Concert Photography with EPL-5 & Pana 20mm & Oly 45mm

StefanKruse

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One of the things I enjoy tremendously is going to concerts - really appreciate the opportunity to just listen and feel the music and energy from live shows. I usually bring my old EPL-5 attached with the Pana 20mm in my pocket. (sometimes the oly 45mm and one with (Em1 w/ Sigma 105mm) This combination fits in my jeans pocket and I can usually get it through security without it ever being noticed. its not allowed to bring professional camera equipment to live shows in most venues and the definition of pro gear is interchangeable lenses. When security does find my camera I can usually get away with it because security people are rarely camera people and believe interchangeable means dslr style cameras.

Shooting live-shows is a big challenge for me as the lighting is very tricky and changes constantly, usually it is dark with heavy spotlights etc. Composition is tricky because movement is restricted and there are people everywhere. With my camera set-up I know I am not going to be able to do great close-ups and get portrait style pictures, which is often what people shot at concerts. So I try to focus on something different - I try to use the lighting to create moods but I find it tricky as you never know what to expect and have to react quickly to a certain atmosphere which makes dialing in the right settings tricky. Do the newer EPL models perform better in low light? Does the Sony A6xxx series offer something that is as small as my combo? Fuji?

Anyway here are some of my shots - these do not hold up well when pixel peeping etc. but I quite like what the combo can offer for its size.

If you have any tips or ideas of how to improve or what to try I'd be happy to hear them.

Thanks

Machine Head, Burn My Eyes tour, Chris Kontos Solo
ChrisKontosKickingBeats.jpg
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Machine Head Guitar Intro
Machine Head - The Coming.jpg
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Rob Flynn, Machine Head
Machine Head - RobFlynn.jpg
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Dave Matthews feeling it
Dave Matthews Feeling it Royal Arena Copenhagen.jpg
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Crowd waiting for Judas Priest
Waiting for Darkness.jpg
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What the crowd was waiting for K.K Downing Solo
Judas Priest.jpg
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Mighty James Hetfield, Metallica
JamessHetfield_RoyalArena september 02, 2017.jpg
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Dave Mustaine, Megadeth
Dave Mustaine, Megadeth, august 02, 2017-2.jpg
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Killswitch Engage
Killswitch Engage juni 05, 2018.jpg
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Justin Chancelor, Tool
Tool.jpg
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Hunting high and low, Morten Harket, A-ha (Em1 w/ Sigma 105mm)
A-ha Tivoli juli 27, 2018.jpg
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Crowd waiting
In the light juni 10, 2018.jpg
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Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band Royal Arena Copenhagen.jpg
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Megadeth
Live at Megadeth juni 10, 2018.jpg
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fransglans

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Really nice! I'm a long time fan of the p20 and I always enjoy when I see what it can do (with a great photographer behind)
 

StefanKruse

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Really nice! I'm a long time fan of the p20 and I always enjoy when I see what it can do (with a great photographer behind)
Thanks so much - I am also a big fan of the p20. It truly is a small gem and would love if Oly and Pana would think more in pancakelines when they invest in research and development.
 

mfturner

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These make a very nice photo set, a great advertisement for that camera and lens. Reminds me of when I got my camera into an Eric Clapton concert in the 70's with just a 50 f1.8 lens, it's amazing what you can do with a single FL and a decently wide aperture.
 

ThereAndBackAgain

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I'm another fan of the P20 f1.7. I don't often use it for gigs but I slipped my M5ii in my pocket with that lens mounted before going to see Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin. I was right at the back of a dimly-lit auditorium but still squeezed this tight crop out.
 

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StefanKruse

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I'm another fan of the P20 f1.7. I don't often use it for gigs but I slipped my M5ii in my pocket with that lens mounted before going to see Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin. I was right at the back of a dimly-lit auditorium but still squeezed this tight crop out.
Great - as the saying goes: the best camera is the one you have on you :)
 

StefanKruse

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Wow, these are terrific!

You might want to edit your title, as it looks like three different lenses were used.
Thank you much appreciated and you are right - when I started the post I believed all my concert shots were with the p20 but a fair amount is also with the Oly 45. I don't think there is a 3rd lens in there though
 

StefanKruse

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Some very nice exposures in that set, different to what normally see.
Good to see a fresh approach, at least to me
Thank you - aprreciate the fresh approach comment as that is exactly what I have been trying to do. At first it was more out of necessity because of all the challenges with concert lights and often being far away. ;More recently I am trying to achieve that effect.
 

Steven

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These are great! It’s not easy taking photos in rowdy shows like these.
Later EPL or other Olympus and Panasonic bodies with better IBIS and better processors would probably yield somewhat better sharper and cleaner results. Have you considered a longer lens? Something like Olympus 75mm or an old 135mm/2.8.
 

StefanKruse

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These are great! It’s not easy taking photos in rowdy shows like these.
Later EPL or other Olympus and Panasonic bodies with better IBIS and better processors would probably yield somewhat better sharper and cleaner results. Have you considered a longer lens? Something like Olympus 75mm or an old 135mm/2.8.
Thanks and yes it is difficult which is part of the fun. I have considered upgrading the EPL-5 but I am not sure how much the IBIS improved in the EPL models. I have the Sigma 105mm 2.8 (which was actually used for the A-ha shot) but most concerts don't allow me to take my camera and the do a body search. With the EPL and 20 or 45 I am able to put the camera in my pocket such that they don't spot it when searching me and when they do find it, I can usually get away with it when I claim this is only a pocket camera with no interchangeable lens. The 75mm makes this tricky as i would not fit my pocket and it does look more "professional" and that I fear would not make it past security. I the case with the 105mm this was shot at Tivoli in Copenhagen (old amusement park) where you can bring all the camera stuff you want, but these events are rare.
 

