How to Choose the Best Lenses for Concert Photography

Concert Photographer  Anett Olimpia  at the Pol’and Rock Festival

Concert Photographer Anett Olimpia at the Pol’and Rock Festival

By John Bennett

Concert photography is one of the most challenging fields to excel in due to the low light conditions and stressful atmosphere you frequently find yourself in. The loud sounds and time restraints of being in the pit only serve to make your job even harder. To ease this challenge therefore, it is preferable that you have proper camera equipment.

Having the skill and the eye to take great photographs are essential, but without high quality lenses that will perform well in low light conditions, your photos won't offer great results. To get the best out of this situation, you should consider getting the very best prime lens you can as they have the edge over zoom lenses when it comes to concert photography.

In this article, I am going to mention the top 3 things to look for when buying a lens for concert photography and I am also going to suggest the best prime lens for those on a small budget. So without further ado, let's dive in!

1. Large Maximum Aperture

A lens with a large Maximum Aperture will allow more light to enter. This is very useful, especially for concert photography, as gigs are almost always held in dim venues with low light conditions. 

The ideal aperture range would be between f/1.2 to f/1.8, while it is acceptable to go as low as f/2.8. Anything smaller then this however will force you to use slower shutter speeds which can only produce the sharp images you may be after if you are using a tripod or are using a lens with built-in stabilisation (which would not be acceptable in a concert photo pit)

2. Fast AutoFocus

For most photography situations, it is advised to use manual focus as it offers better control with maximum precision. However, when we are talking about concert photography, it is always a good idea to have a lens with high-performance autofocus as you will be shooting an artist constantly in action.

It is advised that you choose a lens with multiple AF points to allow yourself faster changing of focus. Another thing to look for in a lens for concert photography is a manual override that gives you more control as it offers a quick switch from autofocus to manual mode.

3. Built-in Image Stabilization

Most of the photos you are going to take at the concert are going to be handheld, as using a tripod in those conditions is practically unheard of and would be severely frowned upon. You will want to get many angles and different positions as possible, which requires a lot of moving around.

Having a lens with Built-in Image Stabilisation will significantly reduce blur on photos, and it will also help you prevent camera shake. One additional benefit you will get using a lens with Image Stabilization is the ability to shoot at slower shutter speed; particularly useful if you currently have a lens which does not support a large aperture.

What is the best budget lens for concert photography?

When it comes to purchasing a lens for concert photography, making the right decision is not always an easy task. This is especially true if you are on a budget.

The one lens that I would always recommend to beginners when they ask me this question is the 50mm f/1.8. It will also depend on some other factors such as what camera you are using. If you are looking for a lens for a specific camera, feel free to check out the best lenses guides for more specific pieces of information.

4 reasons to buy a 50mm f/1.8 lens for concert photography:

#1 - Great option if you are on a low budget

If you are looking to buy a lens for the Nikon or Canon camera range, one of the cheapest options you can get is a 50mm f/1.8 lens. They are very affordable, and you can use it for other types of photography as well.

#2 - It's Great for Low Light Conditions

This lens has a large f/1.8 aperture that allows your lens to let through more light which will result in higher quality photos. This is especially noticeable for concert photography as you will constantly battle with dimly lit venues.

#3 - It Offers High Sharpness

Even though this is a budget lens it produces sharp photos with precise details. If you have never used a 50mm f/1.8 lens, you will be pleasantly surprised with how sharp it actually is.

#4 - Beautiful Bokeh

This 50mm f/1.8 lens has a shallow depth of field, and a creamy bokeh will make your photos look even better with beautiful smooth backgrounds. Of course, if your budget can stretch, prime lenses with higher apertures will create even more pleasing bokeh

Wrapping Up

Taking photos of performing artists is not an easy task. To make sure it is as effortless as it can be, you need to make sure you are using proper equipment. If you are just starting out, purchasing this recommended lens can make a great difference to the quality of your images for a price that will not break the bank.

John is a new regular guest writer for Audiolove, covering all topics that concern photographic equipment. He is also the owner of lensespro, a website dedicated to all fields of photography. From lenses to camera bodies and accessories, stay tuned to find out more of our thoughts on the latest gadgets and classic essentials that we feel you must have in your camera bag as a pro concert photographer