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Author Topic: Best music/concert photography lenses?  (Read 13384 times)

scottsdaleriots

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Best music/concert photography lenses?
« on: March 21, 2012, 01:08:04 AM »
The can be canon or 3rd party (although I'd like to stick to canon just for the peace of mind that there's zero chance it will stuff up my camera). I want a light, fast (max of 2.8) lens to shoot live concerts with (right up at the stage where security are). My really stretched budget is $1500, give or take a bit ($100).

Considering these lens;
* 50mm (canon 1.4 or sigma 1.4, although I've heard good/bad with both but heard sigma is worse..?)
* 24mm (either L or non-L)
* 35mm (either L or non-L, considering this as its like 56mm on a crop which is what i have)
* 17-55 2.8 IS (trying to stay away from this since its EF-S and will be moving to FF in <5yrs)
* sigma 17-50mm 2.8 (I think it has IS, i like the focal length. but it's 3rd party and i heard 3rd party have a decent chance of screwing up electronics in your camera)

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Best music/concert photography lenses?
« on: March 21, 2012, 01:08:04 AM »

prestonpalmer

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2012, 01:18:54 AM »
For this case, the 50 f/1.4 might be the best bang for your buck.  If you have a camera that can handle a fairly high ISO, (5D2) you might consider the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro.  The V1 of this lens is very reasonably priced, INCREDIBLY SHARP, and will help you get those closer shots if you aren't able to be in the very front row, or hugging the stage.

Good luck!

Scott

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2012, 01:30:02 AM »
have you considered the Canon 85mm f1.8? I use it for my gig photography. It's fantastically sharp wide open.


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jhanken

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 01:53:27 AM »
I may be getting a reputation as a Sigma fanboy here (I am not, I am a Canon fanboy!), but I have shot a lot with the Sigma 50MM f/1.4 on my 5D Mark I and it has never been anything but tack sharp and quick to focus.  I am certain the Canon 1.4 would yield similarly awesome results, but the optics on the Sigma just seemed a bit more modern to me, with better performance in the corners on focus and CA, etc. 

But I digress. I think the 16-35 f/2.8 L II (or a used version I) might be a good choice on a crop body. Once you move to a full frame, the lens could fill an entirely different niche.  I have seen these pre-owned on B&H for <$1K.  Plus, if you ever get desperate for moola, the canon WA lenses are a good store of value and easy to sell for a fair price ;)
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Quasimodo

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 03:01:35 AM »
I would consider a 135 F2.0L, which gives you a great distance lens so you don't have to be in their face when shooting, or like someone mentioned an 85mm. This depends on the camera you are shooting with. I don't recall if you mentioned that, but if you are shooting on a crop and not a FF camera, the 135 might be too long. I think the probably best option you have is the 24-70 F2.8L or version two of the same lens. I know you said, max 2.0 in aperture, but this lens gives you a lot of versatility and is often used for this specific purpose. If you were shooting below stage, I would opt for a 70-200 F2.8L IS II USM on a FF body. 50mm would limit me, but if on a crop body, it is a great focal lenght.
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loudpictures

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2012, 03:02:55 AM »
well,
it depends mainly on how big the venue is, and what kind of pictures you prefer.

If you really want to cover a whole concert in pictures, you will need both portraits of all the members and whole-band-pictures. I often have a 35 1,4 in my bag if the venue or show is really dark and I really love this lens. But I could not imagine to shoot a whole concert with this lens, because I would miss too many scenes.
There are many situations where you will wish for a zoom lens. Jumping guitarist, a singer climbing on the drum raiser,...

So actually, I would recommend you the 17-55. Look for a used one, it will hardly stay new and shiny if used on concerts. With the 17-55 you can shoot overwiews (do you say that in english? sorry if not) and have the whole stage when the lighting looks good or the band is dancing around, and you can shoot portraits without cropping too much (but without cutting body or guitar parts off).

On my 7D, I am using the 24-70L, but only because I also have the 10-22 with me. I often use the UWA in smaller clubs or for the audience. If I had to choose only one lens - I would go for the 17-55 and if I need a close-up - just crop afterwards if there was no 70-200 in my bag.


The can be canon or 3rd party (although I'd like to stick to canon just for the peace of mind that there's zero chance it will stuff up my camera). I want a light, fast (max of 2.8) lens to shoot live concerts with (right up at the stage where security are). My really stretched budget is $1500, give or take a bit ($100).

