Orquid "Phoenix"

Orquid "Phoenix"

by ceinmart

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I have just purchased a full frame Nikon D800 and wonder which are the most appropriate Nikon lenses for shooting in concerts.

Edit:

The concerts are always indoors, at night, with the artist's light engineer always with him.

The distance from the artist/band member/stage will be from 7 to 15 meters at the most

The shots will be close ups on artist and band members but also stage involving crowd.

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A lot depends on what type of concert it is and what type of venue it is held at. There is a huge difference between a mid-day performance at an outdoor festival, an arena event with full theatrical lighting, and an intimate set at a dark smokey club. Not to mention Symphony Hall. Your lens selection(s) will also be governed by your access to different positions in relation to the performers. –  Michael Clark Jun 10 '13 at 6:08
    
I believe you can un-accept (un-like :-) ) a question. His answer is a good one but, as he says, a delay is usually a good idea. –  Russell McMahon Jun 11 '13 at 12:38
    
Note that all of MCs shots have a "reasonable amount" of light available. And he is willing to use up to ISO3200 (no problem with a D800). In some concert situations light levels will be substantially lower and a f/2.8 will give you double the shutter speed of an f/4 all else being equal (which it never is :-).) Sometimes a cheap f/1.8 50mm may save a marginal situation - about 2.4 x as fast as a f/2.8 and 5 x faster (!) than a f/4. eg 1/10 to 1/25s f/2.8 vs f/1.8. About then you double the ISO and post process the extra noise :-). –  Russell McMahon Jun 11 '13 at 12:43
    
If, as the question states, the artist has a light engineer with him, then I would think that at least some points in the performance would have similar illumination levels. –  Michael Clark Jun 12 '13 at 1:43
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2 Answers

It really depends on what you want the pictures to look like. I recently shot the last two groups of an outdoor festival and used two bodies: A 1.6x crop body with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and a full frame body with a 24-105mm f/4 lens. I chose the 24-105mm lens over my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens due to image stabilization on the 24-105mm f/4. I had stage access and the stage was a temporary outdoor one that was less than rock solid in terms of stability. The intensity of the theatrical lighting was highly variable. The spotlights on the lead singers was much brighter than the rest of the stage lighting.

Here are a couple of images taken with the 24-105mm lens (both images are the same resolution, but this page apparently re-sizes based on width, rather than maximum dimension):

24mm, ISO 3200, 1/50 sec @ f/4 from rear side stage Wide 1

55mm, ISO 2000, 1/320 sec @ f/4 from the media pit Wide 2

Here are a couple of images taken with the 70-200mm on the crop body:

200mm, ISO 3200, 1/1600 sec @ f/2.8 from front side stage Tele 1

70mm, ISO 3200, 1/320 sec @ f/2.8 from side stage Tele 2

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Thank you very much for your answer! In the first group of two, the top lamps do not seem to reflect lights at all.. strange –  Alona Azaria Jun 10 '13 at 14:15
    
Just a suggestion: If you'll wait until most of the members of this online community are out of bed at least once between the time you ask a question and the time you accept an answer you will usually get more activity and more varied answers to your question. Once the question shows that an answer has been accepted, many users seem to ignore it. –  Michael Clark Jun 10 '13 at 14:21
    
thanks, novice mistake ... I took the check-mark for a "like" –  Alona Azaria Jun 11 '13 at 9:09
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I'll answer form a canon perspective - you must translate into a Nikon context.

For large scenes with a "pit" , or overhead balcony, or outdoors go for a 70-200mm F2.8. for daytime outdoor concerts it is not for the light you want 2.8 , but for dof seperation.

For intimate stages 24-70mm F2.8 is really good. On FF you can go a bit more tele or top up with a 135mm prime.

I shoot with fast primes at concerts (indoor, dark, intimate), with a crop camera, but here I translate into FF focal lengths; 24mm-35mm is good for getting the stage, and group shots, 50mm-85mm for individual band members, and 135mm makes the best closeups. A lens belt is good to have for this style of shooting.

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Michael, correct. And the illumination levels are repetitive too (and boring), using prime colours with the yellow killing all my photographs that you cannot see the features of the artist's face –  Alona Azaria Jun 12 '13 at 8:03
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