Top 20 Best Camera for Concerts: The Ultimate Guide

best camera for concerts

The feeling that you get while at a concert is almost indescribable.  You’re there, watching your favorite artist perform and there is nothing else like it.  Being surrounded by like minded people that are there for the exact same reason. The experience.  To hear it and feel it.  There aren’t many things that compare.

...and that’s where a camera comes into play.  Being able to capture that experience and look back on it later, is priceless.  Showing that experience with others is even better. With the correct camera, you can tell any story.  One of those stories could very well be the next concert you attend.

That is the purpose of this article.  To help you choose the best camera for concerts.  We will be touching on many types of cameras such as DSLR, mirrorless, point and shoot, and compact camera. All while describing how each one could benefit you.  We will also touch on the pros and cons of each type of camera, and each camera itself within that type.

best camera for concerts

By the time you finish this article, you will be able to make a clear and confident decision about what the best camera for concerts is, and which one works best for you.

Before we dive right in we are going to touch on the three pillars of photography. Specifically, how it’s important in making your decision.  So let's dive into that now!

Note: This article is quite lengthy - we suggest to use the navigation window below to navigate through the article

The three pillars of photography and the importance of a camera with manual mode

3 pillars of photography
manual mode on dslr

Manual mode on DSLR

Before we start this section, know that the three pillars of photography doesn't only relate to photography. It applies to videography as well.  So keep that in mind.  

The three pillars themselves are aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  Each of these work together to give you the best exposure (light balance) in your image

If you would like more information on exposure you can read my in depth article here.

You will need to have the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to be set correctly if you want the best image possible.  You will not be able to adjust these settings with a camera that does not have manual mode.

What manual allows you to do is to set all the exposure settings to whatever you see fit.  I stress this point to everyone I have talked to.  You not only want to be able to set them to what you want, but you also want to get used to using a camera in manual mode.

Yes, cameras do have automatic mode and there is nothing wrong with using it.  There are even some cameras in this guide that only have automatic. But allowing a computer chip to determine your settings, sometimes gives you a negative outcome.  

iso settings

ISO settings on DSLR

One of the worst feelings is running your camera in automatic mode. Then taking a shot that you thought should look great, ends up looking terrible.  I will give you a good example.

The unfortunate result...

Say you are at a concert taking photos of the band while they are playing.  You have a great vantage point, the lighting is great, and the energy is awesome. There couldn’t be a better time than that moment.  

You then pull out your camera. Set it automatic and start shooting. You know you should be getting great shots - some of your best.

The concert ends and you take your camera home and plug the memory card into the computer and you’re shocked.  The photos came out horrible. You noticed that everything is blurry when you swore that everything was in focus.  You have no idea why, until you find out the answer later. You should have been in manual mode.

What happened at the concert was, when you set your camera in automatic mode it set all your settings. It was changing your settings as the lighting in the environment changed.  To accommodate for the low ambient light on stage, your camera lowered the shutter speed to give your image a better exposure. What it didn’t take into effect was that your shutter speed was so low that even the slightest movement on your part rendered the image blurry.  You should have brought your shutter speed up, and lowered your aperture. If you couldn’t lower your aperture, you could have increased ISO.

low shutter fast movement

This is what your image would look like if your shutter speed was low and there was movement.

This particular story actually happened to me.  It was all avoidable, if I had just taken the time to learn the camera and the three pillars of photography.

The advantages and disadvantages of ISO

best point and shoot camera for concerts

I will not be diving too deep into ISO itself because I have a deep dive article about it here.  But in a nut-shell, it increases the brightness in your images.

This can benefit you when taking video or photos of a concert.  There are times when the environment will not be bright enough. If you find yourself at an indoor venue, 90% of the time you will find needing to use ISO.  If you are filming or shooting a band at night, you may also find yourself needing to use it.

The advantages are obvious.  You can brighten your image.   Your camera amplifies the light that is passing through your lens and hitting your cameras sensor. This may sound great, however, there are drawbacks to this.

The drawback is digital noise.  The higher you set your ISO, the more “noise” there will be on the image.  Noise is when you pull out your cell phone and take a photo of something in a low light situation.  The “graininess” in the image is called “noise”.

How do we avoid this you ask?

You avoid it by using it sparingly.  I never go above 1600 on my Canon 80D or 6400 on a Sony A7xxx.

