Best Sony Lens For Concert Photography (2023 Guide and Review)

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Sony is one of the top contenders when it comes to optical lenses. Not only are their lenses equipped with some of the best features in the market, but they are also highly durable and reliable and do not cost a fortune (well, most of them).

When paired with a high-quality camera, the right lens with the optimum focal length range, image quality, and maximum aperture can produce remarkable portrait captures in a concert.

We have intricately put together a list to highlight some of Sony’s finest creations in the lens market for concert photography!

What Features to Look For in a Sony Lens for Concert Photography?

When it comes to concert photography, there are several things you need to look for in a lens. Some essentials to consider are a wide aperture, image stabilization, an expansive focal length range, and durable build quality.

Wide Aperture

A wide aperture lets light into the lens of the camera, making it possible to handle low-light situations. Since stage lighting is usually pretty “moody” (and often fairly lousy), getting a lens with a wide aperture like f/1.4-2.8 is critical if you want the complete scene in the picture rather than just a black smudge.

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is another vital feature to look for when searching for the ideal concert photography lens.

When you are shooting pictures from the photo pit, there is bound to be a lot of crowd and hassle. This often causes your camera to shake, preventing you from getting a decent shot.

However, the key to this problem lies with image stabilization, as it ensures that your pictures are not blurry messes even with sudden camera shakes and hand movements.

Expansive Focal Length

A broad focal length range is essential when covering a concert. You will need to be able to capture shots of the stage and the artist as they are performing without having to move closer or farther to the stage constantly.

With that said, an expansive focal length and zoom range will allow you to capture your subjects from a safe and comfortable distance easily.

Build Quality

Build quality is another factor that simply can not be ignored. You need a sturdy lens that can withstand different weather conditions.

Moreover, the lens you are getting for concert photography should be lightweight and portable, as lugging around a giant piece of equipment in a crowded place is not ideal.

What Are the Best Sony Lenses for Concert Photography?

Now that we have brushed up on what features you should keep an eye out for when picking a Sony lens for concert photography, let’s get on with our list to help you find the ideal lens for your camera.

Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM

Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM
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Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM

With its expansive focal length range and wide aperture, this lens is perfect for capturing wide-angle or portrait shots at concerts from a distance. However, the lens has no image stabilization, making it difficult to shoot with camera shakes.


  • Exquisite low-light performance
  • ED, Super ED, and XA glass for minimizing chromatic aberrations and flare
  • Stunning bokeh
  • Weather-sealed
  • Remarkably light and compact


  • No image stabilization

The first wide-angle-to-short telephoto lens on our list is the Sony 24-70mm, one of the best wide-angle lenses for shooting landscapes and portraits.

The 24-70mm has a constant f/2.8 fast aperture allowing you to capture “bokehlicious” photos. Moreover, the lens brings concert shots to life by enriching their shades and aesthetics.

The 24-70mm’s optical zoom range lets photographers capture a wide scene where you’re not very close or too far from your subjects, perfect for taking pictures from a photo pit.

Paired with the f/2.8 aperture, it also performs exceptionally well in settings with awful lighting, which is usually the case at concerts.

The 24-70mm autofocus drive comes with a Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) motor that ensures accuracy and precision while capturing photographs.

It does so by allowing the lens to sync perfectly with the camera shutter speed. The addition of a fast AF and fast shutter speed helps render stunning concert shots.

The Sony 24-70mm is built with rigid and sturdy materials that promise durability and reliability. Moreover, the lens is equipped with a rear rubber gasket to keep your camera moisture- and debris-free, making it a fine choice for carrying outside between crowds of people at a concert.

Along with One ED (Extra-low-Dispersion) and one Super ED element, this lens’s construction also includes an XA (Extreme Aspherical) lens element with superlative surface precision. In simple words, this efficiently reduces light streaks in your photo and field curvature (when you’re shooting at a wide focal length).

Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM

Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM
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Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM

The Sony 16-35mm is a handy and reliable camera with precise autofocus and a wide field of view. It is excellent for capturing moving crowds or the complete stage in a concert. With that said, there is evidence of distortion when you’re shooting at extremely wide angles.


  • Sharp portraits
  • Weather-resistant sealing
  • Remarkable image quality
  • In-built vibration reduction provides ultimate image stabilization
  • Two DDSSM autofocus groups enable high-speed and accurate autofocusing


  • Evidence of distortion
  • Does not have image stabilization

Next, we have Sony 16-35mm, a wide-angle zoom lens capable of capturing the most staggering shots of stage performers and crowds.

With a wide range of zoom capabilities paired with a constant aperture, the 16-35mm lens can produce stunning landscape wide-angle shots.

Maxed out at 35mm, the lens is able to capture the shot similar to how you’re seeing it with the naked eye.

Sony’s 16-35mm has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, which is remarkably fast and delivers consistent performance throughout the zoom range.

Furthermore, it effectively handles low-light situations without needing a flash, making it an excellent choice for capturing mesmerizing performer shots.

Along with Two Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) autofocus groups, the lens also comes with a focusing mode that allows quick and seamless switching from automatic to manual focusing. This prevents you from capturing blurry messes; instead, you end up with pretty sharp ultra wide-angle images highlighting all the intricate details.

The 16-35mm feels solid in your hand and has a well-built metal barrel and rubberized focus control rings. Moreover, the lens element has a fluorine coating making it dust and water-resistant, so there’s no need to fear shooting in crowds drinking, and dancing.

The Sony 16-35mm also consists of an 11-blade diaphragm which can help deliver dramatic blurred background effects. Due to this, the subject in the foreground stands out very well, which is perfect for music photography, where the background is usually distracting.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM
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Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM

The 12-24mm is an exceptional lens for capturing wide-angle shots of the concert or shots of the complete band. However, the lens is fairly expensive and not optically stabilized for camera shakes.


  • Three XA glass elements to reduce chromatic aberrations
  • Crisp shots at f/2.8 across the whole zoom range
  • Exceptionally sharp portraits
  • Weather-sealed


  • Premium price bracket
  • Is not optically stabilized

This ultra-wide and versatile lens is excellent for almost all wide-angle photography styles, but its capabilities truly shine when capturing concerts, music festivals, or any other crowded events.

The 12mm focal length of the lens is perfect for capturing a broad perspective, while the 24mm focal length is ideal for taking snapshots as it provides a semi-wide angle field of view. With that said, it’s important to note that the image quality is maintained throughout the zoom range.

The 12-24mm has an XD Linear Motor system that uses four separate motors, two per focusing group, and an internal focusing design to provide quick and precise autofocus. This makes the lens perform exceptionally well while shooting moving objects.

It also has a built-in petal-shaped lens hood that helps to prevent stray light from causing any sort of flare or ghosting effect.

This is also assisted by the Nano Crystal Coating applied on the lens that further reduces flare, which is often an issue for concert photographers who struggle with the multicolored stage lights.

This ultra-wide angle lens has a maximum f/2.8 aperture which effectively handles normal-light settings and comes in handy in low-light situations as well.

Since the lens allows you to set a pretty high aperture, you can also take shots quickly at a higher shutter speed. Moreover, it also gives you a lot of room to tinker around with the ISO and be creative.  

Along with reducing color aberrations, the three XA elements further help ensure pictorial excellence in every respect. Moreover, the innovative optical design of this lens makes it lightweight and perfect for carrying around at a concert amongst crowds.

The lens mount is also made of solid metal, ensuring durability and reliability in the field. Although the manual focusing ring is made of plastic, it is covered with rubber to make it comfortable and precise. To top it all up, the lens even has a fluorine front element coating and a dust- and moisture-resistant design.

