Teleconverters...Good or Bad?

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Comments

  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited March 2014
    I would not recommend a D800 + AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II + TC-20E AF-S Teleconverter III you are better off without the TC and simply cropping ( others will disagree)
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    I thought I would toss in my experience as I have been sorely disappointed with the Nikon TC-20E III. Just last week I shared some images with Nikon Tech Support using a D800, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8, and TC-20E III. The tech indicated the TC would degrade the image quality, and may require manual focusing for best performance. I subsequently sent images with and without the teleconverter. Those with the teleconverter are what I would consider unusable and certainly unacceptable. Nikon said they would be happy to evaluate the combination of gear if I sent in the camera, lens, and TC. I may well do that in the near future. I may have gotten a bad TC-20E III because others seem to be having better success.

    I would encourage anyone considering the TC-20E III to make sure that the point of purchase will accept returns if dissatisfied.
    I thought I would toss in my experience as I have been sorely disappointed with the Nikon TC-20E III. Just last week I shared some images with Nikon Tech Support using a D800, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8, and TC-20E III. The tech indicated the TC would degrade the image quality, and may require manual focusing for best performance. I subsequently sent images with and without the teleconverter. Those with the teleconverter are what I would consider unusable and certainly unacceptable. .
    I hve not used this conmbination, but have used the tce14II and tce17II with 70-200 / 2.8 VR , 200-400 /4 VR and 80-400 G VRII and observed that adding the TC requires changes in Autofocus fine tune. Have you done an Autofocus fine tune with the TC combo ?.

    The 70-200/2.8 is the least TC friendly of these 3.

    The 80-400 G VRII and tce14 II are excellent.

    .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    I have a bit of experience with TCs and thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. I don't own one, but have twice spent a week+ shooting with a D90 + 300 f/2.8 + TC1.7 and a D800 + 300 f/2.8 + TC1.4. On those trips, I have shot subjects both with and without the TCs. I have not used one with a 70-200, so I can't speak to those who have bad experiences with that combination.

    The short answer is that yes, a TC will degrade your image somewhat. It's not just the loss of a stop or two, it's another piece of glass for the light to travel through, which will have an impact. In a perfect world I'd own a 500mm f/4 (hell, if the world were really perfect, I'd own a 800 and have unlimited use of a Sherpa), but as we all know the world is far from perfect. Cost is a factor, as is portability. A year ago I was lucky enough to find a used 300 f/2.8, which I've found to be an amazing lens. Is it a birding lens? No, not really, unless you get really fortunate (even on a DX body it's not a birding lens). But since I do this primarily for grins, it's hard to justify the $8,000 for a used 500mm, so I've got to figure a more affordable (at least for me) workaround. In this case the TC has been very useful. The same goes for weight and portability. Lugging a 300 (plus all this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdanford/11442592904/) through a bunch of airports is no small task. Try watching as a bungling TSA agent disassembles your bag in front of you while you beg him not to drop anything).

    So I'd rather not use a TC, but there are times it does come in useful. I would also venture that while they are not optimized for use with a 70-200 (Roger at Lens Rentals has a very good blog post on why they may not be), they do tend to do tend to deliver pretty decent results with a telephoto prime, at least to my semi-trained eye.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Remember a teleconverter adds an extra mount point into the mix. This is likely where need for focus fine tune comes into play(mechanical tolerances, etc...), or sending the whole mess to Nikon so they can adjust it for you. The lovely 800mm doesn't have this issue since the TC slides in after the mount.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited March 2014
    I believe the teleconverter at the back of the 800 is the same as all the rest. It is, however, serial number matched.

    This 1.25 teleconverter can be used only with the 800mm f/5.6 lens.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    You are of course correct. I was thinking of the filter holder...
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Does that mean if I buy two of these 800mm gizmos**, I must keep track of which TC goes to which lens??

    ** I noticed Adorama has them on sale. $3 off $17,899.95. What a steal! I can save $6 if I buy two!
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited November 2014
    @Ade: Yes, each TC for the 800 is made for that specific lens. You do not want to lose it or use it with another 800mm. Either leave it on or take it off.

