When photographers prepare to shoot concerts, the beloved 24-70mm lens is almost always in their gear bag. While the zoom powerhouse is certainly my favorite tool to have at shows, I was recently enlightened by another choice. My decision to start using the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 prime lens for music photography was born out of two necessities: 1) My Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens had to be sent in for repair (one too many bumps in the photo pit, perhaps!) and 2) Several shows I was photographing did not have a photo pit, and getting close to the stage became difficult. I needed a longer lens that would still make my work look super cool.
More Than Macro
Nikon’s 105mm f/2.8 is actually a macro lens designed for close up detail shots, which is why I sometimes get confused looks when other photographers see me use it at a concert or for wedding portraits. Don’t underestimate what this baby can do! The long focal length allows for dreamy stage light bokeh and blurred backgrounds when shot at a wide aperture. The included VR (Vibration Reduction) helps stabilize your images by compensating for camera shake when you’re scooting around the stage. My favorite aperture to shoot at for concerts is f/3.5, and this lens creates images that are tack sharp at that setting. My only gripe is the 105mm is definitely slower to focus than my 24-70mm lens. However, the slight lag is overshadowed by the awesome results.
Overall, I’m thrilled that I was “forced” to start using my 105mm lens at shows. It has now become a staple in my bag! Check out some example photos of Mandy Lee from Misterwives below. I also used the 105mm for all my I Don’t Know How But They Found Me photos! Have you ever used this lens at a concert? Let me know how you like it in the comments! -Elyse