Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Exclusive 25% off Affinity Photo: Professional photo editing with no subscription!

Small(ish) camera for gig photography

BobThomas 8 5 United Kingdom
5 Mar 2013 7:58PM
Hi all,

Looking for a bit of advice on a camera purchase please....

I'm going to a gig soon and I'm thinking about getting a new camera. It's at a football ground, and I'm fed up of my photos looking like they could be of any band on the planet because I'm so far away. I have a Nikon DSLR camera, but not being a pro and not having a photographers pass, I'm obviously not going to get in with one of these! I also have a tiny little Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35 camera that has an 8x optical zoom, and that one is fine for smaller clubs where you're not 3 miles away from the band, but it's not a lot of cop at larger arena or stadium gigs. I'm therefore looking for either a bridge or compact camera that has a decent amount of zoom (my missus doesn't really like going right down the front of the crowds so I'm looking for an optical zoom of 24x or preferably more?), one that doesn't look TOO much like a "professional" camera (so that the security people don't moan at me at every gig I go to), one that'll take decent pictures in low light, one that'll fit into a pocket (even if it needs to be a big-ish pocket!), and one that costs a maximum of maybe 250? (The cheaper the better though, obviously!)

Am I asking for too much in too small a package here?

I'm not trying to sneak a camera into these gigs so that I can go out and sell the pictures or anything (most of them will just end up on Facebook for my friends to see!), but I would like to be able to take some photos where the artists are more than dots in the distance!

Has anyone got any experience on this sort of thing, or can anyone recommend a camera that does what I'm looking for please?

I've had a look at a couple (the Olympus SP-810UZ and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48EB-K) but keep reading mixed reviews really

Thanks in advance for any help that any of you can give to me Smile


Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

have a look at canon powershot range also sony cybershot and Olympus pen range all are smallish
5 Mar 2013 9:08PM
The Fuji S4240 bridge camera is an ideal option for you looking for more creative freedom and zoom than an ordinary compact camera. The S4240 bridge camera features a 14 megapixel CCD sensor along with a 24x FUJINON optical zoom and 24mm wide-angle lens to bring the world closer to you. The Fuji bridge camera also has plenty of convenient features like motion panorama and an electronic viewfinder.
Ian G W 15 396 3 England
5 Mar 2013 9:59PM
Buy tickets closer to the stage!
ChrisV Plus
11 2.1k 26 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 2:12PM
In practice most security men don't know the difference between a bridge camera and a DSLR, so it's likely they would stop you with one of those too.

You are pretty much asking for the impossible, because these superzooms have compromised lenses and tiny sensors - which means mostly they're pretty poor in bad light.

Having said that, you could try something like the Fuji s770 - a compact superzoom with a 20x optical range. I have the s550 as an 'emergency camera' - it's small enough to be in my coat pocket all the time and no-one's going to bat an eye-lid at you using one. The s550 [and so I assume the later model is at the very least as good] offers a high sensitivity mode that reduces resolution to get less noise in low light. I'd say it's effective up to about ISO1600 for half-decent modestly sized prints. The s770 has settings up to ISO 12800 but it's likely that unless you want impressionist style images at postage stamp sizes that would be best avoided.

The huge problem you're going to face is that at the extreme zoom range you are not going to get a fast aperture - I think the minimum will be something around f6-7. Coupled with that you're also going to need a very fast shutter speed - around 1/500th of a second to keep the shot steady [you may get away with less depending on how effective the image stabilisation is].

Essentially you're up against the reason why Pros carry big expensive cameras with massive, hugely expensive lenses. But you may well be able to get images of acceptable quality for your own purposes.

The best tip I can give you is that the camera's metering is probably going to overexpose the image - because it will see a lot of black in the shot and try and recover detail from that. If you dial in up to a couple of stops [-] exposure compensation, you're still going to get plenty of detail from the highlights - which is in essence the image you want and that will obviously help you keep the sensitivity down by a couple of stops. There is massive contrast in such shots but you're not really all that interested in the background gloom, are you?

You probably know this, but for god's sake don't use the flash, because a) it's annoying for the band and the rest of the audience around you 2) the effective range of inbuilt flashes is only a few metres at best c) it will determine a maximum shutter speed that will be too slow for your range and d) even if you were close and had a powerful speedlight, it would rob all atmosphere from the shot because you would eliminate the lighting the band has chosen...

Good luck.
LVanDhal 5 126 1 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 2:56PM
Unless you have a really strong need for a photo from the gig ie you want it to add to your portfolio and it must be of high enough quality to match the rest of your work, then, as strange as it sounds, I'd advise you leave your camera at home!
I say this because I have personally ruined several occasions for myself by seeing them as photo ops, when I should not have,
If you are just a fan of the band and want to see the concert, then do just that and go and enjoy it, with out giving yourself the added burden of capturing a photo, because if you don't you will spend the night "Watching" for the photo op, not enjoying the band, especially as you are trying to do this with a bridge camera that will give you enormous technical hoops to jump through, stability, lighting, shutter speed etc, why do that to yourself?
Most of the big gigs have tons of merchandising to buy as a memento of the night, plenty of people will have the blurry shots of a figure on stage to pile on to Fbook, so Go to the gig, enjoy, let your hair down ( or up !) but don't put yourself through a photographic induced headache for the sake of maybe getting an okay shot.
( I bet your wife would enjoy sharing your experience of being there together far more too)
Just my thoughts Smile
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
6 Mar 2013 4:45PM
I wouldn`t waste money on a compact that may or my not perform on the day.

