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Thread: 2x converter

  1. #1
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    Default 2x converter

    I hope this hasn't been discussed before. Many people shun/dread/despise the use of 2x teleconverters for reasons that they do degrade image quality. There are many times when they do come in handy, especially when you have small birds (say finch size) that you are photographing. To me, despite the slight loss in IQ, the 2x has always been a welcome addition to my kit. In fact, it always lives in the bum bag I have wrapped around my waist and even more often in a deep pocket of my camo pants for super fast access.

    I photographed this Red-browed Finch at Cattai on dusk last night, using flash only as light source. It was still daylight, but way too dark to get any decent shutter speed. Check out the 100% crop of the finch's face. I feel the 2x is a rather good piece of kit after all.

    1000mm, ISO400, f/10, 1/100th, tripod no sharpening, just some basic ACR adjustments.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Canon-2x-at-100percent-crop.jpg  

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    Look at all that detail I'd love to see what the full size image looked like!
    Cheers, Owen.

    Flickr

    Aus life list: 472 (Southern Royal Albatross, Port Fairy Pelagic, Victoria)

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    My point as well Owen. Naturally the bare lens would be kicking butt, or even be better with just a 1.4x, however, I was about 5m from this bird and I needed magnification.

    This is a full frame shot, processed for web.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Red-browed-Finch_AGL4775.jpg  

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    Glad you started this little thread Akos. After I saw one of your 'old' images was taken with a 300mmf4+2XTC I was wondering how you found that combination. I usually use my lens +1.4 stopped down 1 stop so f8 with a 2XTC that would be f11. If I get a 300f2.8 one day I wil definitely get a 2XTC.
    Kind regards Trevor.

    Website: www.trevormurrayphotography.com

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    I think they key thing to note for this thread is that you will need a pretty decent lens to begin with in order to get acceptable results with a 2x teleconverter.

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    Akos,

    your lenses happen to have among the best performance with 2x converters, both 300mm f4 and 500mm f4 perform quite well, I would normally recommend stopping down by one stop to improve quality a little with any 2x. I'm actually looking to pick up a 2x for my lenses sometime in the future. Unfortunately our Nikon brothers are not so well off, here's a test image allowing comparison between the Canon and Nikon 500's with 2x at f11, mouse over to see the Nikon test:

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...mp=3&APIComp=4

    and here's the same for 300mm f4 lenses:

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...mp=3&APIComp=4

    Those are with the 2x Mark II converter, the type III is marginally better, here's a comparison of the Canon 500 with the type II and III converters, mouse over for type III:

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...mp=4&APIComp=4

    What I would suggest if you are thinking of a 2x is to check a site like this to get an idea of what it will do to your image quality, some combos produce very acceptable results, some are pretty poor. Some zooms take a 1.4x OK, far fewer are good with a 2x.
    Chris Ross
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    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

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    Hi Chris

    I am stoked to use those very lenses then. I always used to think that all expensive glass and converters should work same for all systems. Mind you I only consider Canon or Nikon to be built well enough for wildlife photography (sorry, I am sure that other brands work, they are just not quite there overall IMHO).

    I need to harass Derek than to let me have a try of his 2x MkIII then. WOW. That's a difference, at least in testing. I guess that there's somewhat of a difference between testing in a controlled environment versus being out in the field. Though the basic results should be easy to replicate? I will try....

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    I think the test is a somewhat severe test and in general a well exposed and taken shot in the field will look a little better than the impression you may get looking at the test chart, but reports I have heard are that the Nikon 500 with 2x is just too soft. If you can try out a type III before you buy it's a good way to work out if any improvement is worth the extra $$ spent. The improvement is likely to be marginal compared to gulf between the Canon Type II and the Nikon type III. and could disappear with less than perfect long lens technique. Look forward to the report back on the type III!
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
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    In comparing shots taken with a converter, has anyone had a go at comparing a pic taken with the lens straight out, then enlarging the image to the same dimensions as if it was taken with a converter?
    Would the image quality loss be less if you just enlarge a shot to the same size as if a converter was used, or is the TC enlargement on its own still better quality?

    John

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    This is all very interesting stuff and by the way Akos what a lovely shot. I prefer the full bird though. I had a Nikon teleconverter many years during my film days, a TC-14A I think. I used it with a manual focus Nikkor 300 f4.5 and hated the thing!

