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Taking photos at concerts - what kind of camera do you use?

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#1 Mika

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:48 PM

I love taking a few photos at concerts, to preserve the moment and come away from a show with snapshots of moments in time that are totally unique to me and my camera lens. Also, I like taking photos of Geddy.

So, my question is, for those that take photos at concerts, like with better quality cameras than cell phones, what do you use? I've seen some very decent photos taken by concert-goers, and they make me envious compared to what my li'l Canon elph with 4x zoom did for me at my last concert. Would anyone be so kind as to share what they've used and gotten good results with?

For my next concert, in Vancouver, I'm going to specially buy a new camera (mine is getting old now, anyway) that has a decent zoom (a compact with a 25x zoom seems good) so I can try to take some good photos. If anyone has any camera advice, and even advice on how to take good photos at concerts (a lot of mine had turned out rather blurry, what with having the flash turned off...), it would be greatly appreciated. I've tried googling "taking photos at concerts", but the information has been a bit random and too elite - don't think I can sneak in a DSLR!

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#2 hcm

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:06 PM

I used my galaxy s4 it did well considering I was 12th row.  Even captured some pyro

#3 Amy Farrah Fowler

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:11 PM

I have a Canon SX20 IS.  It also does HD video and does a mighty fine job of it.  It's probably the best camera type you can get in without it being a DSLR.  It also has no shutter lag, which most, if not all, pocket cameras have.

#4 HalfwayToGone

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:58 PM

I used a nikon point and shoot—the S9400.  Way better than a cell phone.  18mp and 18x optical zoom plus some digital zoom on top of that.  My advice aside from keeping the flash off is to refocus often if you're trying to get a certain shot.  When things are constantly moving in low light it's easy to get blurs.  I did a lot of partial pressing of the shutter to be sure the camera was focusing well before snapping off a shot.  It also helps to take a lot of shots.  Try a few different scene settings to find what works best—I took shots in portrait mode,  museum mode and indoor party mode, but I think the portrait setting seemed the best balanced for he crazy lighting.  Your mileage may vary though.  Also, it helps to brace your arms on something to minimize shaking of the camera—depending on where you are, you may need to just plant your elbows in your own ribs if you don't have a rail or seat armrests to steady yourself on.  It helps tremendously.

#5 EagleMoon

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:08 PM

Some of it depends on the venue as well. I've gotten shaky pictures from some places and not others due to the vibrations through the floor. I have a Canon A4000 that I have been using at concerts. It works well for pictures and videos but the only thing I don't like about it is that you can't zoom on the videos.

#6 Mika

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 12:40 AM

Thanks for the responses! I wish I knew more about cameras other than just pointing one at something and pressing a button to snap the photo. Well, I understand the world of macro, but things with the compact camera are quite automatic, so it's not so easy to manipulate the photo-taking to exactly what I'd like, such as focussing on Geddy instead of someone's head in front of me, say.

Well, I won't pressure myself to become a master photographer or anything, but I'd really like to get some good photos this time around, though I don't know how plausible it's going to be in the middle of the floor. I don't want to be that person who stands there with a camera over her head all night... though if I could wear a camera mounted on a hat, say, and have the click button cabled to a trigger or something... I could stand there and, as long as I stood still, get massive amounts of shots! Though knowing me, the camera would accidently be pointed at a guy's head in front of me, or at the ceiling, or some other position that would cause me to *just* miss Geddy! :lol:

#7 mk2112

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 02:06 AM

I'd suggest manual mode...shoot a few to see how they come out, then leave it set up with those settings, then lighting wise you should get a good balance.I've heard the Lumix range from Panasonic are good.

#8 greyfriar

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 02:21 AM

Not a pro here but I have a Coolpix L820. Works very well with the automatic settings. Captured some nice shots from Manchester.

#9 MMCXII

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 04:41 AM

I'd never take an expensive camera into a show. Too much could happen.. iPhone 5 can take pretty decent pics for a phone..

Edited by MMCXII, 26 June 2013 - 04:43 AM.


#10 geddysgal13

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 05:17 AM

I have he NIKON coolpix l820 as well. Im taking it to Michigan this weekend. Takes great pix and is small enough to fit in my purse unnoticed.

