Have you ever considered what would be the best lens for concert photography?
If you are an event photographer or an enthusiast who frequents music festivals, you probably have. You have also wondered what it would be like to own such a lens.
Since concert photography is one of the most popular commercial branches, it is no wonder that so many photographers are trying to purchase high-end gear so that they could deliver perfect photographic performance.
Unfortunately, the internet still lacks quality buying guides that would help photographers navigate the market.
With that idea in mind, I have decided to create a tutorial that has the purpose of helping all fellow camera people to get their hands on top-notch optics.
Sigma’s candidate represents the world’s first full-frame zooming lens with an f/2 aperture. It has an optical design of 18 elements in 13 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 84.1° to 63.4°, with a minimum focus distance of 11,02 inches and a maximum magnification of 0,23x. Sigma 24-35mm f/2.0 doesn’t have optical image stabilization, the aperture ensures a rock-solid low light performance.
One of the reasons:
why I included it on the best concert photography lens list is the impeccable image quality when using a zoom option. I like shooting with prime lenses, but the focal length and zoom capabilities of the given Sigma are great. The wide focal length of this optics comes in handy in concert venues since you can easily capture the whole stage or even the crowd, without compromising the quality.
In terms of performing, it gives the impression of a triple prime (and not a single zoom) since it delivers stunningly sharp images with a great number of details, even under dim lighting. Another vital point is the color transmission, which is awesome and it renders natural, yet vibrant colors.
The fringe and ghosting are negligible, and I am yet to notice serious corner vignetting. Furthermore, the focus option is excellent. It is responsive and accurate, as well as fairly silent. Construction-wise, the lens feels robust and sturdy, with smooth focus and zoom rings.
- Focal length
- Fast aperture
- Focus system
- Lack of OIS
Sony 24-70 mm f/2.8 offers an optical design of 18 elements in 13 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 84° to 34°, with a minimum focus distance of 1,24 feet and a maximum magnification ratio of 0,24x. It is equipped with two aspherical elements for an improved resolution, and it has a Nano AR coating. Although it doesn’t sport optical image stabilization, it has a fast f/2.8 aperture that ensures good lowlight performance.
The key reason:
why I put this Sony on the best concert photography lens list is the nature of the given Sony which can come on par with fast primes. During the testing phase, it was able to capture enough lighting even at the bar (no concerts, so I had to work my way in the bar), while retaining overall sharpness. The cherry on top is that I didn’t have to use a high ISO value, and was able to get away with relatively fast shutter speed.
The overall image sharpness was stunning, with vivid color rendering and a great number of preserved details, with little to no noise under dim lighting. The focus is also rock-solid. It responds fairly well and accurately.
The lens produces a fine out of focus area. It is not a prime category, but the background melts away quite nicely. Design-wise, the lens is built of quality materials and it has a customizable button. A compromise for that is the weight, which is significant.
- Versatile focal length
- Fast focus
- Wide aperture
- Lack of OIS
The third candidate has an optical design of 13 elements in 11 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. It has a minimum focus distance of 11,81 inches. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 doesn’t have optical image stabilization, but the f/2.8 aperture ensures a high-quality performance under dim lighting.
The main reason why I put this Tokina on the concert photography lens list is the incredible night performance, just what one needs for music events.
I was able to capture amazing night photos in urban areas, and it performed quite well under artificial strobe lighting, which is exactly what concert photographers need. The overall sharpness is excellent at the whole focal range, discounting the vignetting at 11mm (and it is negligible as well). The color rendering is another great point, it emphasizes warm tones quite well without being overly saturated.
The barrel distortion and chromatic aberrations are present, but they are easily removed in post-production. The wide aperture truly does a remarkable job in removing the need for OIS, even under dim light.
Focusing is solid, with casual missed shots, but with more practice that should go away as well. Generally, autofocus is responsive and accurate, and the motor tends to be on the quiet side. In terms of design, it is built with solid and sturdy materials and it has a good finish.
- Ultra-wide focal capability
- Fast aperture
- Lack of OIS
The best Nikon lens for concert photography is constructed with 13 elements in nine groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The closest focus distance sets at 4,9 feet, with a maximum magnification ratio of 0,26x, and an angle of view of 34.3 to 8.2 degrees.
Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 doesn’t have optical image stabilization and it has (at least in theory), a limiting aperture, but it still produces tack-sharp images. One of the reasons why it made its way to the lens for concert photography list is the incredible focal length.
Its range allows one to capture images from both wide and portrait angles to the telephoto end. In a real-life scenario, it gives an option of photographing a whole concert hall, from the main stage and performers to the last row in the crowd.
The overall image quality is quite good with overall sharpness and a minimum amount of distortion at extreme ends. I have also conducted a couple of tests on a flat surface and this lens proved quite good for the price.
When using correct shutter speed and placing it in proximity to the light source it can produce top-notch results. Focusing is relatively fast and it does a fair job in capturing moving subjects while remaining silent. In terms of design, it is visible that the plastic was the main material, but it feels solid in the hands and doesn’t give a cheap feel. The only downside is the weight, which is worth considering.
- Focal length versatility
- Lack of OIS
- Limiting aperture
The best Canon lens for concert photography has an optical design of 19 elements in 12 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 78° 30′ to 27° 50′, with a minimum focus distance of 1,15 feet, and a maximum magnification of 0,17x.
Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 lens has optical image stabilization which is a feature aimed at battling dim light conditions. One of the reasons why it made the best lens for concert photography list is the overall picture quality.
Its focal length in pair with OIS and fast aperture ensures a maximum photographic quality even under dimmed clubs or concert venues. The pictures the lens renders are filled with vibrant tones and strong contrast, and the overall sharpness is present edge-to-edge. Another excellent point regards the focus system.
Autofocus does a splendid job in being responsive and accurate, and it is also great for producing hand-held videos and shots. A bonus is the silence of the motor, so it is suitable for video production.
Image stabilization is a great feature to have since it does help under difficult shooting conditions. In terms of design, it is relatively heavy, but the material quality and finishing touch make it worth the compromise.
- Fast aperture
- Great focus
It can take a certain amount of effort and know-how-to when you try to purchase the best camera lenses for concert photography. Although it can be a tedious task, the article above shines a light on the market, showing that it is possible to get high-end optics, no matter what your manufacturer or brand preferences are.
If you pick any of the lenses I have picked up, your portfolio will become much better in no time.
Now is the time to make the right decision and choose the lens that is best for your needs. If you are not sure which lens is best for you, our recommendation is this lens.
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