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Author Topic: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...  (Read 3765 times)

canon23

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Hi All,

I was wondering if any of you have any experiences or suggestions on which lenses to use for shooting bands while they perform mini performances (mostly indoors).  I never shot in this situation.  Quite frankly I really don't have much shooting experiences.  I've shot in baby showers, a couple of weddings (but not as the paid prof, rather as an 'unofficial' assistant as I'm the friend of the BG), and informal events.  But recently I've been approach to assist in shooting a friend's band (might not be a one time thing).  Thanks for your advice in advance.  Thanks!

MODIFIED:  I apologize for failing to state I have a 5D Mark II and have only 2 lenses: 24-105L & 50 1.8 II.  I am thinking on getting a new lens, thus asking for suggestions.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 12:11:05 AM by canon23 »
5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, II, Sigma 35 1.4 DG, 24-70 f/2.8 II, 70-200 2.8L IS II, 50 1.8 , Speedlite 430EX, YN 568 EX II

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BXL

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 09:57:28 AM »
Depending on the available light and the type of DSLR you use (full frame or APS-C):
FF: 16-35mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8 or if you prefer primes: 28mm f/1.8, 50mm (f/1.4 or f/1.8 ) and 85mm f/1.8
APS-C: 17-50/55mm f/2.8 or primes: 28mm f/1.8 and the 50mm (f/1.4 or f/1.8 ).

Especially in very dark locations, you're most likely limited to primes.
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candyman

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 10:01:36 AM »
If using an APS-C camera: I would use the 135mm f/2 L and the 85mm f/1.8. It depends how close you can get otherwise also the 50mm 1.4.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2012, 11:40:20 AM »
Distance is the factor.  APS-C and FF cameras also require different lenses.  When I photograph events, I have tried my 7D with primes, and have to crank up ISO so high that noise is a problem, so I use FF.  I take along my 35mmL, 50mm f/1.5, 85mm f/1.8 and 135mm f/2.
Then I use the one that fits the distance to the performers, and I can put on the 35mm if I need a wide view.  I find f/2.8 lenses to be too slow most of the time, because i am using 1/320 sec shutter speeds wherever possible due to motion.
Distance, motion, lighting all these can vary, so there is no way to know what you will run into.

Michael_pfh

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2012, 01:51:00 PM »
I also vote for the 135L F2.0.
1DX | 14 2.8L II | 16-35 2.8L II | 24 1.4L II | 24-70 2.8L II | ZE 35 2.0 | ZE 50 2.0 | 85 1.2L II | 100 2.8L IS | 135 2.0L | 70-200 2.8L IS II | 200 F2.0L IS | 300 2.8L IS II | 400 2.8L IS II | 500 4.0L IS

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 01:55:31 PM »
Distance is the factor.  APS-C and FF cameras also require different lenses.  When I photograph events, I have tried my 7D with primes, and have to crank up ISO so high that noise is a problem, so I use FF.  I take along my 35mmL, 50mm f/1.5, 85mm f/1.8 and 135mm f/2.
Then I use the one that fits the distance to the performers, and I can put on the 35mm if I need a wide view.  I find f/2.8 lenses to be too slow most of the time, because i am using 1/320 sec shutter speeds wherever possible due to motion.
Distance, motion, lighting all these can vary, so there is no way to know what you will run into.

+1.  If you're predominantly shooting low light venues, then a FF (i.e. 5D2) and fast primes are the way to go.  If they are well-lit, then zooms are more versatile.

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 03:23:02 PM »
I agree with having a 5DII or better for low light venues, but I do just fine with 2.8 zooms in venues with really poor lighting. That being said, I have no problem with going to ISO 6400 on a mark II or 12800 on a mark III. It's going to boil down to personal preference. Grab a 50 1.8 and try shooting with that. If you don't mind shooting with a prime, then by all means invest in more primes. Maybe you should rent some lenses for your first time around to see what you like.

Yes, but if you have a crop sensor, you're losing 1 to 2 stops due to noise to FF, so 2.8 zooms might not be enough...

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 03:23:02 PM »

Razor2012

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2012, 05:31:30 PM »
I just finished using the 5DIII & 70-200 2.8II in low light and was extremely happy.  Left it on 2.8 most of the time and let auto ISO do it's thing.
5D MKIII w grip, 70-200 2.8L IS II, 24-70 2.8L II, 16-35 2.8L II, 100 2.8L IS macro, 600EX-RT

Menace

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2012, 06:01:31 PM »
A friend asked to shoot his band, I had a 7d at that time.  The venue was very dark and the only lens useable (in my bag) was EF50 1.8. I still had to crank ISO to 4000 and fix the noise in post processing but managed to get some decent shots.

