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Old Sep 12, 2013, 09:08 AM   #1
Artful Dodger
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Concert/Event Lens Inquire

This past sumer I have been very fortunate to photograph a good amount of bands and most have been in good lighting conditions, mostly outdoors at festivals and so on.

Those of you who participate in concert and event photography what lenses do you find to be an absolute must and why?

My one lens (between two versions of them) I have been thinking about is the newer Nikon 70-200 f/4 over the f/2.8. Why? Well the cost first and so far great feedback from users. Though I must admit most people use this during the day and not under "stage lighting only" so if anyone out there uses this lens in the above situations please give some feedback as this will help tremendously. The second part for getting the f/4 over the f/2.8 allots some cash but more so a two for one deal to also purchase the Nikon 85mm. So while it maybe dollar sense, I'm looking for the real world input here…So far I haven't had to take my photos from a soundboard or balcony situation yet but that's coming up in October. I will have the advantage of taking test photos from the facility before hand so that would help narrow down the needs and wants area to some degree.

I can say I traded in my old Nikon "nifty fifty" because to be honest, it sucked. Was there something wrong with it, maybe and I let the shop know before trading it in. I now have the new Nikon 50mm and that lens is a dream to use and worth every penny. I used it 90% for the Monster Energy Mayhem Fest this year alone and it was everything people raved about having a 50mm so if your on the fence, rent one or test it out at the local shop like I did and get it

I also really like the Nikon 35mm for up close and personal photos or interviews backstage, great for both photos and video fwiw. Awesome in low light, I can't really say anymore than that.

I also rented the 80-200mm but for my needs the VR is really nice so I have decided not to go with that lens fwiw. I know many feel it's a great lens and it was, it's just not for me and I appreciate the nod to that one

Other lenses that people find helpful but not thought about would be interesting to hear about, example would be I've read where people have used their 100mm macro lens because of the f-stop and it was the desired focal length.

Feel free to also post some photos if you want and thanks for the feedback.
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Old Sep 12, 2013, 11:32 AM   #2
Cheese&Apple
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Under normal circumstances I would say go for the 70-200 f/4.0. From all reports, it sounds like a great lens.

In your case, if you think you may be shooting indoors, I think you'll regret not having that extra full stop of light.

I have the 70-200 f/2.8, it's great and I've used it for concerts. The shot below was at f/2.8, 1/30s at 180mm - handheld. I wouldn't have been able to get the shot handheld at f/4.0.

In a concert situation, you may also come to appreciate the pro build quality of the 2.8…it's built like a tank. So, it all comes down to budget and need. Absolutely stay within your budget but if you can…



...Peter
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Old Sep 12, 2013, 11:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback Cheese&Apple.

I had also considered the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 as a good in-between though I was told this lens isn't weather sealed like the Nikkor lenses are so that somewhat makes me take a step back for a long term use lens though that might just be me.

Yeah I'm just trying to get the most out of the budget. I have enough for the f/2.8 and the idea of two Nikon lenses for the same cost is mentally appealing but real world is different

All summer everything here around Buffalo/Lewiston was outside and great to shoot even with my 16-85 which is f/3.5-5.6. Now fall and winter will be game changers so I have had to rethink my options.
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Old Sep 12, 2013, 12:22 PM   #4
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I forgot to mention (in case it helps)...

Retail list for the f/2.8 is $2,400. I picked-up mine earlier this year on sale at Henry's for $2,000 Cdn.

This made my decision between the 2.8 and the 4.0 (that had just been released) a bit easier. Still a tough call to make but I have no regrets.

...Peter
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Old Sep 12, 2013, 01:53 PM   #5
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Nothing wrong with the new Sigma 50-150. I wouldn't worry about weather sealing unless you are really getting drenched by rain showers. If that's the case get a plastic bag for the whole camera and lens.