    How do the latest ones compare (Nikon not Canon), and how do they affect autofocussing exposure etc?
    Richard Jackson
    http://www.owlphotographer.com/
    your comments and suggestions are welcomed

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    Apparently the new Nikon 1.4x are quite OK and work well with the 300mm f4, if you go to the website linked above you can select your lens (say a 300mm f4) from the drop down menu and then select 420mm from the appropriate drop down. In general if it is f5.6 or faster AF should be pretty good.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
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    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

  12. The following user says thank you to ChrisRoss for their reply:

    Richard Jackson (25-01-2012)

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    Wow Chris!! Looking at that comparison i might have to sell my 2X mkII!
    I know Akos is having a dig at me as i always find the 2X a little bit iffy Perhaps its all in my technique
    I did try to do a test with both when i borrowed the new 400mm f2.8 II, but it was a bit rushed and I don't think i got to do it properly (or even check the results properly!)
    Might have to borrow one again and do it properly....
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

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    Dave, no need to be soooooo paranoid!

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    Hi Akos,

    Glad you posted this thread for all the share our experiences. Just a few points from me for discussion:

    1. Canon 2x converter series II vs series III
    Apparently there is a mark difference in quality between the new and older converters. The series III converter is much superior. My good friend Ingo (from Germany/France) has very good experience using the series III 2x converter on his 500mm f4 IS USM (series 1). I was very impressed with his results. As for myself, a 2x converter (series 2) on my 600mm f4 did not produce good enough quality images for my liking. I don't think it's the converter cos that same converter produces acceptable quality with my 300mm f2.8. It's either personal technique or bad lens-converter combination. (PS: 95% of my shots on my 600mm is made using a 1.4x conveter)

    2. Glass matters. As above mentioned, I think the Canon 600mm f4 (both non IS and series 1 IS versions) do not give good results with the 2x conveters (at least with the series 2 converters). I got good results with my 300mm f2.8, and with the 400 mm f2.8. I am glad to know from you that it works well with the 300mm f4 too. AF is acceptably good and fast with the 300mmf2.8 with 2x combi too.
    (on a personal note: when I drowned my first 600mm, I was using the 300f2.8 with 2x for most of my shots. I was in Taiwan shooting side by side with Ingo who was using the 500f4 with 1.4x conventer then. The results of his images compared to mine very quickly help me to decide to get my replacement 600mm)

    3. Canon bodies sucks! Pardon my French but I guess lots of us Canon users think the way I do too. Canon has made it not possible to auto-focus when the aperature is f8 or more. This is true for the semi-pro bodies (7D, 5D, 60D, etc.), and even for the new 1Dx. You guys with the 1Ds are sooooo lucky

    4. Light condition and stopping down matters. As with zoom lenses, stopping down makes a mark difference in quality when using with converters. With less light already going thru with the converter, this means that good light conditions (or flash as in your situation) does help loads. We are luck in Australia when the lighting conditions are usually good. It's a nightmare in Asia (or the subantarctic) though.

    Eric
    Last edited by Eric Tan; 30-01-2012 at 09:32 AM.
    Eric SJ Tan
    Mountains & Beyond

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    Hi Eric
    I think there may well be a difference between individual lenses of the same focal length hence why some are getting good and some are getting not so good shots. With you I seriously doubt that your technique is bad. Man, you take some incredible images with the 600/1.4x combo on an APS-C sensor, so I do believe you would have a very good long-lens technique.

    Having also read the better IQ with the MKIII 2x, I will be excited to try that and if I am lucky, my mate will even let me play with his 600/4L IS at the same time and compare different 2X converters as well. While I will use my 2x, I will definitely use it as a last resort and only when
    1) The light is really, really good - it kind of sucks when conditions are overcast that's for sure
    2) I can provide enough light by flash (as main light)
    3) I can be still VERY close to the subject

    I do wonder why you don't have a pro body? After all you have the best lenses etc, so you should have no worries buying (even a used) 1D series body? You get so much more bang for your buck. Though admittedly, the 7D is a kick-ass camera. The AF at F/8 was worth a used 1D for me just for that feature alone. In good light and a nice, contrasty subject, I can even autofocus with STACKED 2x and 1.4x converters.

    In all honesty, the 1Dx is impressive and while I would love the AF at f/8, I'd still be buying the body as I am used to MF anyway with a 2x now, so that would not be a huge issue. And the VF would be quite large and easier to see for MF than an APS-C sensor body. However, I am not insane to buy a new one of those. Not worth that sort of money. In a few years, for 2-3 grand, I'd consider one.

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