01 July 2022

Birds in Flight Photography: Background Blur Considerations

Birds in Flight Photography: Background Blur Considerations
Pied kingfisher in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Background Blur Considerations

Slower aperture lens on APS-C / Crop vs f/2.8 lens on Full Frame body

(During a recent Birds in Filth public presentation I was asked by a member of the audience if it it was worth it yo invest in a performance high-end Full-Frame bodies / lense for creating sufficient background - my answer was an emphatic no, and I discussed my planning and demonstrated the planning procedure the member (and the audience in great detail).

With a fast aperture lens, i.e. the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM super telephoto lens, its much easier to blur the background - and when paired with a Full Frame body its almost effortless (ito panning and the work required for rendering background blur compared to an APS-C / Crop sensor body and / or slower aperture lens).

The end result (ito background blur) may look very similar, but there was much more tracking, pre-focus and panning involved with the 1st image. 

Distance between foreground and background / depth of field for both images are very similar - and captured in the same area in the Milnerton Lagoon, Woodbridge Island, Cape Town.

Due to the the larger sensor of the full frame body I was able to crop the 2nd image to more / less the same dimensions as the 1st image.

Image 1: Pied kingfisher (with AI Servo AF tracking / panning)
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II (APS-C Sensor)
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • M Mode: f/5.5 ISO 640 1/4000s Handheld
  • Multi-shot mode: 10 fps
  • Autofocus: Zone 

Image 1: Little Egret (with AI Servo AF tracking / panning)

  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II (APS-C Sensor)
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • M Mode: f/6.3 ISO 640 1/4000s Handheld
  • Multi-shot mode: 10 fps
  • Autofocus: Zone 

Image 2: Swift Tern
(with limited AI Servo AF tracking / panning)

  • Canon EOS 6D (Full Frams Sensor(
  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens
  • M Mode: f/4 ISO 500 / 1/4000s handheld
  • Multi-shot mode: 4.5 fps
  • Autofocus: Single Point

 
(Click to Enlarge)
Birds in Fliught Photography: Background Blur Considerations
Image 1 : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm f/5.6 Lens @ f/6.3

Birds in Fliught Photography: Background Blur Considerations
Image 2 : Canon EOS 6D / 300mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/4


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