Nine Lenses That Will Make Your Firework Photography Sparkle

Firework photography can be challenging, but so satisfying.

Fourth of July celebrations are almost upon us, which means many of you will probably try your hand at firework photography. Zoom lenses are perfect for firework photography as they can give you much more flexibility when it comes to composition choices. Seeing as you can’t move around safely in the dark, and the fact your camera is going to be sitting on a tripod makes zoom lenses much better for this genre of photography. If you want to capture rockets shooting off and exploding into the sky, these nine zoom lenses will really help make your firework photography plans go off with a bang.

There is no doubt that firework photography can be incredibly fun, and the scenes that can be captured can be awe-inspiring. You can either choose to shoot wide so that you can capture a stunning scene of fireworks erupting over a city skyline, or you can shoot longer and narrow down your focus to the spectacular explosions themselves. When it comes to firework photography you’re typically going to be shooting with a low ISO, between and f8 and f11 (maybe even as low as f16 depending on surroundings), and you’re going to be shooting long exposures (between three and 10 seconds typically) so you don’t have to have the fastest glass on the market. Here are nine zoom lenses from that we recommend for firework photography.

 

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

firework photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Aperture ring
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Sharp images
  • Smooth bokeh

Cons

  • No depth of field scale
  • Aperture ring is unmarked

Buy now ($599): Amazon

 

Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Fantastic sharpness
  • Great colors if you white balance and edit in just the right way
  • Reliable autofocus
  • Image stabilization
  • Weather sealing
  • Feels good in the hand
  • Very versatile
  • Not too heavy
  • Not badly priced

Cons

  • Tamron’s colors may not be to your liking right out of camera

Buy now Canon ($1,199): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($1,199): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: If you’re going to try your hand at firework photography you will absolutely need a good, solid tripod. Firework photography involves long exposures so being able to keep your camera steady is vital. Fortunately, there are some great tripods on the market that really don’t cost a fortune. This one from Vanguard is lightweight, sturdy, and it comes with a great ball head too. The best part is that it’s incredibly affordable!

 

Pentax 28-105mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

 

firework photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Smallish size
  • Really good image quality for what’s essentially a glorified kit lens in many aspects
  • Pentax’s rubber grips around the lenses are spectacular.
  • Incredibly affordable!

Cons

  • For some photographers, a variable aperture may not be so appealing

Buy now ($496.95): Amazon

 

Sony 24-105mm F4 G OSS

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sharp image quality
  • Nice bokeh in the right situations
  • A bit of weather sealing
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Versatile range

Cons

  • Nothing really, we accept this lens for what it is

Buy now ($1,198): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: No matter what you’re shooting, or where you’re shooting it, you should always be prepared to either switch out a full SD card or replace one that has malfunctioned. There is nothing worse than being ready to capture stunning images only to see an error warning or a message that the card is full flash on your screen. SD cards are super cheap right now, so stock up while you can and be ready to shoot no matter what.

 

Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • You can do a landscape image then do a portrait five seconds later
  • This lens is ultra sharp
  • The Sigma 24-105mm f4 is an extremely good lens for event photography
  • This lens is practical for use in almost any situation

Cons

  • The Sigma 24-105mm f4 is not the lightest lens
  • You have to pay attention to how you put on the lens hood or it will pop off
  • Image Stabilization gets weird on a tripod
  • The Sigma 24-105mm f4 does not shoot macro, but the Canon 24-105mm L does

Buy now Canon ($799.95): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($776.89): Amazon

 

Panasonic 12-60mm F2.8-4 Power OIS (Micro Four Thirds)

 

zoom lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Fast focusing
  • Image stabilization
  • Sharp image quality

Cons

  • I wish it were constant aperture. That would be some really true innovation

Buy now ($797.99): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: One of the best ways to shoot fireworks is to use a remote shutter release. Once you have your camera set up on your tripod, and your settings dialed in, the more you can leave the camera alone the better. Remote shutter releases are cheap, they’re easy to use, and they are available for all major platforms including, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fujfilm, Panasonic, and Olympus.

 

Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

 

firework photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Large rubberized zoom ring makes for smooth operation
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Affordable at $699 considering what this lens is
  • Faster aperture than its equivalent zooms across companies which usually come in at f4.5-5.6

Cons

  • It is massive for any X-series camera
  • It would’ve been great to see with this with a constant aperture, though that would jack up the price considerably

Buy now ($499): Amazon

 

Tamron 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD

 

firework photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Nice build
  • Small
  • Image stabilization that is very good
  • Good colors
  • Pretty good image quality, but I’ve seen better from Tamron

Cons

  • Autofocus can be wonky

Buy now Canon ($599): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($599): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: You’re going to be out in the dark, and likely in an unfamiliar place when you go to shoot fireworks, so safety should be one of your top priorities. Keeping a small, affordable flashlight on you will not only help you see where you’re treading, but it can also come in handy if you need to change your camera settings quickly. This small, rechargeable flashlight will help you during the night, and it can also be used if you want to get super creative.

 

Sony 70-200mm F4 OSS

 

firework photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Superbly sharp wide open
  • Optical stabilization works like a charm even with an older camera body
  • Fast focusing abilities, again even with an older camera
  • Internal zooming
  • Fairly compact size

Cons

  • Only f4; at the time of publishing this review Sony has yet to offer an f2.8 constant aperture telephoto zoom lens for the FE mount cameras

Buy now ($1,398): Amazon