I am one of these people that attends every single concert within a 100 mile radius. Most people go there to socialize or listen to music, I, on the other hand go there to test my cameras. I’ve tested more than 30 different models there, and i can comfortably say that the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is definitely the best performer.
You might think that not a lot of people search for cameras for concerts, but even I was surprised to see. Whether you are an avid concert and festival follower, or photographer that has landed a gig of the local concert hall, or an up and coming journalist, you will need a camera that delivers performance and qualities that will fit the needs for a concert.
For that reason today we will check the best cameras for concerts, which makes them good choices, how to choose one and much more. I have written this article based on set criteria, market research, and expert consultation. I think that if you follow the tips that I will talk about bellow you will get the best camera for your needs now and in the future. Now without further ado, let’s get into it.
Best For Low-Light
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III|
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Best For Beginners
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|Sony Alpha 7 II|
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Best Budget Option
|Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III|
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The Top 5 Best Cameras For Concert Photography
5. Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III
We are going to start this list off with a point-and-shoot compact model coming in from Canon, the PowerShot G7 X Mark III. This camera has been one fo the most prominent cameras with vloggers and videographers, and it can take some great photographs without much of a hassle.
This camera is packed with a 20MP 1-inch Stacked CMOS sensor that has a lens of the 24-100mm equivalent with an F1.8-2.8 which is pretty good at taking beautiful photographs. This camera has an ISO range that spans from 125 to 12,800 with an expansion setting up to 25,600.
It has a nice autofocus performance that is rather responsive and is perfect for high-speed shooting as this camera is capable fo shooting 30 frames per second with fixed focus and 20 frames per second in the RAW format, exceptional overall.
4. Sony Alpha a7II
As the next entry on this list, I want to present the Sony Alpha a7II, which has been one of the most notable cameras in the market in the last few years. It is one of the best mirrorless models in the market so far and it has all the needed features to make it a great model for concert photography.
The Sony Alpha a7II is packed with a 24.3MP Full-Frame CMOS sensor that when combined with the Bionz X image processor it delivers perfect results. It has an ISO range that spans from 100 to 25,600 and it does so without much noise when you go to higher sensitivity settings.
The autofocus system of this camera is one of the best though, as it is a hybrid system with 117 phase-detect points and 25 contrast-detect points to make it super-sensitive and fast in all scenarios. It can shoot 5 frames per second in burst shooting mode, and if it was a little cheaper it would be the very best without a doubt.
3. Fujifilm X-T10
Moving on with our list we have a model that is my favorite, the Fujifilm X-T10. This camera has been in the market for a long time now, but now it is one of the most underappreciated models since they deliver all the features you would need for a wide variety of photography, with amazing value for the price.
First, off I should mention that the Fujifilm X-T10 is packed with a 16MP X-Trans CMOS II APS-C sensor, which might look a little underwhelming but it delivers perfect photographs combined with the EXR Processor II. It also has an ISO range that spans from 200 to 6,400 natively that can be expanded up to 51,200, which is more than enough.
The Fujifilm X-T10 has a pretty powerful autofocus system that combines the advantages of 77 contrast-detect points with 15 phases detect points to deliver a superb sensitivity and speed. To conclude I would like to mention that this camera can shoot 8 frames per second in burst shooting mode with great focus and quality.
2. Nikon D500
Next up we have one of the fastest draws in the west, the Nikon D500. Establishing itself as one of the best models for its purpose. This camera can take some professional-level photographs without a doubt and it will be extremely handy for the concert photographer like yourself.
The Nikon D500 is packed with a 20.7MP DX-format APS-C sensor that takes some perfect photographs. Moving on this camera has an ISO range that spans from 100 to 51,200 natively and to 1,640,000 when extended with a perfect dynamic range and super low noise even in higher levels.
Coming up next I have to mention the 153 point autofocus system with 99 cross-type AF points that have superb coverage of the frame. It has the Multi-CAM 20K system which adds to the sensitivity. It can also shoot 10 frames per second in burst shooting mode up to 200 shots without any kind of compression.
1. Canon EOS 5D Mark III
On top of our list, we have one of the best full-frame DSLR models in the market, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This camera might have been already replaced by the Mark IV, however, it is still one of the best cameras in the market, in addition to that the value for its price is immense.
I should mention that this camera is packed with a 22.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor that is an excellent shooter. Moving on it has an ISO range that spans from ISO 100 to 102,800, well extended at least, and it does its job very well at keeping the noise at low.
The autofocus system of this camera is a bit complicated with 61 points of which 41 are cross-type AF points. It also has the Dual Pixel CMOS AF for a live view which will make things easier for concert photographers. To end this I would like to say that it can shoot 6 frames per second at burst shooting mode with perfect focus and great quality.
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Things To Consider Before Buying A Camera For Concert Photography
There are a lot of factors that play in at making a camera good for concerts. But then again most of these factors will depend on the photographer as well.
