After a conversation with David Apuzzo, I thought it might be a good idea to see the difference between RAW and jpeg, with concert photography. Since I didn’t dual shoot RAW/jpg for the Soundgarden show, I decided to find an example from a past shoot to compare to Soundgarden. The obvious choice was to find a picture from the Stone Temple Pilots show from back in August, since both these shoots took place at Mohegan Sun.
Here were some things to consider in looking at the side-by-side:
1. Same venue means, more or less similar lighting and stage setup
2. Stone Temple Pilots (at left) shot specs:
42mm 1/50 sec at f/2.8 ISO 800
SHOT IN JPEG
3. Soundgarden (at right) shot specs:
70mm 1/50 sec at f/7.1 ISO 250
SHOT IN RAW
The edge softness in the Stone Temple Pilots picture could be due to the high ISO and the wide open f/2.8. But it could also be due to shooting in jpeg.
When I first started shooting concerts, it was strictly in AV mode, and since I was relegated mostly to small clubs with tough red/green lighting, I grew to rely on f/2.8 and an ISO averaging 1000. It took a while before I started to shoot in Manual and realized that I should adjust the ISO and shutter speed to improve the exposure, and prevent hotspots. I also started to see that the smaller the f/stop, the crisper my edges would be. It’s definitely trickier to shoot a concert in Manual, especially if you’re butting elbows with 20 other photographers in the pit, and the singer is going ballistic onstage, it’s sort of insane to try to stop in the middle of the madness to fiddle with some knobs. But if you have a minute to breathe and can make adjustments on the fly, the results speak for themselves.
And here are a few extra shots from the Soundgarden show: