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04-03-2010, 10:28 AM   #1
emr
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Lenses for outdoors concert?

I'm going to see one of my all time favourites (ZZ Top!) in an outdoors concert in July. I'm not familiar with the concert venue and I don't know how close I will be to the stage. Actually I still don't even know for sure if photography is allowed there, but I assume it is. The concert should last until about 8 PM, so at that latitude it should not be very dark. Anyway, I'm wondering which lens or lenses to take with me. In addition to the kit zooms, I have the DA 55-300mm, FA 50mm f/1.4, DA 15mm + 40mm + 70mm limiteds and some manual focus lenses. From them I think at the moment that I'd probably take the DA 55-300mm and 15mm ltd combination.

But is that a good choice in your opinion? Would I need something faster in the long range? Weather sealing would be nice too in case it rains (my camera bodies are K20D & K200D, I'll probably take the K20D). I'm not sure I could afford a DA* 200mm or 300mm, but the DFA 100mm WR might be within reasonable reach. But is that likely to be too short for the concert?

Thanks.

04-03-2010, 11:37 AM   #2
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I wouldn't assume photogrpahy is allowed. Most venues (indoors or out) large enough to have a band like ZZ Top don't allow photography and check bags on the way in. They can't do anything about cellphone cams, but SLR's will generally get rejected. Not at all such venues, but many. So do check first.

If you can make it, I can't see you needing anything but the 55-300 for the show itself, with the 15 coming in handy for crowd shots. Even if it gets dark, any reaosnably large venue feature a big name band will have pretty bright lights too. I shoot small clubs at f/2.8 and ISO 1600 or higher just to get shutter speeds of 1/30", but larger venues are usually so well lit that I can shoot f/5.6 at ISO 800 and still often get faster shutter speeds of 1/100" or better.

A 100mm prime is great for smaller venues, or if you can get right up to the stage (outdoor concerts often have a dance area in front, for instance, that you don't need special permission to get to). But like I said, I really doubt you'd need the speed.
04-03-2010, 11:48 AM   #3
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Very tough to do this stuff if you're not real close. And even then, it's tough.

My advice is just enjoy the concert, and forget it.

Been there...done that...about a hundred times in large venues.
04-03-2010, 11:54 AM   #4
emr
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Thanks, Marc. The website of that concert (actually a 5 days blues happening with ZZ Top in their main concert) says nothing about photography, but I'll definitely check before taking my camera there - or buying new lenses just for this. I actually already emailed them just today.

So optically I should be OK with these lenses. I just wonder about the weather. Perhaps I'll need to get at least one WR lens just in case. Actually I just realized that while I have two WR camera bodies, I have zero WR lenses. What's your opinion on DA* 50-135mm WRT concert photography?

04-03-2010, 11:58 AM   #5
emr
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
My advice is just enjoy the concert, and forget it.
Well, that's definitely also something to consider. It's just that as they're one of my great favourites, I could combine these "passions" by shooting the concert. But it would certainly be much more relaxing to just leave the camera home or take only my Canon S90 in my pocket.
04-03-2010, 12:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
So optically I should be OK with these lenses. I just wonder about the weather. Perhaps I'll need to get at least one WR lens just in case.
Or a plastic bag, which is a lot cheaper. Keep the camera & lens protected (under your raincoat, say, or in the bag) when not shooting, don't have the camera out too long when you are shooting, and have the bag over the lens & mount while shooting. I've done this many, many times.

QuoteQuote:
What's your opinion on DA* 50-135mm WRT concert photography?
This would be great for clubs, I think. But too short to be recommended for most outdoor venues unless you're pretty much right on stage. Given a choice between that and a 55-300, I'd take the latter for an outdoor gig, rain or shine.
04-03-2010, 12:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Well, that's definitely also something to consider. It's just that as they're one of my great favourites, I could combine these "passions" by shooting the concert. But it would certainly be much more relaxing to just leave the camera home or take only my Canon S90 in my pocket.
I guess you gotta do it, but I've had so many disappointing experiences attempting this, I gave up.

Granted--I'm talking about the old film days and not the modern high-ISO DSLRs, but still:

If your seat sinks, it really makes it hard. So you really have to able to zoom in, and in PP, flip the horizontal on a bunch, so at least it looks like you're taking them from a different perspective.

Know what I mean? All of my shots always looked the same because they all looked like they were taken from the same seat.
04-03-2010, 12:32 PM   #8
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emr: I'm considering the same concert...older ZZ Top used to be one of my faves. Likely though I'll just settle for Provinssirock for the summer, as usual

You could consider getting the Pentax 1.7x AF adapter. Could be just what you need, paired e.g. with the DA 50-135 or similar. Gives nice flexibility and makes older high iq manual zooms suddenly very viable options.

04-03-2010, 12:59 PM   #9
emr
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Thanks, Boucicaut and Ira. The thing is I currently own neither the mentioned DA star nor the TC. So I think that if I end up taking my DSLR with me, I'll take the 55-300mm zoom and 15mm ltd.

Boucicaut, who's at Provinssi this year? I'm not much of a festival-goer myself in general, but ZZ Top is a special case for me.
04-03-2010, 01:41 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Thanks, Boucicaut and Ira. The thing is I currently own neither the mentioned DA star nor the TC. So I think that if I end up taking my DSLR with me, I'll take the 55-300mm zoom and 15mm ltd.

Boucicaut, who's at Provinssi this year? I'm not much of a festival-goer myself in general, but ZZ Top is a special case for me.
Provinssirock 2010

Rammstein among others
04-03-2010, 03:27 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
I'm going to see one of my all time favourites (ZZ Top!) in an outdoors concert in July. I'm not familiar with the concert venue and I don't know how close I will be to the stage. Actually I still don't even know for sure if photography is allowed there, but I assume it is. The concert should last until about 8 PM, so at that latitude it should not be very dark. Anyway, I'm wondering which lens or lenses to take with me. In addition to the kit zooms, I have the DA 55-300mm, FA 50mm f/1.4, DA 15mm + 40mm + 70mm limiteds and some manual focus lenses. From them I think at the moment that I'd probably take the DA 55-300mm and 15mm ltd combination.

But is that a good choice in your opinion? Would I need something faster in the long range? Weather sealing would be nice too in case it rains (my camera bodies are K20D & K200D, I'll probably take the K20D). I'm not sure I could afford a DA* 200mm or 300mm, but the DFA 100mm WR might be within reasonable reach. But is that likely to be too short for the concert?

Thanks.
Buy a good compact camera. Most venues see somebody using a DSLR as a "Pro" and require accredition in advance - and you need a good reason to get that. Compacts are seen to be less professional and are often allowed. I know that is stupid, but its reality.

Ben
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