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Old Oct 24, 2007, 3:31 PM   #31
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Thanks for the advice Jim.

I'm going to see Alice Cooper at a big indoor arena, so lighting should be pretty good as concerts go, but distance will be the enemy! I'm going to be in the seats as I was slow off the mark getting a ticket, so I may get some reasonable shots of the stage as a whole from up high, but I'm not going to get real close ups as your photo's are. Nice pics for a $80 lens.
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Old Oct 24, 2007, 3:45 PM   #32
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Yes, it's really pretty good stopped down a bit from wide open on the wide end. Even wide open, I can't complain about center sharpness too much.

In harsher daylight lighting, it tends to lose a bit of contrast from flare. But, it's fine for indoors.

You may want to make sure you can actually get a dSLR into an Alice Cooper Concert. They tend to be a pit picky over that kind of thing. ;-)

With a camera capable of ISO 1600, you can probably get away with an f/5.6 zoom if you have to. I'd shoot manual exposure and tweak it so that most photos are properly exposed. You can't get them all in that kind of rapidly changing lighting with spotlights overhead moving to different performers and more. ;-)

So, expect a lower percentage of keepers trying to use a dimmer zoom from further way compared to a brighter zoom.

With a D40 or D40x, you'll be more limited as the the lenses you can use. I'd go with a D80 in the Nikon lineup (so that you can use lenses without a focus motor built in) and get a used non-D version of the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AF Zoom lens from http://www.keh.com for that purpose if choosing a Nikon dSLR. keh.com usuallly has them for around $400 or so without the hood in the non-D versions (which just means the flash won't take the focus distance into consideration and you're probably not using a flash anyway with this type of lens).

In a Canon, if I were on a tight budget for a zoom to use a well lit concerts at larger venues (or even if I had plenty of money if I didn't need anything brighter), I'd probably go with a Canon 70-210mm f/4L Autofocus Lens for an Alice Cooper Concert. It's an extremely sharp lens wide open from virtually all accounts. Then, get as close as you can.

It should be fine at ISO 800 or 1600 at wide open at f/4 in well lit larger venue with brighter spotlights on the performers.

I'd check to see if you can actually get a dSLR into the concert unless you have a relationship with the promoter and/or band.

At smaller venues, you'll need to go with a prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens) to get fast enough shutter speeds if you want a higher percentage of keepers.


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Old Oct 24, 2007, 4:27 PM   #33
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For my purposes it's almost a toss of a coin over which brand that I go with. I think I'll end up buying the Canon for a couple of reasons:

The D80 is out of my current budget (well if I want an extra lens it is)
The situation with Nikon Lenses some being AF compatible and others not is just a disaster waiting to happen when I come to part with my cash.

I'll continue to do my homework on the basis that I may yet buy the Nikon, as many have said about the importance of which camera feels right.

I know that I maybe on questionable ground with the camera at a big concert. I'll see how tight security looks when I get there as to whether I bother or not. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old Oct 24, 2007, 4:46 PM   #34
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You may also want to consider the Sony DSLR-A100

It's $699 including an 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 Kit lens at popular vendors right now. That's a real bargain for the features you get in a camera with this kind of price. The only "niggle" with it some shooters may have is that noise is higher at it's highest ISO speeds compared to it's competition.

You could buy a used Minolta 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5 or 70-210mm f/4 Autofocus Lens for larger venues and shoot at ISO 800 (which is really ISO 1000 on this Sony model, since it's more sensitive than it's settings for ISO speed) and get some keepers. I'd probably try not to use ISO 1600 (which is really closer to ISO 2000 with this Sony model) except for smaller print sizes.

http://www.keh.com has these lenses in stock used for less than you'll find dimmer f/3.5-5.6 type zoom lenses for new.

They have 7 pages of Minolta Autofocus Lenses listed now. Click "View All" to see all of them on the same page instead. The 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5 Autofocus Lens starts out at $84 in Bargain Condition right now, with the 70-210mm f/4 (a larger and heavier lens) starting out at around $133.

