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8 Best Nikon Lenses for Concert Photography in 2024

Last updated: March 20, 2024 - 12 min read
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The best Nikon lenses for concert photography help you capture the electric atmosphere of live music. These lenses must handle low light and fast action with flexibility, ensuring photographers can freeze every memorable moment with clarity.

Our top two picks are the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S and Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. They stand out for their versatility, low-light performance, and picture quality in tough conditions. With six more Z and F-mount lenses reviewed in the article, music lovers will easily find the perfect Nikon lens for concert photography.

Our Top 2 Nikon Lenses for Concert Photography
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR

What Is the Best Nikon Z Lens for Concert Photography?

Finding the best Nikon Z lens for concert photography involves balancing low-light performance, zoom flexibility, and handling. Our top picks excel in capturing sharp, well-exposed shots amidst the dynamic lighting and action of live performances, ensuring every moment is captured with its true vitality.

Our Top Pick
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
  • Versatile 24-120mm zoom range
  • Constant f/4 aperture for consistent exposure
  • Superior S-Line optical performance
  • Durable, weather-sealed construction
  • Fast, accurate autofocus system
Best Telephoto Zoom
Nikon Z 70-200mm F/2.8 VR S
Nikon Z 70-200mm F/2.8 VR S
Nikon Z 70-200mm F/2.8 VR S
  • Bright f/2.8 aperture for low light
  • Professional-grade S-Line quality
  • Robust, weather-sealed for reliability
  • Fast, silent autofocus with STM
  • Effective 5.5-stop image stabilization
Best APS-C Lens
Nikon DX NIKKOR Z 18-140mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon DX NIKKOR Z 18-140mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon DX NIKKOR Z 18-140mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
  • Broad 18-140mm zoom for versatility
  • Compact, lightweight for travel
  • Vibration Reduction for steady shots
  • Affordable all-in-one lens solution
  • Ideal for amateur photographers, hobbyists
Best Standard Zoom
Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F/2.8
Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F/2.8
Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F/2.8
  • Constant f/2.8 for low-light shooting
  • Smooth bokeh for portrait work
  • Lightweight, balanced for easy handling
  • Sharp, high-quality optics
  • Wide to short-tele zoom versatility
 

Our Favorite Nikon Z Lenses for Concert Photography

Let’s take a closer look at our favorite Nikon Z lenses. From wide-angle versatility to telephoto reach, these lenses provide options for capturing every onstage moment with clarity and ease.

1. Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S

Our Top Pick
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
630 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 4.0
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-120 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
No

The Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S is a versatile lens for concert photography that offers a broad focal range. You can shoot anything from wide stage shots to intimate performer close-ups.

Its constant f/4 aperture, while not as wide as the f/2.8 on the Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S, still performs well in low light. This is crucial for capturing the dynamic lighting of concerts. The max aperture is also constant, so you don’t lose any stops when zooming in. 

The lens’s sharpness is excellent, ensuring details are crisp across the frame. The lens’s optical construction, featuring aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements, effectively reduces chromatic aberrations. This is important for handling the harsh, contrasting lights of concert stages without color fringing.

Autofocus is where the Z 24-120mm f/4 S excels, with dual stepping motors providing quick and accurate focusing. This is key for tracking artists during energetic performances. 

While the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S lacks built-in image stabilization, it pairs well with Nikon Z cameras’ in-body stabilization. This helps save image sharpness at slower shutter speeds.

The lens’s weight and handling are also good for long shooting sessions, reducing fatigue compared to heavier alternatives like the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S.

 

2. Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Nikon Z 70-200mm F/2.8 VR S
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
1360 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 2.8
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
70-200 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is a good option for concert photography, especially when shooting from a distance. It’s a great option if you’re restricted to the press area at the front of the stage. You can capture any band member from your shooting position. And it’s great for portraits of individual artists.

Its f/2.8 aperture is wide enough to handle low light, allowing for fast shutter speeds to freeze the action on stage. This lens also provides a smooth bokeh, which helps isolate performers from distracting backgrounds. Its range is perfect for capturing both the overall scene and zoomed-in details of the artists.