#11 HalfwayToGone

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 07:30 AM

The one I mentioned above is a higher end coolpix also, and it's smaller than my iPhone.  The iPhone 5 takes ok photos, but only if you're close.  Once you zoom in more than halfway, it becomes damn near impossible to avoid blurry crappy shots.  I used it at every show I've been to since getting it back in November (and I've been seeing tons of shows this year, so I've had plenty of experience with it).  I splurged for myself for a late Father's Day gift and got the Nikon  the day before Hershey.  With only one day, I was able to get at least a basic idea how to use it, and got some extreme close ups without much of an effort at the show.  Never could get anything nearly as zoomed to focus with the phone, but this thing takes great close ups.  

It also takes various quality HD video with stereo audio, although I didn't bother trying from front row with Michael Mosbach prowling back and forth in the photo pit.  During Neil's first solo I was snapping a bunch of photos and he reached right out and pushed my camera down.  I understand he has a job, but he could have just said "hey, enough photos for now" and I would have been happy to give the camera a rest.  I saw him do the same to another person near the center during the third drum solo.  It seemed like a rude way to handle it.  If he had said something first and then came back and did that after being ignored, it would be completely reasonable, but not right from jump.  He also made a point to go after every beach ball that came near the front, and stabbed them all with his pocket knife.  "You'll put yer eye out!" Is what I imagined him thinking.  He seemed like quite the killjoy.  There was pile of dead barely out of the package beach balls at stage right after the show.  Sad.  What a waste of perfectly good plastic.

#12 roodrood

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:17 PM

Seeker - did you take photos at the eighties shows you attneded, and if so, I am interested in seeing, buying, or trading shots with you if you are into that sort of thing. Send me a message is you are.

#13 hobo73

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:22 PM

View PostAmy Farrah Fowler, on 25 June 2013 - 04:11 PM, said:

I have a Canon SX20 IS.  It also does HD video and does a mighty fine job of it.  It's probably the best camera type you can get in without it being a DSLR.  It also has no shutter lag, which most, if not all, pocket cameras have.

I have many photographer friends who take photos at concerts, they all seem to mention the Canon SX20 IS.

But for my broke ass, my iPod touch will do HAHAHA.

Edited by hobo73, 27 August 2013 - 12:23 PM.


#14 The Analog Grownup

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 06:19 PM

I only use my Iphone 5 if I for a rare occasion want to take pictures. I don't dare taking a better camera with me because I won't risk having it confiscated or thrown in the bin. Does anybody know if you usually get your camera back if it gets confiscated, or do they throw it out or keep it?

Other than that, for those 10 pictures I take my Iphone will do just fine.

#15 Huge Ackman

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 06:52 PM

View PostMika, on 25 June 2013 - 03:48 PM, said:

I love taking a few photos at concerts, to preserve the moment and come away from a show with snapshots of moments in time that are totally unique to me and my camera lens. Also, I like taking photos of Geddy.

So, my question is, for those that take photos at concerts, like with better quality cameras than cell phones, what do you use? I've seen some very decent photos taken by concert-goers, and they make me envious compared to what my li'l Canon elph with 4x zoom did for me at my last concert. Would anyone be so kind as to share what they've used and gotten good results with?

For my next concert, in Vancouver, I'm going to specially buy a new camera (mine is getting old now, anyway) that has a decent zoom (a compact with a 25x zoom seems good) so I can try to take some good photos. If anyone has any camera advice, and even advice on how to take good photos at concerts (a lot of mine had turned out rather blurry, what with having the flash turned off...), it would be greatly appreciated. I've tried googling "taking photos at concerts", but the information has been a bit random and too elite - don't think I can sneak in a DSLR!

Coming to this late-ish....

My Canon PowerShot G7 is a star.  As I understand it, the PowerShot family of cameras has the same processor, shutter and electronics as their much more expensive and professional grade SLR cams  but has a fixed lens.  It offers 6x optical zoom (which is really awesome and I use often) and 24x digital zoom (which is way more sensitive to camera jiggle and gets pixelated easily, so I don't use so often) and is probably much more capable than I've put to use, but on full-auto does an amazing job.  I think the PowerShot has evolved and is on G11 or even G13 but I think the larger numbers are just newer-better-stronger-faster to get you to buy a new one versions of the same concept.  

