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Old Friday 9th September 2011, 18:18   #1
SRoyC
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Post 1.4x TC with 70-300 VR?

Hello friends

This is my first post here, so Hello again...

I have been using Nikon D90 and AF-S 70-300G f4.5/5.6 IF-ED lens. Lately I feel that I need little more reach. Is it possible to use Kenko Pro 300 DGX 1.4x TC with this lens? I know I can not use any Nikon TC with it as that is not recommended. I would have loved to get a new AF-S 300 f4+1.4x TC, but at present I can not stretch my budget that long. So I was thinking of getting the TC now and upgrade the lens later.

Please suggest.

Thank you
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Old Saturday 10th September 2011, 02:21   #2
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Roy,
Welcome to Birdforum!

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Old Saturday 10th September 2011, 02:33   #3
Aegea
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Hello Roy,

Welcome, and in answer to your question, yes, it is possible, I've done it with the 70-300 VR. Sadly, I was not happy with the results. Very little more detail with the TC than just cropping a regular shot at 300mm, and the autofocus became slow and erratic in anything but very bright light so I gave up on the idea.

I will say that I was never very happy with my particular 70-300 as it always seemed soft at anything over 250mm. I eventually sold it and got a 300 f/4 AF (screw drive, not AF-S). The IQ is way better than the 70-300 I had and I'm much happier with that lens. It focuses reasonably fast on my D90 (the focus limiter helps), and it takes the Kenko 1.4x very well.

Last edited by Aegea : Saturday 10th September 2011 at 02:35.
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Old Saturday 10th September 2011, 15:03   #4
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Thanks njlarsen for the warm welcome.
Thank you Aegea for replying. I won't say that this lens is sharp wide open but I have seen that stopping down the lens to f8 remarkably improves the sharpness. Here are two examples:

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/dat..._2917_52_f.jpg

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/dat..._2943_58_f.jpg

Both were taken under a pretty cloudy sky at high ISO (800 if I remember correctly) and neither of the shots are heavily cropped or heavily post processed. Both are taken at 300mm end stopped down to f8.

I know that there can be no comparison between a zoom lens and a prime (exceptions like Nikon 200-400 or 70-200 f2.8), still I hope neither are that bad. :)

At present I can not see any other option but a TC to increase my reach. :(

Btw, did you buy the Pro 300 series kenko TC (DGX 1.4x)? I've heard that other third party TCs are not at all good (including both Sigma and Tamron).

Thanks again...
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Old Saturday 10th September 2011, 16:30   #5
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Those are nice shots - much better than I used to get with my 70-300, but I think mine was not a good copy. I agree stopping down to f/8 makes a significant difference but still in my case, not enough. I sold it for $400 and was able to get the 300 f/4 for just over $500, so the cost difference was not great.

I have the Tamron version of the TC, which I believe is optically identical to the early Kenko Pros. Like them, it does not report the correct FL and f-stop. I understand the later Kenkos do report these correctly. The main impact on the image with the 300mm is a slight loss of contrast, sharpness is not noticeably affected. Under controlled shooting of a test chart, the 300 with the TC wide open (f/5.6 effective) is definitely much sharper than my 70-300 was wide open at 300mm without the TC, but not quite as contrasty. It's also sharper than the 70-300 was stopped down to f/8.
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Old Monday 12th September 2011, 04:31   #6
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I've tried out a 70-300mm VR with a late-model (manufactured last year) Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4X teleconverter, but the result was quite soft, with rather heavy chromatic aberration. AF speed takes a minor hit, but the image quality is the deal-breaker; I'd rather just shoot at 300mm and crop at that point. I usually use the TC with the 300mm f/4 AF-S, which is much better with the TC mounted. The 70-300mm VR is quite good without the TC, but again it doesn't quite match the image quality of the 300mm f/4. Unfortunately, it seems that the 70-300mm and other zoom lenses simply don't play well with TCs. Nevertheless, the 70-300 is a very good choice as long as you don't need to go beyond 300mm.

