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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