Kenko Pro 300 1.4x TC Initial Impressions

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Pure, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

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    Today UPS dropped off my new toy, a Kenko Pro 300 1.4x TC for Nikon AF-D. And of course a baseball game was going on. What a perfect chance to test it out! Here are my initial impressions.

    I took it out of the box, and found it to be well constructed with metal mounts and a sturdy feeling to it [heavy].

    Attaching it to my D90 was a dream, a snug fit!! With my 80-200mm f2.8 attached, there was some rotational movement, but BARELY noticeable without trying. the lens/TC only twist if you try and move it, not if you're just moving the zoom or focus rings.

    In the field I found it to focus about 80% as fast as AF-D alone, plenty fast for sports. The TC does not modify the focal length and aperture, so when shooting at 280mm @ f/5.6, it still shows 200mm @ f/4 in camera. I also noticed an increase of Chromatic Aberration on the white jersey's. In the harsh lighting, CA was noticeable, much more than the 80-200mm alone.

    Pro's
    Well Constructed
    Focuses with AF-D [screw] and AF-S
    Hoya Multi-coated glass
    Cheap, $200
    Adds reach

    Con's
    Slows AF a bit, not that much
    Chromatic Aberration increases especially in harsh lighting
    Not as good as Nikkor glass
    DOES NOT MODIFY APERTURE OR FOCAL LENGTH



    Final Notes

    I'd definitely recommend this TC if you want more range without having to buy a new lens. While the TC is no excuse for a new longer lens, it does do the job for a fraction of the price.

    PLEASE NOTE: This TC, just like all TC's will make all glass worse. If you put this on a crappy piece of glass, expect the same from your pictures. I'd recommend only using this TC on good glass, like primes or pro zoom's. No 18-200mm lenses here.

    If you have any questions, just ask here, or at my e-mail ccwbassett [AT] yahoo (DOT) [COM]

    PICTURES!!!
    \/\/\/\/ This is NOT a crop of the below picture.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. TUX424

    TUX424 TPF Noob!

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    Pure:
    You talk about how the Kenko does not change the info that is displayed on the camera, do you know if that is true for nikon TC as well, just something that im interested in knowing.
     
  3. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

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    I bet the Nikon TC does just because it's the Nikon TC. If it doesn't then Nikon failed itself.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just a few notes on the cons, and add a few that I found myself:
    - AF slows due to the drop in aperture and thus light. No gearing in the AF-D screw, and no electronic change in the AF-S terminals means that any problem relating to AF is due to the camera and lens combination and would be identical with ALL teleconverters.
    - CA I find is not introduced by the adapter really. But it's the first thing that is amplified by many lenses. I definitely find while using a borrowed 70-300 I had CA problems compared to the 80-200 where I have none, except at 200mm f/2.8 where the lens itself exhibited some too. Gone when you step down to f/4 (non telconverted apertures).
    - I contest the Nikkor glass bit. I have used the Nikon teleconverter and I have found zero difference. The Nikkor teleconverters have nothing special in them at all. They are not specially coated or feature non of the things their famous sharp lenses have (nano coating or low dispersion coating). It's just a plain formed silicon with a very basic antiglare no different than the Kenko TC. If anything Nikon dropped the ball in performance (or Kenko produced a rare gem rather than the usual lemons depending how you look at it).
    - The aperture situation was done for compatibility. Some claim that there are issues with matrix metering (I haven't noticed any), but the fact is the camera doesn't need to know the exact aperture to meter properly. If nothing is changed distance wise that means the focus position compared to focal length doesn't change either so I don't see how it can be an issue (but really Matrix Metering is something only understood by math geeks at Nikon so I may be wrong :) ). That said the omission of the aperture change means that you can use this teleconverter with f/5.6 lenses without automatically having the camera disable AF due to the small aperture. On a bright day even a dark lens can autofocus.

    Now with my opinion on those cons addressed I find that the build quality of the Kenko isn't all that good. My lenses mate with it just fine but once locked in there is a tiny amount of play. This is bad enough that while using the 80-200 f/2.8, if I brace my lens against something in a certain way the aperture contact drops off and the camera reports an f/11 regardless of setting and the aperture doesn't close to the right position (camera missfires, image comes out black). This doesn't happen with the Nikon but then I still prefer the Kenko since I can actually focus!

    When shooting into the light there are some contrast issues as well but the Nikon has the same problems. This may be an amplified lens problem, come to think of it because I've never checked if this is reproducible on a lens other than the 80-200.



    The Nikon TC does update the information sent to the camera. Yay the exif is right, big whoop :p
     
  5. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

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    Just a few notes on the cons, and add a few that I found myself:
    - AF slows due to the drop in aperture and thus light. No gearing in the AF-D screw, and no electronic change in the AF-S terminals means that any problem relating to AF is due to the camera and lens combination and would be identical with ALL teleconverters.