You may find yourself in a situation where you may need to use high ISO settings, and that’s OK.  A bad picture or scene is better than nothing at all. Heck, you may even be able to save it in post. But know, you can either try to shoot when there is better light casted on your subject or expect noise when you use high ISO values.

best point and shoot camera for concerts

Comparison between DSLR, Mirrorless, Point and Shoot, and Compact Cameras

Best camera for concerts video

I thought it would be appropriate to have a small comparison between all the types of cameras in this article.  You may have use of this information when making your decision to purchase the best concert camera for you.

DSLR

We will first define the meaning of SLR - which is single lens reflex.  Which refers to a camera with a single lens that uses a reflex mirror to bend the light path from the lens to your viewfinder.  What the D stands for (get your head out of the gutter :D), is digital. This means that there is a digital sensor capturing your image as opposed to film like it was in the past.

So a DSLR is a digital single lens reflex.  Or a digital camera that is allowing light to pass through its lens. It then hits a mirror which bounces that light up to the viewfinder.  When you take a photo, the shutter opens (the mirror moves out of the way), and that light then hits the sensor. This is why the viewfinder “blinks” as you take photos.

While DSLR cameras are still very common and used today, a mirrorless camera will be the future of photography and videography in the years to come.

Best camera for concerts video

Canon T7i

Best camera for concerts video

Canon T7i

Mirrorless

As you would imagine, a mirrorless camera is mirrorless.  They are the same, with a couple of significant differences.  

The light enters through the lens and instead of traveling down to the reflex mirror, it hits the sensor directly .  There is no mirror to reflect it to the viewfinder.

Instead of reflecting light to the viewfinder - the viewfinder itself is tied to what the sensor is absorbing.  It is live view mode (that you set on your DSLR) in your viewfinder.

There are obvious benefits to seeing exactly what your sensor is absorbing. Which is why the statement, “cameras are moving to mirrorless” is agreed upon.

Best camera for concerts video

Sony A7iii

Best camera for concerts video

Sony A9

Point and shoot

Point and shoot cameras are in a league of their own.  What makes them interesting is that they are not considered DSLR’s.  Some point and shoot cameras don’t even come with a viewfinder.

So, what makes a camera point and shoot and what about it is so desirable?  Let me explain.

What makes a camera point and shoot is that.  You are able to pick the camera up and start shooting.  There isn’t much about the cameras that you have to worry about.  The majority of them are like a mirrorless camera. You don’t have a shutter and everything is seen on the rear LCD screen.

Not all of them are as “beginner friendly” - but the majority of them make taking photos very easy.

There is one other aspect of point and shoot cameras that makes it quite appealing for most.  That would be a fixed lens. And it’s a fixed telephoto lens. This is appealing for some because you don’t have to worry about buying many lenses and learning those lenses.  You have one lens that you have to worry about, and that’s it.

Best camera for concerts video

Nikon P1000

Best camera for concerts video

Nikon P900

Point and shoot cameras are great for amateurs and/or those who don't want to deal with interchangeable lenses. They are also a type of camera that will be around for the foreseeable future.

Compact Cameras

When you think of a compact camera you may think of these as a camera you can put in your pocket.  While this is true to an extent, this doesn’t have to be the case.

All major camera manufacturers make point and shoot compact cameras.  They are compact versions of their larger versions. There are models like the Canon M100 that many consider a compact camera, but have interchangeable lenses. 

You either love or hate the compact camera.  They are the type of product that will always be around, but enjoyed the most by their diehard fans.

Now that you better understand the aspects of photography. And what aspects of a camera is important when choosing the best camera for concerts, we can now move into discussing the cameras themselves.

We will start with the best DSLR and mirrorless cameras

Best compact camera

Canon M100

Best compact camera

Canon G7X Mark III

Mirrorless and DSLR cameras for concerts (photography)

Best compact camera

The Canon 80D is considered by some as one of the most versatile cameras of recent years.  It’s incredibly durable, takes great photos and video, and comes with many options that much more expensive cameras do.

A few things to note that are going to help you while taking photos at a concert would be:

  • Higher ISO settings ( maximum of 25,800)
  • Dual pixel autofocus (will help you out a lot with keeping the action in focus)
  • Battery grip option for extended battery life and portrait buttons
  • Interchangeable lenses for versatility (The entire EF and EF-S line of lenses)
  • VERY fair price for what you get

The Canon 80D does well in low light.  A lot of which is determined by the lens that you use.  If you find yourself outside, any Canon glass will do great.  But in low light (indoors or at night), you will want to invest in a lens that has an aperture of 2.8 or lower.  This ensures that you will benefit the most from the benefits of the Canon 80D

The dual pixel autofocus (DP AF) is one of the best features on the camera. It makes the camera such a great buy for the price.  All the cameras that are being released by Canon today have DP AF. But the 80D was the first in the “xxD” line of Canon cameras that came standard with it.  It’s considered to be the best autofocusing system from any manufacturer.

