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Point and Shoot for Concerts

chauncey huffman , Nov 15, 2011; 12:37 p.m.

I've read reviews and looked for a while, but I would like to get some feedback from actual photographers with first hand experience. I am looking for a P&S to take with me to concerts that is capable of good low light photography without flash. I need this because I go to concerts as a spectator, not a commissioned photographer so I can't take my DSLR into most venues. I realize the inherent problems with P&S's with regard to sensor size and noise handling, I'm just looking for the best of what's available. I would prefer a Nikon, and I've looked at the P7100, 9100 and 8100. I've also thought about breaking the bank for the Fujifilm X10, but I would prefer to stay under $400, really $300 is ideal.


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Jon Porter , Nov 15, 2011; 01:31 p.m.

The P7100 has a good zoom range and optical viewfinder, allowing you to turn off the rear screen and avoid attracting ushers and the ire of people around you. Today's compact digitals produce excellent 8.5x11 prints up to around ISO 1600. And you don't need really high ISOs for concert photography. Spot lights give you an exposure of around 1/400 @ f/5.6 at 400 ISO, and they're even daylight balanced.

Henry Posner , Nov 15, 2011; 01:41 p.m.

The Coolpix P500 has a 36x optical wide-angle 22.5-810 f/3.5-5.7 mm (Equiv) Lens and ISO to 3200.
The Coolpix L120 has a 21x Wide-Angle 25-525 f/3.1-5.8 mm (Equiv) Lens and ISO to 6400.
Both are within your price range.

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video

Frank Skomial , Nov 15, 2011; 01:42 p.m.

Low noise at high ISO, large sensor size like in the Nikon D7000, and only at $399.99.
No flash needed for good pictures in dark places. ISO up to 6400 is usable.
Read DPReview about NEX-3, NEX-5.

Elliot Bernstein , Nov 15, 2011; 02:47 p.m.

Your best bet may be a micro 4/3 with a fast aperture [pancake] lens.

Bruce Brown , Nov 15, 2011; 03:45 p.m.

What Frank Skomial said +1 ... go handle one and you will also be +1, Chauncey

chauncey huffman , Nov 15, 2011; 04:23 p.m.

Thanks for all the responses. I thought about the NEX-3 and other micro 4/3, I just wonder if they would be allowed into most concerts. Many of the concerts I've been to simply have the rule "no interchangeable lens cameras". I don't know if it's worth taking a chance that I can't use it because I wouldn't have a huge need for it outside of the concert situation.
Has anyone tried taking a micro 4/3 into a concert or concerts?

Bruce Brown , Nov 15, 2011; 04:49 p.m.

Chauncey: Part of the reason for my response is that these two models were almost MADE for the circumstances you describe ... don't change lenses ... you almost HAVE to use the LCD ... you are just there as a concert goer with your 'p+s'. Also, don't count on not using it anywhere else ... I used one for a bit until the owner asked for it back! Oops.

Leslie Cheung , Nov 15, 2011; 10:58 p.m.

The problem with NEX is the lens (or lack of). The 16mm is a fixed lens and maybe too wide. The kit zoom is kinda slow. Concert photography is too broad...Are we talking in stadium size, or small venues, or, say, up on stage with the band?

Without knowing such vital info, it's difficult to recommend the best camera.

Eric Arnold , Nov 16, 2011; 03:04 a.m.

you're somewhat delusional about using a P&S for concert photography. the issue is shutter lag. you probably should be posting this in the digital cameras forum, btw. i use the samsung TL500, which has a 1.8 lens, full manual controls, RAW, blah blah, but it's not a serious choice for concert photography. it's good up to ISO 800, but motion capture is still challenging because of shutter lag. forget the Coolpixes. the TL500, the Oly XZ1 and the panasonic LX3/5 are your best bets, but the P&S hasn't yet been made which can match a DSLR at ISO 1600. having 1.8 and 24mm is good, but P&S cameras in general are not good for shooting things that move.

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