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Need Compact Digital Camera to Shoot Live Rock Bands
Hello,.

Looking for help with a decision on purchasing a new compact camera..

I'm a rock concert promoter / organizer and avid live music fan and am always keen to try and capture great moments at different shows. Even though the live band shots are my main priority, I also want an everyday camera that can fit into my jeans or jacket pocket for other occasions, hence the compact requirement..

My photography skill level is between beginner and intermediate. I am always finding tips on taking good shots and have tried to apply them. This has led me to gain little experience dealing with manual options on cameras, but always trying to change settings to try to get the best picture I can..

The main requirement I have in a camera is to be able to take good quality shots of live rock bands from two perspectives:a) From within the crowd at a large festivalb) Right by the band in a small bar / pub.

Other Requirements are fairly basic:.

1. Image Stabilizer - Considering how difficult it is to keep my hands steady while in a crowd of thousands..

2. Optical Zoom of 5x, 6x, or higher - To be able to get as reasonably close a shot as I can.3. Minimum Mega Pixels = 8MP - For Quality Purposes.4. Decent Shot to Shot Time - To quickly take shots continuously.

5. Decent Battery Life - As I will be away for long periods of time from an outlet to recharge. If necessary of course..

Now I am aware of the difficulties of taking shots of live bands as I have been doing so with compact cameras for a while now; mainly issues with lighting. Also aware of the limited capabilities with compact cameras. However, most of the photos are for personal use rather than professional. Still, it would be great to be able to have high end shots close to, if possible, professional level..

I've been doing research for a while and keep coming back to the Canon PowerShot A720 IS as a prime candidate. But some reviews mention that it is poor in low light scenarios (does this apply to nighttime outdoor festivals?) and has a slow Shot-to-Shot time. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 is my second choice at the moment. The Canon G9 seems like a good choice but Im anxious that the price and features of the camera are beyond my skill level. Are there any other cameras you guys would recommend?.

Any help or tips are much appreciated. Hope to make a final decision soon as I am set travel in a few days..

Thanks...

Comments (15)

Err, do you really expect to get a Canon A720 or G9 in your jeans pocket?!?!.

Slim pickings in ultracompacts with 5X zoom and the level of performance you would want for stage photography. Try the Panasonic FX500..

Kelly Cook..

Comment #1

Without question I'd go for the Panasonic TZ5..

It has a huge zoom (10x with up to 15x option at 3MP), fits into most pockets without too much trouble and is usable up to ISO 800, which is the minimum ISO you will need for shooting bands indoors..

All you need to do is set it to spot metering it will do the rest..

Some pics below - most were taken at smaller resolutions just so I could get maximum 15x zoom from where I was standing..

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/62268904@N00/sets/72157606011610349/.

Have to admit the light was pretty good which made things a lot easier..

KA.

Canon EOS 450D + EF-S 10-22mm + EF-S 55-250mm + EF-S 18-55 IS + Sigma 30mm/f 1.4.

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5..

Comment #2

Keith Allen wrote:.

Without question I'd go for the Panasonic TZ5..

It has a huge zoom (10x with up to 15x option at 3MP), fits into mostpockets without too much trouble and is usable up to ISO 800, whichis the minimum ISO you will need for shooting bands indoors..

.........

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5..

Keith, I'm surprised you choose the TZ5 over the Fuji for low light situations..

Might you elaborate on that choice?.

I was about to suggest a fuji F series camera like the F30 or F100fd for the OP's purpose!..

Comment #3

Dave Martin wrote:.

Keith, I'm surprised you choose the TZ5 over the Fuji for low lightsituations..

Might you elaborate on that choice?.

I was about to suggest a fuji F series camera like the F30 or F100fdfor the OP's purpose!.

Yep the F31fd is absolutely stunning at ISO 800 but it only has a 3x zoom so you have to be pretty close to use it. And I'm rarely that lucky, especially at big events..

The TZ5 gives you 10-15x zoom and IQ isn't too bad at ISO 800 (much better than it was on the TZ3 anyway) so you'll got more chance if not right at the front..

