Concert photography is one of the most challenging and tough plots when having shoots. Aside from the moving object from the headbanging singers and excited drummer, lighting and the people hanging around are also one of the toughest parts when taking pictures.
Well, it is different from portrait and fashion photography because you really can’t say pause and take the shot. All you have is your instinct and your timing to take the chance.
My first experience to have a shoot in a concert is way back 2014 using a Nikon D90 with an 18-55mm lens. Yes, a kit lens on the show is a joke. But the output was quite okay for a beginner, and I owe that a lot to the organizer of the concert because that molded me.
- 1 Different Types of Cameras
- 1.1 First, Digital single-lens reflex camera or commonly known as the DSLR
- 1.2 Second, the Mirror-less
- 1.3 Third, the Compact
- 1.4 Canon 7D
- 1.5 Canon 60 D
- 1.6 Nikon D700
- 1.7 Canon 5D Mk II
- 1.8 Nikon D5100
- 1.9 Nikon D7100
- 1.10 Sony Alpha a6000
- 1.11 Fujifilm’s X-T10
- 1.12 Lumix LX10
- 1.13 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
- 1.14 Nikon D500
- 1.15 Sony a7S II
- 1.16 Nikon D5
- 1.17 Here is also an additional list of cameras and lenses you should try when doing a concert photography:
Different Types of Cameras
But first you have to know the different types of camera for you to familiarize with this post:
First, Digital single-lens reflex camera or commonly known as the DSLR
It can be the first digital camera you think when you heard the word “digital camera.” This camera is very versatile and can perform better in every function. DSLR has a body, the part where the image is being “seen and performed” and a lens that is interchangeable to your need for a particular shoot.
Second, the Mirror-less
This type is a modern type of camera, a lighter version of the DSLR that makes it suitable for discrete photographers. (Not for paparazzi and stalker!) This camera is perfect for the photographers who want to stay low-key and for street photography. In this camera, you will have the power to control your settings.
Third, the Compact
It is a small and compact camera. Those cameras are sometimes called “point-and-shoot” cameras and had a various type of cameras that will give you a hard time choosing. There will forever be a time wherein you will thank your gears for it somehow saves you from having wrong outputs. So, here’s a list of best cameras that you can use for concert photography and some tips on how to execute the quality pictures.
With the latest device of Canon, Canon 7D, the task itself won’t be as much as tedious as it was before. With the Canon 7D and it’s fast shooting rates which are capable of shooting at very high ISOs knowing that it is the constant need when shooting at concerts.
If you ask why it’s directly given the fact that the lights and almost all elements in the stage itself move, having a device that could handle that would make your task less complicated. Continuing, knowing all the adverse conditions set by a concert atmosphere the capability of this 7D to do auto-focusing is an excellent aid to the photographer.
Imagine trying to capture a crowd of people raving and jumping!!
Having that crucial function of being able to focus on a desirable area is a massive step in making things convenient. So, in general having its fast shooting rates, high capable ISO, and lastly, its auto-focus function makes Canon 7D one of the recommended gears to use for said shoots. Now having a sizable bodied camera with great specs won’t be enough. There will be still some gears needed to make the concert photography, not a grueling task. For example, having the Canon 50 mm F/1.4, and the Canon 28 mm F/1.8D, both of this also known as primes or focused lenses.
If you ask what would be the benefits for having these lenses is that for starters having such lenses can allow more light to hit the sensor than zooms can due to the smaller APS-C sensor making the auto-focus function faster.
Given a situation where the theme of the concert is “the things we do in the dark,” the light source will be scarce but with this, setting up you to get those incredible shots going. For with the use of said primers darker shots are easily taken bonus the auto-focus function also works excellently well in this primer.
Luckily my first camera, D90 appears to be one of the best cameras, because of impressive abilities of its ISO. With its 12 MP sensors making it focus a lot faster to the moving objects that produce clean images at a high ISO. Its auto-focus is a plus!
If Nikon is your choice better go with a 50 mm F/1.4 or 85 mm F/1.4.
Canon 60 D
Canon 60 D is also on the top list because of its fast shooting rates and its ability to capture images at a high ISO that is a need when shooting at concerts. While this is good having 7D for darker places like an “all black” themed party.
You can use Sigma 30 mm F/1.4, 50 mm F/1.4, Sigma 50 mm F/1.4 and Canon 28 mm F/1.8 with this case. Prime lenses are the best option because of the amount of light that will shed into this lens.
Nikon D700 is also a good choice not just a good choice but one of the perfect cameras to use for concert photography, the full frame with 12MP CMOS sensor and with some of the regular high ISO files are what makes this camera lit and perfect for the event.
