Extender?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by MLeeK, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    I want to purchase one... I am usually up on all of the lenses and camera bodies, but tele-extenders isn't something I have delved into.
    I shoot a lot of sports and I am not rollin' in the dough so I don't have the lenses I'd LIKE to have... I am still working with a 70-200 f/2.8 as my main. So... I really would LOVE to go with a 2x, but... I also know I have read that the 2x isn't so hot...
    Help?
    best bang for the buck? I do not want to compromise on sharpness if I can get away with it. The compromise on f/ I can do in most situations, so I am willing to try it!
  2. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    The Canon 1.4X and 2X teleconverters are both on version III. I've heard that the new ones are better than the old ones...for what that's worth.

    The main thing to know (if you don't already) is that Canon's teleconverters are only really compatible with certain Canon lenses (fast telephotos usually). Off brand TCs may be more compatible with all lenses...but they still have the same light eating issue. As in...the 1.4 costs about 1 to 1 1/2 stops and the 2x costs 2 stops.

    As for sharpness, you will read a lot about how they hurt image quality, but I think that in real world shooting, it's not that bad...especially in the centre of the frame. The story I have, is about the time I was out shooting with someone who had both the 1.4 and the 2x. He said that he sometimes stacks both of them behind his 70-200 F2.8. I thought that the quality would be terrible....but it was actually decent (especially in the centre).

    So yes, there is going to be a compromise in sharpness (compared to a 400mm prime lens) but considering the cost of that 400mm and the convenience of just carrying the TC....it's a pretty good trade off for most.
  3. SCraig
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    SCraig Well-Known Member

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    I have a Kenko M7 2x TC for Nikon that is useless. Far too much light loss, far too much loss of sharpness, even with relatively short lenses. On the other hand I have a Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 1.4x TC that is very handy. I do lose one f-stop because of it but there is little loss of sharpness, autofocus normally works just fine, and it goes with me a lot. The 2x non-Pro version I threw in my box of mistakes.
  4. Tony S
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    Tony S New Member

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    The newer tele extenders work well with the newer lenses and in most cases very little noticeable drop off in quality until you really start pixel peeping at 100% images. For your 70-200 though, start with the 1.4x version as that combo has the least amount of image degredation but maintains useability and focusing functions. Going to a 2x version will cut out your auto focus on most camera bodies (top shelf pro bodies keep the focusing ability with 2x extenders).

    Remember you are also going to lose light, so you will have to crank the iso up to keep shutter speeds up to stop any action, this is also a drop off of quality, how much depends again on the body you are using the combo on.

    I have both the 1.4 and 2x II Canon extenders, on my 70-200 2.8 IS the 1.4 works great with no quality drop off issues, to me using the 2x on this lens does not work well. But on my 400 2.8 IS both extenders provide very good useable image quality as long as I do my part with exposure and a good stable base to work at longer focal lengths.
  5. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think the 1.4x converters make the most sense with something like the 70-200/2.8 lenses. With today's higher-MP count bodies, post-capture cropping in is also a very valid option. My understanding is that the very-newest converters from Nikon and Canon are actually significantly better when paired with the very-newest, re-designed lenses both companies have released the past 2 to 4 years. The costs have gone up on the TC's quite a bit.

    I think it's quite important to realize what one actually "typically gets" with a 1.4x converter added to a 70-200/2.8 zoom. You get a maximum focal length of 280mm at f/4, with VISIBLY SOFT corners, until the lens is stopped down one full f/stop, so that means you get an f/5.6 lens that goes from 201mm to 280mm. ALL SETTINGS UNDER 201mm with the zoom + TC Combo are visibly compromised at shooting apertures wider than f/5.6. ANY focal length of 200mm or under is MUCH BETTER when shot with the converter removed. At 70mm with the 1.4x installed, you get a 98mm f/4 lens with soft, degraded corners...and ALL focal lengths from 98mm to 200mm are degraded, and could be MUCH BETTER and with wider aperture values, with the converter removed...SO, again, when you really stop and look at it, the 1.4x converter gains you only the range from 201 to 280mm, while costing you one full f/stop of light, as well as serious corner image quality, lowered contrast, and if you're honest about it, an across-the-frame loss of contrast and resolving ability at wide-open (f/2.8 on the main lens) all the way down to one f/stop closed down from max, which is f/4 on the main lens, so an effective aperture of f/5.6 is where the quality becomes "passable." So...is it better to crop-in on the 200mm captures, or to use a 1.4x?

