If you capture live performances of popular music, the sound of your camera’s shutter may not be your greatest concern. Stage illumination, freezing movement in low light, critical focus… will be more than enough to keep you busy and worried.
Shooting pictures during a classical music performance is very different. No one should behave so rudely as to disturb quiet passages or spoil intimistic movements with the clicks and whirs of the focal plane shutters common to DSLRs. In practice, that means that your picture options are restricted to those moments immediately before and after the actual playing. At best, for concerts with large orchestras and/or choirs, you might get away with a distant shot during the fortissimos.
Not so with the Fujifilm X100! That little gem comes equipped with an almost totally silent leaf shutter (as long as you disable the optional electronic shutter ‘sounds’). So silent even that once in a while you will wonder whether you actually just took a picture, or not. Add to that an f/2.0 lens of exceptional optical quality and great high ISO image quality and color rendition, and there’s your go-to hero when things go classic.
I recently was asked to cover a series of small, intimate concerts featuring contemporary vocal, piano, chamber and choral music. Allowing me to put my full-frame D700 (with standard and tele zooms) aside and give two radio-triggered SB-800’s some rest, my X100 proved perfect for capturing the actual performances using available light only.
Obviously, the X100’s wide-angle field-of-view (equivalent to a 35mm lens full-frame) is not ideal when your discrete shooting position is constrained to the back and sides of the theater. But then again, 12 great megapixels leave ample room for some careful cropping.
All images shown here were shot handheld at ISO 1600, using f/2.0 or f/2.8 as aperture, and with shutter speeds between 1/20s and 1/60s.
Another outstanding performance by the little one!
Gear notes: Fujifilm X100
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