The cons are few: 

  • One is that it is a bit dated.  It was released in 2016 (but this is a benefit too, seeing as it is less expensive now). 
  • It only records video in 1080p. You do not have to worry about this if all you take is photos.  But in a world of 4k, those taking video are looking for 4k options, and this one is not one.
  • This is also an APS-C camera, which comes with a native 1.6x crop.
Best camera for concerts

When the word Sony is mentioned when talking about cameras, you either cringe or smile.  If it makes you cringe, you should be smiling if you are looking for the best camera for concerts.  One thing that Sony does better than anyone in the camera industry right now is low light performance.

Of course Sony won’t release their exact algorithm for low light performance. We do know that you can push ISO settings much further on a sony than you can on any other camera.  You should keep this in mind when choosing your camera to shoot concerts because you will be in low light environments more often than not.

Here are some great things that should make you keep the Sony A7III in mind:

  • The best low light performance
  • High ISO settings (51,600 expandable to 102,000+)
  • Full Frame
  • Amazing selection of Zeiss/Sony glass
  • Able to use canon glass with an adapter
  • Excellent autofocus and eye detection (for stills)
  • Active tracking which keeps your subject in focus while you’re taking continuous photos

There are a few negatives about the A7III that you need to keep in mind.  

  • the camera is not the best at continuous autofocus.  
  • Another common complaint is Sony’s menu system is difficult to use and navigate. I have not had a problem using it myself.
  • It’s also a bit pricey at $2000 for the body + the cost of lenses.
Canon 6D

 I will admit that the Canon 6D Mark II is a bit dated.  But do not let that fool you. You have The 6D mark II offers a lot that other cameras of its price point do not.

The pros:

  • this is a full frame camera.  
  • You will be able to use all EF and EF-S lenses and take full advantage of those lenses.
  • It comes with Dual Pixel autofocus, which is something that you will need when shooting bands that are constantly moving on stage.  
  • The camera is also a tank. It’s built to last. There are people who bought this camera when it released (2016). They still use it today, with thousands on the shutter counter and hundreds of hours of video.
  • The ISO ranges to 25,600.

The cons:

  •   Dated
  • Only 1080p in video

The 6D mark II is a great camera because of the autofocus, ISO range, and the fact that it is full frame - all at a reasonable price.The 6D mark II is a great camera because of the autofocus, ISO range, and the fact that it is full frame - all at a reasonable price.


canon t7i

I would consider the Canon Rebel T7i as the affordable DSLR.  Yes, there are cheaper DSLR’s out there. But this specific model offers a lot for the price.  Keep this camera in mind when you’re making your decision.

You should notice that there are quite a few features that are common with the T7i and the 80D.  Here are the main features that the T7i offers.

  • Good low light performance (Max ISO of 25,600)
  • Continuous autofocus
  • Lens versatility (full range of EF/EF-S line of lenses)
  • Affordable

There are cons to this camera, as all the others.   

  • It is an APS-C. So you will get a 1.6x crop on your images.  
  • While it does have autofocus, it is not as fast as others (but tracks pretty well for the price point).  
  • Also, if you decide to get the camera with the 18-55mm kit lens, you will notice that the focus and speed of the lens are both slow.  It is recommended to get a lens that is a bit faster.
Sony A7ii

We thought that we would include the A7II because it is a much more affordable alternative to the A7III.  You get the same superior low light performance and decent autofocus. Lets go over the positives, then the negatives.

  • Superior low light performance 
  • Affordable (half the price of A7III)
  • Tracking autofocus
  • Lens versatility (Zeiss/Sony lenses)

As for the cons, there are a few. 

  • The A7II is an aging camera (2014) and some of the technology is showing that.
  • you do not get is the amazing autofocus when taking stills.  You will notice the camera hunting to focus in certain situations that the A7III wouldn’t have a problem with (or slower focus).

The downsides are minor when looking at the benefits of the camera (in my opinion).  Top notch low light performance is something you should be thinking about when choosing the best camera for concerts.

The pros and cons of using a DSLR or mirrorless camera at a concert.

