What's a good lens for concerts? (For Nikon)

Trenton Romulox

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I'm shooting a concert on Friday, or maybe it's Saturday, either way, it's this week and I need a new lens. I need something fast because I'm gonna be shooting handheld, no flash, and as you can imagine...there's not a ton of light at a concert. I've been looking at the Nikon 80-200mm AF-D f/2.8, but I've been considering the 70-200 AF VR f/2.8 lens also, but it's a fair bit costlier. Anyone used either of those lenses, and if so, what do you think of them? Or are there better lenses for a concert?

P.S. I've been looking at the 80-200mm anyways, so I am certainly not buying just for the concert. More just expediting the purchasing process. :]
 

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I guess it really depends on how close you can get to the action as to what will work best, but an 80-200mm might not be a bad start. You might want to consider something that covers kit lens range too, but at the shorter focal length, shutter speed isn't at quite such a premium for handholding.
 

dpolston

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I shoot concerts and theater events all the time and I use the 70-200 2.8 primarily. If I would have had the extra money at the time I bought the lens, I would have (and in retrospect, should have) bought the VR. I regret that now. But the 70-200 is wonderful in these situations however in the very least, VR or not, use a monopod. Hand holding some of these shots, no matter how good you are, might be soft focused. I also use another lens for concerts. It's an 18-135 (4.5-5.6; I have to push the exposure a bit sometimes) but it has a wide enough focal range for me to get those wide to mid shots without changing lenses too often.

This shot below is from a concert last night. I was around 15 feet away, hand holding (because I was sitting on the floor). It is a bit soft because of me not being able to monopod it and the camera setup I use is a bit heavy sometimes (D200 with battery back MD-200). Just for thought: I had been shooting all day and this was the 3rd show that weekend, so fatigue might have played into the soft focus.

http://thephotoforum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=1314&d=1196690856
 

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I use a 35 f2.0 and a 50 f/1.4 or 1.8 a lot. Since going to the strobist method for front fill (about 1-2 stops under stage lighting) I am able to use about any F2.8 and sometimes get to f/4. So I now also use 35-70 2.8, 80-200 2.8 and for real close and wide shots like from above the drummer a 14mm f/2.8.
 
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Trenton Romulox

Trenton Romulox

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I use a 35 f2.0 and a 50 f/1.4 or 1.8 a lot. Since going to the strobist method for front fill (about 1-2 stops under stage lighting) I am able to use about any F2.8 and sometimes get to f/4. So I now also use 35-70 2.8, 80-200 2.8 and for real close and wide shots like from above the drummer a 14mm f/2.8.

So you think that the 80-200 is a good choice, compared to say, the 70-200 which costs quite a bit more and adds only VR? Is 2.8 fast enough that I wouldn't need VR to shoot a concert?
 
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Trenton Romulox

Trenton Romulox

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Or, how about the Nikon 180mm f/2.8? Would that be sharper because it's fixed, and on top of that, it's cheaper. And with money I save by going with the 180mm instead of the 80-200 or the 70-200VR, I could get a nice wide-angle lens or micro lens, yeah?
 

johnmh

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Have used the 70-200 VR to shoot high school plays. The f/2.8 usually works fine with the available stage lighting. Love the VR. Regretting not upgrading equipment earlier. The shots I missed by NOT having better glass.........
 

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