Concert Photography With A Nikon D7100

Concert Photography Nikon D7100


The D7100 is a 24.1 megapixel DX-format camera announced by Nikon in 2013, known to “replace” the D7000. Let’s analyze it according to what we need in concert photography.

Nikon D7100 for concert photography: Features

Low Light PerformanceAs you know, we usually struggle with bad lighting at shows, so we have to balance our settings in order to get a proper exposure and a sharp image at the same time. The ISO in the Nikon D7100 can go from 100 to 6400, and is expandable to 25600. Now, this sounds great, but the reality is that as you increase the value of your ISO, you increase the possibility for noise to appear. With this model you can go up to 2000 or 3200 and still get a nice and mostly clean image. You can go higher, but you are going to need some good post-production techniques in order to reduce the visible noise in the image.
Continuous ShootingYou can get up to 6 frames per second at full resolution. This works great for when you want to get a full sequence, for example for when some band member jumps, or flips their hair. You can get the entire sequence and then choose which moment you like best or even blend them together to get it all in one shot.
Wi-Fi CompatibilityUsing the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter and a compatible device (an Ipad, Iphone or other smart devices), you can send your photos and share them instantly. This is a great advantage if you are working for some festival or somewhere that they need to upload the photos from the show almost in real time.
AutofocusIf you shoot with autofocus you may like to know that this model comes with 51 point cross-type AF sensors. What does this mean? It means that you get a variety of 51 points of focus within the frame to choose from and create your own configurations.
Full HD VideoFor those of you who also like to film during shows, the D7100 allows you to film at Full HD 1080p at 60i/50i/30/25/24 fps (frames per second) or at HD 720p up to 60p, and you have full-time autofocus and manual exposure control.
Dual SD Card SlotThis allows you to save time – not having to change your full memory card to a new one, you can relax and not miss a single moment of the show. This also lets you set the second memory card to a different function, such as for backup or for extra memory space, or you can even shoot on one card in RAW and on the other in JPEG simultaneously.

In Summary

To sum up, the Nikon D7100 is a great DX format camera for shooting concert photography mostly due to the great low light performance. This model is halfway between a semi-professional and a full frame camera. Paired with a 50mm f1.8 lens make the Nikon D7100 a great choice for those who are on a budget.

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  • I shot with a D7000 in dim club lighting for a few years, noise was very handleable! It did have a focussing problem (which I found out later was an issue with them), after messing around with all the settings and the AF Fine Adjustment I surrendered and upgraded to a D610. Even less noise and better focussing in low light. The D7100 should be a great start!

  • Pedro Gomes

    Most definitely, that is the camera I have been using for a couple of years for all my work.

    I did struggle with it at the begging because it does not handle back-lit subjects or direct light into the lens very well when it comes to auto focus (and i do love me some flare in my images), but like with every camera you learn how to work around this issues and make it do what you want it to.

    I believe that in the end the camera is just a box with a sensor and a memory card slot and the quality of your images is more directly connected to the quality of your lenses. But that is me, and my D7100 has never been out of manual mode, I don’t really use all the features and a lot of them I don’t even know what they do (I do use autofocus though).

    The D7100 paired with good lenses, and in my case a batery pack that allows me to have two batteries and also have all the controls to shoot vertical and a Eyefi card in the second slot transfering jpegs as I shoot is a perfect set up for all kinds of stage situations.

    • thanks so much for your comment Pedro. I like the idea to use an Eyefi card in the second slot.

  • Jurgen
    Last week I did my first shot for Murmure Webzine, underground Metal, and I had a blast. Using my D7100 + 35mm 1.8 and these good hints, I was so happy with the result.
    Now I’m looking for a 17-50mm f2.8 lens or a 17-55mm f2.8 (bdget?!).

    • Hi Jurgen! Congrats and thanks for sharing your photos! They look great and it seems it was a fun black metal concert ;). Yeah, a 17-55mm range will give you more flexibility and f2.8 works great for low light situations such as in small clubs. This lens is not cheap, but it´ll do an a great job (if you have the budget). However, you can also stick to your 35mm lens and do some more concerts to build your portfolio first. let me know how it works out for you in the future