Extension tubes vs teleconverters?


TPF Noob!
Oct 31, 2020
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I have a Sony A7ii and a Sony 200-600 for bird pictures. I don't own a teleconverter, but I have extension tubes. The extension tubes seem to act like a teleconverter, and there is no additional element to shoot through. Besides the lack of infinity focus, is there any draw back to using an extension tube as a teleconverter>appvalley
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Normally a ex tube is used for close up/macro work
Although I have never tried one for distance work
Extension tubes allow you to focus on objects closer than the normal minimum focus distance of a lens at the expense of loss of the ability to focus at long distance; you will only get a larger image if you can get closer to the object.
Teleconverters change the optical characteristics of a lens so that the focal length is increased; you will get a larger image at a given distance but at the expense of light loss and consequent increase in exposure required.
They have almost the exact opposite jobs.

Extension tube will kill your ability to do any distanced wildlife as their only purpose is to make the lens focus closer. The exact opposite of what you want. What extension tubes are great for is closer subjects that you want to be able to focus on and get a larger image of. Quasi macro. As mentioned above you do loose a bit of light but that is tru of teleconverters as well.

Teleconverters are a magnifying glass and will still let you focus on things at a distance.

Other than that no real downfall.
As stated above, they are two different things. I don't think extension tubes will do much good for birds, unless in a museum, where they won't fly away.
I have a couple of TCs and I believe that they do not change a lens's minimum focusing distance. Someone correct me if I'm wrong as I've never actually validated this even though I do this a lot.

So, while not making a lens a macro lens, they improve close up performance. I believe my 400 MM, which can focus down to 3 ft, becomes an 800 mm with the 2X teleconverter that can still focus down to 3 ft. Put it on a crop sensor and it's 1260mm at 3ft.

Of course the widest aperture is doubled. I don't think that is the case with extension tubes but some who knows for certain should chime in.
I've used both in the past but was never really happy with the results, particularly for macro so don't bother with them any more, having invested in dedicated lenses.
As already said they have different uses....

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