It shoots at 5fps with the superb autofocus capabilities. Though this camera is not for videography, this is the best camera for concerts. So, if that’s the goal, then you have to check this out!
24-70mm F/2.8 ED, Nikon 24mm F/1.4, 70-200mm F/2.8 ED VR II, Nikon 85mm F/1.4.
Canon 5D Mk II
Some photographers are saying that their best option is the Canon’s 5D Mk II, because of its 21 MP full frame sensor, it enables the photographer to shoot better in darker places. Though the not-so-good side with this is that it’s auto-focusing ability in a place where the lighting sucks decreases.
If you like to go with this, you can try this lens Canon 50mm F/1.4, 24-70mm F/2.8 L, 35mm F/1.4 50mm F/1.2, 85mm F/1.2.
But if you’re still a beginner and you’re on a tight budget, working with these gears can help you out to achieve a perfect output. DSLR cameras are going to be your best friend in this but having a tighter budget can decrease the output, but now necessary, with the help of your gears, your production can turn into zero to hero.
You don’t need to have three bodies with large lenses when starting up. Your skills are what matters here!
You can try Nikon D5100, released in 2011. This mid-range DSLR has a light body that usually comes up with a kit lens. With 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, it won’t be able to produce promising outputs that why you have to upgrade quite a bit with 50 mm 1.8 lens. Aside from it’s really recommendable, it’s also cheap! It ranges between $100 or even lower. A friendly reminder: remember that your first lens doesn’t have to empty your pocket. This lens focuses on the composition, this lens is what will set you aside from the other goers who take pictures using their smartphones, by removing focal length as a variable, focusing on the composition makes it better to have during your shoot. It’s also discrete and really tiny.
Don’t underestimate this tiny beast. Aside from this, it produces really good output. This can really be your savior from the pits and the hype of your audience, because of its portability, it can help you to take pictures a lot easier than the longer lenses. What you see is what you get is what this lens gives you, for it is between wide angle and telephoto feature, the output of this is the same as what you see in the viewfinder. Its high aperture makes it superb for concerts because mostly every concert does have limited lighting that is why this lens is great for concert photography. With f/1.8, it will be enough for you to have IG perfect pictures.
My next personal pick is Nikon D7100, how to have a great output with this? Check this out. This camera has the power to have a low light performance. It is obvious that in every concert, lighting is the biggest enemy. So, this buddy’s ISO here can go 100 to 6400 real quick. The thing is, this can sound so cool but the output of this can be noisy. So, you have to put a bit of effort for the post-processing of your outputs.
The auto-focus capability of this camera is also good. It comes with 51-point cross-type AF sensors. They enable the photographer to focus on a variety of 51 points within the frame.
With constant movement of the band in the stage, you aim to capture every action they’re making, like if their dancing, jumping, banging their heads, capturing such moments are good for your documentary, that is why this camera is perfect for your continuous shooting because you can get up to 6 frames per second that captures the full sequence of the act.
Well, do you want to upload your perfect image right away?
With its WU-la wireless mobile adapter and a device that is compatible, you can just hit send and your pictures will instantly be uploaded.
Of course, you love taking every moment and it will bother you to bring an extra SD card. But isn’t so hassle to that in the middle of you having a good time taking photos, you got interrupted by the notice that you don’t have any space on your card, so you have to change it? Well, it’s problem solved because this Nikon D7100 has a dual SD card slot that makes your shooting at ease.
But if you think of taking an upgrade without considering your budget, these set of cameras will be the best for your picks.
Sony Alpha a6000
Another beast that I am going to introduce is this Sony Alpha a6000. The Sony’s A series is a blast for every photographer. This is the mirror-less digital camera. It is a super gear that you can use while shooting a concert or a live show. It has 24.3MP, APS-C-sized Exmor, APS HD CMOS sensor, and BIONZ X image processor. I can attest that it really guaranteed the output that I desire. Just wow. With its unbelievably high resolution, every image it captures can make your concert photography a blast! In addition to that, this goes with Full 1080p HD movie capabilities with marked low-light quality and ISO sensitivity of 25600.
Making it exceed the expectation of your output no matter how difficult the lighting will be. Having this will also not give you any problem regarding your distance with the subject. Its zoom ability does not exceed a zoom lens. But it can still give you a clear output even when you’re a bit far compared to those in a front row.
You also want to consider its one of the perfect feature, the Hybrid Auto-focus. With this, you can enjoy and take good photos at the same time because you don’t have to worry to fix your lens and focus it, this a6000 here will do the job for you!
Fujifilm’s X-T10 is also on the list. The advanced “auto-mode” feature makes this camera unique. It can be used fully automatic shooting that gives ease to the photographer. I’m also impressed by its 16.3MPX-Trans CMOS II sensor, 920K-dot tilting LCD screen for easy and fast navigation. This is the camera that can do amazing things for your output.
