Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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17

The most important body features are: The max ISO levels (and the noise levels at high ISO) Low light shooting is much easier at high ISO settings, but many lower end cameras have trouble with noise as you increase the iso. A good indication of the high ISO performance can be found at www.dxomark.com by looking at their "Sports (ISO)" rating for the ...


16

Best place to start is by contacting local venues and promoters - it is unusual to be allowed to use flash, and also unusual to be allowed to stay in the press pit for the duration of the gig. It's definitely worth putting together a portfolio, which could also include doing promo shots for local unsigned acts - they may also be able to get you the press ...


9

Go to smaller gigs within the scene that interest you. Get to know the promoters. Offer to take photos for the venue. Expect to get in for free, but don't expect much payment - smaller venues (at least here in the UK) are mostly just getting by as it is. Pass the photos to the bands for their MySpace / Facebook / whatever. From there, network! If ...


9

For a given concert, I usually look up the band web page and find the promoters or agents. I send them a quick email, and attach a few of my concert photos I consider "the best". I assure them I will get in touch shortly after the concert with the photos (say, within 4 days), and that I won't use the shots for commercial purposes unless I have the ...


8

When shooting a concert or other event under theatrical type lighting, I use a single focus point only (usually the center) and use either Evaluative or Center Weighted metering in Aperture mode when shooting wide/normal angle (less than 80mm on a FF body). If the background is dark, as is usually the case, I use about -1 to -2 stops exposure compensation ...


7

For an event such as this you need to do your homework before taking camera equipment. Contact the event organizers and explain what you are planning to take and see if they have a problem with it. When they refer to pro equipment its probably going to refer to large lenses which are heavy can be dangerous because they contain a lot of glass and get in other ...


7

As usually in life, the best things are not cheap. Given only the criteria of fast shutter and good focusing in low light, I suspect Nikon D3s is still unbeaten. It also has a quiet shutter mode, should you visit concerts with silent audience. A Nikon AF-S 70-200 ED VR II 2.8 lens would be a good match for low-light concert photography. The big aperture ...


7

I think you should go for a 70-200 f/2.8 or if to pricey the f/4.0 will do too. Wide Lens can be cool too, if you're able to get near the artists, if not you can save on that. I'd prefer not to use a flash, if its to dark you have to go up to ISO800-ISO1600, at least the pictures should be okay (don't know how the 50D performs on such levels) if you're not ...


6

The single biggest feature will be strong high ISO performance. There are a number of cameras that fit that, much will depend on your budget. In general, the full-frame dSLR options will perform very well at high ISO, but in the more budget realm, the current king of the heap seems to be the Pentax K-x. After that, you need fast lenses, the wider the ...


6

Given the equipment you have listed, I would say an entire kit replacement might be in order. The Nikon D70s looks like a decent DSLR, however it does not have the greatest high-ISO performance. Higher ISO capability with low noise would be a huge boon for photographing concerts (which tend to be quite dark.) Something that can handle ISO 1600, possibly even ...


6

If you're talking about the strange arcs like in the bottom left corner of this picture: Then it's just flare caused by shooting into a lightsource. Concert lights tend to produce strong flaring effects as they are very focussed. The only fix is to use a different lens (they all flare differently) or not shoot directly into any lightsources. However when ...


6

I am not a professional photographer, but because of my profession I have been using earplugs 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for the last 24 years. Best earplugs for gigs are those that block low frequency and high frequency sounds, leaving the frequencies of human speech less muted. Luckily, most hearing protection gear is designed this way. You will hear ...


5

You're not going to have much fun with those variable aperture lenses unless you're in really well lit venues. Wide apertures rule in gig photography. For smaller venues, a 50mm f/1.8 will get you started for about £100. Next step would be a 24-70mm f/2.8 to give you a bit more flexibility (doesn't have to be Nikon - Sigma do a screw focus one for about ...


5

Bags are usually searched, at least from what I have seen at London venues. Compact cameras are often allowed, so maybe you can borrow/rent PENTAX Q, Olympus E-PM1 or other mirrorles camera and you should be fine.


