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Fashion Show Zoom lens wish


My work horse lens is the Simga 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. This lens gets me through most of the commercial jobs I do. Its a great range, 70-200mm, and you will find 90% of photographers on a runway shoot using this standard range, because every manufacture makes one.

However, for me, and those same 90%, this lens falls short on the runway. And I have seen many people slap on a 1.4x TC durring the middle of a show to try and get extra reach.

Where does it fall short? On a long runway. Let me describe the typical fashion show walk.

We have to take photos of every part of this sequence:

  • Model steps out from behind, and poses (usually because the brand name is next to them)
  • Model then walks to end of runway
  • Model stops, poses
  • Model turns one direction, poses
  • Model turns opposite direction, poses
  • Model turns around, poses
  • Model then walks back to beginning of runway
  • Model poses one last time at start of runway

Now let me show you what the environment looks like, on the left is a view of the runway from the riser, and on the right is a shot of the riser, and the distance from the stage. This riser, is where all the photographers group up and shoot from.

riser-4.jpg riser-3.jpg

I have to zoom all the way in and catch the model when they first walk out, so I am at 200mm, not quite enough, but close... Since I shoot a 36mp camera, I can afford to crop a bit, but not happy about it.

I then have to follow the model all the way through the walk. And when they get to the end of the stage, I am all zoomed out at 70mm. 70mm was worked great for me on the end of the stage.

Now if a model is shorter, (it happens, not all models are tall) then I have to zoom in a bit at the end of the stage.

Nancy Vuu - StyleFashion Week Rehersal 2015

I got lucky on my last runway shoot, I knew my client (Nancy Vuu, one of the designers, seen above and I always attend the rehearsals so I am aware of whats going to take place (so many photographers show up 1/2hr to walk) My client was featuring a children's line

I knew right away, with the current issues of not having enough reach with the 70-200mm, that I need to change lenses. So I put on my Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 Sports lens. And I got perfect shots.

So whats my problem? I dont have a single lens that can stay mounted for a fashion show.

So here is my Zoom Lens Wish: zoom-lens-wish-list.png

Now this chart shows the zooms I currently own, and the two I wish I had.

  • For Fashion shows, I would love a 70-250mm f/2.8
  • To complete my wide end, I would love a 12-35mm f/2.8

For me, I like to have overlap in my zoom lenses.

Example: I have a 12-24mm, and 24-105mm, so basicaly one pics up where the other leaves off. Well this is good for my setup shots, studio, production, etc.. where I have time to choose a lens. But with a little overlap, say a 12-35mm, I would not have to change lenses in the moment as often because I can extend into the overlap area. Its true we will always wish we had a little more reach no matter what, but having overlap in a series of zooms is far better than having one pick up where the other stops.

Now my personal wish for the 70-250mm, well that's just my dream lens for my Fashion show clients.

Side note: I do own a Tamron 28-300mm, but the IQ is just not there to do a Fashion show. This lens, as much as I like the versatility of the range, it usually sits as a backup, or on my cinema rig.

Mike Bradley

Author: Mike Bradley

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