    I had my 1.7 fine tuned by Nikon to work as best as possible with my 70-200 & 105 2.8. Thus, I agree with what Ironheart has said. I have not had any issues with it lacking sharpness when I have used it. Those times that I have, a good majority of the time, I have shot at F/5.6 and above....be it my D4 or D7000.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    edited March 2014
    Proudgeek pretty much nailed it. TCs degrades image quality if you compare with the the best lenses out there. But TCs add to the image quality if you compare with "not taking the picture" in the first place because you dont have the lens for it.
    Post edited by henrik1963 on
  • ANTCT1ANTCT1 Posts: 11Member
    For another place, (naughty, I know) I did a few quick shots earlier today using a TC14EII + 300 F4 ED or the 70-200 F4 VR, both mounted on a D7100 (but not at the same time :). All pix are jpgs straight OOC, handheld and the 70-200 shot was taken later in the day with the zoom throttled back a bit. IMHO, the TC14EII IQ is not a problem for most shots with image degradation at around 5% or so! Cropping as an alternative is fine, but for "wild" (can a lorie be called wild?) animals reach is king as I was getting too close with the zoom and just one look at me and every "bird" does a runner...

    As I can't figure out how to insert pix into this post, I hope it is not offensive to link to the pix at "another place"...
    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53278701 where I am impersonating as "TQGroup".
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    I used the 2xMk 111 converter with a 70-200 mk 2 VR and a 300 2.8 mk2 non Vr with full frame cameras,in truth mainly with a tripod due to the loss of shutter speed, I have to say, I have been satisfied with the results.
    Any use of converters is a compromise, but they do serve a purpose.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • ANTCT1ANTCT1 Posts: 11Member
    Thank you, moderator.
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 1,000Member
    For another place, (naughty, I know) I did a few quick shots earlier today using a TC14EII + 300 F4 ED or the 70-200 F4 VR, both mounted on a D7100 (but not at the same time :). All pix are jpgs straight OOC, handheld and the 70-200 shot was taken later in the day with the zoom throttled back a bit. IMHO, the TC14EII IQ is not a problem for most shots with image degradation at around 5% or so! Cropping as an alternative is fine, but for "wild" (can a lorie be called wild?) animals reach is king as I was getting too close with the zoom and just one look at me and every "bird" does a runner...

    As I can't figure out how to insert pix into this post, I hope it is not offensive to link to the pix at "another place"...
    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53278701 where I am impersonating as "TQGroup".
    What I fear is that at ISO 1100, which your pics were at on DPR, there is degradation in the DR and grain in the background. I wonder if the same shot without the TC at a low ISO would not be superior, albeit not as close up. Granted the 7100 can go up on the ISO and still give good results, but to keep DR intact I have found that it needs to be 600 or less. Thank you for posting your experience and set-up as it was very helpful.
  • ANTCT1ANTCT1 Posts: 11Member
    Thank you for your kind and helpful comments. Of course, you are right. The lower you can go with ISO the better the outcome will be. Unless, of course, grain is am element of your composition, which, in this case it was not. My only excuse, I know I don't need one, is that I'm not as steady as I was when I was younger and I'm still recovering from foot surgery... I'll remember to keep it well clear of my mouth next time. :\"> The shots are straight out of the camera and were taken "to order" and intended to illustrate likely results from using a TC14EII in awkward lighting.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    "Degrade Image quality"

    This needs to be defined.
    As the way it reads from most on this thread it comes across as "creates basically not usable images."

    I use a 1.7x with a 70-200vr1 and my 105vr. I also have a Kenko 2x with my Tokina 300mm 2.8.

    On both, the Bokeh becomes jittery, but is easily knocked smooth in post. CAs (easily corrected in post) are more pronounced. I have never found it an issue or a reason not to use one.

    In terms of sharpness, it is just a bit lower. For example, 115mm + 1.7 (200mm) is a bit softer than the 70-200 @200. Details in feathers are still there, just not as bitingly sharp out of the camera.

    BUT...take for instance the 70-200 compared to the 70-300vr, I have found the sharpness to be better than the 70-300vr.

    When it comes to TCs I have found that the degradation from raising iso values to have much more of an impact on IQ than TCs.

    Most seem to leave out Post Processing on every discussion which I always have found very, very odd as a photo takes less than 1 sec to take but many spend and hour or more in post. Details and definition can be pulled out easily, OOF areas smoothed easily, and contrast added. In terms of TCs, a small amount of time in post will correct most any IQ loss.
    I would not recommend a D800 + 70 - 200 + x2 TC converter. you are better off without the TC and simply cropping ( others will disagree)
    I won't speak to the TC2 (as there are 3 versions now - V3 is suppose to be leagues better than the first two) so that is a bit of an overstatement that needs some "TC version" clarification,
    But On my Tokina with the cheap kenko 2x Pro images are better cropped than with the TC
    - with one huge IF
    IF the crop is over 50%, the TC is better as the native Image size drops to a 8x10 or smaller and when printed, pixelation occurs. I have not had the same issue with Nikon's TCs.