5

A 1500 person venue isn't small. At least, it's not small enough to light it with a speedlight, unless you're using it to illuminate a spot using a Flash Extender, or you're triggering it remotely. Talk to the people you will be working with/for. Ask them what they use. They may even have some equipment you can make use of. Find out what kind of ...


4

Take the compact I suspect that you know in your heart that anything else is just not going to end well :-(


4

Thanks everyone. At first I thought I will not get much information here, but you guys proved that I was totally wrong. I received many good advice and some of the answers really showed great experience as a photographer in situations like this. Thank you. To end the story, I did my research, and called various people, in the end, I decided that there is ...


4

I'm probably waaaaay too late in answering to help you out with your decision (which I'm sure you've made already) but maybe my answer will help others who have a similar question. My own situation is similar. I've recently made some connections in my local music scene which has resulted in me shooting some small venue gigs where I am allowed to get up close ...


4

I would certainly emphasize the need to address this concern quickly. Even if you can't feel the buzzing after, some hearing damage could still be occurring. With the buzzing, it means significant damage is being done every time. Your hearing will deteriorate quickly and has already been permanently damaged as a result of your exposure thus far. Anyone ...


4

I shoot death metal concerts and often have to stand right in front of the speakers with my head. I often loose my earplugs, so I've tried some different ones. The standard cheap yellow foams form the drugstore are good for protection, bad for everything else. You cant hear what people say. You cant hear the music other than bass drums. Its not comfy at ...


3

I would strongly suggest not concealing the fact that you are bringing photography equipment with you. Keeping it in an appropriate carrying bag of some kind, sure, but don't try pulling tricks like hiding a lens under your clothes or something like that. My approach would be to have two separate cameras: a high-quality compact as backup for the DSLR which ...


3

In the UK at the moment any DSLR is professional, and often any bridge camera with a long zoom. Any large lenses that will get in the way of other people there will count as professional, and any video recording equipment will too although obviously with P&S getting better HD video recording options this one is getting a little blurred. You will only be ...


3

Given a budget of around $1000 for the camera body, as you mentioned in a comment to one of the other answers, the answer is: Any camera body you can buy for around $1000. Seriously; in this price bracket, they're all competitive. There are some variations in focus speed in low light, but that mostly comes down to a tradeoff of accuracy vs. speed — and ...


3

Are you going to be close to the band - like on stage or behind the stage or very near? I am assuming you are close to the band: For drummers, you typically want to use moderate shutter speed instead of very fast, since you still want the hand movement to be blurry (from movement) but yet most of the person to be quite still. Use wider lens to get the whole ...


3

If you can get to the venue ahead of time and scout it out, you'd probably have a better feel for what focal lengths you might need. As others have indicated, a 2.8 or better lens will give you the best shot at maximizing available light, but if you can know ahead of time that you can get most of your shots with a 50, or 85, or 100, or whatever, you can ...


3

Been there, done that, with hearing issues to prove it. Standing next to the stage and the band's 'Tower of Power' does require hearing protection. I stuffed cotton in my ears (when I remembered to bring some), but I'd suggest you use a couple of those squishy earplugs like shooters or construction workers use. They're cheap and work great. You won't have ...


2

Another option could be renting a couple of prime lenses (specially if you're able to find another body), you'de loose the flexibility of a zoom but gain a lot in low light posibility. Probably a longer lens like an 85mm or 100mm would be a good choice.


2

Your other choice is to use a hood. That will help avoid the flares from off the frame. It also appears that the flare is accentuated by some CA as well. Stopping down a little or using a brighter lens that is better corrected may help. Lastly, don't use UV filters indoors/at night unless they are multi-coated to remove such reflections. When in ...


2

It's going to be very difficult to get good results if all you have to work with is $600. The 85 f1.8 is probably the best overall lens choice for the situation and budget. But if this is going to become a passion or career you'll need to invest in long and fast lenses. As was said, 1500 person venues are not small -- unless you have access to get up to the ...



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