Essentials: The Summer Concert Photographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials Summer Concert Shooter (1 of 7)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 5.6

Essentials is a brand new series where we round up specially curated kits for different photographers in different situations. Other items could surely be substituted, but these are what we personally recommend.

One of the biggest rules of shooting summer concerts is to not bring a bag. Many venues don’t let you bring one, but even if you have a press pass, it can be really tough and slow you down a lot. While many photographers still use DSLRs, a major fact is that mirrorless camera performance has gotten so damn good that we really can’t deny them their strengths. And a mirrorless camera will keep things lighter and more compact whether you’re in the front row or the pit.

And for that, here’s our essential and a couple of tips that run down our choices summer concert photography. For even more tips, check out this interview we did with Rolling Stone Photographer Nicole Fara Silver.

Fujifilm X Pro 1

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials Summer Concert Shooter (4 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 5.6

We can’t tell you how impressed we were with the Fujifilm X Pro 1 for concert photography. The high ISO performance and color depth is out of this world, but when we initially reviewed the camera the autofocus sometimes suffered. It has since improved dramatically. The X Pro 1 has very intuitive controls for the experienced photographer and that user will also have loads of fun shooting with this camera. It is relatively compact–about the size of a classic rangefinder camera. And with it of course comes some awesome Fujifilm lenses that are currently available for it.

Buy Now: Amazon B&H Photo

This photo of the Gaslight Anthem and MxPx's lead singer was shot with the Fujifilm X Pro 1. For the absolute best results, we recommend using the electronic viewfinder over the optical. You'll get faster and significantly more accurate focusing performance. With concert photography, you also sometimes want to shoot a bit more wide and give yourself room for cropping later on in post.

Pro Tip: This photo of the Gaslight Anthem and MxPx’s lead singer was shot with the Fujifilm X Pro 1. For the absolute best results, we recommend using the electronic viewfinder over the optical. You’ll get faster and significantly more accurate focusing performance. With concert photography, you also sometimes want to shoot a bit more wide and give yourself room for cropping later on in post.

Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 X

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials Summer Concert Shooter (6 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 1.4

The Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 is currently the fastest aperture autofocus lens available for the X series system. It is also the darling of many photographers who love the normal perspective that it renders, its gorgeous bokeh, exceptionally sharp performance and the fact that Fujifim has delivered loads of firmware updates to improve its autofocusing capabilities. The included lens hood will protect your camera from bumps in the photographer’s pit or from other concert goers due to its full metal construction. Check out our review for even more.

Buy Now: Amazon B&H Photo

Pro Tip: This image of I Am the Avalanche's lead singer was shot by predicting his movement. If you can already see the moment in your viewfinder, it's gone.

Pro Tip: This image of I Am the Avalanche’s lead singer was shot by predicting his movement. If you can already see the moment in your viewfinder, it’s gone.

SLR Magic 23mm f1.7

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials Summer Concert Shooter (5 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 5.6

SLR Magic’s 23mm f1.7 is an all manual lens with a fully working aperture ring and some of the most buttery smooth focusing that we’ve ever used. The lens is comprised entirely of a metal exterior and is quite literally built like a tank. Because it only focuses manually, you’ll want to take your time with focusing it. The 35mm field of view that it renders combined with its affordable price will make this a must have in your lens pouch.

Check out our full review for even more of that bokehlicious goodness.

Buy Now: Adorama

Holdfast Gear [PHOTO]Belt

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials Summer Concert Shooter (2 of 7)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 5.6

Since we’re skipping the camera bag, this belt is going to be a total necessity. Not only is it totally badass looking, but it is super functional. Comprising of genuine leather and metal rings, it has another leather strap that fixes into these holes. You can put lens pouches or anything else around this strap just like you might with any other belt.

And when you’re not using it for practical reasons, you can rock the night away with something super stylish just like this.

Buy Now: B&H Photo

Pro Tip: Don't forget the drummer

Pro Tip: Don’t forget the drummer

Lomography Diana Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials Summer Concert Shooter (3 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 5.6

In order to work with the X Pro 1, you’ll need to use Lomography’s Diana Flash with an adapter. Trust us, it’s totally worth it. You’ll need to stop down quite a bit because it packs a heck of a kicker if you’re up close and personal. It also doesn’t have any sort of TTL transmission or manual control, but the quality of light that the little dish behind it can deliver is totally worth bringing along with you. We reviewed the Diana Flash here.

Buy Now: Amazon

Pro Tip: Direct flash is a highly valued look these days. While many photographers may scoff at it, art directors and editors want it.

Pro Tip: Direct flash is a highly valued look these days. While many photographers may scoff at it, art directors and editors want it.

Sigma Lens Case

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials Summer Concert Shooter (7 of 7)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 2.8

While your camera is slung around your torso or shoulder, this little case will hold all your photo gear and keep it right at your reach when combined with the HoldFast Gear Belt. It has padding to protect your lens and flash from bumps and probably won’t even get checked by concert security. If anything, they might think you’ve got a flask in there.

It isn’t pretty, but it’s low key–and that’s what you need to protect your gear.

Buy Now: eBay

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