Point & Shoot Camera for Concert Photography

A small, compact point & shoot camera with the ability to operate well in low-light situations can be your best friend at a concert. It stores easily in a small bag or pocket allowing you to take it anywhere.

We’ve all seen a sea of people holding their phones in the air at concerts, trying to get their best shot, or even video their favourite song. But is this the best way to capture those special moments?

If you really want quality photos from your concert experiences and you don’t have a photo pass allowing you to bring a professional camera into an event, the next best thing is a good point & shoot camera. Even for the seasoned concert photographer, a good point and shoot camera is handy for photographing the rest of the concert after the ‘3 songs, no flash’ time in the photo pit is over.

So what should you look for when buying a point & shoot camera for concert photography?

  • Small, compact & light weight for easy transport
  • Good zoom range to get you closer to the action
  • Fast aperture for shooting in low light
  • High ISO range for shooting in low light
  • RAW shooting function for more editing control

Here are three to compare in the cheaper price range. These cameras are generally more compact than the full-frame sensor point & shoot cameras, which provide better image quality.

CameraMPSensor SizeLensISO RangeOptical zoomRAW ShootingPrice US$
Sony Cyber-Shot RX10020.21" CMOSf/1.2125-256007.2xYes$499
Canon PowerShot G3X20.21" CMOSf/2.8125-1280025xYes$850
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10012.84/3" CMOSf/1.7100-256003.1xYes$799

The smallest, lightest, most compact of these cameras is the Sony cyber-shot RX100. In NR mode (noise reduction mode) the ISO sensitivity extends to 25,600 equaling the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100. It has a fast, accurate auto focus and a function called ‘clear image zoom’, which increases the zoom range to 7.2x.

The Canon PowerShot G3 X is by far the heaviest, weighing in at 733g compared to the Sony’s 213g featherweight. The ISO sensitivity is less than the other 2 cameras compared, however, its impressive optical zoom range of 25x creates a 35mm equivalent 24-600mm zoom lens. This is an extremely useful feature when photographing a concert from a distance.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 is light weight (393g), although not as compact as the Sony. It’s much larger sensor and fast lens gives extremely good image quality, but it lacks in zoom capabilities.

All of these cameras will shoot in RAW.

So here’s how they measure up. (1 = lowest, 3 = highest)

Small, Compact & LightweightPowerful ZoomFast ApertureHigh ISO RangePrice

So after doing some simple arithmetic, it seems that the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 is the ‘best value for money’ point and shoot concert camera from those presented here. However, if it’s zoom you’re after and money is no object, then the Canon PowerShot G3 X is for you. And many claim that the image quality of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 by far betters the others. Good luck with your shopping.

Are you shooting concerts with a point and shoot camera? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Gennady Golub

    LX100 is my weapon of choice. I shoot mostly low-light small clubs – if zoom is not a priority, then a combination of a sweet and fast Leica lens and a large sensor make for unbeatable image quality. I mostly stick to iso 3200 or 1600 and at that point this camera produces excellent images.

    • Hi Gennady! Thanks so much for your comment!

    • June Connell

      hi there , do u just use the LX100 in small clubs. Im looking at purchasing a point and shoot but im wanting for small clubs and bigger. Have u used it at larger gigs.?

  • Anatholie

    I always carry my Sony RX100 with me wherever I go, I am now with the mark V version which has super fast burst mode (24fps!) and autofocus, quite useful for concert photography when not allowed pro gear. Since it was only released this November, I haven’t had the opportunity to use it in a big venue, where the lack of zoom would be a problem, but in clubs it’s even better than my previous one (mark III).

    • Hi Anatholie, thanks for your comment. I guess you mean Canon Mark IV? I have heard a lot of good things about it. Looking forward to read more about your experience with it. So you would suggest the Sony RX100 for low light photography?

      • Anatholie

        Hi Matthias, I meant the Sony RX100 mark V and I find it very efficient in low light for a point-and-shoot camera.

  • Jeff Angove

    Could the Sony DSC RX10 lll which has a fixed lens make it through security? or too professional looking?

    • Cameras with a fixed lens are in general accepted when entering a venue. However this depends on the security of the venue as well.

    • Dolores Lowe

      I was wondering this very question, Jeff. It has a 2.4-4 24-600 zeiss lens, a 20.1mp 1″ sensor and ISO to 128000. To me, it looks like all the other point and shoots that my friends who are not photographers bring to concerts, so I think it would be allowed for the most part. I’m looking at the Canon G3X to replace my 15G with the 1:1.7″ sensor and 12 mp. I have always shot with Canon since my film camera in the 80’s to my D5MIV and new mirrorless for travel. But then, I saw this Sony DSC RX10 III, and it got me thinking that there are other options out there. The lure of the Sony… What to do, what to do.

      • Thanks for your comment Dolores. Yes, it´s always hard to decide which camera should be the next 😉

  • Per-Otto Oppi Christiansen

    Hi Mathias. I really love my Canon Powershot g7x. Looks like this:

  • you’re welcome, you too!

  • RC

    Hi Matthias. Greetings from San Francisco, California. Thank you for your site and blog. Very helpful. I’m going to be attending 2 weeks of concerts at Madison Square Garden in NYC next week (starting July 21st) to see my favorite band, and I’m taking this opportunity to finally purchase a good compact camera and put away my phone camera. I primarily take photos of the light show, but I also try and get shots of the band depending on where I’m sitting. At these concerts, for example, I will be positioned directly opposite the stage (other end of the floor) in a section behind and up slightly from the soundboard; approximately 250 feet from the stage. I’m trying to decide between the Sony rx100 v and the Panasonic ZS100. Having a hard time deciding between the wider aperture/better low light with the Sony and the 10x zoom with the Panasonic. Will the Sony 2.9x optical zoom give me enough reach to take “reasonably” close shots of the band/stage from 200+ feet away? Is the Sony ‘clear image zoom’ somewhere between optical and digital zoom regarding quality? Essentially, would the Sony 24-70mm lens be adequate reach generally speaking. I’m usually not positioned much closer than a few hundred feet from the stage at concerts. And as previously mentioned, I primarily like capturing the light show. But if I’m going to drop some $$ on a compact camera, it would be nice to also get shots of the stage. Thank you in advance for your guidance! Best, RC

    • Hi RC, thanks for reaching out. From your explanations I would rather go for the better zoom range.. Normally when I am shooting from the soundboard a 300-400mm works great to get some closer shots. Otherwise you’ll only get an overview of the stage. Hope that helps in your camera decision. Let me know