Canon 1.4x or 2x extenders - how good and are they worth it?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by atlanticza, May 3, 2012.

  1. atlanticza macrumors 6502a

    atlanticza

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #1
    Being ‘old school’ and learning about photography before the digital age (when Kodak’s Tri-X and Ilford’s HP4 film were common and my favourite portrait lens was a Canon 135mm) I always attempted to frame the subject matter as perfectly as possible,without the need to crop the image afterwards in the dark room.

    Now with full-frame CMOS sensors and Photoshop, framing can be ‘sloppy’, especially if one doesn’t possess the ideal focal length lens for the subject matter. (Simply crop it in post-production with very little loss of image quality.) But I feel it difficult adopting that approach: it feels ‘unnatural’ and contrary to all I have learnt as it’s a shotgun rather than a sniper approach.

    But what happens when one wants to travel light yet seeks to capture illusive and small subjects such as birds? Weighty glass would be ideal but lugging them around in hot, humid forests (and with a limited budget) is not ideal. Hence the attraction of 1.4X or 2X converters. One of my lenses is a Canon EF 100-400mm L IS lens (on a Canon 5D Mark II), and I am seriously consider one of the extenders.. yes I know about ‘losing’ stops and perhaps some fidelity, but perhaps that sacrifice is worth it?

    I’d really appreciate any comments from anyone who has used this combination, or similar.
     
  2. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Location:
    Behind you
    #2
    two things to consider:
    1. your pictures will be sharper with the tele converter, compared to just cropping in.
    2. with your 100-400mm you will loose auto focus with any converter as your camera only autofocuses up to f/5.6
     
  3. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #3

    One uses a micro 4/3 camera, where a 300mm images like a 600mm or longer.
     
  4. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #4
    In addition to a possible autofocus issue, make sure the lenses are compatible with the teleconverters.

    I don't know about particulars with Canon lenses, however, I do know that not all Nikon lenses can be attached to the Nikon teleconverters.
     
  5. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Location:
    Behind you
    #5
    rule of thumb: all canon L lenses with a focal length of 70 or higher at the wide end will work with a tele converter.
     
  6. fitshaced macrumors 68000

    fitshaced

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    #6
    I use a x2 teleconverter. I think the x1.4 doesn't really give you much extra reach so seemed a little pointless to me. Although will be sharper than the x2.
     
  7. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #7
    A 1.4 TC makes sense when it keeps a lens within autofocus ability. And as you stated, a bit sharper picture.
     
  8. 100Teraflops, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012

    100Teraflops macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    Elyria, Ohio
    #8
    Don't be afraid to buy third party teleconverters such as Kenko. Thats what I did! I agree with Bear and Fitshaced that 1.4 T.C. is sharper than 2.0 T.C. Of course the lens and camera body you attach it to contribute to the equation.

    Since you are a skilled photographer, you shouldn't have a problem adapting. I use ISO 200 at a minimum with the T.C. 2.0 to increase shutter speeds and bolster image quality. Also, I do this with a 70-200 IS II!

    It's funny that you mention cropping, because sometimes I do that instead of using a teleconverter with certain lenses like a 70-200 IS II. I have found that lens to be very versatile! Although, that's not the topic in this thread. Hope this helps a bit!
     
  9. TheReef, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012

    TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #9
    TCs works best with prime lenses.
    The 1.4x won't degrade image quality as much as the 2x.

    I definitely wouldn't stick a 2x on your 100-400L, if you had a 1 series camera then perhaps a 1.4x converter would be useable (slower AF) with useable results but even this is best left for primes. Fully zoomed in your aperture would become f/11 with a 2x converter :eek: This means that setup is only useful for static subjects, unless your camera has excellent high ISO performance.

    One good combo I've heard of is the EF 200mm f/2.8L prime and 1.4x converter - there is said to be little loss in IQ.


    Here's a pic I took of a far away ship, using my EF 400mm f/5.6L prime, and a generic 2x teleconverter I borrowed.
    On my 1.6x Canon 40D that is 400x2x1.6 = 1280mm equivalent.


    No AF, dark viewfinder, tripod, timer to prevent shake.
    Sharpness, colour and mostly contrast took a significant hit, I tried to bring it back in PP, of course there is sea spray to consider here.
    I couldn't recommend a 2x, especially for your 100-400L.

    [​IMG]
     

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