The photographer can also adjust the shutter speed and some of its shooting function. This makes the user able to manipulate the desired output even without having to do some post-processing activity. When you’re looking for a hyped camera to provide the best output, here’s XT10. One of my personal picks!
Panasonic Lumix LX10 is also the friendly beast you’re looking for when going on concert photography. This point and shoot camera built with the awesome LEICA lens, one of the high-standard lenses, with a sensor; 1” 20-megapixel.
When you’re in need of a smaller camera with the same quality, don’t look for any longer. With the amazing feature of LEICA, the promising output of its color comes out to be amazingly good. The 4K Ultra HD resolution makes it perfect for the concert goers and photographers. Due to its versatility, Lumix LX10 makes it to the top choice for concert photography.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
This camera can produce amazing outputs as if were taken by a professional photographer. It may seem a little bit larger than mirrorless and compact cameras but its lighter and waterproof. With its advanced features of full 1080p HD video, 81-point selectable auto-focus, 10fps sequential shooting, and advanced 5-axis image stabilization mechanism it made this camera special and a top choice for concert photography. Addition to this, the ability of Touch and Swivel LCD monitor makes it a good choice for angle positioning of the subjects. This makes those speed movements a lot easier to capture. Another thing is this camera has the advanced technology of autofocusing and manual focus. This makes it easier to use especially for the beginners. This camera is the best use of fast-paced events. It will surely capture the moments you want without a blur shot.
The Nikon D500 is also a good camera for this will surely give you satisfying results. Its 20.9 MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor, 4K UHD recording at 30 fps, 10 fps Shooting for Up to 200 Frames feature, including its 3.2″ tilting touchscreen LCD and a built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC is what makes this camera hit for concert photography.
This by far one of the best choices to have while inside a concert. Though it may be a bit pricey, this camera can really provide outstanding output. This camera is versatile enough to capture every moment in the concert. This is also perfect for the people who love to be on an adventure. Every feature of this camera is perfect for both rock star and adventure seekers.
Sony a7S II
Going back to Sony, the Sony a7S II is also a chart topper. This mirrorless camera was being voted by some professional photographers to be on the first list because of its amazing features such as the wide dynamic range, and accurate focusing, the sensitivity, 35 mm full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor, 12.2 megapixels, and UHD 4K at 30fps & 1080p at 120fps recording this a7SII was like created for people who go into concert because of its ability perfectly matching every need in concert photography.
The image stabilization of this camera is surprisingly amazing. It makes you able to detect 5 types of shaking that might happen in your plot. For beginners, you might think that the most suitable camera for you does not exist, no. This model can be your buddy and will lead you to take beautiful photos.
Nikon D5 with this high-quality camera, that is full-frame DSLR, this is undeniably one of the perfect cameras for concerts. This has the ability to capture fast-paced actions with the major features like FX-format 20.8 MP, CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5 image processor, and full frame. This camera is perfect for every type of lighting may it be in a dark place or in the overexposed area, this camera can produce light and reduce light that will make every output a picture perfect. And as for the videographers, its4K UHD makes this camera truly versatile and durable at any given places.
If you are finding a long-term camera for concert photography, then D5 is a perfect match for your need. It may be quite expensive than the other camera, but this camera promises precise and concise outputs. Additional thing is that they say that using DSLR cameras is way better than using mirror-less cameras. It is because the laser lights in the concerts have a permanent damage on a mirror-less camera sensor.
Some photographers say that mirror-less is one of the most usable cameras. This is because of the “what you see is what you get” feature. The laser lights in the concert hitting your camera’s sensor can literally kill and burn your sensor’s ability. That’s why we advise professional photographers to use DSLR as much as possible.
Here is also an additional list of cameras and lenses you should try when doing a concert photography:
CANON 7D/7D Mark II
CANON 5D Mark III/IV
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
NIKON AF-S FX 85mm f/1.4G
NIKON AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
NIKON AF-S FX 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
CANON EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
CANON EF 24-70mm f/2.8G II USM
CANON 16-35mm f2.8L III USM
SAMYANG 14mm f2.8
Despite having great equipment and gears, the final denominator of the output pictures is the man behind the camera. It’s always 90% ability and 10% gears. Not that I’m saying that you don’t have to buy or upgrade your gears. The point is that when you don’t have the confidence within you and you put your trust solely in how good your camera is, everything that you will invest will be useless.
Because it’s not really the equipment that does matter. It’s how you execute the image. One of my friend, Alper, told me that having the perfect gears doesn’t make you a great photographer. It is about your passion and your willingness to produce the output.
So keep learning and have your burning passion for concert photography alive!