What Equipment Did Steve McCurry Use For His Afghan Girl Photo?

by Buffalo Bob on September 9, 2011

Steve McCurry’s beautiful Afghan Girl portrait appeared on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic.

Later, National Geographic would name is as the single-most recognized photo in the history of the magazine.

So how did Steve shoot this photo?

According to Nikon World magazine, Steve used a Nikon FM2 camera, a 105mm f/2.5 lens, and Kodachrome slide film.

Unfortunately, all three are now discontinued. However, there are plenty of high-quality telephoto lenses that will give you a very similar point of view if you’d like the same combination of a razor-sharp subject and a beautifully-blurred background.

Nikon makes a spectacular 105mm f/2 DC portrait lens that will run you about $1,150. However, the 85mm f/1.8 is a much better deal at under $500, and you won’t be sacrificing any quality.

On the Canon side, you can choose from three lenses: the 100mm f/2, the 85mm f/1.8, and the 100mm macro. The 100mm macro is the most expensive at about $570, so only pick it up if you’re interested in macro work (bugs, flowers, food) and need the extreme close-focusing ability.

And oh yeah, a spectacular subject and insane talent are not included with any of these!

Source: Nikon World Magazine, Summer 1988 Issue

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