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Suggestions for a DSLR for live music photography
I generally take live music photos and want to get a DSLR. (I've been using a Canon G3 Powershot for the last 5 years - time to get a new camera!) I recently received an Olympus E-410 for xmas. It was definitely one I was considering, but I think a Canon or a Nikon may be a better choice. For Canon, I was considering an EOS 400D or an EOS 40D. For Nikon, a D80, D40x or even a D200. I have been trying to compare these cameras side by side and I can't quite decide.

Should I just keep the Olympus or trade it in for one of these cameras? I know it's all about preference, but I'm not sure what the best choice is. If anyone out there takes a lot of live music photography and can suggest what kind of camera I should get (within $1500 or so), please let me know...

Comments (9)

I just purchased the Nikon D40 myself, but if someone gave me the Olympus as a gift I would definitely try it out (I need to hang around your friends and family!). It may not be as popular as Canons or Nikons but from looking at sample photos on.

Http://www.pbase.com/cameras/olympus/evolt_e_410.

And reading reviews on.

Http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_reviews/e410.htmlhttp://www.dcresource.com/reviews/olympus/e410-review.

It seems to be a very nice camera..

One option it has that a lot of dSLRs don't, is the live LCD view feature. If you're moving from a P&S digicam to dSLR it's the first thing you "miss" (IMHO)..

Having a CF media option is also nice as these cards come with high-capacities and fast readers (SanDisk makes a fast firewire reader) as the xD format is limited to a 2GB max, it seems..

Ken Rockwell made an interesting point on his website: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/150-vs-5000-dollar-camera.htm. I know photography teachers over the years have also stressed the same thing it's not the camera that matters, it's the photographer..

Colleenhttp://www.pbase.com/ozzie12590..

Comment #1

The Oly 410 has neither the dynamic range nor good high ISO characteristics at 1600 ISO to make it a good live concert photography camera. And the size of the CCD means that it is inherantly more vulneralble to noise..

The D40x will work very nicely but fast lenses will be expensive and fast primes will not AF (except the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and exotic telephotos)..

The D80 has better dynamic range than the D200 at ISO 1600 (and has a much better low light viewfinder than the D40x) so it is a good choice..

If you can afford the 40D all well and good but the D80 is about $380 less and you get wireless remote flash built in which will cost you more again with the 40D..

You will need fast glass to get decent photos. That does not come cheap so leave some spending money for that. You really need an f/2.8 constant zoom lens or better. I now shoot with a used 80-200 f/2.8 on one body (my D80) and a 50mm f1/4 prime or my Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 on my D50 both mounted on a T bar on a tripod..

So you would be well advised to:Buy fast glass (Forget VR. Lens aperture speed is your priority)Get a monopod and small ball headConsider a tripod if you will have space and permission to use itShoot RAWIf shooting Nikon PP in Capture NX.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #2

Melissa StLouis wrote:.

I generally take live music photos and want to get a DSLR. (I've beenusing a Canon G3 Powershot for the last 5 years - time to get a newcamera!) I recently received an Olympus E-410 for xmas. It wasdefinitely one I was considering, but I think a Canon or a Nikon maybe a better choice. For Canon, I was considering an EOS 400D or anEOS 40D. For Nikon, a D80, D40x or even a D200. I have been trying tocompare these cameras side by side and I can't quite decide.

Should I just keep the Olympus or tradeit in for one of these cameras? I know it's all about preference, butI'm not sure what the best choice is. If anyone out there takes a lotof live music photography and can suggest what kind of camera Ishould get (within $1500 or so), please let me know..

You should also look at the Sony A700... it can use all the used Minolta lenses and plus , new Sony , or 3rd party they are all stablized... because the camera is stablized in the body...

It has fast AF (the older KM and Sony A100) could be a bit slow..

Ot also unlike the lower cost 10 MP has good HI ISO performance.

Another nice feature not on the Canons is the built in wireless flash controller with compatible wirelss flashes being made by Sony, Sigma, and Metz..

Http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra700/.

Also in the 40D D300 class it is smaller in size and has a very easy to to use system for adjusting settings..

Here's an overview that specifically covers using it in threater style situations which would be close to concert lighting in many cases..

Http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/Sony%20-A700.shtml.

Ken - Happy A700 Ownerhttp://www.cascadephotoworks.com..

Comment #3

Melissa StLouis wrote:.

I generally take live music photos and want to get a DSLR. (I've beenusing a Canon G3 Powershot for the last 5 years - time to get a newcamera!) I recently received an Olympus E-410 for xmas. It wasdefinitely one I was considering, but I think a Canon or a Nikon maybe a better choice. For Canon, I was considering an EOS 400D or anEOS 40D. For Nikon, a D80, D40x or even a D200. I have been trying tocompare these cameras side by side and I can't quite decide.

Should I just keep the Olympus or tradeit in for one of these cameras? I know it's all about preference, butI'm not sure what the best choice is. If anyone out there takes a lotof live music photography and can suggest what kind of camera Ishould get (within $1500 or so), please let me know..

The Oly 410 is a nice camera...you should give it a go....it and the 510 and e3 are huge improvements on the previous Olys in low lihgt/high iso....you could get a seriously good lens for that money. Some Oly users do VERY well with their cameras for this...when/if search is working have a look..

Having said that for live music photos there are better choices. Any 8mp Canon or 6mp sony chip camera will be fine some of the 10mp cameras will do very well also..

I use a Pentax K100d (and IST*D) both great for this...and for $1500 you could get a K100d, kit lens, and a Sigma 17-35 2.8 and a Tamron 28-75 2.8 or the Tamron and maybe a Pentax limited of the flavour of you choice...or a 50 1.4...lots of nice things for your money..

I have been having a break from music stuff for a little while...maybe starting again soon..

Here are a few from earlier in the year.

Master Tang taken with K100d and Tamron 17-35 2.8-4 lens.

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From the band Sobrusion at the same gig I think this was with a 50 1.2 mf lens.

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And here are some previously posted..

Mytile Vey Lorth.

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Fleshgore (Ukraine).

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Neil.

Link back to flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/26884588@N00/..

Comment #4

You don't need a new camera, although you do need a different one..

A Nikon D1H can be had for $500 and it works great for concert photography. With the extra $1k in your budget, you can get faster lenses, which is much more important than the DSLR body you choose..

Oh, and don't forget to shoot in RAW (it'll help you save highlights and retain shadow detail)...

Comment #5

It's really easy to waste a lot of money, and not get pictures that are much better, if better at all..

What do you mean by live music photography?.

Pictures like the rock bands that Neil included? Taken stadning between themusicians and the audience during a show, or set up beforehand to use for promotions, album covers, web sites, and so on?.

And how much control do you have over the venue? Can you get the lighting crew to boost lighting levels so you can take pictures more easily?.

To some extent, flash is a bad idea, because it tends to illuminate various junky items in the background. And, of course, it destroys the "art" that lighting directors are trying to set up..

Unfortunately, stage lighting uis usually a lot dimmer than it looks (because you are in the dark, even a little light looks pretty bright).

The dimness means that fast lenses (f2.8, f2, even f1.4) are useful for getting proper exposures. And higher ISO settings 800 and even 1600 are useful..

Can you immediately return the Olympus camera and get full value for it? If so, that might not be a bad idea..

But if you are only going to be able to get a trade in allowance on it, why not try it for a while and see how well it works for you..

As for camras if you change a Canon XTi, for isntance, will take pictures just as good as a 40D, for a lot less money, and you can spend the difference on a tripod or monopod, and on one or more better lenses..

And if you are shooting portaits of performers, you can use some of the money you save on an XTi when buying a good flash unit for portraiture..

Same deal with Nikon buy a D80 instead of a D200, and use the savings to buy somethhing else..

RAW? A favorite for people who can't get the exposure right in the first place, but a bit of a p[roblem if you need to send shots via modem to a newspaper to meet a deadline the night the concert is taking place..

BAK..

Comment #6

BAK wrote:.

RAW? A favorite for people who can't get the exposure right in thefirst place,.

That is patently absurd..

Do you think Ansel Adams would shoot JPEGs?.

RAW is for people who want maximum dynamic range and color retention...

Comment #7

Snycer wrote:.

BAK wrote:.

RAW? A favorite for people who can't get the exposure right in thefirst place,.

That is patently absurd..

Do you think Ansel Adams would shoot JPEGs?.

RAW is for people who want maximum dynamic range and color retention..

Hi.

If he needed to...yes. But then again I doubt Ansel Adams would have been in a mosh pit with his camera..

There are valid reasons for shooting jpeg as there are raw..

In my case I use jpeg becauseI have an old pcI hate PP on a large number of picsI do not often shoot landscapes.

It means I can get a lot more photos on a given card. I tend to shoot to fill the card...which is why I try and limit the card size while still allowing for a lot of shots....if a cheap card goes down so what. (I know memory is getting very cheap now compared to a few years ago but I would still hate to lose a large capacity card)..

Sometimes I do have to upload photos very soon after the gig...from time to time while it was still going in order to meet a deadline and still go to work at around 8am next day. (toooooo old for THAT now).

The Gingers (from 2006)...this was with a IST*D iso 3200 1/45 at 2.8 31mm (Sigma 28-105 2.8-4).

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Neil.

Link back to flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/26884588@N00/..

Comment #8

Neil holmes wrote:.

There are valid reasons for shooting jpeg as there are raw..

In my case I use jpeg becauseI have an old pcI hate PP on a large number of picsI do not often shoot landscapesit means I can get a lot more photos on a given card. I tend toshoot to fill the card...which is why I try and limit the card sizewhile still allowing for a lot of shots....if a cheap card goes downso what. (I know memory is getting very cheap now compared to afew years ago but I would still hate to lose a large capacity card).Sometimes I do have to upload photos very soon after the gig...fromtime to time while it was still going in order to meet a deadline andstill go to work at around 8am next day. (toooooo old for THAT now).

All valid reasons for shooting JPEG. Do note, however, that not one of them has to do with improved image quality. No question, JPEGs are convenient (sorta like a P&S compared to an SLR)..

I have shot tens of thousands of live club band images in RAW. I used to do it with my D200 until I realized that no one I was shooting for needed anything larger than a 10" gatefold of a CD booklet. So, I switched to a D1H, which can more than handle that job. The small files are easy to handle, 500+ RAW files fit on a 2 GB card, and they look great both on the computer monitor and when printed..

RAW allows me to fine tune the exposure, as lighting is continually changing in unpredictable ways. It can save me from blown highlights and pull something out of the shadows without excessive noise...

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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