As we all know, there are positive and negatives to everything in this world.  The same is true when deciding if a DSLR or mirrorless camera is the right one on your next concert shoot. So let's dive right into it.

Pros

  • You will get the best image possible with a DSLR or mirrorless camera.
  • Interchangeable lenses which gives you versatility and variety of focal lengths (and manufacturers)

  • Completely manual operation (this benefits you by allowing you to change your settings to what is best and keep them constant).

  • It’s what all professional photographers use. (you could turn a hobby into something you get paid to do).
  • Prices are dropping. (Many great DSLR and Mirrorless cameras are becoming more and more affordable as the years go on. The great cameras of the past are still great, but much more affordable now).

Cons

  • Size.  The size of a DSLR can hinder some that want to keep somewhat of a low profile.  You will most likely have a camera bag of some type, which adds to size as well.

  • Risk of damage. This goes with everything in life. But with something that you will be investing quite a bit of money into, there is a risk of your expensive gear getting damaged.  We highly recommend camera gear insurance.
  • Initial cost - Price is a major factor in determining what someone is able to get.  The initial cost in a camera body and a decent lens can run from $1500 to $4000 depending on what setup you want.  The “better” the equipment, the more it will cost you.

Now that we have taken a deep dive into DSLR and Mirrorless, let's move onto point and shoot cameras.

The best point and shoot cameras for concerts

Nikon P1000

Like stated before in this article, there are many great things about point and shoot cameras that make them worth your money. Without diving too deep into the specifics right now ( we will be diving into that a little bit later), the main reason to use them is convience.

Let’s dive right into the cameras themselves.

G3X

To start, the Canon G3 X boasts a nice 20.1 MP sensor coupled with a digic 6 processor.  While the Digic 6 is a little dated, you get the benefits of a great image processor and you save a bit of money by not having the new Digic 8 version.

A great feature that is going to help you a lot while taking photos at your next concert is the fact that it has a 25x optical zoom lens.  While the lens is fixed, this lens can telephoto from 24mm to a whopping 600mm.  Keep in mind, this is all optical. There is no digital zoom on this camera. This will allow you to get amazing wide angle shots (24mm) and really up close and personal shots (600mm).

Side note: I will recommend that if you decide to shoot at 300mm or more, you will want to have the camera on a tripod.

A couple other great features include  

  • 3.2” flip up screen and a built in flash.
  • It will also take very acceptable video.
  • You can shoot still RAW files.

The cons to this camera are apparent

  • There isn’t a viewfinder.  You will have to rely on the 3” screen to frame all of your photos.  This is a significant con to a person like myself who has always used a viewfinder to frame shots instead of relying on the live view mode.  You can purchase an electronic viewfinder separate and attach it.
  • The unit can be a bit pricey for some.
NikonP1000

Next up is Nikon’s Coolpix P1000.  This is hand-down Nikon’s best point and shoot camera.  It’s also loaded with some incredible features for the price.

First it has  

  • 16MP low light CMOS sensor which works great in low light.   
  • A vibrant 3.2” variable angle display.
  • It’s also capable of shooting video in 4k.  

The Nikon coolpix P1000 has a 125x optical zoom.  Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not a typo, 125x optical zoom.  That is the equivalent of a 3000mm lens.  So you are able to get the wide angle shots at 24mm and the incredibly detailed or long shots at 3000mm.  Some examples of this are shots of the moon. Another great feature that they added is called “rock-steady” image stabilization. Which uses a vibration detection system that eliminates even the slightest of movements and vibrations (you will need this when zoomed in to maximum).

Moon P1000

The moon shot with the P1000

As far as the cons go

  • Price.  The unit starts at $1000.  Now to some this could be a good price, or a steep one.  But for a point and shoot camera, this is a bit steep in my eyes.  
  • You also can’t change the lens.
Best Mirrorless and dslr cameras for concerts

Our third selection kinda piggy-backs off the last camera we talked about.  This is the Nikon P900, which is the little brother to the P1000; and there are a few aspects that reflect that.

Some great features include

  • 16MP low light CMOS sensor (the same found in the P1000).  
  • A 3” LCD display  
  • 83x optical zoom
  • Max ISO of 6400

You notice the difference in the screen size and the optical zoom length.  Those are the main differences between the two cameras. Other than the fact that the P900 is a bit more affordable at $525 (compared to $1000).  It has the same image stabilization, sensor, etc.

Best Mirrorless and dslr cameras for concerts

Next up is a good one, the Sony RX 10 IV.  This camera offers much of what other point and shoot cameras do. Sony does it just a little bit better (in my opinion).

