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  1. #1
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    concerts+digital cameras

    Concerts + digital camera

    I would like to make pictures during concerts. But the camera should be a small digital camera because very often it is not allowed to take it with me during the concert. And it should be very sensitive because of little light and I don't want to use flashlight.
    What camera is OK? One with similar 800 iso, or is that a bad comparison? Because 800 is too little with a compact or a SLR.
    Could anyone tell me what is important to think about when buying a digital camera for popconcerts? Anyone with experience in this field? Hope 2 hear from you!

    Thanks in advance, Ina/Holland

  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    That's a tough one.

    Low light is one of the areas where film is still better than digital - especially if we're talking about compact cameras. Compact digital cameras are pretty dismally noisy over ISO 200. Personally, I haven't found one that I like to use at over ISO 100.

    If you do want to go with a compact digital, you'll want one with flash options so that you can turn off the flash. If you're more than about ten feet away the flash isn't going to help and depending on how the camera is programmed, it might make your exposure worse. The best way to shoot would be supported on a railing, wall, or something else solid, with no flash, and a wide open aperture. For this reason, you want as much manual control as possible. Look for something that has aperture priority, the option to turn off the flash, and at least ISO 800.

    Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Pentax, Casio, Sony, and Minolta all make very, very small cameras. Look for something that's small enough to smuggle in that has the features I've mentioned. But don't expect too much, either. What you're trying to do isn't going to get you very good results most of the time. Professional concert photographers use very expensive, specialized SLR equipment to shoot concerts. It's unrealistic to expect a compact digital to come anywhere close to the quality you see in published concert photos.

    I hope that helps. I don't mean to discourage or disappoint you. I just want you to have realistic expectations. Cameras aren't magic. They have limitations. And you're talking about shooting in a very demanding environment. If it was me, I'd get a good 35mm point-and-shoot, and shoot fast black and white film.
    Photo-John

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  3. #3
    Wisconsin Cheesehead Spike's Avatar
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    Spike

    Are you really willing to spend a couple hundred $s and risk having your camera taken away? I'd do what PJ suggested - go with an inexpensive film p&s camera.

    When we went to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert, they allowed fans to shoot away to their hearts desire, and to link pics to the official web site afterwards. My husband used his Canon S30 and shot at max ISO in raw mode. Yes, the high ISO gives noise, but it looks kind of cool, like large film grain, imho. Also, some bands really light up the stage with their spotlights - plenty of shots, even from a distance, turned out great. He did not use flash at all because we were not close enough. It wasn't an issue.

    If you're sneaking in a digital camera, you'll probably want to keep the lcd off so as not to draw attention to yourself in the crowd. This means you'll want one with a viewfinder.

    Spike

  4. #4
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    concerts+digital camera

    So, what you're saying is, it's better to use a normal compact camera instead of a (more expensive) digital camera that is not sensitive enough?

    I know the pics won't be the best, but i would like to make fairly good/reasonable pics of the concert... so i'm looking for a solution, but the camera shouldn't be more expensive than 300,00/ 400,00 when it's digital.
    And if it's compact it can be of course cheaper. ;)

    Ciao, Ina = artfuldodger/ Holland

  5. #5
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    concerts+ digital cameras

    By the way... Is 800 ISO for a digital camera, whilst not making use of flash, enough sensitivity for shooting during a concert?

    Artfully, dodger

  6. #6
    Wisconsin Cheesehead Spike's Avatar
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    It could be

    I think iso 800 will usually be OK. But not if the musicians are running around the stage, jumping up and down.... unless you want motion blur, which is not a bad thing. It all depends - how close will you be to the stage? How well lit is your subject - are the house lights dim or are they bright spot lights? Do you expect crystal clear detail, or is some amount of noise acceptable?

    Spike

    Quote Originally Posted by artfuldodger
    By the way... Is 800 ISO for a digital camera, whilst not making use of flash, enough sensitivity for shooting during a concert?

    Artfully, dodger

  7. #7
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    Hi Spike,

    I guess, I don't understand digital photography quite well. Most people only look at pixels, etc. when buying a digital camera. To me, the sensitivity of the lens is very important as well as the pixels. Is it? When I want 2 shoot during a concert, shouldn't I be shooting with a very sensitive lens like f. 2.0, or f 2.4 of f. 3.0 while zooming? But is that enough? Is there enough light then with this digit? Is the iso-comparison important?

    Ciao, Ina




    Quote Originally Posted by Spike
    I think iso 800 will usually be OK. But not if the musicians are running around the stage, jumping up and down.... unless you want motion blur, which is not a bad thing. It all depends - how close will you be to the stage? How well lit is your subject - are the house lights dim or are they bright spot lights? Do you expect crystal clear detail, or is some amount of noise acceptable?

    Spike

  8. #8
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artfuldodger
    Hi Spike,

    I guess, I don't understand digital photography quite well. Most people only look at pixels, etc. when buying a digital camera. To me, the sensitivity of the lens is very important as well as the pixels. Is it? When I want 2 shoot during a concert, shouldn't I be shooting with a very sensitive lens like f. 2.0, or f 2.4 of f. 3.0 while zooming? But is that enough? Is there enough light then with this digit? Is the iso-comparison important?

    Ciao, Ina
    Ina,

    You're asking a question that is impossible to answer. ISO sensitivity on digitals is similar to film. But no one will be able to tell you what ISO/lens speed numbers are "right." The answer will always depend on the amount of light, and there is simply no way to say one setting is right for every location. Nor is there a minimum recommendation, there simply can't be due to the many variables. The only thing one can tell you is to get the fastest lens possible, with the fastest ISO equivalency possible, that way you're prepared for darker venues while still being able to turn down ISO or stop down a lens if there is more than adequate light.
    -Seb

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  9. #9
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    Wink

    Ok, I understand. I'm used to making pictures with my Canon eos30 and different lenses, but during a concert with a lot of people people (2000 and/or more), i'm usually not allowed to take my camera in, so i take in a small compact with a 35 mm/f.3.5 lens. With 1600 asa the pictures are pretty ok. But there's no zoom. So I thought, what to do? Buy a new small compact with a bit of zoom and a sensitive lens, or buy a small digital with a sensitive lens? What do you recommend?
    I only don't understand the digital technique. The zoomlenses are usually much smaller than a SLR/normal compact... When I see a lot of digital cameras with 400 asa, i think this is not enough because with my compact of 35mm/f.3.5 it wouldn't have been enough, only 1600 asa would be enough. You understand? So what 2 buy? What to think of?
    What is important?

    Thanks in advance?






    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    Ina,

    You're asking a question that is impossible to answer. ISO sensitivity on digitals is similar to film. But no one will be able to tell you what ISO/lens speed numbers are "right." The answer will always depend on the amount of light, and there is simply no way to say one setting is right for every location. Nor is there a minimum recommendation, there simply can't be due to the many variables. The only thing one can tell you is to get the fastest lens possible, with the fastest ISO equivalency possible, that way you're prepared for darker venues while still being able to turn down ISO or stop down a lens if there is more than adequate light.

  10. #10
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Fast Lenses

    Fast lenses are good. And since depth-of-field is greater with small digital camera sensors, they're actually very good with digital cameras, if depth-of-field is desirable. So I think investing in a camera with a fast lens is a good idea, if you want to do concert photography.
    Photo-John

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