Also, as a side note, this newer Kenko TC provides the correct focal length and aperture (e.g., 420mm and f/8) when used with all of my lenses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SRoyC View Post
Thanks njlarsen for the warm welcome.
Thank you Aegea for replying. I won't say that this lens is sharp wide open but I have seen that stopping down the lens to f8 remarkably improves the sharpness. Here are two examples:

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/dat..._2917_52_f.jpg

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/dat..._2943_58_f.jpg

Both were taken under a pretty cloudy sky at high ISO (800 if I remember correctly) and neither of the shots are heavily cropped or heavily post processed. Both are taken at 300mm end stopped down to f8.

I know that there can be no comparison between a zoom lens and a prime (exceptions like Nikon 200-400 or 70-200 f2.8), still I hope neither are that bad. :)

At present I can not see any other option but a TC to increase my reach. :(

Btw, did you buy the Pro 300 series kenko TC (DGX 1.4x)? I've heard that other third party TCs are not at all good (including both Sigma and Tamron).

Thanks again...
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Old Monday 12th September 2011, 14:03   #7
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@flanken - what body were you using? I was using a D40 at that time and felt the focusing with the TC was much worse. I now suspect a lot of that might have been due to the body.
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Old Tuesday 13th September 2011, 09:24   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegea View Post
@flanken - what body were you using? I was using a D40 at that time and felt the focusing with the TC was much worse. I now suspect a lot of that might have been due to the body.
I think AF is to some degree body-dependent. My 300/4 & TC combo focuses a good bit faster on the D7000 than it did on the D90. I was using the D7000 for all of my 70-300 testing, so the more sophisticated AF system was probably the reason for the minimal AF speed hit.
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Old Sunday 18th September 2011, 04:35   #9
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Thank Aegea for your appreciation and reply.

At present I do not have enough budget to buy a 300m f4 and I would prefer to get the AF-S 300 f4 version as I have seen that AF-S versions do focus faster than non-AFS versions.
At present I have dropped plan to buy any other Tele lens, unless I get good second hand lens like old Nikon 80-400VR or may be Tamron 200-500, but not first hand...
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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 18:36   #10
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Sorry to resurrect it again, but would like to update, because all the great help I got from here in making my decision.

After waiting for nearly half a year, I saved enough and bought a Nikon AF-S 300 f4 last Saturday. After going through numerous user experiences and reviews, I found that Nikkor 300 f4 with a Nikon 14II or Kenko Pro 300 DGx 1.4x TC is going to give me the best IQ and that also for affordable price.

Thanks again for your help
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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 19:05   #11
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the 300f4 lens is a great lens, i was very impressed with it.
i also used it on a d90 with nikon 1.4 and 1.7 tc.
the green heron was taken with 1.7tc in bad light and still auto focussed
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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 19:13   #12
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Nice shot Dave

I thought this is not going to AF with 1.7x TC!
Moreover, did you find any degradation in IQ while using 1.7x TC? I have heard there is none when 1.4x is used, but could not get any confirmed report on 1.7x
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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 19:24   #13
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the 1.7 auto focussed fine. only problem was in very bad light it did hunt abit on moving subjects.could not see any difference between the 1.4 or the 1.7.
hope this helps
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Old Tuesday 10th April 2012, 09:24   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRoyC View Post
Sorry to resurrect it again, but would like to update, because all the great help I got from here in making my decision.

After waiting for nearly half a year, I saved enough and bought a Nikon AF-S 300 f4 last Saturday. After going through numerous user experiences and reviews, I found that Nikkor 300 f4 with a Nikon 14II or Kenko Pro 300 DGx 1.4x TC is going to give me the best IQ and that also for affordable price.

Thanks again for your help
Well done Roy. You have made a very good choice. It is one of Nikons sharpest. Even without the tele convertor it produces very croppable images. So in low light don't be afraid to whip off the TC and use it on it's own.

Also if you ever upgrade your camera to one with the new 3500 AF system, this lens even autofocuses in dull light with the 2xeiii teleconverter at F8 and produces good images. The D400 if it ever materialises may have this AF and the D800 does already. Something else to save for :-)
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