The lens’s optical design includes extra-low dispersion elements, which ensure sharp images with minimal chromatic aberration. This is key when dealing with the challenging lighting of concerts.

Autofocus is quick and reliable, a must for keeping up with rapid stage movements. Although heavier than some alternatives, its image stabilization is helpful in low light, allowing for sharper images at slower shutter speeds.

In comparison to the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S, the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S offers a wider aperture and better subject isolation. But it is heavier and less versatile in focal length. For photographers positioned further from the stage or those who prioritize subject separation and low-light performance, this lens is a strong choice for concert photography.

 

3. Nikon DX Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR

Nikon DX NIKKOR Z 18-140mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
315 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 6.3
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
18-140 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

For concert photographers who need to switch from wide stage views to close-ups without swapping lenses, the Nikon DX Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR is the perfect choice.

Its zoom range is broad, but the variable aperture of f/3.5-6.3 means it’s not the best in low light. The lens’s Vibration Reduction (VR) is helpful for steadying shots at longer focal lengths.

However, in the dimly lit conditions of a concert, the slower aperture at the telephoto end might require higher ISOs or slower shutter speeds, which could lead to noise or motion blur.

This lens is lighter, making it easier to handle during long concerts. Quick autofocus is crucial for capturing sharp images of moving performers, and this lens responds well in good lighting.

The lens provides decent sharpness but may not match the edge-to-edge clarity of faster, prime lenses or those with wider apertures like the Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S.

In summary, the Nikon DX Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR’s versatility and light weight make it a good option for concert photography. It’s an affordable Nikon lens that’s ideal for young concert-goers and music fans. 

 

4. Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8

Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F/2.8
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
565 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 2.8
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
28-75 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
No

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is a strong performer for concert photography thanks to its constant f/2.8 aperture. This wide aperture is key for shooting in low light, allowing for faster shutter speeds to capture sharp images of performers.

The zoom range is flexible and suitable for framing both the entire stage and individual artists. Its autofocus is quick and reliable, helping you track fast-moving subjects under stage lights.

Weighing less than many comparable lenses, it’s easier on the arms during long gigs. The lens’s sharpness is commendable, with edge-to-edge clarity that captures the full detail of a performance. Bokeh is smooth, enhancing photos with a professional look by isolating subjects from the background.

Compared to the Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S, the Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is lighter and more compact, offering a wider angle of view but less reach. It’s a good choice for concert photographers who move around a lot and play with composition.

 

What is the Best Nikon F Lens for Concert Photography?

This section focuses on the best Nikon F lenses for concert photography. We’ve chosen these lenses for their ability to handle low light, capture fast action, and offer versatile zoom ranges. They excel in delivering sharp, well-exposed shots in the hectic environment of a live concert.

Our Top Pick
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR
  • Versatile 70-200mm zoom range
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Robust, weather-sealed construction
  • Exceptional image sharpness
  • Effective Vibration Reduction system
Best Standard Zoom
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR
  • Ideal for expansive to portrait shots
  • Lightweight, travel-friendly design
  • Vibration Reduction for steady shots
  • Quick, accurate autofocus system
  • Great value for versatile shooting
Best Versatility
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm F/4G IF-ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm F/4G IF-ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm F/4G IF-ED VR
  • Broad 24-120mm focal range versatility
  • Constant f/4 aperture for consistent exposure
  • Solid build with weather-sealed mount
  • Effective Vibration Reduction for sharp images
  • Pleasing bokeh with nine-blade diaphragm
Best APS-C DSLR Lens
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR
  • Expansive 18-140mm DX-format zoom range
  • Compact all-in-one lens solution
  • Vibration Reduction for stable handheld shooting
  • Swift Silent Wave Motor autofocus
  • Excellent close-up capabilities
 

Our Favorite Nikon F Lenses for Concert Photography

Each of these Nikon F lenses offers different features to meet the needs of a variety of photographers. From the versatile zoom of the 24-85mm to the low-light prowess of the 70-200mm f/2.8, these lenses provide the tools necessary for capturing sharp, vibrant concert images.

Whether you’re shooting from the photo pit or the back of the venue, there’s a Nikon lens ready to help you get the shot.

1. Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

Our Top Pick
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
1430 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 2.8
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
70-200 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is the perfect lens for concert photography if you have a Nikon DSLR.

Its constant f/2.8 aperture provides ample light, crucial for freezing action without pushing ISO too high. The zoom range is perfect for framing performers from a distance, capturing both individual performers and the grandeur of the full stage.

Edge-to-edge sharpness is impressive, ensuring every detail of the performance is captured crisply. Specialized glass elements and a Nano Crystal Coat reduce chromatic aberrations and flare, maintaining image integrity against harsh stage lights.

Autofocus is a standout feature, with the Silent Wave Motor delivering quick and precise focusing. This is key when tracking musicians who won’t stay still.

The Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR, on the other hand, is versatile but has a variable aperture that limits light intake. This could result in missed shots due to slower shutter speeds or increased noise from higher ISO settings.

The Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8, despite its weight, is the superior choice for the demanding conditions of concert photography.

 

2. Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
485 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 4.5
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-85 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR offers a functional zoom range for concert photography, allowing for quick framing adjustments.

Optically, the lens provides good center sharpness, with some edge softness at wide apertures. The ED glass element helps keep chromatic aberrations in check, which is important for handling stage lighting contrasts.

Its variable aperture of f/3.5-4.5 is not ideal for low-light shooting, potentially forcing you to use higher ISOs or slower shutter speeds. But the lens is equipped with a Vibration Reduction system, helping you get sharper shots in low light. 

The lens’s autofocus is responsive in well-lit conditions but may falter in very dimly lit stage settings. Weighing in at a modest 465 grams, it’s easy to handle and reduces fatigue during long performances.

While it doesn’t match the low-light prowess of the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR, its light weight build and versatility still make it a practical option for concert photographers who value flexibility and portability. 

 

3. Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G IF-ED VR

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm F/4G IF-ED VR
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
710 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 4.0
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-120 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G IF-ED VR‘s constant f/4 aperture is a boon for concert photographers who need to quickly adapt to different stage setups. While not as wide as f/2.8 lenses, it still allows for decent low-light performance and depth of field control.

The 5x zoom range is particularly useful for wide-angle stage shots and intimate close-ups of artists. You get a massive shot variety without changing lenses.

The lens’s two ED glass elements and Nano Crystal Coat work well to reduce chromatic aberrations and flare, ensuring that images remain clear and vibrant. It does well to combat the negative effects of harsh stage lighting. 

Autofocus is quick and reliable, a must for keeping up with the fast-paced action of live performances.

The reasonable weight makes it manageable for handheld shooting over the course of a concert. While it may not offer the low-light capabilities of faster lenses, its versatility and consistent performance make the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G a good option for concert photography.

 

4. Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
490 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 5.6
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
18-140 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR‘s zoom range is a key strength for concert photography. It allows for quick switches from wide stage vistas to zoomed-in performer shots.

Its variable aperture is serviceable in moderate lighting. It might struggle in concerts that are poorly lit, but the Vibration Reduction (VR) helps steady shots at slower shutter speeds. It’s not the ideal solution, but it definitely helps in low light. 

The lens’s ED glass element and aspherical lens design help maintain image clarity, reducing chromatic aberrations that can be pronounced under stage lighting.

A Silent Wave Motor drives the AF system, helping you keep pace with energetic performers. And at 490 grams, it’s light enough for handheld shooting during long events. 

While the Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G doesn’t offer the low-light advantages of lenses with wider apertures, its versatility and reach make it a practical choice for concert photography. It’s the best lens for concert photography if you’re using a Nikon APS-C DSLR camera.

 

Conclusion: The Best Nikon Lenses for Concert Photography

Choosing the best Nikon lens for concert photography makes all the difference when capturing the energy and emotion of a live performance. Concert photography has a unique set of demands. That’s why finding the best Nikon lens helps you capture your favorite artists as they strut their stuff on stage.

The Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S and Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR stand out for their quick autofocus, sharpness, and ability to handle low light. These lenses give photographers flexibility, allowing them to shoot wide stage scenes and intimate performer details with clarity and precision.

Our Top 2 Nikon Lenses for Concert Photography
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F/2.8E FL ED VR