Considering these lens;
* 50mm (canon 1.4 or sigma 1.4, although I've heard good/bad with both but heard sigma is worse..?)
* 24mm (either L or non-L)
* 35mm (either L or non-L, considering this as its like 56mm on a crop which is what i have)
* 17-55 2.8 IS (trying to stay away from this since its EF-S and will be moving to FF in <5yrs)
* sigma 17-50mm 2.8 (I think it has IS, i like the focal length. but it's 3rd party and i heard 3rd party have a decent chance of screwing up electronics in your camera)

briansquibb

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2012, 03:23:36 AM »
Last show I did was with the 1D4 and 400 f/2.8 and 1Ds3 with 70/200 f/2.8 for wa (both on tripod/gimbal) from the back of a medium sized theatre.

I know OP didn't want this but the longer reach gave a much more natural perspective.

I am never too comfortable taking pictures of top teeth, nostrils and up the tiny skirts - and straight into the stage lights.

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2012, 03:23:36 AM »

Old Shooter

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2012, 04:48:37 AM »
Brian!  You got your kit back!
5DIII, XSi, A2, 10s (x2), 20-35L, 24-70L II, 28-70L, 70-200L, 70-200L IS II, 85L II, 135L, 40 Pancake, 50 Macro, 100 Macro, 135 Soft-Focus, Crappy EF-S Kit Lens, 430EX II, Metz 45 CL-4, Metz 60 CT-4 (x2), White Lightnings, and lots of other junk...

briansquibb

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2012, 04:56:34 AM »
Brian!  You got your kit back!

Sold the 40D and the 5DII so a sad week though  :'( :'(

On the hunt for either a 300F/2.8 II or a used 200 f/2 now  ;D ;D ;D


ronderick

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2012, 06:52:20 AM »
Last show I did was with the 1D4 and 400 f/2.8 and 1Ds3 with 70/200 f/2.8 for wa (both on tripod/gimbal) from the back of a medium sized theatre.

Yeah, that's pretty similar to the setup I'm familiar with - except the guy uses a 300 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8 - both hand-held (I don't recall him using a tripod).
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 06:55:05 AM by ronderick »
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4jphotography

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2012, 07:19:16 AM »
I shoot music for a living, or at least a good part of my living, and use two 5d Mark 2's – one with a 35 1.4 and one with a 135 f2, with a 70-200 in the bag, though it rarely comes out. 
http://www.4jphotography.com/galleries/20231971_9MpmT9
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 07:21:59 AM by 4jphotography »

scottsdaleriots

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2012, 12:24:19 AM »
I may be getting a reputation as a Sigma fanboy here (I am not, I am a Canon fanboy!), but I have shot a lot with the Sigma 50MM f/1.4 on my 5D Mark I and it has never been anything but tack sharp and quick to focus.  I am certain the Canon 1.4 would yield similarly awesome results, but the optics on the Sigma just seemed a bit more modern to me, with better performance in the corners on focus and CA, etc. 

But I digress. I think the 16-35 f/2.8 L II (or a used version I) might be a good choice on a crop body. Once you move to a full frame, the lens could fill an entirely different niche.  I have seen these pre-owned on B&H for <$1K.  Plus, if you ever get desperate for moola, the canon WA lenses are a good store of value and easy to sell for a fair price ;)
you're a sigma fanboy? lol. So you own a sigma 50mm 1.4? SOme people say sigma has more of a quality control issue than canon. you see i would be buying whatever i end up choosing from the internet since it's usually cheaper online. e.g. the canon 50mm 1.4 lens is under $400 on amazon/B&H where it's over $600 in my country.

Have you ever shot with the sigma 17-50mm 2.8? someone here on the forum in another thread said that the 35mm (L & non-L) arent good for concert photography coz the lens makes the band/singer look "old", flat/boring and looking very haggard. they said 50mm 1.4 was better.