    Not many people stop to consider what a 1.4x really does to their pro-grade 70-200mm lens. A 280mm f/5.6 lens of moderate quaiity....versus say, a used 300mm f/4 of superior quality...consider the new price of these latest 1.4x converters....and then consider the price of a used 300mm f/4....
  6. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    If at all possible I'd love to see images of the two stacked like that.
    Off brand lenses is a concern for me as my main 70-200 is the Sigma OS version and my secondary is the Tamron, so I know i have to research that carefully before buying. I am pretty sure I am going in to NYC in January and will probably go to B&H where I can try them out and play first hand and purchase then. If not then it will be at WPPI in January-where again I can play first.

    Have you/do you use a TC at all and what is your feeling on the sharpness loss? Is it going to bring me back to a kit lens standpoint or worse? Is it going to be a fuzzy loss of sharpness or just a loss in the fine details? That statement probably sounds so ignorant, but I am lacking a better description at this point. I have some old lenses that I can compensate with a bit of clarity for the fuzzy look to the loss of sharpness and I have some that just lack some of the finer details in their loss of sharpness... So incredibly technical, I know.
  7. GooniesNeverSayDie11
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    GooniesNeverSayDie11 New Member

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    I used to use the Canon 2x extender II on my 70-200 f/2.8 IS and 7D. It worked pretty decent. IS still worked and as long as you had decent light, focus would work with no problems. However, it does slow things down a bit and you do degrade the image slightly. I ended up selling the extender and getting the 400 f/5.6 for $1000. I have a Kenko pro300dgx 1.4x as well that works a bit better on the 70-200 in terms of degrading and speed, but I rarely use it anymore. I hate the thought of degrading the IQ so I try to avoid using it.


    Also: it should be noted that I am a complete sharpness fiend. Sometimes I wonder if I am too critical on some shots and tend to pixel peep. So you may be more forgiving to the shots with the 2x. Who knows. They are by no means TERRIBLE.
  8. mjhoward
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    mjhoward New Member

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    This has been my observation. We have the old 2X Extender II and rented the new 2X III and there is a significant improvement. We also tested the new 400mm f/2.8 II with the new extender against the 800mm f/5.6 and surprisingly they are pretty on par with each other. In some cases the 400mm w/2X was a little sharper and others the 800mm w/2X was sharper. This is when pixel peeping, otherwise you probably wouldn't know the difference. There was a slightly noticeable reduction in color contrast/richness. The colors with the 2X just seemed a bit duller. I believe on shorter focal length lenses such as your 70-200mm, the results will not be as good. Teleconverters just don't perform as well on lenses with shorter focal lengths, perhaps because they typically don't perform as well as a telephoto prime to begin with, but distortion also becomes an issue with something shorter than telephoto.

    Derrel has good advice. The money spent on a Teleconverter would be better spent on a used Telephoto lens, even if it has a bit smaller aperture.
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  9. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    OK... I am re-thinking now that I look at the costs vs the benefits... AND worrying about my lenses...
    The 2x runs about $475 (canon version) and that is assuming the canon version will work with my off brand lenses... The sigma version is much cheaper, but I've not heard anything good really about it and I don't want to take the chance.
    Instead of upgrading that Tamron dinosaur I have I am thinking that I probably should just buy the 100-400 f/3.5-5.6L USM IS. Adorama has one used for $1199 and another for $1299. New runs $1530.

    In my thinking here I'd be ahead of the game... Correct me if I am wrong in this... I need to have 2 working 70-200 lenses for this if I went with the extender. The Tamron's focus is SLOW. AS. MUD. which is why I want to upgrade it to at the very least the Canon 70-200 f/2.8. I have an offer on my Tamron for $650 if I sell. The 70-200 will cost me $1300 new or an additional $650. The extender to go with it $475 for a total of $1125. And there I am compormising on the IQ/sharpness and 2 full stops of light putting me at 5.6 anyway.
    The 100-400 I am still getting rid of the Tamron and used is $1200. $550 out of pocket. I am still at f/5.6 and not compromising on the IQ by using an extender.

    Any opinions on the lens? Now that I have typed this I realize I probably should just ask for opinions on that lens seeing how I have no experience with it... Oh well. Here's hoping!
  10. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    AND if I use the 100-400 on my 7D I am at 640mm at the zoom end.
  11. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    If all you're trying to do, is get to 400mm (you're not buying the TC to use on a future 300mm or 400mm lens), then yes, consider the 100-400mm L IS. It's a beast of a lens and nobody really likes a push pull zoom (dust magnet)....but the IQ is very good.
    I can't find the link...but not too long ago, I read a review of Canon's 70-200mm lenses with a comparison to the 100-400mm. I was surprised to see that the 100-400mm practically blew them all out of the water, including the new 70-200mm F2.8 II.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  12. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    Equivalent FOV....not equivalent focal length....but you knew that. ;)
  13. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    Sorry guys, I gave the wrong aperture up there... It's 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L USM IS and after checking their conditions I'd go for the $1299 one, but it's hardly any difference in $ anyway.