A CSC would be a better idea, Just got myself a GF2 and its smaller than my compact.


Check out Amazon Warehouse deals.

How about a panasonic GF3 with the 14-42 kit lens for 227


Nikon 1 V1 Compact System Camera +10-30mm Lens for 250

Then if you feel you need more reach, add a compact legacy lens with an adaper.

Smile Smile
BobThomas 8 5 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 7:39PM
Thanks for the replies all.....Need to do some serious research now on your suggestions!

@youmightlikethis & markthirsty & Paul Morgan: Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'll take a closer look at those cameras

@ChrisV: Thanks for that. Lots of useful information in your reply. I was thinking the along the same lines about the security personnel, which is why I was hoping to get something a bit compact, but I thought that the issue would be that the sensors are so small. I think you can probably have good low light performance OR good zoom but probably not both. The S770 looks like a decent camera so I'll do some more reading up on that one. I realised after I posted my original message yesterday that 24x zoom is probably a bit of overkill for what I want having now realised that a 20x is a 35mm equivalent of 500mm (though I know the quality doesn't compare with a big, fast lens!). If I'm out and about doing any "serious" (which is still a hobby!) photography then I have my DSLR and a 300mm lens, so that kit tends to get used most often. The bit about the flash made me smile....It's unbelievable the number of people you see off in the stands at these big gigs "flashing"! I always turn the flash off at gigs (out of courtesy for the performers at smaller venues if nothing else!) but once forgot to turn it off and the first picture I took was a nice bright image of the head of the guy in front of me! Wink

@LVanDhal: That's not a bad suggestion either Wink Although my partner would probably think I was ill if I didn't take any photos! Smile I tend to just go with the evening and have little 5 or 10 minute bursts of taking pictures rather than making that the be all and end all of the night. I do feel sorry for the people who seem to spend the whole night with their arms in the air videoing it all on their camera phones though!

Some good food for thought from your posts. Thanks again

Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
6 Mar 2013 7:47PM
These link might be handy, both are small enough to drop into a coat pocket.


First in list, refurbish and sold as new with full waranty, even better at 220
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
6 Mar 2013 8:00PM
The first link is wrong, should have been this one, warehouse offer is third from bottom.

BobThomas 8 5 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 8:08PM
Thanks Paul
AlexandraSD 6 759 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 8:37PM
Decided last night right at the last minute to take my camera to a gig at wolverhampton civic hall, it is a bridge camera. Doorman asked me to open my (hand)bag but before i got the clasp open he ushered me through, already satisfied.

I am so glad i took it, i would have cursed myself for leaving it in the hotelroom. As it goes, i didnt really take many images, about 100, but seeing as i was shooting burst mode at 5.5fps, 100 isn't all that bad anyway.

Somebody tweeted earlier today about someone else standing near them constantly beeping as the camera tried to focus. Surprised he never got a bottle to the back of his head! I was very mindful about being an annoyance so i kept my camera in my bag when i wasn't using it, gets in the way of dancing anyway Grin

Some images from last night. FYI i was stood to the right midway along the side., the civic is small so i wasn't far from the front, i'd say about 60 feet, so using my zoom handheld wasn't really an issue as long as i kept steady.





I know i would have been annoyed with myself for not taking the camera, so i am glad i did, but take too many for too long and you might only have memories of taking photos and not of the event itself. Its all about the music really.
BobThomas 8 5 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 8:48PM
Hi AlexandraSD....You've got some pretty good photos there! What camera were you using? I just Googled to see who was playing last night. That's not a band I've come across before....I play a bit of guitar, but I've never used a violin bow to play it! And yes! It's definitely about the music first and foremost! Smile
AlexandraSD 6 759 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 9:05PM
Awww, Sigur Ros dont get much radioplay, but their fans adore them (thats me then Wink)

Camera was leica v-lux3, set to auto, seemed a safe bet seeing as the light intensity was constantly changing, and i didnt want to faff about with settings all night long, just point and click, faffing about would have meant i missed half the set, as it goes i didnt really think too much about what i was taking, just composition and waiting for the right moments.

For the record, that close up was taken with the zoom just about 3/4ths of its range, i could have gotten even closer images of the frontman but it seemed pointless, has to be in context at least, but if i was stood right at the back im confident i could have gotten more or less similar images at a stretch, but then id only be about 100 feet away anyway, though the digital zoom probably would have kicked in so thats something to think about, less resolution.

By the way, that bow on that guitar makes one hell of a sound, it soars and screams like nothing i have ever heard, mesmerising in the flesh Smile
BobThomas 8 5 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 9:31PM
Bit above the budget I was looking at really, but they're nice shots! I try to avoid digital zoom like the plague to be honest....and I might have to add a violin bow to my shopping list now as well! Not that I'm easily influenced or anything! Wink

Back on the subject of cameras, I quite fancy the look of the Panasonic Lumix-TZ30. It's got decent specs and is about 210 at the moment. Anyone got any experience with this camera? It sounds like the battery life is a bit pants, but seeing as I already have another camera in the Lumix range I was thinking maybe that battery would also fit into that camera....Unlikely I would think, but maybe I'll take it with me if I go to look at one in a shop on the off chance!

Any views on this one anyone?

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.