9 Cameras for Concert Photography That Perform Miracles in Low Light

We’ve highlighted cameras that will suit many budgets, and that will allow anyone to get into, or conquer concert photography.

When it comes to concert photography you need a camera that has excellent high ISO output. Concert venues (despite all of the stage lights) are incredibly dark places, so you will need to crank up the ISO to be able to maintain an adequate shutter speed. Fortunately, shooting at high ISOs, and producing usable images is something many modern cameras can do quite easily, there are some that are still better than others though. The good news is that you really don’t have to spend ludicrous amounts of money to be able to break out into concert photography if you don’t want to. Here we will take a look at 9 cameras for concert photography whose high ISO performance is their biggest hit.

Whether you want a DSLR or a Mirrorless camera, there will be something for you in this list. From cameras like the legendary low light master, the Canon 6D Mk II which still offers some of the best high ISO performance for around $1,000, to cameras like the Sony a7s MK II that will rock any concert, in any venue, there is something here for everyone. Pair these cameras up with some of these fast lenses and you’ll be killing it every gig. If concert photography is something you want to get into, or if you need to stay at the top of your game, you should check out these cameras.

 

Canon 6D Mk II

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Pros

  • Nice feel to the camera body, though it’s now starting to feel more like the Canon 5D Mk III than the Canon 5D Mk II; and I preferred the latter
  • Weather sealing
  • Pretty fair color versatility
  • Flippy LCD screen is a nice touch
  • You can push the shadows quite a bit, though don’t expect Sony performance
  • Great battery life
  • Very good high ISO performance; I made a print at 13×17 inches from an ISO 6400 photo
  • Canon’s Touch screen menu continues to be the best on the market
  • Canon’s rendition of skin tones continues to be the best on the market

Cons

  • No 4K video means that the long term value of a camera like this is null as the last time this camera was updated was maybe four or five years ago
  • Subpar highlight rendition recovery (update, In Capture One, it isn’t that bad)
  • Autofocus points all towards the center
  • Very slow autofocus with Sigma lenses
  • Low light autofocus is accurate but pretty much as fast as the Canon 5D Mk II’s center focus point was
  • You’re so much better off just using the center focus point and recomposing
  • 26MP is a bit too conservative when there are fantastic 24MP APS-C sensors
  • Lower ISOs don’t feel as versatile as the higher ISO settings
  • I’m honestly not sure why a Canon 6D user will want to upgrade
  • A single card slot

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,200): Amazon

 

Canon EOS R

 

 

Pros

  • Build quality
  • Weather sealed like crazy
  • Autofocus is good
  • Protects the sensor when off
  • Canon’s menu system is still simple
  • Ergonomics feel nice
  • With a lightweight lens, it feels just as nice as a Sony camera.
  • These are some of Canon’s best RAW files that I’ve seen in years
  • Good battery life
  • Fast Wifi transfers, though not as simple as Sony’s

Cons

  • Needs Dual SD cards
  • Needs a joystick
  • The magic touch bar is odd and could use refinement.
  • Optimizing the way the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed dials work, such as the automatic remetering for ISO, not cool
  • Canon needs to improve or change their Face and eye detection.
  • Bigger than Sony, but the L lenses are about on par with their G Master glass

Check out our full review

Buy now ($2,299): Amazon

 

Nikon D500

 

concert photography

Pros

  • Fast, accurate autofocus
  • A dedicated thumb joystick on the back for changing AF points
  • New touchscreen is an interesting and welcome addition
  • Integration of Wifi is welcome
  • Top notch build quality
  • Battery life that refuses to die
  • Such a good camera that I honestly think that it’s overkill for a lot of people.

Cons

  • Pretty big and tough to get into some messenger bags
  • Considerably expensive

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,796.95): Amazon

 

 

concert photography

Pro Tip: Concerts last for a good few hours which means that you need to make yourself comfortable. Running around with a camera and lens can, and will take its toll. One of the best pieces of gear you can use for extra comfort is a camera sling. A camera sling helps distribute the weight of your gear more evenly across your upper body instead of putting all the weight around your neck. The great thing is that between sets you’ll be able to let your camera hang down securely by your side so you can give your arms a break. This one is not only inexpensive, it also has a padded strap for extra comfort.