The pros include

  • 20.2 MP back illuminated sensor.  This is the acclaimed technology that makes Sony so good at low light photography and videography.  
  • It sports a. 8.3x optical zoom through Zeiss glass.  If you do not know or have not heard of Zeiss, they are one of the best lens brands in the world.  Hands down.
  • It allows for external recording to a monitor, external audio microphones
  • Eye AF and lock on tracking.  

There are a few cons I would like to mention.   

  • Zoom length. An 8.3x optical zoom leaves a bit to be desired compared to what we have already discussed. This is equivalent to a 24-200mm.  Quite a big difference compared to Nikon, but a 200mm zoom should give you all of the distance you need in most situations.
  • The price can be a little steep for some at $1600.
Best Mirrorless and dslr cameras for concerts

The last point and shoot camera we have on this list is the Sony HX 400.  This camera comes packed with features and for a really affordable price.

This camera comes equipped with:

  • 20.4MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor 
  • 3” flip up screen, and a vibrant electronic viewfinder  
  • You also find a 50x optical zoom fixed Zeiss lens. 
  • Steadyshot technology for image stabilization.
  • All of this for an affordable price of $400.

A few cons that stand out:

  • The lens itself isn’t as high of quality or sharp as the RX 10 IV.  
  • The LCD screen and viewfinder are slightly lower quality as well.  These are trade-offs needed to achieve the price-point they have set.  
  • The lens is also fixed, of course.
  • Dated

Pros and Cons of using a point and shoot camera for concerts

Let's take a look at the pros and con of using a point and shoot camera for concerts

Pros

  • Convenience. There is nothing that’s easier than grabbing your camera from your bag or from around your neck and shooting.
  • You don’t have to worry about changing out lenses in the middle of a band performance. 
  • On-top of all that, you get pretty damn good images as a result.

Cons

  • Lack of manual settings. Some of these cameras have a priority style mode (Sony). This is much like the same setting on a Canon - but this does not give you full control over the entire camera. 
  • Not being able to change lenses. Using different telephoto or prime lenses to achieve different styles of bokah and focal lengths is key for most mid to upper level photographers/videographers.

The best compact cameras for concerts

The best compact camera for concerts

Compact cameras are in a league of their own.  Not only are they convenient, they’re also very small and gives you the option of keeping a low profile (if that is what you’re going after).  Not only that most compact cameras are small enough to fit in your pocket. With all of this “compact-ness”, you’ll find some significant downsides.

Without further ado, let's jump into it!

The best compact camera for concerts

The Canon G7X Mark III is Canon’s latest camera in their G7X line.  First off

  • when the lens is retracted entirely, is small enough to fit in a loose jean pocket or into a jacket pocket.  The compact factor is definitely there.
  • It boasts a 20.1 MP CMOS sensor powered by the new Digic 8 image processor.
  • It also has a 4.2x fixed optical zoom lens along with a built in flash
  • 4k recording capabilities.
  • You won’t have a problem taking selfies either with it’s 3.0 inch flip up screen.

A lot of features, right?  All that packed into an object a bit larger than a pack of cigarettes.

With all things great, there has to be some cons.  This is no different. For one

  • The lens is fixed.
  • You do not have a viewfinder, and you won’t be able to buy one separately either.  
  • The price can be a drawback for some, especially for something this small. It comes in at roughly $750.
The best compact camera for concerts

The second on our list is the Cybershot HX 80.  Again, this is another compact camera that could fit right in your pocket.  It also has some really great features.

  • The HX-80 boasts a retractable Zeiss lens.  The lens is capable of a 30x zoom. Not too bad for such a compact camera.  Another cool feature is it’s viewfinder. The viewfinder is tucked away on the top left of the camera body.  When you go to take a photo it’ll pop up to view through (great touch).
  • What this camera has that a few of the others did not, is manual mode.  You know how much I stress about how controlling all of the settings inside of your camera yourself is so important.  Well, this little camera allows you to do just that.  Full control over the camera. You’ll also be able to record decent video that has internal stabilization.  A great bonus.

Another great thing about this camera is how affordable it is.  The camera comes in around $320. Yes, very affordable and it doesn’t skip many features to get their either.  Although, there are a few.