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
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Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

Tamron’s 17-28mm is a reliable lens that comes at a reasonable price, making it incredibly easy to capture moving subjects at a concert with its fast autofocus. However, this is some evidence of distortion when shooting at extremely wide angles.


  • Ultra-fast AF
  • Extremely portable and lightweight build quality
  • Weather-sealed
  • Reasonable Price


  • Evidence of distortion

The Tamron 17-28mm is the perfect full-frame lens for crowd shoots. Equipped with a flexible wide-angle range, the 17-28mm, covers ultra-wide to wide focal lengths, producing exceptionally sharp images.

The 17-28mm is equipped with Digitally Integrated Design (DI) which aids in delivering exceptional pictorial performance. One may think that this might affect the body structure of this lens, making it bulky, but it does not.

This Tamron lens weighs only 420 grams and is actually incredibly compact, perfect for carrying around at a concert.

The autofocus system of this lens also has a sensor responsible for detecting the position of the lens. This not only makes the AF speedy but also precise, a feature that is essential when you’re trying to take a shot of a dancing crowd or a hyped-up singer on stage.

The lens also hosts a BBAR (Broad-Band Anti Reflection) coating, creating images that are void of ghost and flare effects. Again, this is ideal for concerts where streaks of multi-colored lights go everywhere.

The 17-28mm has a sturdy all-metal build with minimal plastic finishings, ensuring durability and reliability in the field. Moreover, it has a moisture-resistant construction and a fluorine coating to protect against dust, dirt, and smearing.

Sony 35mm F/1.4 G-Master

Sony 35mm F/1.4 G-Master
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Sony 35mm F/1.4 G-Master

The prime 35mm is the perfect lens for capturing concerts at night due to its incredible low-light performance and stunning bokeh. With superb color quality, the only major thing which the lens lacks is a good image stabilization system.


  • Snappy autofocus
  • Two XA and ED glass elements to reduce chromatic aberrations
  • Remarkable bokeh
  • Exceptional low-light performance


  • Evidence of focus breathing
  • Lack of image stabilization system

The next lens on our list is the Sony 35mm. This prime wide-angle lens comes with improvements in its features, handling, and exterior design, dishing out some pretty cool pictures when paired with a high-quality Sony camera.

The medium telephoto lens has an extra-wide, f/1.4 aperture that easily handles low-light situations, producing immaculate, grainless photos which require minimal post-processing.

This lens also comes equipped with an eleven-blade aperture mechanism that produces an almost circular aperture even when the lens is wide open. This particularly comes in handy when you want a clean shot, but the stage lighting is distracting.

Additionally, this lens is built with a pair of XA (extreme aspherical) and extra-low dispersion elements to minimize chromatic distortions and reduce color fringing at the corners, which is quite common when shooting outdoor music events. The images produced also have excellent color accuracy and are almost entirely devoid of flare.

When shooting continuously, the camera shutter is synced with the 35mm, increasing the sharpness and speed of the in-built autofocus of your camera.

The lens also features IF (Internal Focusing) that prevents the barrel from extending and provides responsive focusing performance.

Lastly, to add the cherry on top, this lens is incredibly reliable and durable. It has a highly lightweight body structure with a moisture-resistant design perfect for shooting concert and music photographs outdoors.

Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II
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Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

This lens is a great choice if you want something to capture highly-sharp and accurate portraits from a distance. However, the premium price bracket may be a bummer for many photography enthusiasts.


  • Ultra-fast autofocus
  • Lightest in its class
  • Exceptionally sharp portraits
  • Creamy and smooth bokeh
  • Image stabilization system to reduce motion blur


  • Premium price bracket

With all the wide-angle lenses in the mix, throwing in a telephoto zoom is essential if you’re looking for a change of taste. The Sony 70-200mm is a one-of-a-kind telephoto lens, and the list of its remarkable features and specifications only goes on and on.

The 70-200mm wide focal range, when paired with a constant aperture of f/2.8, allows beginners and enthusiasts to shoot photos with endless creativity.

