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04-08-2012, 08:19 AM   #1
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Getting ready for outdoor concert.

At the end of next month I will be photographing a 3 day outdoor concert. I have read numerous threads and blogs on good setups and think I may have what I need? I have 3 different bodies to use and plan on taking 2 with me. I have the K20D, KX, & K7. The lenses I have that I believe are suitable to use are the following, Sigma 8-16mm f4.5-5.6, Sigma 20-40mm f2.8, Sigma 105mm f2.8, Pentax FA50mm f1.4, M50mm f1.4, M50mm f1.7. I will be thinning this list down as I know I will not need them all. i do have full access so I will be able to get up close to the stage and all. I am reviewing this now so if I decide I need an additional lens I will have time to order it. Is there anything I don't have covered, as maybe an additional lens that might bee good for my situation?


04-08-2012, 09:56 AM   #2
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Concert Photos?

Hi Martin,
Sounds like you have a good assortment of lenses and bodies. I'll just make a few observations, having shot many music venues, both indoor and outdoor.
Bring your fastest lenses! Even outdoors, in full daylight, the musicians are usually under a canopy, so it's full shade, not full sunlight. Also, while stage lights may seem bright from the audience, they're not to a camera.
As a guess, at f/5.6 and ISO 200, you might be shooting at 1/60s, maybe 1/30s. Even with SR, you'll be lucky to get 50% "Keepers", the rest will be unusable.
You can boost this % greatly with the two essential concert photo tools; A monopod with a small ballhead and a cable or remote shutter release. Even a light camera and small lens will shake (some say a lighter setup shakes more than a heavier one, less inertia), but either way, once you use a monopod in a concert situation, you'll never go back.
Also, even with a backstage pass, a 200mm is invaluable. You can't get the full band in a shot from the stage, unless you want a photo of their rear ends. The classic stage shot is with a medium tele from back in the audience. If you get too close from the audience position, you're shooting "up" and it looks weird.
Bring hoods for all your lenses. From the stage there's zillions of chances to get bad lens flare, lights everywhere.
Don't put your bag or equipment down anywhere, even for a second. Take it into the bathroom with you, I'm not kidding! This isn't paranoia, it's experience.
Good luck, post some photos when you get back.
04-08-2012, 09:56 AM   #3
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Main body + backup body (or, if you wish, mounted with a different lens to go alongside the main one for quick focal lenght swapping). Also, spare batteries and lots and lots of cards, of course.

My most used lens for concerts is a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. I have used occasionally the 50mm 1.4 and 77mm 1.9 as well, when moving feet instead of zooming wasn't a problem. Usually, fast glass is key.

In two instances I went with a 70-210mm f4 because the stage was deep and the 28-75 couldn't cover it (but there was plenty of light so not-so-fast glass wasn't really a problem, though I'm looking into buying a 2.8). And I gotta confess that I even tried out the kit lens once, because I wanted to go wider than 28, for a change. I did like the look a wide angle gives, but the quality... (mind you, I knew full well the kit lens wouldn't be up to par).

Bottom line is, find out what kind of lighting/stage they'll be using and adjust your equipment accordingly, e.g. there's no point in having a super wide if the musicians will be 20m away all the time.

I don't know how the K20D & KX compare to the K7, but you want fast AF and I take it that the K7 is the fastest of the pack, though you do also want a clean hi-ISO body, which I'm afraid the K7 is not (I've had it briefly prior to getting the K5). I don't know what kind of music you'll be covering, but if you're bringing two bodies, get the one with the fastest AF and get the one with the cleanest pictures, then do as with glass, i.e. use accordingly.
04-08-2012, 10:26 AM   #4
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a longer lens maybe.
although the 105mm might be long enough but the slow focus because the macro might not be great lens for this.
Something like 70-200 or 50-135/150 might be nice

Sigma has the 50-150 f/2.8 for a nice price for example, together with the other two zooms you would be pretty much covered.

I use the DA*16-50 & DA*50-135 for all my gigs and never found the 135mm not long enough so far.

rbefly say to use a monopod but i wouldn't at 1/30 the shutter speed is so long that you see the subjects move, i find 1/80 to be the limit most of the time. You still have blur of the fast movements of the hands playing the instrument but the rest is sharp enough and 1/80 is very doable handheld. I've shot at lower speeds though but didn't had so much hits because of movement of the face.

Just to show the example of the movement blur.
I don't have many of my concert photos uploaded...

oh wacht een band heeft mijn foto's online gezet. there are under pictures > scum 2012
It was a very very small place and the lighting s*cked.... but they found the photos brute so... =]

Last edited by Anvh; 04-08-2012 at 10:36 AM.

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