    I agree with you, but it was bright outside and there was plenty of contrast for the AF to use. I'm still not sure what's up here, and the aperture is still a quick f/4.

    - CA I find is not introduced by the adapter really. But it's the first thing that is amplified by many lenses. I definitely find while using a borrowed 70-300 I had CA problems compared to the 80-200 where I have none, except at 200mm f/2.8 where the lens itself exhibited some too. Gone when you step down to f/4 (non telconverted apertures).


    I honestly have no idea about this. I still get CA on my 80-200 if I shoot with the harsh sun. I was stopped down to f/5.6 [f/4 on lens, + 1 stop with TC] and I got pretty bad CA. But I honestly have no idea.

    - I contest the Nikkor glass bit. I have used the Nikon teleconverter and I have found zero difference. The Nikkor teleconverters have nothing special in them at all. They are not specially coated or feature non of the things their famous sharp lenses have (nano coating or low dispersion coating). It's just a plain formed silicon with a very basic antiglare no different than the Kenko TC. If anything Nikon dropped the ball in performance (or Kenko produced a rare gem rather than the usual lemons depending how you look at it).

    Yes, this is true. I'll pretty much agree here, but I read a review awhile ago that compared a few TC's and Nikon had a slightly better image, but probably unnoticeable unless you pixel peep, which I do, but shouldn't.

    - The aperture situation was done for compatibility. Some claim that there are issues with matrix metering (I haven't noticed any), but the fact is the camera doesn't need to know the exact aperture to meter properly. If nothing is changed distance wise that means the focus position compared to focal length doesn't change either so I don't see how it can be an issue (but really Matrix Metering is something only understood by math geeks at Nikon so I may be wrong :) ). That said the omission of the aperture change means that you can use this teleconverter with f/5.6 lenses without automatically having the camera disable AF due to the small aperture. On a bright day even a dark lens can autofocus.

    I'm still a bit confused on howthe camera can meter for me even though it still believes that it is an F/4 lens or whatever the aperture is set at. Shouldn't the camera underexpose since it thinks that the lens has a larger aperture than it really does?

    Now with my opinion on those cons addressed I find that the build quality of the Kenko isn't all that good. My lenses mate with it just fine but once locked in there is a tiny amount of play. This is bad enough that while using the 80-200 f/2.8, if I brace my lens against something in a certain way the aperture contact drops off and the camera reports an f/11 regardless of setting and the aperture doesn't close to the right position (camera missfires, image comes out black). This doesn't happen with the Nikon but then I still prefer the Kenko since I can actually focus!


    I haven't experienced any loss in contact, however, there is some play. But I've always had play with my 80-200mm connected directly to my D90. Again, not really sure, but who knows.

    When shooting into the light there are some contrast issues as well but the Nikon has the same problems. This may be an amplified lens problem, come to think of it because I've never checked if this is reproducible on a lens other than the 80-200.

    Nothing some PP can't fix?

    The Nikon TC does update the information sent to the camera. Yay the exif is right, big whoop

    Worth the extra $150 plus loss of AF-D AF? I think not.
     
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Try it on a prime lens you may find it works much better, this is the 2x pro on a 300mmF2.8L
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

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    Sure, buy me some primes, and I will!
     
  8. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    They all look good except the third one, which looks terrible (not composition-wise). I was under the impression that even with 2x TCs, you can't tell any difference from normal sized prints.
     
  9. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    2X converters are not good on zooms
     
  10. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The camera meters based on the light it sees, and then compensates the shutter speed based on the aperture. So the lens reports f/2.8 is the widest, it's set to f/4 the camera gives you 1 stop drop in light. Now the same happens when the teleconverter is there, but since the camera looks through the lens it already sees the additional 1 stop loss in light. End result is 2 stops from what the lens would be without the TC, but the camera doesn't need to know this.

    The same happens with the Nikon TC. The TC reports the widest aperture is f/4 and the lens is set to f/5.6 That 1 stop difference is again all it cares about, so everything works the same. This is why I can't figure out why it would make too much of a difference (and from what I've seen it doesn't).

    ...

    I do just bump up the contrast slightly. It is not a field relevant problem. The issue is slight if at all.

    ...

    Heck no! the Kenko 300 is worth it easily even if it were the same price as the Nikon simply because of the AF-D :)

    [​IMG]




    With 2x you should easily be able to tell a difference, but that horrible image is caused by the lens. The 80-200 as fantastic as a lens it is, when not stopped down and zoomed all the way to the end has in my opinion very average bokeh, since the TC amplifies the field of view it makes this defect appear worse.
     

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