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02-17-2014, 10:16 PM   #1
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Concert Photography - Next lens?

Hello all,

Proud owner of a new K-5iis! Stoked.

I shoot concerts in low light primarily. I currently pack:

DA* 55 1.4 Pentax
17-50 Sigma 2.8
40mm 2.8 XS (dont use much at shows)

What should the next lens be?

Right now my tentative idea is the Tamron 70-200 2.8 for around 700$US or so.

I would love a fisheye, but worry that most are 3.5 and wouldn't be useful for the concert environment.

I have also been toying with the idea of a 35mm 2.8 or the 35mm 2, not sure what would be better or not or if this would even be used. Since I have that 44mm XS.

Thanks for your thoughts and guidance.

02-17-2014, 10:21 PM   #2
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Are you willing to consider manual focus as that would open up the Sigma 30/1.4 (which you don't need as it overlaps with what you have) and the Rokinon 85/1.4. As you are considering the Tamron, it doesn't seem like the budget is that tight, but I wanted to throw up these options.
02-17-2014, 10:26 PM   #3
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I'd either stick with the 70-200 since you have shorter covered, but of course you can bump the ISO on the K5ii pretty easy, so I wouldn't be afraid of f3.5 at all.
02-17-2014, 10:34 PM - 1 Like   #4
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f/3.5 is only half a stop away from f/2.8 so besides marketing saying one is fast and the other slow I am sure you can use either with little loss on a modern dslr such as yours

02-17-2014, 10:39 PM   #5
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thanks

Thanks for that, I shall keep an eye open then for a FE at 3.5 and not worry. I find them often for 200 the Rokinon and Opteka. (SP)

---------- Post added 02-17-14 at 09:42 PM ----------

Also, I thought I saw on that Pentax lens chart for this year a possibility of a zoom in the same range as the tamron I am looking at. Perhaps I should wait a bit and see what comes of that as far as my zoom goes.
02-17-2014, 10:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rzarector Quote
I have also been toying with the idea of a 35mm 2.8 or the 35mm 2, not sure what would be better or not or if this would even be used. Since I have that 44mm XS.
What kind of concerts are you frequenting? There's a place I like to go that, if you get there early to get a seat at the front tables, you could actually reach up on stage and grab the performer's leg if you really wanted to. For that closeness, a 35 would work, but it's a more normal concert venue, you won't find nearly enough reach out of a 35, unless you want large stage shots.

The 35 is pretty redundant with your 2.8 Sigma and your 40XS. f/2 is only a small gain over f/2.8, one that you can get by bumping the ISO up 1/3 of a slot on the K-5 IIs.

If anything, I'd say you need more reach for when you get stuck in the back. You've got 17-55 covered well, so the only thing to do is go up.
02-17-2014, 11:17 PM   #7
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A fisheye gives a very specific distortion, that might get boring very quickly. I'm sure you will not shoot the whole concert with that.

I think Sigma 70-200 / Tamron 70-200 or the Pentax DA50-135 / Sigma 50-150 would nicely complement your kit.
02-17-2014, 11:21 PM   #8
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I may be out in left field here but I have seen multiple people here say they are shoot concerts with the DA 15 LTD. It is F4 but it is dead sharp wide open.

02-17-2014, 11:42 PM   #9
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I consider a quality tele zoom to be essential for bigger stages. As for which one: I rarely use my Sigma 70-200/2.8 now I have the DA*50-135. The latter is sharper, has better colour rendering, and has more decisive and accurate (but slower) autofocus.

But don't dis the fish eye. It may be a lower priority, but it's still very useful when you can get really close to the stage. I use my DA10-17 a lot. The smallish maximum aperture is not really a problem as these are rarely shots where a touch of movement or high ISO noise are an issue.
02-18-2014, 12:29 AM   #10
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@MadMathMind
The difference is 1 stop, but it's still a bit redundant. The Sigma 30mm or 35mm 1.4 would be the next step.
02-18-2014, 12:34 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I consider a quality tele zoom to be essential for bigger stages. As for which one: I rarely use my Sigma 70-200/2.8 now I have the DA*50-135. The latter is sharper, has better colour rendering, and has more decisive and accurate (but slower) autofocus.
I don't shoot concerts, but for stage performances or most any other situation (except fast action shots) I'd go with the DA*50-135 over the various 70-200 lenses that are available.