The camera takes amazing photos:
Optical zoom only from 6th row at Shoreline, CA, in 2007
Posted Image

And full digital zoom but I love the results of this one.... Red Rocks, 2010, 19th row
Posted Image

#16 jamie

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 06:56 PM

I just use my crappy cellphone. Now that I have an iPod that with a camera, I'll use that for future concerts.

#17 Mika

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:55 PM

I forgot about this thread! Thanks for your added help, everyone!

I ended up getting a new camera the day before heading off to my concert, and quickly trying to learn it the best I could. It's a Nikon Coopix S9500, in red, natch:Posted Image
The 22x optical zoom is what did it for me. I managed to take some decent photos, which wasn't easy considering my short stature in the 15th row on the floor with lots of bodies, heads, and arms in my view, and I didn't get many shots that weren't at all blurry, but here's a couple at full 22x zoom (I don't like going into the digital zoom):

Posted Image

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Unfortunately, my camera battery died (even though I'd charged it the day before, but must have drained it when I was using it copiously at the ocean earlier that day) during the later part of the first set, but I'd brought my other camera with me, with a 4x optical zoom:

Posted Image

Posted Image

#18 Mika

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:58 PM

View PostHuge Ackman, on 27 August 2013 - 06:52 PM, said:

View PostMika, on 25 June 2013 - 03:48 PM, said:

I love taking a few photos at concerts, to preserve the moment and come away from a show with snapshots of moments in time that are totally unique to me and my camera lens. Also, I like taking photos of Geddy.

So, my question is, for those that take photos at concerts, like with better quality cameras than cell phones, what do you use? I've seen some very decent photos taken by concert-goers, and they make me envious compared to what my li'l Canon elph with 4x zoom did for me at my last concert. Would anyone be so kind as to share what they've used and gotten good results with?

For my next concert, in Vancouver, I'm going to specially buy a new camera (mine is getting old now, anyway) that has a decent zoom (a compact with a 25x zoom seems good) so I can try to take some good photos. If anyone has any camera advice, and even advice on how to take good photos at concerts (a lot of mine had turned out rather blurry, what with having the flash turned off...), it would be greatly appreciated. I've tried googling "taking photos at concerts", but the information has been a bit random and too elite - don't think I can sneak in a DSLR!

Coming to this late-ish....

My Canon PowerShot G7 is a star.  As I understand it, the PowerShot family of cameras has the same processor, shutter and electronics as their much more expensive and professional grade SLR cams  but has a fixed lens.  It offers 6x optical zoom (which is really awesome and I use often) and 24x digital zoom (which is way more sensitive to camera jiggle and gets pixelated easily, so I don't use so often) and is probably much more capable than I've put to use, but on full-auto does an amazing job.  I think the PowerShot has evolved and is on G11 or even G13 but I think the larger numbers are just newer-better-stronger-faster to get you to buy a new one versions of the same concept.  

The camera takes amazing photos:
Optical zoom only from 6th row at Shoreline, CA, in 2007

And full digital zoom but I love the results of this one.... Red Rocks, 2010, 19th row
Posted Image

Huge, I didn't know you took this photo! I'm not sure where I've stumbled across it before, but it's one of my faves! :)

Also, I appreciate your ongoing photographic contributions - you always have awesome photos to share! :cheers:

#19 hobo73

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:37 AM

View Postthegirlintherushshirt, on 27 August 2013 - 06:56 PM, said:

I just use my crappy cellphone. Now that I have an iPod that with a camera, I'll use that for future concerts.

They take pretty awesome, clear videos :)

#20 edm2112

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:49 AM

iPhone 4 and newer have surprisingly great cameras...all of mine (from front row) turned out awesome...although there is that inevitable small threshold of zoom before photos come out like you used a toaster to take them...so it helps to be close. In Nashville there was a guy who went along the other side of the front row barricade and was shoving peoples phones and cameras down...so it also helps to be slightly discreet, i suppose.





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