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Best DSLR for low-light/high ISO shooting?

Dorothea Ong , May 24, 2011; 11:02 a.m.

Hi, I'm looking for a DSLR (+lens) that will do good in a concert setting - with low light, and lots of movement. Human-caused problems (like shaky hands) aside, what is a good recommendation if I want pictures that are clear, not blurry even when people are running, and little or no noise in low light conditions?
Does anyone have any recommendations for the camera body and lens? Price is not a problem. Thanks in advance.


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Lorne Sunley , May 24, 2011; 11:58 a.m.

Nikon D3s and a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom, and/or a 85mm f/1.4

Joseph Wisniewski , May 24, 2011; 12:02 p.m.

What Lorne said...

David Stephens , May 24, 2011; 12:19 p.m.

Canon 5D MkII with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS:


Rob Bernhard , May 24, 2011; 12:30 p.m.

Canon 5D Mark II and lenses with f/1.4 or larger apertures. (24mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.2,).

David Stephens , May 24, 2011; 12:49 p.m.

Because the 5D MkII shoots so well at ISO 6400, you don't need lenses faster than f/4. The Image Stabilization is a huge help for holding steady and that's worth at least 2-stops. If you can get the zoom range you want in an f/2.8 plus IS, that'd be the cats meow, but heavy. F/4 is great with the 5D2. I walk around an shoot at night with that combo routinely.

David Scott , May 24, 2011; 03:30 p.m.

Pentax K5 with FA 77mm F1.8 Limited, and either the DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 or the DA Star 60-250 F4.

Wouter Willemse , May 24, 2011; 04:34 p.m.

D3s, with f/1.4 lenses. 85 f/1.4 makes the most sense, though a 50 or 35 might also still be very useful, it depends on where you can position yourself.
If people are running around, IS or VR won't help them move, so yes, fast lenses make a lot of sense, even on cameras that shoot acceptable image quality at ISO12800.

David Stephens , May 24, 2011; 05:16 p.m.

One f-stop can make or break an image, but usually not. Wake up and shoot in the 21sth century. We're not using Ektachrome and Fujichrome anymore. Be realistic and don't waste money on lens speed that you don't really need.

Rob Bernhard , May 24, 2011; 05:23 p.m.

[[Because the 5D MkII shoots so well at ISO 6400, you don't need lenses faster than f/4.]]

Fast lenses means brighter viewfinder in dark situations. F/2.8 or faster lenses means better autofocus.

You also cannot make any such claim about f/4 being fast enough for the OP's question. You have no idea how low or high the light levels are.

Wouter already explained why IS will not help here but it is worth repeating: IS does not freeze motion of subjects.

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