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Tips for using digital camera at concert?

Old 02-27-05, 02:32 AM
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Tips for using digital camera at concert?

Well, I just got a digital camera and thought it would be great to use at concerts. So I took some photos, but they all turned out crappy. Of the ones I can even see, they are pretty blurry. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions. I was searching around on the internet and I saw one suggestion to change the ISO to 400. Another said to hold the shutter release button which, when depressed half-way, locks in exposure and focus and helps prevent camera shake. Do you think these suggestions will do the trick, and do you have any others?

Just in case it's important, I have a Kodak DC7440.

Last edited by SomeVoices; 02-27-05 at 02:52 AM.
Old 02-27-05, 04:25 AM
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You need an actual DSLR to do concert shots--separate lenses with wide apertures such as a 2.8 lens or a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 if you're close.

A camcorder can do much better if you don't want to spend the bucks for a real DSLR. A Canon ZR85 for example, with the capability to take still shots as well, is around $300.

Kodak's EasyShare cameras and most compact cameras are meant for average shooting, with a lot of light. Low-light shooting is not a compact camera's strong area, and this is where a DSLR takes over.

Upping the ISO is also not a good idea either, since most compact cameras have really crappy imagers (however with a true DSLR, yes increasing the ISO will permit you to shoot at a faster shutter speed, resulting in less blurry images). I've used a few compact cameras and DSLRs, and I've written articles on the subject of imagers. You can find used DSLRs galore on eBay, and I'd consider getting one if you want to get into shooting.
Old 02-28-05, 05:47 PM
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Turn the flash OFF (unless you are closer than about 7 feet from the artist), and hold as steady as possible. Use seats, poles, floor, etc....as a tripod.

I took this pic from my seats at the Las Vegas U2 show in 2001.
Old 02-28-05, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for the tips. That's a nice looking picture!
Old 03-01-05, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrisedge
Turn the flash OFF (unless you are closer than about 7 feet from the artist), and hold as steady as possible. Use seats, poles, floor, etc....as a tripod.
Yup, that about sums it up. Also, if it's a really crowded concert, then keep your camera on a wrist strap or a neck strap.
Old 03-01-05, 03:09 AM
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Sound advice from Chrisedge. I'm surprised you could even get a camera in to your concert. Of all the recent concerts I've been to they haven't allowed digital cameras, and disposable cameras are a joke.
Old 03-01-05, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ZakVTA
Sound advice from Chrisedge. I'm surprised you could even get a camera in to your concert. Of all the recent concerts I've been to they haven't allowed digital cameras, and disposable cameras are a joke.
You can get in anything to concerts, I have "friends" that bring in tripods, camcorders, mics, dat recorders, etc...past wands, and full walk through metal detectors...
Old 03-01-05, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrisedge
You can get in anything to concerts, I have "friends" that bring in tripods, camcorders, mics, dat recorders, etc...past wands, and full walk through metal detectors...
Care to share those tips?? Granted the concert screeners are no TSA Agents, but they do check for illegal recording devices.

...unless you're going to tell me that he knows the security guards and can slip it through.
Old 03-01-05, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrisedge
You can get in anything to concerts, I have "friends" that bring in tripods, camcorders, mics, dat recorders, etc...past wands, and full walk through metal detectors...
I like to know what kind of friends you have that can bring in tripods, camcorders to a concert.
Old 03-01-05, 01:37 PM
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Yeah, I've never tried crotching my camcorder, but it can't be fun. Wearing a monopod up one's ass can't be comfortable either.
Old 03-01-05, 02:32 PM
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I took these concert photos, and I even listed my settings/gear on the page.
Old 03-02-05, 06:47 PM
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How come sometimes using the flash, even at night or when it's dark, seems to turn out worse-looking photos than without? Does the longer shutter speed help that much? I've found that some of those flash photos (on my simple 3-megapixel digital camera) just seem too "bright" and "washed out," while the ones without are much truer to life in terms of color and contrast. (I may occasionally have to edit them on my PC, but still...)
Old 03-02-05, 07:16 PM
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At the concert you can try upping the ISO to 200 and even 400. You will be able to use faster shutter speeds which will help. This will result in more 'noise' then if using 100 ISO, but if you are only interested in some really small prints or emailing the pics to friends etc. then the noise may not be as noticable. Try setting your camera to aperture priority and set it for your lenses widest opening. This will force your camera to use a higher shutter speed.
Underexpose rather then overexpose (although that should not be a big problem due to concert lighting) underexposures can be corrected in post processing. In other words don't worry too much if the pics appear to be coming out just a bit dark. You may be able to zip them up later.

As others have suggested try to find something to steady the camera on if possible to avoid shake which results in blurred pics.

Pushing the shutter button down halfway to 'pre focus' can help as well. Push it all the way down at the key moments.
Some key moments to look for? Wait for them to use as much WHITE lighting as possible. It's the brightest and the best chance your camera has for the fastest shutter speed. Forget about the dramatic red and blue lights etc. These will pretty much always blur your shot.

Also, shoot TONS of pics! It's digital right? So you can always delete the dogs.
Better to shoot 200 images and get one or two usable ones then to shoot 20 and figure you probably have it, then discover later you actually have crap.
So shoot some at various ISO and priority settings. Play around a bit.
Maybe even *intentionally* move the camera while taking the pic to blur the hell out of it. If you are really close to the stage, try using a slow shutter speed in combination with the flash. You could get something funky.
Have fun but don't get so wrapped in photo worries that you don't enjoy your concert.

Last edited by Phil L.; 03-02-05 at 07:22 PM.
Old 03-02-05, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by criptik28
How come sometimes using the flash, even at night or when it's dark, seems to turn out worse-looking photos than without? Does the longer shutter speed help that much? I've found that some of those flash photos (on my simple 3-megapixel digital camera) just seem too "bright" and "washed out," while the ones without are much truer to life in terms of color and contrast. (I may occasionally have to edit them on my PC, but still...)
Yes, the longer shutter speed helps alot because you're allowing more light to come in. A flash is not strong enough light up a street, or even a room sometimes. Flash is only good for close object. If you want the foreground and background well lit, you can use a combo of slow shutter and flash.
Old 03-03-05, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Patman
I took these concert photos, and I even listed my settings/gear on the page.
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