All About Teleconverters (TCs)

This time around I thought we’d take an in-depth look at teleconverters. Not just what they do – but how they work, how to get the best results, how they affect AF speed and accuracy, the best way to use them and more. Even if you think you know all about teleconverters, there’s probably something new for you in this video.

Plus, as a bonus, towards the end I even show you a few field tips to help you manage your TC in the shortest amount of time (Hint – using the techniques I describe, I can have a TC on or off in less than ten seconds!)

Check it out:

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Also, here are the links I promised:

Running Buddy XL Buddy Pouch

Nikon TC Compatibility: Link #1 | Link #2

Canon TC Compatibility: 1.4TC Link | 2X TC Link | Wiki Page

Sony TC Compatibility: The Sony 1.4 and 2X TCs are compatible with the SEL70-200GM, SEL100-400GM, SEL400F28GM lenses. I’m sure the new 200-600 and 600 F/4 will also have compatibility at some level, but there is not any info yet form Sony’s product page as of this publication.

PS – If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books, Secrets To Exposure And Metering For Nikon, Secrets To Stunning Wildlife Photography, and Secrets To The Nikon Autofocus System – as well as my new Noise Reduction video workshop. They’re filled with hundreds of tips, techniques and information just like this. Check ’em out – click here (hey, it’s free to look).

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This entry was posted in Nikon Gear, Techniques, Using Your Gear, Wildlife.

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JEMSteve PerryTom ShelburneWalter BalieroBas Cuthbert Recent comment authors
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JEM
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JEM

I use a Nikon 500mm PF fixed lens… when mounted on tripod is it better to have VR enabled ? primarily I use it for bird photo shooting.

JEM
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JEM

Does anyone know if the TC-14E III will work with AF-S Nikkor 500mm F5.6E PF ED Prime lens?? Working in conjunction with a Nikon D500 camera body?

Tom Shelburne
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Tom Shelburne

Thanks Steve – excellent – newbie – bought 1.4 Kinko teleconverter for my 70-300 before trip to S Africa- very helpful tips –

Walter Baliero
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Walter Baliero

Hi again in this post, Steve; first question already solved. Now I would like to comment you that ones, while I was at Manu National Park, Peru, I had a problem produce by the TC. I was shooting normally when suddenly I noticed that f/ was blocked on f/22. After the logic frizzing of my heart – and far away from home – I checked the whole parameters and also go to the lens, then I discover that some screws of the metallic ring of the TC were loosened, so with a very fine screwdriver I solved the problem; since… Read more »

Bas Cuthbert
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Bas Cuthbert

Steve,
Is it necessary to turn the camera off before mounting and removing lens and TC’s?
thanks Bas

Michael
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Michael

Hi Steve,
Thanks again for another helpful video. I have a question concerning the use of older lenses and tc’s. I am using a 200 f4 non ai lens and a TC-1. When I go to the menu and select the lens in the Non cpu lens data, do I need to make a new entry for the combo since it now acts like an f8 lens or do I just keep selecting the f4 200mm? Thanks in advance for your time and and all your great tips and tricks.
Michael

Dan Hoskins
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Dan Hoskins

I did a test as follows: D850 with Sigma 150-600 lens at 600mm on all 4 pics all at 1/500 and auto ISO on a tripod. I used a Sigma TC 1.4 on 2 pics (one full frame and one crop mode and then with no TC on 2 pics (one full frame and one crop mode). Then I imported them into Lightroom and cropped the 3 photos to the same image size as the TC crop mode pic. Then I exported them to “Photos” so they would be JPEG and I could see the megapixel size that was left… Read more »

Doug O'Boyle
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Doug O'Boyle

I have a Tamron 150-600 lens and a Canon SL2 camera. Would it be better to use a Tamron or Canon TC? Loved the TC video.

Mike Vuletich
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Mike Vuletich

I am using the D500 with a 70-200 tamron zoom.(not the new G2). Will any tamron 1.4TC work with this lens? Also being a crop sensor would my max with the 1.4TC be 420mm?

Ted Smith
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Ted Smith

Thank you – another great, informative video. My question – which gives the better result? Using a 1.4x teleconverter on my 500mm prime lens or simply using the lens and cropping in to the exact same degree as the teleconverter would have provided? If the quality is broadly the same I’d prefer not to lose an f stop.

Bruce
Guest

Always enjoy your videos and books and always learn a little gem or two! I just wanted to share my experience with using the 1.4 TC with the Nikon 500mm PF. I was pleasantly surprised by the sharpness of the image AND without stopping down at all. Also, as you note the Nikon branded TC worked better than the Kenko Pro 1.4 that I was previously using. On a D500 I didn’t worry too much about AF speed so the issue simply became balancing the need for enough light with a low enough ISO to reduce noise and enough shutter… Read more »

Walter Baliero
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Walter Baliero

Hi Steve.
I’ve just made AF Fine-tuning to my combo D850/500mm f/ VR + TC 1.4, but I noticed that gives me different values of focusing if I make it in it “Full” or switching to “8 mt.-Infinite”. What is the reason and which is the better choice to do it? Thanks.

