Thursday, March 14, 2013

Which camera is better for concerts?

Compact Cameras:
If you don't have a pressing need for photos, my advice is to enjoy the concert instead of trying to taking photos or trying to shoot videos.
Shooting in a concert a tough battle for most people. Your enemies are too powerful LOL
* First, shooting in concert is always a challenge. Fast moving objects and flashy light.
* Most fixed lens cameras have tiny sensors which will fail to capture sufficient light to capture clear images.
* Many times we have seats far back so the camera will get even less light than someone in the front seats.
* Sometime we think a 36x optical zoom would be useful but if you zoom in, the shutter will be even slower and because of zoom, any small shake in your hand will be magnified.

So why not enjoy the concert and if needed, take a photo or two with your phone. However if you are determined to try and if there is good light, you may be in some luck. Here are some tips to get the best with your point and shoot compact camera.
* See if you can take along a tripod. If you are zooming in, a tripod can give you much needed stability for recording.
* It may sound tempting but try to avoid too much zooming in.
* Also try to shoot in 720p or lower instead of full HD like 1080p.
* Also if you can control fps, try to keep it as minimum as possible.
* Try to bring along a camera that has as big of a sensor as possible.
* A camera that has smaller F or f number will also work better than cameras with higher F/f numbers.
Good luck.


SLR cameras or Cameras with larger sensor:

Even most SLRs have tough time shooting in concerts. Said that there are few alternatives. If you can buy a Full Frame advanced Nikon or Canon camera that costs $2000 or more, and can buy some expensive lens, you will have better odds for good photos. Now with such big professional cameras, you are more likely to be stopped at the gate and told to leave the camera behind because most concerts don't allow shooting with professional gear.
Now here is a one cheap alternative that I have recently started using.
* I am going to recommend you a camera provided you like its style. However the style is not that bad and as such it can work to your advantage. Most concerts don't allow Professional cameras but this 'weird looking' camera can often be looked on as some toy or some old camera. It will have better odds of being allowed in. (There is another benefit with its boxy style. When I have T3i in my hand, my subjects become too serious seeing an SLR but with my boxy camera, I am able to take more candid shots.)
* I am talking about Pentax K-01. I have not seen any sub-$1000 camera do as good job in low light or with ISO as high as 3200 as Pentax K-01. It is currently selling for only $360 on Amazon. This camera used to be around $900 but Pentax's gamble with styling backfired and now they are clearing them out. This is a monster when it comes to image quality and low light shooting.
http://www.amazon.com/s/?tag=bookrevi02-…
* The kit lens on K-01 itself is worth $200.The other benefit is that with Pentax, you can easily use old cheap lenses like Super Takumar 135mm F2.5 which works awesome in concerts and games. It is a manual lens but unlike Nikon or Canon, Pentax K-01 offers AutoZoom with manual focus and Focus-peaking which comes pretty handy with manual focusing.
* On a cloudy day, I was shooting with K-01 and a 30 year old Super Takumar F1.4 lens and my friend was shooting with his Nikon, we compared photos from both cameras. Within a week, my friend bought K-01 and is now looking for Takumar lenses too. Here is a photo of her daughter with this $450 combo of Pentax and Takumar:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12298420@N0…

* For video taping, Pentax does a nice job too. 1080p. Search on YouTube for Takumar 50mm and you will see that many serious minded SLR owners buy Takumar to take professional grade videos.

I will post links to some videos I have taken with this combination.