Those few include

  • The sensor and MP size.  It only utilizes an 18.2 MP sensor. This isn’t too bad. With 20 MP being a pretty significant standard (aside from Nikon’s point and shoots) - it would have been nice to see their 20+ MP sensors in here. 
  • Also, the image quality starts to diminish when using the zoom past roughly 150mm
The best compact camera for concerts

The Nikon Coolpix A1000 is the little brother to the P1000 thats apart of their point and shoot line of cameras.  With that being said, it comes with many of the same features as the P1000, but in a much smaller form factor.

The pros to the A1000 is

  • 16 MP low light CMOS sensor (much like the P1000), that excels in low light.  
  • 35x optical zoom lens  
  • 3” flip screen that is interactive (swipe through shits and pinch to zoom in).  
  • There’s a vibrant electronic viewfinder as well.
  • The A1000 can shoot in 4k and has built in wifi too!  
  • It’s pricepoint is also very affordable at $499.

With all of this packed into such as small form factor, there has to be some cons, right?  Well, yeah...

For one, while the sensor may be great, that doesn’t mean that it has the dynamic range that a much larger sensor would have in a camera such as the Nikon D850. This is expected, considering the size of the camera.  The glass itself is inferior to the P1000. You won’t get as sharp images out of this compared to the P1000. While the ISO range is relatively high (up to 6400), the low light performance isn’t as good as a larger camera.

The best compact camera for concerts

Ahhhh the Canon M100.  What can I say about this camera that isn’t positive? Well, few...

Let’s talk about the best advantage to this camera versus others in this category. 

  • That would be that you’re able to interchange M-class Canon lenses. Yes, this is a compact camera (about the size of a pack of cigarettes), that allows you to change lenses out of.  You’re able to adapt EF and EF-S lenses to this camera with an adapter.

A few other features that are worth mentioning are

  • built in flash,
  • Dual pixel autofocus
  • 24.2 Megapixel sensor
  • 3” flip up screen
  • ISO level up to 25,600
  • all at a price (with a lens) at $449.  
  • You also have full manual control over the camera!

Nothing is ever perfect so, a pretty significant con of this camera is  

  • it does not have a viewfinder.  
  • You also can’t buy a viewfinder, there simply isn’t a connection for it.
  • You are also limited to 1080p video recording.

The pros and cons of using a compact camera for concerts

The idea of a compact camera at a concert is very enticing.  You can put it in your shirt, pants, or jacket pocket. Many of the same sensors that are in larger point and shoot cameras are in the compact versions.  Some compact cameras (like the M100) allow interchangeable lenses as well.

While I do not frown upon people who use compact cameras (or any type of camera for that matter). What I do frown upon is when they expect to get the most amazing shots in the world when they are shooting on a compact camera that has a very average lens, sensor, and has no manual settings.

You have to be aware that shooting on a compact camera is decent.  Especially in low light situations. In those situations in particular, an actual DSLR or large form factor mirrorless camera will always produce a better image.  Not only that, it will produce an image that is scalable.  

Best cameras for video at concerts

I thought I would give you my suggestions for cameras that shoot the best video in a concert environment.  Much like photography, video relies heavily on correct exposure. More importantly, video relies more on good exposure because you’re constantly taking photos.  If you are shooting at 30 fps, your camera is taking 30 photos a second.

You have to keep in mind how the environment is changing and how you need to adapt to that to keep your exposure correct.

These cameras do an amazing job of capturing video. Most importantly, in environments where lighting is constantly changing.

Best cameras for video at concerts

I talked about this camera at the beginning of this article, but we are looking at the video aspect of the camera now.  

When it comes to Sony, there is no one that does low light video better.  Period. There are a couple manufacturers that are approaching the levels of Sony. But... there isn’t another brand that is able to shoot at 6400 ISO and have the image still be acceptable. Although, I wouldn’t recommend going any higher than 6400.

Not only do you have the ISO and low light performance that is helping you, but Sony glass is considered to be one of the best on the market.  Of course you will have those that say Canon or Nikon has the best glass - but it’s honestly personal preference. Just know, Grandmaster glass is some of the best in the world.

This is also a full frame camera that shoots at 4k with zero crop.  So what you see when you take photos or in 1080p, is exactly what you will get in 4k.  It has in body image stabilization and shoots at 120 fps in 1080p.

A major downside of the camera (and not everyone experiences it) is the autofocus.  Canon has the best autofocus, period. Sony has great autofocus but it has it’s issues with hunting with older lenses.

People also have issues with Sony’s color science. I love the colors that come out of Sony products.  But just be aware, if you have used canon in the past, they colors will look a bit different in comparison.