While it means that you won’t be able to get a wide-angle field of view, it does fare extremely well for portraits and close-ups, even if you can’t find the front row in the concert.

The maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes it an excellent option for covering well-light environments and even low-lit stages. The wide-open aperture also allows ample light to pass through, and when paired with suitable ISO settings, the lens helps reduce motion blur so that you can consistently produce strikingly sharp images even at slower shutter speeds.

The 70-200mm is exceptionally reliable, durable, and the lightest in its class. It feels very solid in your hand and has a metal barrel, rubberized focus control, and smooth zoom rings. Moreover, the lens also has a physical aperture ring that provides photographers independent controls for focus, zoom, and iris.

The lens also has built-in optical image stabilization, two ED (Extra-Low Dispersion), and two Super ED elements to eliminate chromatic aberrations across the entire zoom range.

Coming to accuracy, the Sony 70-200mm has an ultra-fast autofocus system composed of 4 XD Linear motors that allow the lens to sync perfectly with the camera shutter speed, maintaining the sharpness of the pictures.

The lens has a focusing mode that allows switching from manual to autofocus whenever needed.

Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM

Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM
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Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM

The 85mm is the perfect prime lens for producing exceptional portraits in a concert. It’s great for capturing photos in a large arena, but lens users may have to compromise in the image stabilization department.


  • Pocket-friendly price bracket
  • Optimal low-light performance
  • Exceptional bokeh
  • Fast autofocus


  • Evidence of vignetting
  • Lacks optical stabilization

Finally, the last lens on our list is the Sony 85mm. This is the ultimate prime lens for capturing mesmerizing portraits in a concert.

The medium telephoto lens has a wide, f/1.4 aperture that easily handles low-light situations, producing high-quality grainless photos that need minimal post-process touchups.

Unlike most moderate telephoto lenses in the market, especially in this price bracket, the 85mm maintains image clarity even while shooting at a maxed-out aperture. However, some corner fringing is observed on maxed aperture, even though it’s fairly combated with the XA lens elements.

Featuring Sony’s Nano AR Coating, the 85mm lens packs extra consistency and reduces the flare in your photographs, which is usually a cause of distress for concert photographers.

The Sony 85mm also has an SSM autofocus system and Internal Focus (IF) mechanism, allowing the lens to sync with your camera’s shutter speed.

Plus, the lens’s focusing mode will enable you to switch from manual to autofocus whenever needed, so you don’t miss out on any action in the concert.

With all the features, the budget-friendly lens even hosts a pretty solid build. With a sturdy metal barrel, rubberized focus controls, and zoom rings, you don’t need to be afraid to take the lens into crowds!  

Are Telephoto Lenses Good for Concerts?

Telephoto lenses are an excellent choice for shooting concerts as they are equipped with a broad focal length and expensive zoom range that are pretty useful for taking pictures from a distance.

Moreover, the wide apertures have remarkable low-light performance, so you don’t miss out on the action just because of poor lighting.

However, most telephoto lenses aren’t so compact, making them a hassle to carry along in a crowded place like a concert. They do make it up for it, though, by allowing you to capture exceptional portraits from a safe distance, so you don’t need to go head-first into the crowd to capture your images.


With exceptional features and specifications, reasonable prices, and reliable builds, Sony has lenses for all photography styles. However, the lens options Sony presents for concert photography are truly game-changing. We hope our list of the best lenses for capturing concerts and musical events has helped you make a decision!

Meet the Author

Syed Arham

Arham delved into photography since he got his first phone, a measly Samsung C7, back in 2010. With access to limited gear, he discovered innovative ways to capture some of his favorite shots. While Arham loves to travel, his dream shot, engulfing the northern lights in his camera frame, still remains one on his bucket list. However, until he gets the opportunity to travel to the Norwegian Arctic, Arham spends his time writing in-depth gear reviews for fellow photographers!

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