StefanKruse

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Sigma 105 macro is also showing in the EXIF data :).
You are right, thanks - the A-ha shot was actually done with the Sigma and also my Em1. I'll specify in the post. Funny how my mind had tricked me into believing I always shoot with the Pana :)
 

Steven

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Thanks and yes it is difficult which is part of the fun. I have considered upgrading the EPL-5 but I am not sure how much the IBIS improved in the EPL models. I have the Sigma 105mm 2.8 (which was actually used for the A-ha shot) but most concerts don't allow me to take my camera and the do a body search. With the EPL and 20 or 45 I am able to put the camera in my pocket such that they don't spot it when searching me and when they do find it, I can usually get away with it when I claim this is only a pocket camera with no interchangeable lens. The 75mm makes this tricky as i would not fit my pocket and it does look more "professional" and that I fear would not make it past security. I the case with the 105mm this was shot at Tivoli in Copenhagen (old amusement park) where you can bring all the camera stuff you want, but these events are rare.
EPL5 has the older 2 axis stabilization system. Later models from EPL7 onward have the much better 3 or 5 axis stabilization system. It can really work magic for some shots .

on the other side of the pond here ,most bigger venues have similar rules of “ no interchangeable lens cameras”. I stopped trying to sneak things in, like a Pana GX1. Just too much hassle. It’s either a phone or a Pana LX7 for me, unless I have a photo pass :)
 

ToxicTabasco

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This past summer was the first time I shot concerts during the hot summer months with MFT. A MFT with IBIS and f/2.8 zooms worked great for the 4K video shutter speeds and High Speed 4K60p. And the IBIS helped greatly with the hand held pics at f/2.8, something I could not do with a DSLR in the past. Getting up close to the front will allow more light because the stage lights are very bright.
Here's a sample of videos I shot with MFT this summer. With your concert experience, your input on how to improve these will be very helpfull (thanks).
Outdoor Night Concerts in 4K
For the first video temps were 97 degrees f and dropped to 95 during the concert. Some cameras may have overheated running 10 min 4K video, but the MFT camera held through the heat.

Nevertheless, I like those long shots you have of the crowd and full stage. They have great composition, and shows a lot of dynamics of depth. There is some digital noise banding, but that's expected when boosting shadows from that distance to the stage. A f/1.8 prime might help from that distance to the stage lights.

Anyway, great job, and keep up the great work with the concert photos. Any feedback you can provide will be helpful, thanks.
 
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StefanKruse

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This past summer was the first time I shot concerts during the hot summer months with MFT. A MFT with IBIS and f/2.8 zooms worked great for the 4K video shutter speeds and High Speed 4K60p. And the IBIS helped greatly with the hand held pics at f/2.8, something I could not do with a DSLR in the past. Getting up close to the front will allow more light because the stage lights are very bright.
Here's a sample of videos I shot with MFT this summer. With your concert experience, your input on how to improve these will be very helpfull (thanks).
Outdoor Night Concerts in 4K
For the first video temps were 97 degrees f and dropped to 95 during the concert. Some cameras may have overheated running 10 min 4K video, but the MFT camera held through the heat.

Nevertheless, I like those long shots you have of the crowd and full stage. They have great composition, and shows a lot of dynamics of depth. There is some digital noise banding, but that's expected when boosting shadows from that distance to the stage. A f/1.8 prime might help from that distance to the stage lights.

Anyway, great job, and keep up the great work with the concert photos. Any feedback you can provide will be helpful, thanks.
Thanks much appreciated - I had a look at your video and think your set-up works great. I don't really know anything about video as I only ever do stills, so my comments should be taken with that in mind. Shooting video provides a set of challenges that to me makes it a lot more tricky to get "artistic" with the lighting and framing, as you have to keep rolling to get the sound part and therefore have to accommodate changing light on the fly. But here goes anyway.

What I often try to (and I stress try as I am not always successful - far from) is to expose for the highlights which is tricky when the light amount changes constantly, but when successful you get that effect of focus on your main subject and the a lot of dark framing. (which is then further darkened in post, but it has also darkened some of the details I want which I then have to bring out by increasing shadows which unfortunately bring out a lot of noise as well). I usually try different things like spot metering where the camera exposes for a certain spot and not the whole scene sometimes that works. Sometimes I go to manual if the lighting is consistent for some time or I expect a certain effect to come back. I think there a few shots where you could have done that (but again the video part makes it tricky) towards the end of your video there a great section with the bass solo where his white shirt creates a great contrast and also around 17.15 you have the saxophonist (Paul Taylor I assume?) in a great frame where all the background is blacked out.

I don't know how much you can do in PP with video to control the scene, but If I where to try something I would try and create separation between main subject of the shot and the background and also for the full stage shots make sure you expose for the highlights as I think this gives the best dynamic shots. Sometimes I use exposure compensation and underexpose a bit to make sure a spotlight or something doesn't ruin the highlights.

BTW thanks for asking this actually forced me to think a bit more organised about what I do and how I try to achieve some of the shots - not all shooting is always that deliberately as I for some shows also enjoy a bit of alcohol ans always enjoy the music and moment which doesn't always mean I am fully focused on photographing :)
 
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