Best cameras for video at concerts

This camera is a bit different and i'll explain why here in a minute, but just realize, this is not a point and shoot camera.  This camera is made for film. You will not be able to just pick this camera up and slap a lens on it and shoot amazing footage.  No, it takes time to really learn and dial in this camera.

But let me tell you, the results that you would get at one of the concerts you are going to attend,  would look absolutely amazing.

A few great things about this camera (black magic has just released a 6k EF mount version of this camera), is being able to adapt any lens that you want.  There are multiple companies that make quality adapters for this camera mount. They allow you to use Canon, Sony, Nikon, etc.  

The black magic 4k also has a huge 5” touch screen display that allows you to change every aspect of the camera right from the screen.

One of the biggest things that is going to help you filming a concert is the fact that you will need great low light performance, especially indoors.  Well black magic has you covered with their Dual ISO technology. Meaning you have two ISO settings. This allows you to shoot with higher ISO values than you normally would be able to with say a Canon 80D or even the $6000 1DX Mark II.

Blackmagic RAW

The final thing that I wanted to touch on was Blackmagic Raw.  This is a recording setting within the camera that allows you to record in Raw form.  It’s the same idea as shooting RAW photos, or shooting in Raw on a RED. This allows you to pull those files into your editing program and change things such as the ISO, overall exposure, and color grade.  All of which are very hard (some are impossible) to do on cameras that record in a native file format like H.264.

The Cons...

There are quite a bit of great aspects to the Black magic 4k - but there are equal amounts of cons.  The first is that the file sizes of their 4k raw files are HUGE. Second, as of right now they have no released a battery grip.  Without the extra battery and just running on one battery, you are looking at roughly 20 minutes of continuous runtime on a single battery in 4k RAW.  That is atrocious. There isn’t any autofocus built into the camera either.

The last aspect that I will mention is that you have to use Divinci Resolve if you want to edit BlackMagic RAW.  There is no getting around it as of the time I am writing this. Which means if you love Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X - you will be out of luck.  Although, I will say, Devinci Resolve is a wonderful program (in my opinion).

Best cameras for video at concerts

Ahhhh the EOS R.  It is Canon’s flagship mirrorless camera.  Before release (and for some time after it released), this camera received harsh expectations and reviews.  As time passed, many of those who didn’t see its potential, started to change their mind. Why? The quality and versatility of the camera.

Here are a few things that the EOS R does well and could benefit you when you are out there shooting concerts you’ll be attending.

  • Full frame
  • Great ISO range (max setting of 40,000)
  • Great dynamic range (retains excellent color data)
  • DP AF (an even better version of dual pixel autofocus than the Canon 80D)
  • Wide range of lens options ( New RF lenses and EF lenses with an adapter)
  • Active tracking and eye detection
  • Very high bitrates (480 MB/s - retains a lot of information)

The biggest downside of the EOS R is the price.  The body alone is $2000. The new RF lenses, while amazing, are very expensive as well.  You can use an adapter to adapt older EF lenses to the camera, but that costs money too. To some, the EOS R may be a money pit.  Others (like myself) see it as a camera that can take some of the best photos and videos

Best cameras for video at concerts

Now let’s talk about the Canon 80D, or what I like to call the most well rounded camera out there.

The 80D is the 6D mark II’s little brother.  It has all of the same pros and perks as the 6D mark II, other than this has an APS-C sensor instead of full frame.  

The fact that is APS-C is it’s major downside in comparison.  But the 80D is $500 cheaper than the 6D Mark II and offers all of the same autofocusing features that the 6D does.  The other downside is that since it is not full frame, it does not offer as large of a range of ISO. The max ISO on this camera is 12,800.

This is considered the most well rounded camera currently available.  Well price, great features, and produces a great image. This camera is the one that many people start with and then move onto a better camera once they start making money or feel like they have out-grown it.

Best cameras for video at concerts

This is the last in the list of cameras that we would recommend - and we may have saved the best for last.  The GH5, hmmmm, where to begin…

The GH5 is made for video.  It’s a video creators dream camera, if you will. 

The pros include 4k at 60 fps, 1080p at 180 fps, 10 bit 4:2:2 (recorded externally), 2 SD slots, in body image stabilization, and under $2k.  Yeah, all of that is true.You can adapt all major lenses to this body as well. It really is amazing.

The few cons is $1500k for a camera body is a lot for some. You also need an external recorder if you want to get the most out of this camera (another ~$500).  This is also a micro 4/3 sensor, meaning that the crop is larger than even the 80D.