    Thank you Mike. I will see what I can find on reviews on it now. I think that's the way I'll go for now. I HOPE someday to add in one of the amazing monster lenses, but I am not going to hedge my bets based on someday.
  14. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I've seen two really EXHAUSTIVE tests of the new Nikon-made aspherical element, version "III" teleconverters...very carefully-done tests with good subject matter, done under good atmospheric conditions, with lots of sample images to choose from to represent each lens setting and shooting parameters, so as to avoid bad samples with focus errors, and the "new" Nikon aspherical-element converters when paired with the "NEW" 300/2.8 VR,the 200/2 VR,and the new 70-200 Mark II were really, in some cases, MUCH better than those lenses with the older converters Nikon has been making for 10+ years now. One pro shooter's comparisons also added the 400/2.8 VR and the 200-400 VR Nikkors to the mix. The thing is this: the very-newest TC units are pretty well-matched for the very-newest lenses, as a whole. Nikon's TC's have always been designed and intended for single focal length telephoto prime lenses, with "under 200 mm" and "300mm or longer" lenses each having had their own optical designs for almost 20 years with the TC-200 and TC-201 and TC-300 and TC-301 converters for the manual focus lenses made from 1976 to the 2000's; the AF converters were designed SPECIFICALLY for AF-S telephotos, and will NOT, I repeat will NOT mount to many zooms and primes due to where the front elements of the TC unit are going to bash into the rear lens elements on many lenses.

    I'm not as familiar with Canon TC units, but one thing I do know about the Sigma-brand TC's is that they have a PRO-series that has a rather deeply recessed front element, so that allows it to mount on many,many more lenses than TC's that have their front elements rather far forward. The Sigma PRO-series 1.4x converter I have seen used by many people on non-Sigma lenses, with good results in some cases. What I have found, and others have too, is that "Occasionally" there is a lens/converter pairing that is quite good to very good; there are also some that are very poor;now that we have 16-18-24 MP cameras, to me the idea of a 1.4 x 200-280mm f/4 zoom is not really all "that" desirable or versatile...when we had 2.7,4.2,and 6- and 8-MP cameras, the optical boost from a TC unit was valuable...nowadays...not so much, unless it's being used on a killer-sharp 200,300,or 400mm prime lens in order to make a longer lens with ample quality to spare. One suggestion: Sigma 100-300mm f/4 HSM as a very versatile fast-focusing sports lens, with their 1.4x added for longer-reach needs in good light. Canon's 100-400 trombone is like a dinosaur leg in actual handling....it's a dog...the Sigma 100-300 f/4 is like a dream in comparison...especially for a woman, I would think...if you have not actually shot the Canon 100-400, it's hard to imagine what a slug it is, in several ways...
  15. ann
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    ann Well-Known Member

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    A friend of mine had a 2x for a nikon and so I tested it on my 70-200 2.8 lens and wasn't happy at all with the results. Then recently, I tested the new version of the 2x and there is a significant difference.

    Derrel"s suggest about the 300 f4 makes good sense, but ..... to many lenses now , little camera bag space, and old age have let me pass this one up.

    at least for today
  16. mjhoward
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    mjhoward New Member

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    If at all possible, try and borrow one of these or go to a local camera store and see if they have one to try. I HATE the push-pull of this lens and quite frankly I find the long end, which is the important end on a lens like this, to be quite soft. IMO it's only good optically, not great.
  17. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    Would you say that you feel there is more compromise with the lens, or by using a 2x extender?
  18. GooniesNeverSayDie11
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    GooniesNeverSayDie11 New Member

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    If you are going to take a look at the 100-400IS, and you think that you are going to typically shoot at the long end, I would take a serious look at the 400mm f/5.6 prime. Its light, and it doesn't have the "Dust Pump" zoom function. ( They are releasing a new version soon with normal twist zoom but its going to cost like $2000 I think ). You said you mainly shoot sports, so if the action is fast, the IS is just going to slow down your focus. You are going to want to have a high shutter speed to freeze action anyway. You can always throw it on a monopod to gain an extra stop or so of handholding. The benefit of the 400 Prime is that it is lightning fast on the focus, and its razor sharp. And you can typically get it for $1200-$1300 brand new with full warranty.
  19. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    I don't ever use the IS (OS) on my 70-200, so the IS is a non point for me. It'll have to be turned off.
    I might just rent the 400 and see how I feel about it. I am nervous to be without that zoom. I have no doubt I'd get used to it and might even like it more, BUT...
    It would also kind of mean I'd have to shoot on two bodies full time. The 100mm end of the zoom I can easily get away with almost everything and I only need a wide for sidelines and the OTHER things of the game...
  20. gsgary
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    gsgary Well-Known Member

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    The 100-400 is not a good lens for sports

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