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Old Dec 7, 2008, 7:36 PM   #11
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cristovao12 wrote:
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Excellent info, thanks guys!

With all that in mind, what are your thoughts on the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 and Zuiko Digital 18-54mm f2.8-3.5 for low light, concert shooting? I've read a number of posts that Sigma lenses can be problematic and I might get my hands on a Zuiko for a pretty good deal.
Of the two, I would choose the 14-54mm ZD lens. Simply because I have one. And I too, have read mixed reviews about the QC of Sigma lenses.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I haven't tried shooting in a very low light situation such as a concert so I can't tell you exactly how it will be perform. A lot will depend on the stage lighting, ambient lighting as well as how animated the band members become-how much movement there is on stage. I think you'll be shooting at high ISO 400, 800 or 1600. to get the shutter speed such that you can freeze some movement.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"You mentioned you may have access to a good deal on a 14-54mm ZD lens. You might want to strike a deal to be able to borrow it so that you can try it out. Failing that, another possibility is renting one for a short term. I believe there is a lens rental outfit by the name of www.prophotorental.comthat rents out Olympus lenses. That might be an alternative that will allow you to determine wether it would fit your needs.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Zig

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Old Dec 8, 2008, 7:48 AM   #12
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cristovao12 wrote:
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Of course, as soon as I post I see Sigma carries a 50mm f1.4. Anyone have any experience with this lens? I'm trying to budget for a larger aperture lens for concert shooting and was about to spring for the 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 Zuiko lens.
I think the simple and inexpensive answer is to get a good, older manual focus lens, along with a lens mount adapter.

For example you can get an Olympus Zuiko Auto-S 50mm F1.8 for around $10-$20 on ebay, plus an OM mount to 4/3 adapter with a focus confirm chip. The lens has superb contrast, and great sharpness in the center. I've heard the Zuiko F1.4 is also very good, but I don't have one of those (yet!!!).

Another very good one is the Konica Hexanon 50mm F1.7 (it requires a bit of conversion, but the mount will fit a 4/3 mount!!)

And then there are the Minolta MC & MD Rokkor 50mm F1.4

You just have to be unafraid to manually focus!!!!!!
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Old Dec 8, 2008, 1:44 PM   #13
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I use the Sigma F 1.4 30mm lens for stage photography and I have found it to be well suited to the task. However, because I need some depth of field, I do use at least an ISO setting of 800 which, with good stage lighting, needs roughly a F 2.8 aperture.

If you do not own a fast lens now, the Panasonic LX-3 idea might be good, as I believe that the price on that camera will fall after the first of the year. The other option of using a Zukio F 2.8 14-54mm lens is also a good one.

However, you have to have a camera body capable of using higher ISO settings without seriously degrading the image. I own a E-500 and in my opinion, it is NOT a good camera body for using ISO settings of 800 and higher. You might want to consider a newer body like the E-520 or E-3 that can handle the ISO settings needed for rock concert photography.

That is why the LX-3 option might be more inexpensive, if it does well at high ISO settings. I have not shot with the LX-3. With good stage lighting I have successfully used a Sony H-50 and a Panasonic FZ-28 in a pinch and got them to work rather nicely. I will attach aFZ-28 (now selling for $239 at B&H)photo for your reference.

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Old Dec 8, 2008, 4:43 PM   #14
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I'm not sure what other people class as acceptable for anything more than 'snap' shooting but the LX-3 at 400+ for me would not be usable. It has the same problem that Pana is working with a lot at the moment which is the high noise/bad noise reduction..... I have a TZ-5 when I don't want to carry one of my 3 dSLRs with me and a bag of lenses so I have no issue with P&S cameras but they all have their place. Someone suggested you had an E-500 and although it is not the greatest at high ISO it is still stronger than the LX-3 is at ISO 400.

I shoot with prime lenses at f1.8 or f2 when the conditions don't allow me to shoot with my f2.8 zooms. Yes we are talking narrow field of view, but not too bad with a 4/3 sensor compared to a full frame body.

If you know what you will be shooting and the distance you are likely to be away (likely you have shot this many times before), check out what focal lengths you are mainly using and get the lens that best fits. Shooting prime is a different way of doing things, but you can get some lovely results and IMHO is a really good learning tool.

