Teleconverters & Extenstion Tubes

Amplifying Native Range

Adding a teleconverter (TC) or extender (Ext.) to a lens, either to increase the reach of a telephoto (TC), or to increase the magnification of a macro lens (Ext.), always results in a corresponding loss of image quality. The user is, quite literally, exchanging ‘quality’ (best resolution) for ‘quantity’ (more reach/magnification). Sometimes this is quite noticeable, removing the benefit; however, with judicious selection, sometimes the results can be quite good. Therefore, I tend to be judicious in my usage of both TCs and extenders, preferring not to use them … unless I feel the trade-off will actually improve my result, rather than compromise it. That said, here is what I utilize:

Nikon AF-S 2x Teleconverter TC-20E III

Doubling Your Reach

Nikon’s upgraded AF-S 2x Teleconverter TC-20E III is an economical way to double your reach, but there is a pretty painful compromise in absolute quality for going ‘the cheap route’ in doing so. This extender is not going to work on most lenses. According to Photography Life, “While this (TC) works with any professional Nikon lens … it is specifically designed to work with fast prime lenses with an aperture of f/2.8 and larger.” (In other words, the 200 f/2G VR II, the 300 f/2.8G VR II, the 400 f/2.8E FL.) Using it on f/4 or f/5.6 super-telephotos is not going to bode well. I used it all the time on my 300mm f/2.8G VR II … however, since selling this lens in favor of the lighter 300 f/4E PF, I haven’t used it at all. I do keep it around, though, ‘just in case’ …

See @ Nikon: Nikon AF-S 2x Teleconverter TC-20E III

Nikon AF-S 1.4x Teleconverter TC-14E III

Nikon’s upgraded AF-S 1.4x Teleconverter TC-14E III is a different story for me. In exactly the opposite fashion as the more dramatic 2x TC III, use the 1.4x all the time–in fact, it is glued to my 300mm f/4E PF. While only adding only a 25% boost, it also only takes away a negligible amount of image quality, making it the perfect trade-off. With good technique, and good light, this lil’ teleconverter is an indispensable tool.

See @ Nikon: Nikon AF-S 1.4x Teleconverter TC-14E III

Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set DG

(12, 20 & 36mm Tubes)

Unlike a teleconverter (which actually has internal glass which magnifies your existing lens), an extension tube is hollow. This creates space between the lens and the camera, which allows you to come closer than usual, to small subjects, thus producing a kind of ‘vicarious magnification’ such closer proximity allows. The former (TCs) are used on telephoto lenses, for longer range, while the latter (Ext. tubes) are used on ‘normal’ lenses to turn them into makeshift macro lenses. I seldom use extension tubes, as I have many dedicated macro options, but they do come on handy sometimes if I don’t have a proper macro lens with me. These tubes can be used singly, all-together, or placed in various combinations, in order to achieve the desired framing.

Find on Ebay: Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set DG