Why I favor the D4s and 70-200mm VR I for Concerts

Reverend Peyton

Capture of Rev. Peyton, 1/160s, handheld, f/4, ISO 6400, 200mm focal length.

This camera/lens are my go-to combo for concerts, ballet, plays, and other typically low-light, action-packed subjects. I routinely shoot an entire performance at 1/160th-1/200th second at f/2.8 to f/4, using ISO settings of 6400-12,800 (except when shooting multiple exposures and intentionally blurry images.) I’m still amazed at the sharpness of the 70-200mm lens wide open. And, because it doesn’t exhibit focus breathing like its “replacement,” I get a 200mm equivalent field of view, rather than 135mm, when the lens is cranked all the way out.

The image quality of the D4s at ISO 12,800 and even higher is superb, even under very contrasty lighting conditions. Vibration reduction lets me shoot at 1/160s. The only time I use another camera/lens combination is with artists that prohibit “professional-looking” cameras while tolerating everybody else. In those cases, I’ve had good luck with a Nikon Df or a mirrorless camera.

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