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-   -   Best DSLR for Concert Photography? (

Clazy Daze Mar 19, 2006 12:55 AM

i have decided to upgrade from my Panasonic 12X zoom digital to a DSLR. i have been leaning towards purchasing the Minolta Maxxum 5D, but the latest news regarding Minolta's closing has me a little bit leery about going in that direction.
i need a camera that can handle low-light and fast action situations as well as handling a long zoom as i cannot always get the best concert seats, tho i usually can get within the first 15 rows... and luckily most of the concerts i have gone to, and plan to go to, have no camera restrictions except for no video or flash...
As far as budget restraints go, i would like to keep it around or under $1000 for the body...the telephoto lens i would like to keep under $500, if possible...i can always work a few extra days for a good lens! ;)
Any suggestions would be of immense help! Thanks!!!

me2 Mar 19, 2006 10:50 AM

I can't imagine that your flash is going to be very effective from the 12th row, so you will have to rely on fast lenses and good ISO performance to get good shots. Your subjects also probably aren't standing still, so you will need a fast shutter.

I recommend a D50 for its exceptional low light performance. It has low noise at high ISOs. It is also very affordable. Body only for $450.

For a lens, you are going to need some magnification and speed. I recommend a Nikon 80-200 f/2.8, with or wtihout VR, depending on your budget. The older, non VR 80-200s can be had for $500. To capture a moving subject, you'll be shooting at 1/60 or faster, so VR isn't a huge deal anymore.

The best low light lens, if you can live with a prime, would be the 85 f/1.8. Very sharp. Very fast. Affordable. But it isn't a zoom lens. If you can frame your shots properly from your seat with it, it would be great. If not, you'll need a zoom.

If you want some examples of actions shots taken in the dark, check these out. He is taking pictures of soccer players at night. He is using a D50 with the 85 f/1.8. Look at his other posts for more examples. I think it is outstanding to be able to take pictures at all under those circumstances, let alone good looking pictures.

mtclimber Mar 19, 2006 12:14 PM

However, Clazy Daze in the OP spoke of considering the KM 5D which would give a max ISO setting of 3200, instead of the max ISO setting on the Nikon D-50 which is ISO 1600. I would think that the max ISO differences could make a measurable difference.


me2 Mar 19, 2006 12:37 PM

Looking at the reviews, I don't think the KM 5D would be usable at ISO3200. It isn't only the amount of noise you have to consider, it is also how it appears (blotchy color or fine gain film like) and what the retained contrast is due to the noise reduction system at high ISOs. As far as I can tell the best cameras in this regard are the Rebel XT and the D50.

According to the 5D images are "usable to ISO 800", whereas other cameras are up at ISO 1600 at 13x19.

On the other hand the KM 5D has stabilization which will help, but I'd take a clean image camera over image stabilization. Disclaimer: I bought a D50.

mtclimber Mar 19, 2006 1:49 PM

Just for the record, I am a professional and a digital camera instructor for two major state universities. I am pretty picky about cameras and lens. I have seen some really great photos from the KM 5D at ISO 3200. I own a KM 5D, as well as the Canon 20D, Canon XT, Pentax DS, Nikon D-50 and D-70, and the E-500, so I have a pretty good selection to work from and lots of experience with them.

My experience says other wise, in a concert situation I grab my Pentax DS or the KM 5D because of their higher ISO settings, not my Nikon D-50.


Clazy Daze Mar 19, 2006 1:56 PM

Thanks for the responses me2, mtclimber! Well, the price of the D50 is sure within my budget, and those soccer shots are Amazing!! Using a prime shouldn't be a problem...but i do like the idea of the stabilized KM 5D, which being in a concert setting may have some advantages as well as the higher ISO...Looks like i have some hands-on researching to do, but you have been a real help! Thanks!

me2 Mar 19, 2006 3:35 PM

5D comments.

"Good print quality, good color, good-looking prints to 11x14 inches, and 13x19s are entirely suitable for wall display. ISO 1600 images are rough at 8x10, good at 5x7. ISO 3200 images are only acceptable at 4x6.
ISO 1600 shots looked rough at 8x10, but would probably be OK hanging on a wall where they wouldn't be scrutinized too closely. At 5x7, the ISO 1600 shots looked pretty decent, and just fine at 4x6. At ISO 3200 though, things fell apart a bit, really only looking acceptable at 4x6 inches, and even there, color and saturation suffered. "

D50 Comments

"Exceptionally good high ISO performance, excellent-looking 8x10 inch prints at ISO 1600, even 13x19 inches is feasible at that ISO.
The Nikon D50 really shines at high ISOs though: I was very surprised by how good its ISO 1600 images looked when printed at 8x10 inches, and even 13x19 prints from ISO 1600 shots would be quite acceptable for display on a wall. (That is, at 13x19, noise is clearly visible when you examine the prints from a close distance, but if you're looking at them at arm's length (as is commonly the case with prints that size), the noise is slight or even invisible, depending on how sharp your eyes are.)"

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