2018 Concert Photography Gear

I'm always trying out new gear, but this is my main concert photo setup for festivals and large shows (for 2018)



Canon EOS-1DX Mark II


My go-to camera for concert photography is the Canon 1DX Mark ii. Incredible speed, lowlight performance, video capabilities, weather sealing, and durability. Combine that with having one of the best sensors available today, and being virtually indestructible, it’s a complete home run. No doubt my all time favorite camera.


Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM


If I had to pick one lens to shoot with, it would definitely be this one. Not much of a surprise, I know, but it's reliable and sharp with super fast focusing in every lighting scenario. It has a very useful range, and is typically my first recommendation for concert photographers that are starting to build their lens collection. One other plus is that at 70mm, you can get a great portrait shot, making it super versatile.


Canon Canon EF 70-22mm f/2.8L II USM


The second lens I always recommend is the 70-200. There are many versions of this lens, but really you can't go wrong with any of them. For the money, I don't think you can beat the 2.8 version II. Crucial for my festival work on large outdoor stages, this lens stays on my second camera 95% of the time. It also doubles as my go-to portrait lens. 200mm @ 2.8 is a beautiful thing. Compression for days! 


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM


This is the lens I WISH I could shoot everything with. Some of my all time favorite photos have been taken with it. While it doesn't have QUITE the range of Nikon's wide angle offering, I do find it going to 35mm to be very useful. I use this for everything from group shots on the tight end, to behind-the-drummer shots and crowd photos @ 16mm. If I have to take a BIG shot at the end of the night, there's a 95% chance that this will be the lens on my camera. It's also INSANELY sharp, even wide open. The sharpest zoom lens I have ever used. No clarity slider required. 


Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM 


The cheapest lens in Canon's lineup, but don't let that fool you. At around 100 bucks, it's an absolute necessity in every gear bag, and it's usefulness might surprise you. I use this for quick natural light portraits, EXTREME low light in clubs, and for product and food photography at festivals. It also has fairly impressive macro abilities (although it's not a true macro lens by any means) for it's size and cost. A bargain for sure; this is the first lens that any beginning photographer should start with. 


Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens


Who doesn't love pancakes? This is one of the most underrated lenses available, and its sharpness would surprise you. I use this for a lot for travel and exploring new places, when I want keep things light and discreet. Since it's literally not much bigger than your DSLR's body cap, you could actually just leave this lens on all the time and probably wouldn't notice. Also 40mm is a great (and useful) focal length - I tend to think a 50 can get a little tight depending on the situation, so this makes for a great walk around lens. 


Canon Extender EF 1.4X III


I love these extenders for the "big white" lenses from Canon. I use this one for my 70-200 (and occasionally a rented 300) for shots from the soundboard. I had the 2x extender for a bit, but ended up with this one because the reach was good enough for what I needed, and losing 1 stop of light (as opposed to 2 with the 2x) wasn't that difficult to work with.


Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT


These very rarely get used during a live set, but come in very handy for quick backstage portraits and group shots. These new ones have a surprising amount of power, and are great off-camera. 


Fstoppers Flash Disc Portable Speedlight Softbox


This guy is a game changer for getting soft and even light in a hurry. It's surprising how well this works, despite it making you look a little crazy (it IS obnoxiously large - but, that's how you get the good light!). 


Manfrotto 290 Aluminum Monopod


I use a monopod at pretty much every show. I like it for big crowd shots, and to pop up behind the drummer at certain points during the set for super dramatic images. I prefer this model specifically because of the clamp style locks as opposed to the typical twisting ones. 


SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 Memory Card


My favorite cards hand down. For festivals and big shows, I use 2 of these for each camera - I shoot on one for each set, take it back to production to be dumped and filed, and while that's happening I grab the second to go back and shoot. That process is repeated for sometimes 8-10 hours, and the speed of these cards make everything so much easier. They're also really durable too, which is a big plus. Awesome for 4K video as well. 


SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro CompactFlash Memory Card (160MB/s)


I use these for the B slot on each of my cameras. They run as a backup to everything that's being written on the CFast cards, so in the event that something gets erased, or a card dies on me (which actually does happen) I still have all my RAWs. I tend to get the 128GB version , because that's more than enough space so that I can just set it and leave it. 


HoldFast Gear Money Maker 2-Camera Leather Harness


I love this thing. One of my best gear purchases hands down, it makes my life a whole lot easier. I can carry two full-sized DSLR's all day with heavy lenses, and I attach my laminates to the metal rings on the front. Plus every TSA agent in the world thinks it's for a bondage fetish, so that's an entertaining interaction for you when traveling. 


Think Tank Photo StreetWalker HardDrive V2.0 Backpack


This is my main camera bag. It's the only camera backpack that I know of that can fit two 1DX bodies (or 5D/6D w/ battery grips), with lenses attached, in addition to holding at least 3 more lenses, flash, chargers, a 15" laptop, and everything else you need. It's as sturdy as it gets (as is every Think Tank bag) and has great protection for all your gear. It fits well underneath any airline seat as well, making it a great choice for travel. I only use Think Tank bags, and they've never let me down. 


Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 20 Sling Camera Bag V2.0


This is the other bag I always travel with to shows, and I typically always have it with me when shooting throughout the day. I keep 2 extra lenses inside, along with extra batteries and cards. It's also a great travel bag, and can fit a 1DX, a couple lenses, has a clip for keys, and even a zippered pocket for a tablet.   If this was available as a fanny pack, it would be the best bag ever. Highly recommended.