I’ve gotten a few emails about what cameras I use at shows. Usually I have 2 cameras with me.
My “Big Camera” is an Olympus SP-550UZ with 18x optical zoom. It is a bit on the large side and sometimes I have trouble getting it in when artists have the “no camera larger than your palm” rule. However, usually it is the size of the guy at the doors palm, even if it is bigger than my palm haha. This camera is about 4 or 5 years old and I have been looking to upgrade it, but I haven’t found one that works quite as well in low light without a flash on sports mode. (My go-to mode for concerts) It also has a pretty good mic so it records pretty decent audio when in video mode.
The downside to this camera is getting a photograph with a person when you need the flash – it only flashes once so I blink. Also in video mode, whatever zoom you are at you are stuck with, you can not zoom in and out once it is recording.
My “Little Camera” is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 with 10x Optical Zoom. It also has a sport mode but it is not as good in low light as I would like it to be. It also has a “high sensitivity” mode, which is pretty good for concerts without a flash but you can’t really get a print larger than 4×6 without it looking grainy due to the settings it gets put on when in this mode.
However, when on the portrait mode, it flashes twice which completely bypasses taking the photo while I am blinking. It also fits in my pocket so it is easy to carry around with me and not as bulky and heavy as the big camera. Since this camera is so tiny and 10x zoom (and it has a 12x zoom version that is just a tiny bit bigger) I am hoping that larger zoom will be able to fit in smaller sized cameras in the near future!
This camera doesn’t do quite as well with audio during videos, but you can zoom in and out as you are recording a video.
Ultimately, I would love a camera that combines the good of both of these cameras (good audio on videos, zooming in and out on videos, 18x+ zoom, double flash on photos, etc) in to something small and compact, but I haven’t quite found the perfect blend yet.