Also, consider the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM ($1,300) or Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD ($1,499). And finally look for a used Nikon 70-200 VR1 (not the VR2)
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Old Sep 12, 2013, 04:39 PM   #6
Laird Knox
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What is the advantage you are looking for in purchasing the 85mm and the 70-200mm together?
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Old Sep 12, 2013, 05:25 PM   #7
Mike in Kansas
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What kind of camera are you shooting? Unless you can shoot ISO3200 routinely with little noise, I don't think an f/4.0 is practical for indoor events. Even then, it's nice to have even a little more range, particularly if you are trying to freeze action.

Faced with the choice of a new 70-200 f/4 or a used 70-200 or 80-200 f/2.8, I'd take the f/2.8 for indoor concert shots.

Some of the 3rd party lenses out there are getting pretty good with their 70-200 f/2.8's. I have used a few Sigma's over the years and have been very happy with their build quality and performance.
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Old Sep 13, 2013, 10:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laird Knox View Post
What is the advantage you are looking for in purchasing the 85mm and the 70-200mm together?
I like using primes for certain shots with a bit of a lower f-stop, it helped when shooting Rob Zombie though I didn't have the length I wanted with my 50mm I still had a very good crop getting the drummer which for me is important. I usually send off the photos to the guys/gals and having the 85 for a few songs to get a bit more room would be nice. So far with luck I haven't had to shoot from a soundboard or a balcony but a few venues this winter I might have to yet they are much smaller than say a hockey arena for size comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike in Kansas View Post
What kind of camera are you shooting? Unless you can shoot ISO3200 routinely with little noise, I don't think an f/4.0 is practical for indoor events. Even then, it's nice to have even a little more range, particularly if you are trying to freeze action.

Faced with the choice of a new 70-200 f/4 or a used 70-200 or 80-200 f/2.8, I'd take the f/2.8 for indoor concert shots.

Some of the 3rd party lenses out there are getting pretty good with their 70-200 f/2.8's. I have used a few Sigma's over the years and have been very happy with their build quality and performance.
I'm using a D7000, most of my photos I used ISO 1000 or 1250 and my shutter was about 640-800 to freeze their hair and hands. No problem with clean images as far as noise was concerned.

My only thing was for outdoor stuff with say the Sigma was dust getting in but I have no problem using a 3rd party lens. I used a Sigma f/2.8 70-200 for an Air Show on my D90 and it worked great but that was a borrowed lens.

I'm also thinking past the concert venue stuff, I get asked to photo hockey games and if most don't know I spend time in the corners (parents only want action now a days), right by the glass or only a bit up. Not much disk in a hockey rink so that is the least of my worries.

I talked to the local shop yesterday after posting this and the Sigmas have an instant rebate going on so $1200 for the 70-200 f/2.8. I might give that one a go and see how I like it for the price and photos (no Air Show this time).
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Old Sep 13, 2013, 01:34 PM   #9
Laird Knox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artful Dodger View Post
I like using primes for certain shots with a bit of a lower f-stop, it helped when shooting Rob Zombie though I didn't have the length I wanted with my 50mm I still had a very good crop getting the drummer which for me is important. I usually send off the photos to the guys/gals and having the 85 for a few songs to get a bit more room would be nice. So far with luck I haven't had to shoot from a soundboard or a balcony but a few venues this winter I might have to yet they are much smaller than say a hockey arena for size comparison.
Well that's kinda my point. Buying the 70-200 f4 for the range and the 85 f2.8 for the aperture seems misplaced. Why not buy the 70-200 f2.8 for the same cost and have it all in one lens?

The only Sigma I have shot is the 120-300 f2.8 and it is a fantastic lens. I'll probably pick up a pair of their 24mm f1.4 lenses when they become available. (Assuming good reviews. )
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Old Sep 13, 2013, 03:13 PM   #10
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Yes I see your point clearly I also left out the weight and size difference and other type of photos but it's really moot in the grand scheme of things.

I did do a bunch more research today and yeah that 120-300 Sigma is sweet but back to the 70-200 range, Tamron has been getting great reviews in this focal range as well plus double the warranty at 6 years. I think this is a great time to look at all of these as there are good rebates on all the 3rd party lenses until the end of September.

Thanks for the advise, very helpful to all
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