Of course if you are allowed to shoot at the front with the press photographers the F31fd would be ideal..

Canon EOS 450D + EF-S 10-22mm + EF-S 55-250mm + EF-S 18-55 IS + Sigma 30mm/f 1.4.

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5..

Comment #4

Keith Allen wrote:.

Dave Martin wrote:.

Keith, I'm surprised you choose the TZ5 over the Fuji for low lightsituations..

Might you elaborate on that choice?.

I was about to suggest a fuji F series camera like the F30 or F100fdfor the OP's purpose!.

Yep the F31fd is absolutely stunning at ISO 800 but it only has a 3xzoom so you have to be pretty close to use it. And I'm rarely thatlucky, especially at big events..

The TZ5 gives you 10-15x zoom and IQ isn't too bad at ISO 800 (muchbetter than it was on the TZ3 anyway) so you'll got more chance of decentclose ups even ifnot right at the front..

Of course if you are allowed to shoot at the front with the pressphotographers the F31fd would be ideal..

Canon EOS 450D + EF-S 10-22mm + EF-S 55-250mm + EF-S 18-55 IS + Sigma30mm/f 1.4.

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5.

Canon EOS 450D + EF-S 10-22mm + EF-S 55-250mm + EF-S 18-55 IS + Sigma 30mm/f 1.4.

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5..

Comment #5

Thanks Keith, Your zoom vs ISO playoff makes a lot of sense..

If you can get close select maybe Fuji F100fd, otherwise, Panasonic TZ5..

The F100fd has about 1/2 the reach of the TZ5 and maybe 1/2 the noise.... Tossup?..

Comment #6

Dave Martin wrote:.

The F100fd has about 1/2 the reach of the TZ5 and maybe 1/2 the noise.... Tossup?.

I'm not sure about that noise ratio for the TZ5 v F100fd. The F100fd will have less noise at ISO 800 but I'm not convinced the difference is *that* huge..

Canon EOS 450D + EF-S 10-22mm + EF-S 55-250mm + EF-S 18-55 IS + Sigma 30mm/f 1.4.

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5..

Comment #7

Thanks for all the responses so far, they have been a great help. I think you guys put it in the best way possible..

At the moment the Panasonic TZ5 looks like what I'm looking for. My biggest gripe after coming back from big festivals was the zoom limitation that I had. In the past I've only been able to deal with 3x zoom, which unfortunately drifts me away from the Fujis. So with that said, something with 10x is an obvious choice..

However I'm still not fully convinced on whether or not I should purchase the Panasonic TZ5. Simply because I'm worried that as much as I gain with the zoom, I will lose in overall image quality. Also if the issue with low light is pretty much universal across the board with compact cameras I feel like I would choose quality over the extra zoom. Therefore the Canon A720 IS with the 6x zoom still feels suitable..

I take a few shots of my own shows where I am pretty close to all the action. However, as mentioned earlier, Im still VERY keen to get good shots from within a crowd at a large nighttime festival. Thus I'm looking for that camera which will satisfy both rather than sacrifice the other..

Now, to try to simplify things, the final decisive factor would be decent image quality. With either ISO 800 or Auto, does the quality produced by the Panasonic TZ5 vary largely with the Canon A720 IS? Also, in LOW LIGHT conditions does the quality vary largely from the two aforementioned models?.

Thanks again. I am aware that my requirements are quite demanding. I'm just trying to find the best camera that suits the compromise...

Comment #8

Both cameras are on the comparometer;http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM.

I recommend you compare them head-to-head. Look at the interior (no flash) iso 800 photos, and click on the images to see full size. Click again to see 100% crops because you will likely be wanting to enlarge, esp. with the 720..

Comparing with the F100fd might also be useful..

Dave..

Comment #9

Ninelives72 wrote:.

Now, to try to simplify things, the final decisive factor would bedecent image quality. With either ISO 800 or Auto, does the qualityproduced by the Panasonic TZ5 vary largely with the Canon A720 IS?Also, in LOW LIGHT conditions does the quality vary largely from thetwo aforementioned models?.

