Discuss all brands of lenses, such as Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, etc.


Postby Talvan » Nov Wed 17, 2004 7:22 am

I would like to find out who has what kind of converters and how they like them. Specifically thrid party or Nikon. I am looking for feed back on autofocusing with telephoto zooms either with 1.4x or 2x converters.
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Postby TonyK » Nov Wed 17, 2004 7:36 am

Years ago I used tele-converters. Not any more. Most degrade the image unless you spend BIG bucks. Then there could be compatibility issues. My tele-converters were Vivitars (from the late 70's and mid 80's) so things probably have changed.
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Postby mattchase » Nov Wed 17, 2004 9:15 am

I can't speak for Nikon, so most the info below is pertaining to Canon. From my experience with Canon TCs, I would say that the Nikon TCs are probably their equals at the least. This is assuming you buy the best TC from Nikon / Canon, not one of their lower end, works with anything TCs. That is a big thing to watch for, any TC that claims to work with all lenses is probably not worth having. The high quality TCs are designed specifically to work with only a short list of lenses, hence keeping the optical qualities very good.

I have used both Canon and Sigma TCs. There are definitely different grades of TCs out there, and you will want to stay away from any TC that claims it can be used with any lens. Those are the kind that sacrafice quality for compatibility. The Canon 1.4x II and Sigma 1.4x EX APO are both very high quality, they are designed to only work with a very short list of lenses. I have used the Canon extender with Canon lenses, and the Sigma extender with Sigma lenses, but have not tried either extender with the other brands lenses. On their own brands lenses, you will be hard pressed to really see a difference in image quality. It is there, but you will have to blow the images up pretty large and really look for it. The one thing you will lose with any TC is light, the 1.4x TCs lose about 1 stop. I haven't used my TC in a little while, but I don't remember having any focus speed or hunting problems when using my 70-200 2.8 and the 1.4x TC. I've actually been meaning to do a little testing with the TCs at work (we have a 1.4x and 2x, and my Sigma 1.4x), when I do I will post my results.

The 2x TCs tend to show a bit more loss in quality. I would still say it is within reason, and most people wouldn't even notice. The bigger loss is the 2 stops of light when using the 2x TC. If you are on a tripod, or have bright daylight, then this 2 stops probably won't be much of a problem. Also because of this two stops loss, if you are using anything besides a 2.8 lens, your camera will probably not be able to autofocus. Most Canon cameras won't autofocus with a lens slower than f5.6, with the exception of 1 series cameras which can handle up to f8.

I have only used the Canon 2x extender once, and all I can say is wow. I was shooting a panoramic view of the strip from about 12 miles away at dusk, using the Canon 300mm 2.8 lens and the 2x TC mounted, giving me a 600mm 5.6 lens, and my exposures were 1 second at 5.6. I don't have the time to post this final shot right now, but I will, because we just did something with it I would never have thought would work. The original pano was meant to print at about 15"x48", and at that size it looks awesome. All the horizontal and vertical lines of the casinos walls and windows are sharp, very sharp at that size. Last week a client asked us if we could print that same image at 10'x16'...yes, feet. That is 120"x192", compared to the original 15"x48", and this is not for a billboard. They plan on using it as a wall mural to show the view from their condos, so people will be walking right up to this image and looking at it from less than a few feet away. I used Photoshop to interpolate it up in a couple of steps, and made a 2'x3' test print, and am amazed at how well the file held out. There is some softness and loss of detail, but those lines of the casino walls are still there and the windows are easily distinguishable. From 3 feet back, the image looks excellent, and even from only 1 foot away, it still looks really good. What's my point? Two things, one is that a high quality 2x TC mounted on a very high quality lens will give you exceptionally good results, and second is that interpolation has come a long, long way in making moderately large images into huge murals and still look good.

Reference Lists:

The following list is for the Sigma 1.4x EX APO Extender in Canon mount - about $170
(Using this extender with any other lens may damage the extender as well as the lens.)

Sigma Lenses For Canon AF Mode Original Canon EF Lenses Mode
180mm f/3.5 APO MACRO EX HSM MF 200mm f2.8L USM AF
300mm f/2.8 APO EX HSM AF 300mm f2.8L USM AF
300mm f/2.8 MF 300mm f4.0L IS/ USM MF
300mm f/4.0 APO MACRO/HSM MF 400mm f2.8L USM AF
300mm f/4.0 APO MACRO MF 400mm f5.6L USM MF
400mm f/5.6 APO MACRO /HSM MF 500mm f4.5L USM MF
500mm f/4.5 APO EX /HSM MF 600mm f/4L MF
800mm f/ 5.6 APO /EX HSM MF 1200mm f5.6L USM MF
1000mm f/8.0 APO MF 70-200mm f2.8L USM AF
70-200mm f/2.8 EX HSM AF
70-210mm f/2.8 MF
50-500mm f/4-6.3 APO MF
100-300mm f/4 EX HSM MF
120-300mm f/2.8 EX APO AF
300-800mm f/5.6 EX APO MF

And this list is for the Canon 1.4x II (all listed are Canon lenses) - about $280
EF 135mm f/2L USM
EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
EF 200mm f/1.8L USM
EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 400mm f/4L DO IS USM
EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
EF 500mm f/4L IS USM
EF 600mm f/4L IS USM
EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

The Nikon 1.4x TC is about $400, and works with the following lenses.

AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8D ED-IF
AF-S 300mm f/2.8D ED-IF (II)
AF-S 300mm f/4D ED-IF
AF-S 400mm f/2.8D ED-IF (II)
AF-S 500mm f/4D ED-IF (II)
AF-S 600mm f/4D ED-IF (II)
AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR
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Postby TonyK » Nov Wed 17, 2004 9:28 am

very good info.