I can comfortably say that choosing whichever DSLR or mirrorless system for the last couple of years will deliver excellent results for concert photography. However, some are better than the rest and I want to inform you how to differentiate between them, so you will not spend your money on a lesser device. Let’s get going.
The most important thing you have to do before choosing a camera for concerts is to determine your set budget. Can you afford to go all out and buy the most advanced DSLR or mirrorless system that will deliver you perfect photographs in every scenario, or do you have a limited budget and can’t spend more than $400 or $500 for your first camera.
This will be the most important determinant when it comes to buying a camera since the most you spend in this market, the better the quality of the camera and more features that will help you get better photographs. However, don’t be discouraged, since with practice and determination you can take beautiful photographs even with the cheapest of the cameras. Still don’t just get the cheapest option available to analyze and choose the one that delivers the most value for its price.
If you stick within these tips and look for these features, whichever camera you will buy will deliver you excellent results.
The most important feature you need to have in your camera when you are buying it for shooting photographs in concerts is the ISO range. This doesn’t mean that a camera with the most extensive ISO range will be the best. For example, your camera might have an ISO range that spans from 100 to 128,000, but if at 1600 ISO the digital noise gets a little too much than you probably need to look elsewhere. For concert shooting, you need something that can go up to 2000 give or take, and can handle the noise rather well. If it can do that you are halfway there.
After the ISO range, you should check out the focus system of the camera in question since it will deliver the accuracy needed to shoot in such circumstances. It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect ISO range or the best sensor on the camera, the results will be sub-par if your camera can’t focus properly on the subject. So choose the camera with the best autofocus system that your money can afford. Don’t just choose the system that has the most focus points, but preferably ones that have cross-points or hybrid systems that combine the best of both worlds.
When it comes to shooting concerts and artists on the stage the more frames per second. The more frames per second you shoot the better the chances of capturing the perfect photograph. Besides that, you should check out how many frames per second can the camera shoot in the RAW format. To be safe choose a camera that can shoot above five frames per second, and up to 8 or 9, above that, it would be an overkill and pretty expensive.
Types Of Concert Cameras
There are some different options when it comes to cameras these days and you are not limited to one or the other option. There are more than we will mention here, but for our needs, concert photography will deliver the best performance.
DSLR cameras are the most popular option for concert photography and all the good and viable reasons. These cameras have been the best options mostly because they deliver great image and video quality, but they also have a wide range of lenses available for them, hence the interchangeable term that is used for these devices.
On top of that, you can find a good range of these cameras in the budget market, but these can also be extremely expensive if you go to the most advanced models. Then again these are extremely versatile and deliver excellent value for the price.
Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras
These cameras have not been the favorite of many photographers in the past, but in this decade they have started to become very prominent. They are pretty similar to DSLR cameras but with different internal builds, without the reflex mirror, which makes things a bit faster and deliver better autofocus. Then again they are a bit more expensive in terms of performance for the price aspect compared to DSLR models.
However, they come in smaller sizes and lightweight bodies, on top of that the level of quality is immense. However, most of these cameras have smaller lineups when it comes to available lenses, at least compared to DSLR models.
Point-and-Shoot (Compact Cameras)
If you are a concert-goer that wants to take pics around the venue, you should probably opt for these cameras. Most security guards won’t let you take in an SLR camera to the venue, however, these are easy to sneak in. On top of that, these cameras are pretty small and lightweight.
While not having the versatility of DSLR or mirrorless systems, some of these cameras can take some perfect photographs and videos. So you can get through with these if you aren’t a professional or just an enthusiast.
The best part is that they also don’t cost much, and you can find some great Point & Shoots for less than 300 dollars.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What cameras can I take to concerts?
Most of the time for regular concert-goers just point-and-shoot cameras are allowed. Unless you have special permission you can take a different type of camera. However, you can check with the venue, if it is allowed for you to bring a different camera. If there is no venue and the concert is held in a public space you can bring in your DSLR or mirrorless system.
How to take better photographs in concerts?
While I haven't had much experience of shooting concerts, unfortunately, I have consulted some experts and have a good idea of how to take the best photographs. First, off you should choose manual settings on your camera and set them yourself for the scene and lighting conditions. Shooting with Aperture Value is a good start, but then again adjust accordingly. The white balance should be set to auto since the lights change most of the time and it would not make sense to adjust it manually after every shot. But don't forget to focus on the aperture, shutter speed, and the ISO range. Selecting the best settings for your needs will result in better photographs overall. Before moving on I would also recommend you shoot in the RAW format, instead of JPEG.
There you have your guide on getting the best cameras for concerts. I think that now you are ready to get the best option when it comes to shooting amazing photographs in concerts. Sticking with the tips above you will not experience any hardships and will have a nice idea about what you should get. Don’t forget to check out the top pick, the fail-safe options that will deliver you excellent performance for concert photography.