I would consider a 135 F2.0L, which gives you a great distance lens so you don't have to be in their face when shooting, or like someone mentioned an 85mm. This depends on the camera you are shooting with. I don't recall if you mentioned that, but if you are shooting on a crop and not a FF camera, the 135 might be too long. I think the probably best option you have is the 24-70 F2.8L or version two of the same lens. I know you said, max 2.0 in aperture, but this lens gives you a lot of versatility and is often used for this specific purpose. If you were shooting below stage, I would opt for a 70-200 F2.8L IS II USM on a FF body. 50mm would limit me, but if on a crop body, it is a great focal lenght.
i would like to own that lens just to do portraits and stuff but i think for my purposes (concert photography in front of the stage) it'd be way too long especially on a 7d. i want the 24-70 2.8 mkII (im detered from the mki coz of the push-pull design. and coz the mkii is much better) but i cant justify the price especially even more so since it doesnt have IS, way too expensive. maybe if it was under $1800 (it wont fall in price under $2000 til at least 2014 IMO *sigh*). i've already got the 70-200 2.8 IS II but its on a crop body since i mainly bought it for sports photography

well,
it depends mainly on how big the venue is, and what kind of pictures you prefer.

If you really want to cover a whole concert in pictures, you will need both portraits of all the members and whole-band-pictures. I often have a 35 1,4 in my bag if the venue or show is really dark and I really love this lens. But I could not imagine to shoot a whole concert with this lens, because I would miss too many scenes.
There are many situations where you will wish for a zoom lens. Jumping guitarist, a singer climbing on the drum raiser,...

So actually, I would recommend you the 17-55. Look for a used one, it will hardly stay new and shiny if used on concerts. With the 17-55 you can shoot overwiews (do you say that in english? sorry if not) and have the whole stage when the lighting looks good or the band is dancing around, and you can shoot portraits without cropping too much (but without cutting body or guitar parts off).

On my 7D, I am using the 24-70L, but only because I also have the 10-22 with me. I often use the UWA in smaller clubs or for the audience. If I had to choose only one lens - I would go for the 17-55 and if I need a close-up - just crop afterwards if there was no 70-200 in my bag.
I dont really want to cover the whole concert including the crowd (unless i was getting paid) coz my only interest is the band. I heard the sigma 17-50mm 2.8 is better than the canon 17-55mm IS and at half the price. but i dont think anyone on this forum has experience with the sigma 17-50mm.

last time the band played here was in 2010 and they played outside late at night. kinda hard to describe but they were underneath shelter/a weird domed roof and the crowd wasnst covered. open space no where to get elevated above or alone set up a tripod.

I shoot music for a living, or at least a good part of my living, and use two 5d Mark 2's – one with a 35 1.4 and one with a 135 f2, with a 70-200 in the bag, though it rarely comes out. 
http://www.4jphotography.com/galleries/20231971_9MpmT9
How's the 35mm 1.4 treating you? Where exactly are you positioned in the venue where you're shooting concerts? e.g. in front of the stage where the security personnel are (that's where I want to be), are you on the side? right at the back of venue with a tripod? Squished in amongst the crowd 10/15metres from the stage?

scottsdaleriots

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 04:35:23 AM »
Ok, out of these three lenses which one is best? (to use right in front of the band, below stage). Ive got a 7d

* 35mm
* 50mm
* 85mm

I'm thinking the 85mm is way too long but I like how it's one of the fastest out there with f/1.2

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 04:35:23 AM »

briansquibb

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2012, 04:55:34 AM »
Ok, out of these three lenses which one is best? (to use right in front of the band, below stage). Ive got a 7d

* 35mm
* 50mm
* 85mm

I'm thinking the 85mm is way too long but I like how it's one of the fastest out there with f/1.2

85 will give head and shoulders shots, 35 is not wide enough for the band  (and will you see the member at the back if the stage is above you??)

DOF is a key issue here if the light is poor - will the 85 focus fast and accurately enough for you to shoot a moving person at f/1.2?

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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2012, 04:58:54 AM »
Ok, out of these three lenses which one is best? (to use right in front of the band, below stage). Ive got a 7d

* 35mm
* 50mm
* 85mm

I'm thinking the 85mm is way too long but I like how it's one of the fastest out there with f/1.2

2 bodies 35mm on one 85mm on the other problem solved
you are really going to want to get some nice tight crops and even the 85 on a APS-C is going to struggle for reach
depends on how much access you have.

the 135 f2 might even be a good long option, but i would say with the crop body start with 85 and 35
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Re: Best music/concert photography lenses?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2012, 04:58:54 AM »