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05-31-2011, 02:27 AM   #1
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Gig Photography, Help!!

Hi Guys and Gals,

New posting on this forum, and to photography really. So heres the pickle i'm in. I have been asked to come along to some of my friends gigs and not having any 'fast glass' realised i would struggle in the low light. So i was wondering what lens i should be looking at?? I'm on a bit of a budget with only about 250. I was initially thinking the Tamron 17-50 2.8, so i can get some wider shots of the whole band, but i was wondering if f2.8 is enough? Also looking at the Pentax 50 1.4 but then i would be stuck at 50......Hmmm not sure with path to go down as a certainly cant afford both!!
I would be greatfull if someone with some low light knowledge could shed some light on this for me

Cheers people!

05-31-2011, 03:30 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
The Tamron 17-50 is as good value as you will get for the money. There aren't any zooms for Pentax faster than f/2.8
Primes will offer more speed but obviously less flexibility. A wider angled prime may be an option, such as the DA 35 f/2.4, but it is not much faster than the Tamron. There is also the Sigma 30/1.4 but I'm not sure how much that will set you back in the UK.
05-31-2011, 08:59 AM   #3
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Firstly welcome to the forum.

It's difficult to answer more fully without knowing details of type of venue, the lighting conditions and how far you will be from the stage (but I guess as a "friend" you should be fairly close without any access issues).

I would tend go with the faster manual focus 50 mm, you could always try and stand back a bit to get more in, subject of course to available space. These lenses are readily available and can also be purchased second hand for well within your budget. Manual focus works well in these conditions, as auto focus can sometimes be fooled but various lighting setups and mic stands etc.

Watch your focusing, it ain't easy in low light, split prism screens can help, but a lot comes down to sheer practice and doing it for real. Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO, certain genres of music actually benefit from added grittiness that grain can give an image, Rock to name but one.
05-31-2011, 12:13 PM   #4
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You should check out my blog series on concert photography, starting with the article on equipment:

Marc Sabatella: Concert Photography - Equipment

My style is probably different from yours; I would never consider the lenses you are looking at as they are way too short for my purposes. But the basic principles I discuss in that article, and perhaps more important, the followup article on technique, should help.

05-31-2011, 12:37 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by PJwebbs Quote
Hi Guys and Gals,

New posting on this forum, and to photography really. So heres the pickle i'm in. I have been asked to come along to some of my friends gigs and not having any 'fast glass' realised i would struggle in the low light. So i was wondering what lens i should be looking at?? I'm on a bit of a budget with only about 250. I was initially thinking the Tamron 17-50 2.8, so i can get some wider shots of the whole band, but i was wondering if f2.8 is enough? Also looking at the Pentax 50 1.4 but then i would be stuck at 50......Hmmm not sure with path to go down as a certainly cant afford both!!
I would be greatfull if someone with some low light knowledge could shed some light on this for me

Cheers people!
I do shooting of live plays. I think lenses faster than f2.8 are oversold in their importance. They often give you a very narrow depth of field which makes focus a constant frustration - but that can be a subjective opinion. I often use f3.5 to f5.6 or f8 if lighting permits.

My most often used lens is a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens, which is sharp and a bargain. Most everyone snaps the whole band, but the close-in head shots or slightly larger can be very dramatic.

You could possibly carry a zoom like the 28/75 or 24/70, and then carry a manual 100/135mm in your pocket, so you can shoot a variety of close ins and then the wider ones.

Also, i don't AF on the half shutter. I only focus once every 5 or 6 shots. Allows faster reaction time on your camera. disable half-shutter focus and enable AF focusing only. or go to manual focus. With a larger dof as i mentioned above, it isn't necessary to focus every shot.

Read Marc's stuff, he has a lot of experience!
06-01-2011, 04:29 AM   #6
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Cheers for the replys people. Lots to think about i guess then, lighting, venue size etc..... i'm starting to look at at the tamron 28-75 2.8 now for abit of extra length.
I should be smack bang at the front seen as i'm his friend, so i don't think i will need too much length. I also require this purchase to be a kind of upgrade to my kit lens, and do some graduation phots, hence why i was kind of swaying towards the 17-50. Some very useful info here tho guys, especially from Marc, had a read of that. Good stuff!

Anyone had ago with the 28-75 2.8??
06-01-2011, 12:35 PM   #7
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See another recent thread in this very forum for samples. No doubt, IQ is more than up to it. If that focal length range works for you, it seems a natural. But 28mm is probably not wide enough to take in an entire stage from up from (depends on specific venue, of course), nor is 75mm long enough for type of head-and-upper-body-with-instrument shot I tend to mostly take, except perhaps for the one musician directly in front of you. So if I were you, I'd be planning for the eventuality of wanting multiple lenses.
06-01-2011, 02:49 PM   #8
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What camera? That will tell people how high you can/should go on the ISO.

Oh, and I'd vote for the 28-75/2.8.

06-01-2011, 03:47 PM   #9
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I have a k-x, which I have read is quite good at dealing with higher a higher iso. True? The venues are only going to be clubs. Nothing grand. So surly I won't need too much zoom.....
06-01-2011, 06:41 PM   #10
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Clubs are what I shoot mostly, too. It's like I said: 75mm won't be long enough for head-and-upper-body-with-instrument shots - the sort of thing you see over and over in my blog series - except for the musician directly in front of you. If you don't plan on taking those types of shots, that's fine.
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