I’m often asked what equipment I used for a particular shot, I’ll try to include these details in the blog entries for a given show. I use only Canon bodies and lenses–mostly because that’s what I originally purchased (first film then digital)–but also for their craftsmanship and quality of low light optics. The most important capability for concert photography is the ability to work in relatively low light conditions. I try to bring the following equipment to every show, though I might leave something behind if I’m familiar with the venue:
- Canon 5D Mark III body
- Canon 5D Mark II body
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Mk II USM
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Mk II USM
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM
- Canon EF 1.4X III Telephoto Extender
The wishlist. Yes, there’s always one more piece of necessary equipment. Canon hasn’t introduced the 14-24mm f/2.8 L lens yet. Nikon has one and there’s been some speculation that Canon will announce a similar lens in the near future. It only took 2-3 years for the rumored 24-70 f/2.8 L Mk II. However, it was worth the wait. On the high end, the new Canon 200-400mm f/4 L with built-in 1.4x extender would be nearly ideal for concert photography when shooting from deep in the venue. Wish they had built it as an f/2.8. It would be nice to have to choose between that lens and the Canon 400mm f/2.8 L IS Mk II.
I’ve tried a ton of gear bags and have decided to mix it up depending on context. I use Think Tank Photo gear when I’m on the road; and the LowePro Classified 200 AW for concerts. I’ve also started using the modular “skin” accessories developed at Think Tank. This includes the Skin 50 and the Large Lens Drop-In, both mounted to a pro speed belt. The belt system is essential to lightning fast lens switching, and doubles as an effective way to transport gear all day.
I purchase most of my gear through the B&H Photo web site. They always have good service, competitive prices, and are authorized retailers for most purchases I’ve considered (which means qualified rebates when applicable).