Oh, in answer to the first part about if a company doesn't have a lens at the f1 range it is not worth using, who cares (that is what I would have asked him)!!! Can I get the photos I want with the tool I'm using? 99% of the time (if not more) my primes don't leave my bag for the sort of work I do, and I don't have anything at f1.4 or wider. People get snobby about their cameras and the kit they have or can have from the brand they use..... however what they forget is that apart from certain limiting factors it is the squidgy organic part behind the camera that is doing a lot of the work. Put a top camera/lens combo in the hands of a moron and you will get bad pictures, put a mediocre camera/lens in the hands of a talented photog and see what you get. Low light, sports, macro etc are driven by lens/body ability so you need the right kit for the job, but don't let these people make you think you can't get a good photo from a camera as a certain lens or something is not made.

OK, getting off of my soap box.

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Old Dec 8, 2008, 5:07 PM   #15
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Thanks again guys!

I suppose I forgot to mention the most crucial aspect, the body! I upgraded from an E500 to an E510 over the summer so that's what I'm using now.

The concerts I shoot don't always have good lighting (well, actually...most of the time the lighting is not optimal) and I don't have any fast lenses. Just the kit 14-45mm f3.5, 18-180mm f3.5 and 8mm fisheye f3.5.

I'm just really torn on whether or not I should spring for the 14-54mm f2.8 because I can get it for more than $100 off or if I should save up and save for a faster lens, at the very least an f2.0, whether it be the Sigma or a really expensive Zuiko...

Thoughts?
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Old Dec 8, 2008, 5:10 PM   #16
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I happen to agree with you completely, Mark. Due to the fact that the OP seems to using a Olylpus E-500, I was attempting to give him an economical solution with my suggestion of the Panasonic FZ-28. That just might be enough IQ for him.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 8, 2008, 5:29 PM   #17
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cristovao12 wrote:
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Thanks again guys!

I suppose I forgot to mention the most crucial aspect, the body! I upgraded from an E500 to an E510 over the summer so that's what I'm using now.

The concerts I shoot don't always have good lighting (well, actually...most of the time the lighting is not optimal) and I don't have any fast lenses. Just the kit 14-45mm f3.5, 18-180mm f3.5 and 8mm fisheye f3.5.

I'm just really torn on whether or not I should spring for the 14-54mm f2.8 because I can get it for more than $100 off or if I should save up and save for a faster lens, at the very least an f2.0, whether it be the Sigma or a really expensive Zuiko...

Thoughts?
As mentioned in my post above, you should try an old Olympus Zuiko Auto-S 50mm F1.8 manual focus lens!!! It will cost you probably $50 for the whole lens/adapter combo, so you get a fast lens for not much money. The E510 is well suited to manual focus lenses, because you can use the 7x magnifier in liveview to help you focus, if you don't want to use the focus confirm chip on the adapter.

I've shot concerts in low light with an oldMinolta MC Rokkor 50mm F1.4 lens & adapter on my E510, with very good results!!

Try it!!! I think you could be pleasantly surprised!!!!
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Old Dec 8, 2008, 8:54 PM   #18
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I actually have an OM lens and mount. I did give it a try but didn't fare too well (images were white-washed). We just got a dump of snow so maybe I'll try a snow shot at night to see what I can manage. What settings to you suggest?
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Old Dec 8, 2008, 9:32 PM   #19
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A suggestion, the internet is a wonderful thing as we all know, you may want to google: "rockconcert photography tutorials"

to see what others are doing to overcome lowlight issues in this invironment.

Here's just one that I found;

http://www.cheapshooter.com/2007/09/...inners-primer/



I think this 2nd one is a lot more informative:

http://photo.net/learn/concerts/mirarchi/concer_2
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Old Dec 8, 2008, 10:07 PM   #20
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Ithink that Zig raises a very valid issue-

Just as there is with any photos, to get the really good photos you have to have mastered the photo technique. And all stage photography, including rock concert photography really requires a learned photo taking technique.

It would certainly help if you could share with us some of the photo techniques that you are currently using. No I am not attempting to put you on the spot, at all. Rather, I am a professional digital camera instructor who has done stage photography for the last 10 years. So if you are willing to talk a bit, perhaps I can help you.

However, the choice is entirely up to you. If you don't want any help, that is OK too. So I will begin with another stage photo sample. It is only fair that you see my credentials too. Here is a Sigma 30mm F 1.4 photo taken using a Nikon D-50.

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