    As we all know Down-sampling an image actually increases sharpness and cropping/Enlarging decreases sharpness so it does make more since to use a TC in most cases as the end image will be better.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited March 2014
    TaoTeJared I won't speak to the TC2 (as there are 3 versions now - V3 is suppose to be leagues better than the first two) so that is a bit of an overstatement that needs some "TC version" clarification,



    agree ...I have update my post
    I was referring to the TC-20E AF-S Teleconverter III

    (I bought the TC-20E AF-S Teleconverter III for use on my D700 and on the D700 the TC was better than cropping) eg the "weak link" was the D700's sensor

    but the D800 resolution seem compatible with the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
    so adding more elements with a TC, seems to degrade the image




    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    Sorry TTJ, I should have been more specific. When I said degrade I didn't mean unusable, just that an image shot with a TC would not be as good as one shot without (albeit incrementally). That said, some of the best shots I've ever taken were taken with a TC, so my definition of "degrade" is pretty open to interpretation.
  • CoastalconnCoastalconn Posts: 527Member
    edited March 2014
    Here's a sample from the Sigma 120-300 EX OS (Non sport) with a 2x Sigma APO TC. I have sharper ones stopped down more, but this is at F7.1, handheld, ISO 400, 1/250th
    Sparrow 2_23
    2400 wide(original was cropped down to about 3600 from 6000 on D7100)... http://www.flickr.com/photos/coastalconn/12733223455/sizes/o/
    Post edited by Coastalconn on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    On another thread I posted about my old teleconverter, a Soligor Auto Teleconverter 3X on a Nikon F body with a 300mm f/4.5 Nikkor…. in the 1960's. This was a very long lens in those days…900mm, f/13….and the image produced….at 8"x10" print…soft is the kindest description, fuzzy soft or just plane blurry is more accurate….. Yet, the effect of the foreshortening was so dramatic, the image had an acceptable quality from an art standpoint.

    I may examine this and see if it will fit on the back of the 400mm f/2.8 and try it….1200mm f8…yikes...
    Msmoto, mod
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    On another thread I posted about my old teleconverter, a Soligor Auto Teleconverter 3X on a Nikon F body with a 300mm f/4.5 Nikkor…. in the 1960's. This was a very long lens in those days…900mm, f/13….and the image produced….at 8"x10" print…soft is the kindest description, fuzzy soft or just plane blurry is more accurate….. Yet, the effect of the foreshortening was so dramatic, the image had an acceptable quality from an art standpoint.

    I may examine this and see if it will fit on the back of the 400mm f/2.8 and try it….1200mm f8…yikes...
    I am intensely interested.

    I am currently fine tuning the tce17 eII on my 400/2.8 G .

    Do you have an opinion on this TC vs the tce20 eIII on this lens.

    I will be birding, and shooting hunting eagles.

    Regards .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    edited March 2014
    tc20e3 is optically better than tc17e2
    Post edited by adamz on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited April 2014
    Just for interests sake… the 400mm f/2.8 VRII with a TC-14EII. D4, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 125. At about 50 meters….
    Cherry_Grove_III_04.14.14-2


    Larger: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fantinesfotos/13851684754/sizes/o/

    But, for the pixel peepers who like to see things fall apart..
    Cherry_Grove_Tight_Crop_Test_04.15.14
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • cowleystjamescowleystjames Posts: 74Member
    I have the 200-400 and all three TC's, both my D4s and D800e will focus no problem at all even in early morning light using the TC-1.4II or TC-1.7II, however the D800e, struggles with the TC-2.0III and 200-400 in early morning light whereas the D4s has no problem at all. This camera would pick out a black cat in a coalmine in the dark at F8.
    Also, the images from the 200-400 with the TC-2.0III are still incredible, I'd go as far as to say, comparable with the 300 f2.8 with the same converter.
    I absolutely love the 200-400 f4.
  • cowleystjamescowleystjames Posts: 74Member
    I would not recommend a D800 + AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II + TC-20E AF-S Teleconverter III you are better off without the TC and simply cropping ( others will disagree)
    My first 70-200 f2.8 bought produced soft images with the TC-2.0III, however, my replacement lens was bang on. But I can't agree with the TC-2.0III being no good with this lens and a D800.
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