But the image quality is out of this world in most shots.  The stabilization alone means you can record handheld with a lens that doesn’t have IS built into it.  That can save you hundreds of dollars right there ( canon image stabilization lenses are expensive).

You may need to consider a speedlight

If you can see yourself creating some of the concert images that I included in this article - you may need to look into a speedlight.

A speedlight is a flash, plain and simple.  It mounts in the shoe on the top of your camera - and is controlled electronically by the camera (there is actually a contact connection inside the shoe).  When your shutter releases, so does the flash, and bingo you have a decent exposed image.

These are not that expensive at all and come with controls to adjust the amount of flash.  I will tell you that the difference between the flash on your camera right now and a speedlight, is like night and day.  You’ll immediately notice a difference the moment you use it.

We have included a few inexpensive versions below that you could look at.  We have used all of them throughout the years, and recommend them all.

Our recommendations

I like to tell my readers this every time I make a post and they ask what I would buy.  I tell them that what I would buy isn’t something they might want to buy. It might not work for them the way it works for me.  We are all different. But I will recommend what you should buy in certain situations, so that is what I’m going to do for you now.


If you are looking for a DSLR or Mirrorless camera for concert photography and you are just a beginner, there is no reason to purchase anything better or more expensive than the 80D.  You will get great photos and the limitations of the camera will not hinder the outcome of your photos.

If you are advanced and want to upgrade I would recommend the A7III.  There are so many advantages to having that camera. I would choose that over any of the others (mainly for low light performance).





As for point and shoot - you cannot beat the Nikon Coolpix P1000.  You won’t find a better lens, low light performance, zoom, or image stabilization out of a camera than this one.If you want to save a bit of money you could consider the P900. I would recommend sticking in the Nikon line of cameras when it comes to point and shoot.


For compact cameras it’s a no-joke without-a-doubt you-better-get-it recommendation of the Canon M100.  You get a lot of the same options, manual settings, interchangeable lenses, and even a lens for $449. That is a steal.  It really is a great camera for the price. I would highly recommend getting one whenever you can.

As for shooting video at the concert

it’s a tossup. Are you making cinematic movie style videos?  Or are you making home videos to throw on youtube for your friends to see?

If you are looking to invest into good gear and making money off of filming - I would recommend looking into either the Sony or the Black Magic.  I would choose the Black Magic, personally, but it is all up to what would work better for you. Would you want RAW files over autofocus and image stabilization or vice-versa?  

If you plan on just getting started and want something to learn the ropes and be able to edit and the images still look great?  Go with the 80D, I’m telling you, it’s a phenomenal camera for the price.

So this about wraps it up

Wow folks, this was a long article.  If you made it to the very end, that would be kinda hard to believe, lol.

I talk a lot about things that I am passionate about.  Anything camera related (photo or video) is all me. I’m also passionate about teaching people what they need instead of educating people on things they don’t care about.  Or telling someone to buy something they won’t need. Kinda like I’m doing at this very second, I’m passionate about telling you how I feel at the moment…. It’s who I am.

You learned what the best DSLR and mirrorless cameras are for concerts.  What to avoid and look for when shooting with a point and shoot camera at a concert.  The best compact camera for a concert, and the best camera for concert video.

You should, at this point, be much more knowledgeable and confident in your purchase.

Just keep in mind that getting the correct exposure is incredibly important and should be one of the most important things you think about.  This idea is true for both photography and videography alike.

If you would like to know more about ISO, shutter speed, or exposure, feel free to read my articles by clicking on those links.

With all of that being said folks, until next time, Keep shooting!!

Jeff  

References

Giving credit where credit is due...

Photos:

EOS R: - www.fstopper.com
1Sony A 9 -www.huffintonpost.com
Nikon p1000 - www.dpreview.com
Nikon p900 -www.pcmag.com
A7 iii  - www.digitaltrends.com
Canon PowerShot G3 X Digital Camera - www.pcmag.com
Moon shot -www.dpreview
Rx10-  www.pcmag.com
Hx400 www.pocketlint.com
Hx80 www.keh.com
A1000 - www.nikon.com
GH5 www.pocketlint.com

I have been taking photos and film since I was a child. Now that I'm in my mid 30's, I want to share with the world what I have learned over the years. I attempt to live every day to the fullest and share that with you through my blog. I am an electrician by trade and photo and video lie within the "hobby" aspect of my life at the moment. It's what I'm truly passionate about.
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