Joe Hudspeth
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Thanks Steve. More excellent advice!

ann Lendon
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ann Lendon

Hi Steve. Very interesting & made it so easy to understand like all the other information you have given. Thanks again have struggled understanding some things till I heard you & my camera is thankful as well
Curiosity have your feeling about mirrors cameras improved ?

Enzo
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Enzo

Hi Steve, when using he Nikon 1.4x TC-14E III teleconverter with a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G on my D500, I have noticed that in Lightroom it still shows as the 70-200mm and doesn’t recognize that the image is shot with a teleconverter. Some images have visible distortion because they’re corrected with the 70-200 profile only. Any idea what’s wrong here and how to rectify it? Thanks!

Michael
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Michael

Thanks Steve, especially the tip that the AF correction is different with and without TC lead me to test my 105/2.8 Macro with the TC 1.4 (both Sigma). This combination works great but indeed shows a completely different correction value. I though about a slightly longer Macro lens, but the combo does the trick with much less effort

Brenda
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Brenda

Steve Im new to all this camera stuff so am grappling to get my head around the benefits of a TC. My husband bought a nikon d7500 and the nikon zoom lens 80-400 for bird photography but as most of our birds are small and often far away he is now talking about getting the nikon 200-500mm lens. My ? is would that be a better choice or would getting a TC work the same.

Terry
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Terry

Thanks again Steve.

I commented on a previous post of yours regarding concerns I was having with the TC-14EIII fitted to my 200-500, and this latest video expands on the reply you gave me back then. The extra information is very much appreciated.

Cheers from Oz
Terry

Tklee
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Tklee

Dear Steve,
I would like to know if a nikon 400mm F2.8 with a tc1.4 iQ is the same as 600mm f4 IQ. Both will give the same length and f stop

Richard
Guest

Steve,
I have been told that you should always mount the teleconverter on the lens first then mount it on the camera. The manual instructs you to do it this way, also someone from CPS told me if you do not mount it on the lens first you could have AF problems becasue of communication issues between the lens and camera. Have you ever heard of this.

Bruce
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Bruce

After I bought the TC-20 III and did lens autofocus fine tuning I found that it was noticeably sharper than my TC-14 II and TC-17 II teleconverters. I sold both the II generation teleconverters and bought the TC-14 III. Alluded to indirectly but with the loss of a stop or two of light there is less light and lower contrast for the camera’s autuofocus sensors to use. I keep the TC’s in the Nikon pouches but I put white electrical tape around the drawstrings for the TC-14 pouch and red tape around the drawstrings on the pouch for the TC-20… Read more »

CHRISTIAN SOMMEILLIER
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CHRISTIAN SOMMEILLIER

Thank you Steve, I made a link with your previous post ”The secrets to sharp eyes and better compositions” to realize that with a 300mm PF f/4 and a 1.4 TC or only a 500mm PF f/5.6, both mounted on a D500, there is no other way that using focus and recomposing method for better sharpness, using cross type AF sensors in the middle of the frame; I forgot the composing and moving on the eye method; I forgot also using the 500mm PF with the 1.4 TC. Thanks again for the quality and the clarity of your videos and… Read more »

Trevoe
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Trevoe

Have read good reviews on the TC 1.4 for use with prime lenses but mixed opinions on whether it works with the 200-500 . Is there any reason for this? Is the Tc1.4 better than cropping with the 200-500mm?

Woody Green
Guest

Thanks, Steve. I think that little pouch would be good for an extension tube, too. Good tip.

Barney
Guest

Thanks the the tips on how to rapidly switch on and off a TC. I was a lens cap fumbler with the side pouch but will lose the caps! It would be interesting to see you do a video on lens calibration. I know some photogs do it and most don’t. Nikon is making this easier to this in camera but is that as good as using a program like LensAlign?

Ed Ludt
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Ed Ludt

I have a Nikon D7100 which has the 1.3X “crop mode”. I understand that the sensor resolution is reduced to 16MP vs full 24MP, but I get nearly the same magnification w/o the hit on f-stop (1.3X vs. 1.4X). I also understand that the central photosensors are active in this mode, so is using crop mode a preferable way to go?

Kerry
Guest
Kerry

If all the tc is doing is cropping the image, why not save yourself the image quality and 1 or 2 stops of light, forget the the tc and just crop the image yourself?

jason
Guest
jason

Hi Steve – Thank you so much for the video and the many incredibly useful tools. Your wildlife photography book is wonderful and I enjoyed it very much. I do not have a technical background in photographic science, but had a question regarding TC versus shooting in crop mode with a full frame camera. What wold be the pros and cons of using a TC on a full frame camera as compared to shooting in a crop mode? I would imagine you get a similar frame filling image. Does shooting in crop mode preserve the maximum aperture and auto focus?… Read more »

Adi
Guest

Another great video, thanks. I keep the 1.4 parked on the 500 f4, in part because of the pain of going back and forth and fear of scratching it in the process. Your tips on quick change and pouch give me a new perspective on this and will be put to good use.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Thanks Steve – really useful advice. I have a question though…..I tried a TC1.4 on a 80-400 (new one) on a D7100 a few years ago. I couldn’t see a difference between the TC and cropping a non-TC image to the same degree. So thought it best to save several hundred pounds and not get the TC. Did I miss something? I now have a D500 do you know how the TC1.4 performs on that? I do mainly bird photography. Thanks again Steve.
Peter