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Postby Talvan » Nov Wed 17, 2004 10:12 am

thnx Matt. Very helpfull info there.
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Postby Klyment » Feb Wed 02, 2005 8:52 pm

Matt's reply is as thorough a reply as I could ever expect to a general post about TC's. =P

However, WRT to the Nikon 1.4x TC's specifically, it may be worth noting that they are a couple versions. THe one I currently own, but rarely use, is the TC-14E II. It's AF-S and it's likely about $400US in the states. WIth the 70-200/2.8 VR I have noticed no loss in speed or degredation of quality. During the summer ZZ Top was in town and I was shooting for the Red Cross. The Red Cross had not gotten pre-authorization to have me shoot them so the event's security people were all over any body with cameras. Managed to get a reasonably clean shot filling the frame of the two guys with the crazy beards and their drummer . . . from about 150-200m away in twilight at ISO 1600, max aperture (think it was 3.5). Losing only one stop probably made the difference between getting a shot with recognizeable facial features and getting something bordering on the unusable. =)

Still, that piece of glass is easily the most unused piece out of all of my lenses. Even for shooting model headshots, I rarely need more than the DX cropped 1.5x on the long end of the 70-200 at 2.8. I can't really justify the cost of this teleconverter . . . though maybe someone who knows who ZZ Top is would. =P

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Postby Talvan » Feb Wed 02, 2005 9:50 pm

LOL, I know who ZZ Top is, The two guys with beards are Billy Gibson and Dusty Hill, The drummer is Frank Beard(you know, the one without a beard LOL). Just a little bit of trivia info there for ya. :wtf

Oh and thnx for the info on the Nikon TC. :D
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Postby Watchin » Feb Fri 04, 2005 10:22 am

I've got a Tamron-F AF 2X (model N-AFd BBAR MC7) 7 element in 2 groups
(if I remember right) AFd - AFi - AFs compatible
Tamron makes 3 grades - cheap 4 element, mid 7 element (mine), and
SP PRO 9 element (I think). Don't even look at the cheap one, get a mid
used or a PRO new .

Pros -
- not as expensive as the PRO models, I paid $60 used, new ~ $145 PRO models ~ $200 new.
- good glass no vingnetteing or overt softness, slight edge softness at f2.8 @ 80mm on 80-200, center appears sharp in all focal lengths
- works with AF on all lenses with min below f4
- doesn't slow AF speed or cause hunting
- only 1.5 stop drop in speed
- light and small
Cons -
- not as sturdy as I'd like, with the 80-200 (a beast) it almost comes out
of the mount unless you support the lens (with either a hand or monopod)
- only works with select lens in the Nikon set, check the specs carefully!
- can be finicky when you mount the lens, requires care to make sure the lens
and the 2x are seated and locked correctly on the S2

I've only used it 3 or 4 times, it's an emergency use lens in desperate
situations like boat races where closest point to shoot is 500-700 yards (150m - 300m) from the race course, concert like Klyment's situation, or
nature shot where it's the only way to get the framing.

I carry it in the bag all the time "just in case". Would I buy it again ?
Yes but I'd go for the better build and optics in the Pro line.
Is it good for portrait work ? Nope, a good zoom or portrait lens is what
you need.
How does it compare to Nikon versions... Nikon has better optics, these
work with more lenses than older TC series but not as many as TC II series.
Nikon TC's are twice to three times the price. As often as I use or need this
I could not justify the higher cost. Like I said this is a "bag of tricks" helper.

Hope that helps,
Greg aka Watchin..."just watchin the world go bye, trying to understand the picture."
"Life is a grand adventure! Not a guided tour." oWo
Nikon D-700, Nikon lenses, Alien B flashes and lots of junk...
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Postby JoePhoto » Feb Fri 04, 2005 9:54 pm


Nikon has 3 AFS tcons.

TC-20E II (2x) AF-S, AF-I Teleconverter
TC-17E II (1.7x) AF-S, AF-I Teleconverter
TC-14E II (1.4x) AF-S, AF-I Teleconverter

As Matt said, they are designed to work with only a select few lenses. All must be AFS lenses. Off the top of my head these Tcon's support:

70-200/2.8 AFS VR
80-200/2.8 AFS VR
200-400/4 AFS VR
200/2 AFS VR
300/4 AFS
300/2.8 AFS
300/2.8 AFS VR
400/2.8 AFS
500/4 AFS
600/4 AFS

I have the TC14E II and use it on a 70-200/2.8 AFS VR, 300/4 AFS VR, and occasionally the 200-400/4 AFS VR. A good friend uses Canon's 1.4x on his 400/4 USM IS DO. Having tried 3rd party Tcons, I must say that the Nikon and Canon ones are much better - but I still notice the image quality hit though not necessarily in sharpness of subjects, but more in the defocus areas (being less smooth - more choppy) and some white subjects (birds) can exhibit slight coma (spherical abberation,) around highlight areas. Basically it looks like a little bit of diffuse glow. Removal of the Tcon for similar shots eliminates these ill effects. That being said, I'd love to give the 1.7x a go, but I won't go to a 2x because the quality hit is unnacceptable for my standards.

Basically everything else Matt said is what I would say, so rather than retype it here, scroll back up and read it again. :D
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Postby Talvan » Feb Sat 05, 2005 12:14 am

Thnx Joe. I was just looking at the 1.4x's sinceyou only loose one stop, I dont think I can afford to loose two.
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