Matthias Hombauer: What´s in my concert photography bag?
In this tutorial I would like to show you the equipment that I am using on a regular basis for my concert photography work.
I started with a Canon 40D and the 50mm 1.8 lens in small clubs. As I discussed earlier in this venues you often have to deal with low light conditions. The 40D gave me the opportunity to push the ISO settings until 3200. In combination with an aperture of 1.8 I was able to get some great pictures.
After shooting some concerts I wanted to make a step forward and applied for an internet magazine as concert photographer.. I was lucky and got accreditations for bigger clubs in Vienna. As I realised that an ISO setting of 3200 is often not enough to get the results that I wanted I sold my Canon equipment and got a Nikon D700. I invested into more lenses and this is finally the equipment that I am using nowadays:
Nikon D700: I really like this camera. It´s a full frame sensor camera and is capable of delivering great quality pictures even when using ISO 9000. The buttons on the camera body are well placed and the autofocus is accurate even when there is almost no light on stage. One disadvantage might be the relatively loud shutter noise, which caused me already some troubles using the camera in quiet concerts.
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8: this is my go-to lens in smaller venues. The autofocus is very fast and the pictures are tack sharp. Having the zoom option let´s you get a tight head shot as well as a full body portraiture. At 24mm you are also able to get the whole stage in your frame.
Nikon 80-200 2.8 ED: I am not using the new 70-200 2.8 VR, because you can get one of these used under 600 Euros. Since I don´t need VR for stage work I decided to go with this one. The focal length of 200mm is essential if you plan to shoot bigger venues like festival stages. It´s a neck-breaker, but a good one.
Nikon 85mm 1.4 G: This is my favorite lens for general portrait work. This lens is able to deliver a BOKEH that is breathtaking. At 1.4 one eye is in focus while the background blurs away like i have never seen it before. I use it also for concert photography. Just keep in mind that you are not flexible with a prime lens in the photo pit.
Samyang 14mm 2.8: I use this lens when I want to show the interaction of the artist with the audience. 14mm on a full frame is the widest you can get and at a price of 300 Euros it´s a bargain. Why so cheap? This lens has manual focus and not autofocus like all the new lenses have. I was also not sure if this woul be a good investment, but I am more than pleased with this lens. Once you find the right focus it´s tack sharp and the view makes you dizzy.
Battery grip MB-D10: I love this grip. It gives you the option of a shutter release button when using the camera vertical. In addition you can use one more battery.
Memory cards: I am using 8GB SanDisk memory cards. With the 12MP sensor of the D700 I am able to store about 250 RAWs onto it.
Earprotection: Always use earprotection when you take pictures in front of the stage to avoid health problems.
Backpack: I use a Crumpler backpack to fit all my equipment. For me it´s just more comfortable compared to a shoulder bag.
Moo-cards: I always have some of my Moo-cards with me. You never know who you will meet and they make a nice present for other photographers too.
And now: Enjoy shooting!