Taylor's set.  From there, security didn't give a crap about us and basically rudely herded us out.  They didn't care where we went, and disappointingly, after only a minute or so stoppage, Taylor resumed, without most of us in the pits getting any decent spots after our expulsion from the pit section.

I understand why (she had to finish the concert before the noise deadline that was put in place to stop whining residents around the stadium - most of which moved in AFTER they knew the stadium was there and that concerts happened, but still insist on whining about the noise.  Perhaps they shouldn't have bought a place near the stadium if the noise concerned them!!!!).  Sorry for the cranky diatribe...

Anyway, I was terrible @ the photography for the Neon Trees (no keepers), not quite as terrible for Guy Sebastian (1 or 2 half decent keepers and I mean half decent, not superb by any standards imho).  Since I only had 3 songs with Taylor, was new to the camera, new to the concert photography experience, I didn't do too well with her either.  I ended up with one decent shot, a few close to decent shots, and that was it.  Wasted $1500 on the Sony and EVF.  A few notes to help others...

The Sony RX 100 II has TERRIBLE AF performance.  Lag, lag and more lag.  Inaccurate focusing.  Noise was worse than I expected, but it is a digital compact after all, with a smaller sensor than what I'm used to.  I'd say that the ISO performance at 1600 was about the same as ISO 3200 on my Mark IIn.  I did underexpose, by about 1/3 - 1/2 stop, but it didn't help with strong lighting blowing out details, especially since Taylor wore a White lacy top for the first 3 songs...

The EVF was totally useless - what a total waste of money - people are saying that the Sony EVF is one of the best examples, with the least amount of lag.  Crikey, if that's one of the best ones, I'd had to see one of the bad ones.  Nevertheless, let's just say that the EVF's lag made the AF look speedy!

The camera had a nasty habit of turning off after 30 or so seconds of inactivity.  I'm sure I probably could have changed that setting, but at the concert, it wasn't the time to experiment, as I was focusing on the photography.  Battery performance was truly horrendous - thank God I bought a 2nd battery.  100 shots out of the first battery (fully charged), no flash.  I guess it was due to the constant AF and composing via the zoom.  Still, for a battery that's meant to get 300 odd shots...I wasn't impressed.

Why did I buy the camera?  Mostly because of other positive reviews of it.  In hindsight, I would have been better off with a camera with a smaller sensor, but a longer zoom and better F stop.  Hindsight is wonderful...not.  Excuse my sarcasm and cynicism.

Anyway, my strategy for next time is to get 2nd row seats, right in front of the main stage.  Far better lighting from there, and more shooting opportunities too.  By then, I hope to have a 1Dx and either 85mm f1.2 or 135mm f2 and be able to sneak it in and go undetected    It's a risk I'll take.

One final thing - Sony doesn't provide a paper user guide - it's all online.  Terrible way to treat customers.  I managed to mostly familiarise myself with the camera though, which is good.

Thanks to everyone for their advice.

I enjoyed the concert nevertheless - the 3 songs that we had in the pit section were just AWESOME.  Dancing, singing, shouting, crying, laughing, it was all experienced.  Taylor was just stunning on the night - didn't miss a beat, vocals were top notch.  Those who say that she can't sing are either tone deaf, or just haters.  Sure, she's had a few poor vocal performances (mostly due to nerves), but that just proves she's human.  Best songs of the night were All too well (crowd favourite and the best song on RED and perhaps her best song in her entire career), 22, We are never ever getting back together, and acoustic versions of You belong with me and Begin Again (my 2nd fave song on RED).  At times, you could hear Taylor's voice breaking up due to high emotions, and on several occasions, a few tears were seen rolling down her face.  I was lucky to meet up with some fellow swifties for the first time and we had a ball.


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