If you're going with a prime then look at the FA77, FA*85, or on a budget the Samyang (,Rokinon, etc.) 85/1.4. For performances on relatively dark stages I often prefer the FA*85 (or the FA77 before I had it) to the DA*50-135. The FA*85 is almost identical to your DA*55 in wide-open performance (e.g. very good to excellent IQ at f/1.8 or often even f/1.6), but being longer makes it even better in these situations. The FA77 is almost as good, performing great wide-open at f/1.8. But these are two full stops faster than the f/3.2 to f/3.5 you'll want to use the DA*50-135 at (and most of the 70-200s should probably be stopped down even more).

On the wider end the best use of your money is probably the FA*24/2, DA35/2.4, or Samyang 16/2 (though I still love the DA15 and DA10-17).


Using a 2nd body with a different lens on it is a great idea if you don't mind carrying 2 cameras.

I usually advocate putting most of your money in lenses, but in this case you might want to put the Tamron 17-50 or a wide prime on your one body and get another body with a Samyang 85/1.4 or something. (Of course if you have deeper pockets and you're getting a second body anyway, the perfect solution is probably a Sony A65 or A77 with a Sony Zeiss 135/1.8, or a Canon with the 135/2 if you want to compromise a little).

Last edited by DSims; 02-18-2014 at 01:02 AM.
02-18-2014, 12:48 AM   #12
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I agree with DSims... My suggestions would be the FA*85, DA*50-135mm, or FA77ltd, in that order of preference. I adore the 77, but think you'd be better served by the other two with a little extra reach, given you already run the DA*55 quite a bit by the sound of it.

---------- Post added 02-17-14 at 11:51 PM ----------

I should add, I've shot a few concerts and a number of theatre shows and my kit is usually two K bodies, one with the 31mm ltd and one with the 50-135. It's rare I need to break out anything outside that combination.

---------- Post added 02-17-14 at 11:56 PM ----------

I don't have much online for that except this bit from a number of years ago. This wasn't a paid gig - I just happened to be there with my cam and my buddy's band was (the sax player) was up so I snapped a few. I think this was all done with the 50-135.
Levator - Georgetown Music Fest "Artopia" - 2009 - a set on Flickr
02-18-2014, 01:09 AM   #13
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+1 to the spare body comment. For high-pressure gigs I carry two DSLR's plus a K-01 loaded with the fisheye. I can't be bothered changing lenses when the sparks are flying.
02-18-2014, 01:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rzarector Quote
Hello all,

Proud owner of a new K-5iis! Stoked.

I shoot concerts in low light primarily. I currently pack:

DA* 55 1.4 Pentax
17-50 Sigma 2.8
40mm 2.8 XS (dont use much at shows)

What should the next lens be?

Right now my tentative idea is the Tamron 70-200 2.8 for around 700$US or so.

I would love a fisheye, but worry that most are 3.5 and wouldn't be useful for the concert environment.

I have also been toying with the idea of a 35mm 2.8 or the 35mm 2, not sure what would be better or not or if this would even be used. Since I have that 44mm XS.

Thanks for your thoughts and guidance.
If you don't spend all your time in the pit of small stages, then I'd second all the 70/77 Ltd/Samyang 85mm suggestions.

I personally find that AF is hit and miss when at gigs, so the MF of the Samyang isn't nearly as much of an issue as it may at first seem. Plus it seems to deal with flare and CA pretty well, which is absolutely vital.

My best ever purchase as a concert photog was a t-shirt with PHOTOGRAPHER in UV-reflective letters across the back - it stops people tutting and whatnot as you try to get from one side to another in smaller gigs!
02-18-2014, 03:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Woolcott Quote
My best ever purchase as a concert photog was a t-shirt with PHOTOGRAPHER in UV-reflective letters across the back - it stops people tutting and whatnot as you try to get from one side to another in smaller gigs!
Now that's a great idea!
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