 

Nikon Z6

 

concert photography

Pros

  • Comfortable hand grip
  • Excellent Electronic Viewfinder with 100% frame coverage
  • EVF protrudes from the camera body, minimizing contact between your nose and the rear LCD
  • Top display shows you all of your settings at a glance
  • Intuitive touchscreen rear LCD
  • Solid battery life when using newly designed EN-EL15b batteries
  • Robust weather sealing
  • Works with most existing Nikon F mount lenses using the Nikon FTZ adapter

Cons

  • Single XQD card slot may be a deal breaker for photographers with certain workflows
  • Colors on the rear LCD were inconsistent when compared to EVF
  • Autofocus performance, while better than the Nikon Z7, still leaves much to be desired
  • Certain settings were oddly organized within the menus
  • There is way too much settings information displayed on the rear LCD, often getting in the way of you framing your shot

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,996.95): Amazon

 

Nikon D750

 

concert photography

Pros

  • Deep grip
  • Intuitive and well laid out control scheme
  • Renders amazing detail and color
  • Clean files at ISO 6400
  • Usable images up to ISO 10000
  • Built-in Wi-Fi transmission
  • Tilting screen

Cons

  • Plastic front plate

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,496.95): Amazon

 

Fujifilm X-T3

 

Pro

  • Brand new 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 Sensor
  • Brand new X-Processor 4 Image Processor
  • Excellent weather sealing
  • Very solid build quality
  • Excellent image quality
  • In body RAW processing with built in film simulation profiles
  • Versatile RAW files
  • Amazing video capabilities
  • Dual SD card slots (if your workflow requires it)

Con

  • Battery life can use some improvement
  • Lacks in body image stabilization
  • Low light performance is improved over the previous generation X-T2, but hit rates during high speed low light situations still leave much to be desired

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,499): Amazon

 

 

concert photography

Pro Tip: If you’re planning on shooting at an outdoor concert this year, make sure you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. The last thing you want to have happen is your gear getting soaked in an unexpected storm. Keep some of these affordable camera and lens weather proof covers in your pocket or camera bag so that your concert photography can continue no matter what the weather is doing.

 

Sony a7 III

 

Pros

  • The best battery life of any Sony or Mirrorless camera I’ve ever tested
  • A fair amount of resolution and versatility in the RAW files that can be realized with Capture One
  • Nice feel to it
  • Consistency with all the other cameras in terms of menu system
  • Autofocus can acquire a target in near darkness
  • Essentially feels like a scaled down Sony a9 and Sony a7r III.
  • Not a bad price point

Cons

  • Mount and certain lenses may allow for dust to get in onto the sensor. It isn’t as tight as the a7r III’s.

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,998): Amazon

 

Sony A7s Mk II

 

 

concert photography

Pros

  • Incredibly film-like high ISO results once you kill all the unsightly noise; and they convert to black and white well.
  • Only missed the focusing twice during the review, and that was during surely impossible situations.
  • Below ISO 80,000, some of the best dynamic range anyone could ask for.
  • Incredible highlight detail retention
  • Overall excellent dynamic range that basically lets you screw up and fix it later; but up to a point as stated in an earlier bullet.
  • Uncompressed RAW photo option

Cons

  • Expensive
  • With the exception of dynamic range, not a major step forward in the technology as could have been possible. Just imagine the A7r Mk II’s processor in this camera and what could have been capable

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,998): Amazon

 

Panasonic GH5s

 

concert photography

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Great autofocus in most situations
  • Focus peaking for manual focus lenses
  • High ISO output is great
  • Because this is a 10.2MP Four Thirds sensor, the pixels are more densely packed and therefore give off pretty detailed images.
  • Tactile things on the buttons that make you realize what they are

Cons

  • That’s a lot of money to pay.
  • Detail loss above 6400 is a bit too much

Check out our full review

Buy now ($2,197.99): Amazon

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.