See the listings for Minolta Autofocus Zoom Listings here (and they all work on Sony dSLR models, too):

Minolta Autofocus Zoom Lenses at keh.com

Note that they have separate categories for Minolta Autofocus Prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) lenses, as well as third party (Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc.) prime and zoom lenses here:

Minolta Autofocus Categories at keh.com

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Old Oct 24, 2007, 5:03 PM   #35
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I had considered the Sony that you mention and ruled it out mainly after reading about noise at higher ISO values, and it being slower than certainly the Nikons. These may be more minor issues than I've assumed that they are. Some of the reviews do make mountains out of molehills when it comes to where on camera is worse than another, but I guess the truth is that in a given price band, the big name camera's are separated by small margins.

I didn't want to be extending my list of possibles any, but I will give the Sony another look as the SteadyCam function in particular did appeal to me.
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Old Oct 24, 2007, 5:09 PM   #36
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In very low light, the Sony DSLR-A100 focuses better than most entry level dSLR models from tests I've seen (although the XTi probably has it in low lgiht now, since Canon upgraded the AF system from the XT to the XTi). The Sony Alpha 100 has a very sensitive 9 point Aufofocus System. Here's how it's laid out:




P.S. But, it would have a higher noise at it's highest ISO speed setting (ISO 1600) compared to the other models you're looking at, if you were shooting in lower light venues. So, I would take that into consideration, depending on the conditions you will use one in more often.

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Old Oct 25, 2007, 1:48 PM   #37
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Right now I'm looking on Amazon and I think it's going to be the Canon. There's so little to choose between them all that it comes down what is most readily available.

There's a selection of extra lenses to choose from, do you know if there's any to avoid from my list below or any that are particularly good (given the price) or worse still any that aren't compatible...

Sigma AF 70-300mm f4-5.6 DG Macro Canon Fit Lens at 106 UKP (UK pounds)[/b]

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III DC Lens at 119 UKP

[/b]Sigma AF 70-300mm f4-5.6 DG APO Macro Canon Fit Lens at 134 UKP

[/b]Canon EF 75-300 III F4-5.6 USM Lens at 165 UKP[/b]

[/b]All are in budget, although the Canon USM Lens does nibble away at the accessories budget! Thanks again for all of the advice,

Matt.
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Old Oct 25, 2007, 2:08 PM   #38
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I'd try to find something brighter in a 70-200mm type lens and get better seats if you can.

Those zooms are all down to f/5.6 on their long ends. I'd probably lean towards something like a Canon 70-200mm f/4L for a well lit larger venue (and I'd go used to get the extra stop if budget didn't permit new).

Then, use a 1.4x TC on it if you need something longer. That way, you'd have another stop to work with in lower light (f/4 is twice as bright as f/5.6) and it's also one of the sharpest zooms you'll find in it's focal range. At f/4, you'll get shutter speeds twice as fast for the same ISO speed and lighting as a typical zoom with f/5.6 on it's long end by the time you zoom in a lot with one.

Then, you'd have f/4 at 70-200mm if you needed it. You could get a 1.4x TC (Teleconverter) later if desired and you'd have the equivalent of a 98-280mm f/5.6 Zoom (you lose a stop of light with a 1.4x TC). With that lens, I probably wouldn't worry too about optical degradation from a good TC. It's a very sharp zoom.

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Old Oct 25, 2007, 2:49 PM   #39
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But, then again, you probably can't get one into an Alice Cooper Concert anyway, unless you know someone. ;-)

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Old Oct 25, 2007, 3:07 PM   #40
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...which sadly I don't!

Sadly the lenses that you describe won't just rule out accessories, they'll mean I've got a fantastic lens, but no camera to attach it to! I think I'll forget about the concert photography for now and stick to outdoors stuff instead.
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