To be honest if I were a Canon fan looking for a concert camera I would be thinking about the SX100 with 10x zoom or the S5 with 12x zoom..

I wouldn't be looking any further than the Fuji's if IQ or low light performance was the main priority. But at a gig you can be a fair way back with poor light - in which case the Fuji's won't help you much..

Canon EOS 450D + EF-S 10-22mm + EF-S 55-250mm + EF-S 18-55 IS + Sigma 30mm/f 1.4.

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5..

Comment #10

Ninelives72 wrote:.

However, as mentioned earlier, Im still VERY keen to getgood shots from within a crowd at a large nighttime festival..

Even the best DSLR + telephoto lenses would struggle to get great shots in such difficult conditions so it's almost impossible to get all this with a compact..

At a big outdoor festival, once the light goes your photos will be subject to unpredictable stage lighting and I think you'd be lucky to get anything with great IQ, even with the TZ5's zoom..

Canon EOS 450D + EF-S 10-22mm + EF-S 55-250mm + EF-S 18-55 IS + Sigma 30mm/f 1.4.

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5..

Comment #11

Thanks again for the responses Keith and Dave..

It's funny that you mentioned the Canon SX100. I went down to my local camera store today and they suggested it as an alternative to the TZ5. I was surprised to say the least as I haven't come across the SX100..

It seems like the SX100 is going to be the winner after all. Other than the fact that it also has a 10x zoom in a reasonably compact size, it seems to be a little better than the TZ5 in low light (according to reviews on imaging-resource and dpreview if I understood them correctly). It's also around $160 to $170 cheaper where I found it. And the image quality seems to be better with the SX100..

The cons are that the SX100 is a slower performer than the TZ5, and I think the battery life is better with the TZ5. Also, the SX100 doesn't provide optical zoom in movie mode, which is a disappointment. But I feel that the end product with the SX100 will hopefully be better..

Hope you guys agree. Considering you guys have been a great help with this decision it would be great to hear your final thoughts with my decision of the SX100 over the TZ5..

P.S. Any quick tips as to how to get the optimum pictures from the camera? I.E. ISO Level, Metering Mode, White Balance, etc..

Adham..

Comment #12

Just one last piece of info, which I hope isn't too late to share..

As mentioned earlier, most of my photos are going to be for personal use. Which means that most photos won't be published or printed anywhere. Rarely some photos may be published onto my company's web site, obviously those pics would be of my own shows, at 800 x 600. The rest may be uploaded or shared online through websites like Facebook etc..

There are VERY RARE occasions where I may send one or two pictures to magazines as companions to an article about my shows. However those are only in emergency cases as I usually hire professional photographers to take high end shots of my shows..

After reading many digital camera reviews that one aspect seems to be vital when comparing and rating cameras..

Adham..

Comment #13

Ninelives72 wrote:.

Hope you guys agree. Considering you guys have been a great help withthis decision it would be great to hear your final thoughts with mydecision of the SX100 over the TZ5..

The SX100 looks a great choice to me - I think you will be more than happy with that. Canon make great cameras and printers so I'm a big fan..

P.S. Any quick tips as to how to get the optimum pictures from thecamera? I.E. ISO Level, Metering Mode, White Balance, etc..

I advise to always shoot in spot metering mode for concerts, focusing on the face so that the camera isn't fooled too much by the stage lights..

Also worth playing with the various indoor white balance settings by taking a few test shots first if you can..

I've found ISO 800 is the best bet to avoid image blur in low light - but you may get away with lower ISO's depending on how fast the band are moving and light quality..

Canon EOS 450D + EF-S 10-22mm + EF-S 55-250mm + EF-S 18-55 IS + Sigma 30mm/f 1.4.

Sigma DP1, Fuji F31fd and Panasonic TZ5..

Comment #14

I really don't know how well you can do with a compact camera in those conditions..

I went to an outdoor concert at night and shot 400+ shots and only got maybe 15 keepers... and I was using a DSLR..

You would often have to go ISO1600 or even ISO3200 to avoid blur in low light. I don't know of any compact that can produce acceptable results at those sensitivities...

Comment #15

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