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Old Saturday 24th August 2013, 23:02   #1
GordonCopestake
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better focus with a Teleconverter?

Hi all,
I'm a beginner with birding and am using a Nikon d90 with a 70-200 f/2.8 which is the longest lens I have.

I'm finding I'm having trouble focusing as the small birds I'm starting with, (bluetits, robins, finches etc) don't fill an AF point let alone fill a frame, even at 2 metres.

I'm looking at at 2x Teleconverter to give better reach but will this also improve my focus? I'm concerned that the slower f/5.6 will drop my shutter speed too low as I'm mostly shooting from hides in woods where the light is low (I've not found a local free hide with better light yet!)

Any tips greatly appreciated!

Gordon
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Old Saturday 24th August 2013, 23:11   #2
Woody67
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Hi Gordon,

Using a 2x teleconverter you probably will lose 2 f stops and as a result will be shooting at f8. If you are using the camera in woods then you will have to compensate the loss of light by increasing ISO settings to maybe 800 or higher. Higher ISO settings can lead to an increase in digital noise in the picture.I do not have any experience of using teleconverters on a digital SLR but certainly when I used one on my film SLR many years ago I lost 2 f stops and could not use autofocus. I hope that this helps you.

Joe
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Old Saturday 24th August 2013, 23:23   #3
KC Foggin
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As I have only recently started using a 1.4 teleconverter, I found myself getting frustrated as it took longer to focus in AF. Found myself switching to manual focus which helped for still shots but was tough on flight shots.
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Old Sunday 25th August 2013, 20:40   #4
GordonCopestake
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Have ordered Sigma 2x TC after checking with Sigma that it will drop my 70-200 down to f/5.6.

Will report back when I've tried it in anger. A few reviews I've found say it works well at 400mm so I'm hopeful of half decent results.
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Old Monday 26th August 2013, 09:19   #5
Roy C
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Hi Gordon,
Using a 2x teleconverter you probably will lose 2 f stops and as a result will be shooting at f8.
Joe
2 stop loss from f2.8 gives you f5.6 and not f8 (e.g. f2.8 - f4 - f5.6 - f8 - f11)
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Old Monday 2nd September 2013, 08:44   #6
Gavia Stellata
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Hi Gordon,
my experience with a 2x converter on the Nikon lens you mentioned is that it absolutely make it easier to fucus on birds which are very small in the frame. The drawback is that you will get either higher ISO or dropped shutter speed, probably a combination. Another drawback is that it will take longer time for your camera to find focus since the light through the lens is less. I don't think that will be a problem on sitting birds but it will for flying ones.

I have a Nikon 2x teleconverter and I'm very pleased with it. Good luck with new photos and it will be interesting to hear about your experiences.
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Old Thursday 12th December 2013, 23:00   #7
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With my Canon SX50 I'd say that there are two kinds of situations where I can get a better focus with the teleconverter.

One is when the teleconverter allows a smaller focus square for autofocus such that the frame can squeeze though foreground clutter and get squared on the bird.

The second, and I have no idea why this is, with the teleconverter on the unit is able to get a focus on high zoom on a very close object (say 5 feet) whereas with it off but still the same optical zoom the unit fails to get a focus. It's odd. But on these "macro" shots (maximum optical zoom at relatively close object) it can will frequently aquire a focus with the teleconverter on but not with it off.
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Old Friday 13th December 2013, 09:10   #8
Roy C
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With my Canon SX50 I'd say that there are two kinds of situations where I can get a better focus with the teleconverter.

One is when the teleconverter allows a smaller focus square for autofocus such that the frame can squeeze though foreground clutter and get squared on the bird.

The second, and I have no idea why this is, with the teleconverter on the unit is able to get a focus on high zoom on a very close object (say 5 feet) whereas with it off but still the same optical zoom the unit fails to get a focus. It's odd. But on these "macro" shots (maximum optical zoom at relatively close object) it can will frequently aquire a focus with the teleconverter on but not with it off.
Different thing altogether with a 'superzoom' as opposed to a DSLR. with the superzoom you are not adding an external tc but all it is doing is cropping the image in-camera.
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Old Friday 13th December 2013, 13:08   #9
Hor Kee
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You'll end up using the combo at f/8 quite often to regain some loss of contrast and details that a 2x TC invariably introduces to your combo.
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Old Friday 13th December 2013, 13:53   #10
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You'll end up using the combo at f/8 quite often to regain some loss of contrast and details that a 2x TC invariably introduces to your combo.
A lot will also depend on the quality of the bare lens that you`re starting with.

Cheers.

Steve.
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Old Friday 13th December 2013, 15:02   #11
Roy C
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You'll end up using the combo at f/8 quite often to regain some loss of contrast and details that a 2x TC invariably introduces to your combo.
I agree with this, Even when I used the superb Canon 300mm f2.8 IS MkI with a 2x tc I always stopped down one to f8 to get the best out of the combo (and the 300/2.8 IS is reckoned to be one of the best lenses available for using with a 2x tc).

Last edited by Roy C : Friday 13th December 2013 at 15:29.
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Old Friday 13th December 2013, 15:24   #12
lmans66
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Originally Posted by GordonCopestake View Post
Have ordered Sigma 2x TC after checking with Sigma that it will drop my 70-200 down to f/5.6.

Will report back when I've tried it in anger. A few reviews I've found say it works well at 400mm so I'm hopeful of half decent results.
Being a newbie to bird photography you are finding the bane of all....'reach'...

A 200 lens isn't going to cut it.....

And even with a 600 lens you are going to be wishing you had more.

So,....toss the camera away for now and concentrate on good birding tactics. Concentrate on knowing how to get close to birds or better yet, for them to get close to you in the wild. Bird, don't photograph...understand your subjects, know their habitat and their mannerisms. Once you do that you have a better chance of getting a good photo with any camera. jim
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Old Friday 13th December 2013, 15:31   #13
Roy C
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Being a newbie to bird photography you are finding the bane of all....'reach'...

A 200 lens isn't going to cut it.....

And even with a 600 lens you are going to be wishing you had more.
Yep, you have hit the nail on the head there Jim. Unless you are shooting garden birds from around 2 metres then a 200mm lens is a non starter for bird.
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