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Concert photography in dark, small venues


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Which lens should I save up for?

Recently tried concert photography for the first time - the focal length might not have been ideal. The band played at a darn small and dark venue where the only option was to stand directly in the first or second row of the crowd. Now, all I had on me was an old Carl Zeiss Jena Prakticar 50mm f1.4 which I adapted to the X-Pro3, meaning I had to work with a pretty long focal length and complete manual focus. The lens is also very soft wide-open but due to the darkness, stopping down a lot wasn't an option.

Anyway, that particular band has another gig in a similar location in January and I wanna try again - but I need some help regarding my lens choices.


I've got the 30mm f1.4 Sigma as well but I'm afraid it could be too narrow as well. This time I would like to get whole body shots instead of only close-ups and preferably capture all 5 band members at once too which had me resort to my phone in the past.

The Viltrox 13mm f1.4 seems suitable for small stages, but perhaps it's to wide? My alternative choice would be the 16mm f1.4 Fujifilm, but that is way out of my price league. I might be able to afford something up to 200 bucks and also use the lens for lost place photography. Renting is a bit difficult and I want the flexibility of owning the lens myself. 


Please suggest some affordable lenses and focal lengths to help me decide. I can only settle for one due to my financial status.

Thank you!

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If your budget is limited, I might suggest buying used.  eBay is one place to look but might not get you a lens quickly.  I might suggest a place I've used that has been great.  It is mpb.com and they have many Fujifilm lenses.  I have the 13mm Viltrox and like it.  But, it might be nice to have a zoom capability in case you can't get close.  I also have the Fujinon 16-80 which is an f4.0 (so, not that fast) but you can increase ISO to get those shots.  I think you can get the 16-80 used for a good price.  Good Luck.

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XF 90 f/2. The Canon 135L is a classic concert low light performer, this is Fuji's version...not as good but what I would use. I really don't understand wide concert use of lenses as lighting is so nuts and varied. Tele lenses hone in on a tighter and better controlled lit space and give better intimate framing of musicians and the stage.

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