Coachella 2014 – The Case for the Point & Shoot

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Escape Velocity by Poetic Kinetics

After years of hoping, I finally got my ticket to North America’s biggest music fest – Coachella. When my ticket package came in the mail, there was a huge list of rules for the kinds of stuff attendees could bring – most notably, cameras. Any interchangeable-lens camera was to be considered pro gear, and as such disallowed. And while having a top-notch DSLR on hand would have been ideal, it just wasn’t in the cards that weekend.

When I did my research, I knew I wanted a camera with great optics and zoom. My search lead me to the Nikon Coolpix L830 – unveiled this year at CES. Right out of the box, I was impressed with its intuitive controls and incredible zoom. Being that the 60,000+ people in the audience might make it difficult to get a super close-up shot, I was also happy with just how close (and sharp) a shot I could get with the camera’s 35x optical zoom.

Broken Bells Live @ Coachella 2014

For daytime shots, I was shocked by the clarity and sharpness of just about every single picture this camera took. They were vivid, dramatic and beyond any P&S I’ve ever had. While I’m sure being in the pit with a high-end DSLR would have certainly been better, these pictures beautifully captured the performances I remember enjoying so much, not to mention the wild installation pieces strewn throughout the grounds.

MGMT Live @ Coachella 2014

 

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2Squared by artist Charles Gadeken

 

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Becoming Human by Artist Christian Ristow

For low-light and night-time shots, I was a bit more worried. Most P&S cameras tend to find their failure points there, as their optics simply can’t perform well with the absence of light. Simply not the case with the L830. I was once again astounded at the clarity, sharpness and feel of the pictures that came out – both during the performances, and for the installations.

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The Pixies perform literally in a wall of smoke and mirrors at Coachella 2014

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Queens of the Stone Age’s explosive Saturday Night set at Coachella 2014

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Superstar DJ Calvin Harris and his wild Sunday night set at Coachella 2014

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Light Weaver, the psychedelic installation by Stereo-bot, looks incredible at night

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The Arcade Fire close out the main stage late Sunday night at Coachella 2014

Coachella 2014 was a complete deluge of sights and sounds – one that my memories can only do true justice to. That said, I’m so glad I have shots that can bring them all flooding back. Crisp, sharp and evocative, I can almost remember what song was being played with each one. While we spend the majority of our time covering cutting edge, high-end photography equipment, there are some instances in life that make those things impractical to have around. This is my anecdote for one of those times. If you’re a pro, you’ve already got your horror stories of environments and conditions that made a casualty of your gear. I’m pleased to report that because of the Nikon Coolpix L830, Coachella 2014 was not one of them.

 

 

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