Btw, it was too dark for auto focusing to work so I ended up manual focusing all evening - not much fun on a 50 1.8!

 :)
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Ellen Schmidtee

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2012, 11:46:58 AM »
My brother plays for several bands, and I've shot two of those several times in low light conditions (= on stage with whatever lighting those places have) with 5Dmk2 & 600D. Usually, I stand right at the stage, as the flat floors would cause the crowd to block my view of the band.

I get a lot of positive feedback for photos with diagonal fisheye lenses
  • of the whole band playing, the band members bowing to the crowd at the end of the show, etc. Point being - capturing the spirit of the show by pulling in a wide shot with a lot of action.


I find it harder to compose with rectilinear ultra wide lenses, especially as both bands have women.

I've got good results with EF 85mm f/1.8 & 135mm f/2 L, usually of those who sing - the others are usually, though far from always, too concenrated in playing to make interesting facial expression.



* EF 15mm f/2.8 on the 5Dmk2 & Samyang 10mm on the 600D

BXL

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2012, 07:43:43 AM »
I also vote for the 135L F2.0.
On APS-C that's 216mm... way to long imo. Even on FF the 85mm f/1.8 is mostly sufficient for portrait shots. On APS-C, 50mm is the maximum, especially in small music clubs with poor lightning.
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Bob Howland

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2012, 11:54:22 AM »
I also vote for the 135L F2.0.
On APS-C that's 216mm... way to long imo. Even on FF the 85mm f/1.8 is mostly sufficient for portrait shots. On APS-C, 50mm is the maximum, especially in small music clubs with poor lightning.

I agree. When I shot bands with a 5D, I used high speed primes from 24 to 135mm. The 135 was used exclusively for half-length portraits with the heads of the crowds visible but blurry and not identifiable. When I could sit at the band's feet and shoot up, 24, 35 and 50mm lenses were optimum.

With a 5D3, I would use f/2.8 zooms plus a 300 f/2.8 for head and shoulder shots taken from the back of the room. Actually something like the old Olympus 250 f/2 with a 1.4x TC would be perfect for the long shots.

SteenerMe

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2012, 12:56:42 PM »
When i shoot bands anything 2.8 or faster wks great. Ive had great sucess shooting in ai servo, back button focusing and just lock on to your subject and try to anticipate the "moment" and then fire off a few shots at a time. Even at slower shutter speeds around 1/100 i get a great amount of keepers and can use a lower iso. I hate noisey pictures so id rather overshoot to guarantee keepers. I use a 2.8 wide angle lens and a 2.8 tele and can get pretty much all the shots i need without havung to lug a ton of gear around. Good luck!
5DIII, 7D, 8-15L, 16-35L II, 24-70L II, 70-200 2.8 IS II, 50L, 100L

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2012, 12:56:42 PM »

Daniel Flather

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2012, 03:55:07 PM »
85/1.8 if you have the room, the 50/1.4 wide open blows vs. the 85.  I'll vote another +1 for the fisheye suggestion, but buying that lens for a one time use is a little wasteful.
| 5D3 | 8-15L | 24L II | 35L | 50L | 85L II | 100/2.8 | 200/2L | EOS M | 22 STM |

Chris Burch

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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2012, 06:28:51 PM »
I've done a lot of stage performance photography and my 70-200 f/2.8 is almost always the lens I use.  That's generally because I am not right on top of the performers and need some reach to get closer shots.  If it's an actual stage with anything reasonable for lighting, you probably won't have to go below 2.8.  Your 5D2 will shoot up to 1600iso without any problems and you can go up to 3200 if you need to.  Prime lenses will give you a larger aperture if you need it, but you never know where you'll have to stand at a musical performance, so the flexibility of zoom is important.   That said, I would go for mid-range zoom (24-70 or 24-105) and the 70-200. 

If you're in a small venue with poor lighting or no real stage lighting at all, you're going to need a fast lens.  The 85 1.8 is a great choice and fairly affordable.  Otherwise I would go for fast zooms to give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Here is my album of performance photos if you want some reference.  All but the newest few were shot with a 5D2 -- the first 10 are 5D3 shots.

http://chrisburch.com/Portfolio/Performance
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Re: What Lens to use/get for shooting bands, mini performances...
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2012, 06:28:51 PM »