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Nikon TC-16A experiences?

Vivek . , Jun 28, 2005; 07:50 p.m.

It is hard to find user experience/information on these. A unique auto focus 1.6X teleconverter from Nikon.

Any user experiences, performance (optics, in particular), comparisons with other TCs will be much appreciated.

TIA

Vivek.

Responses

Ilkka Nissila , Jun 28, 2005; 08:05 p.m.

It has a poor reputation. I haven't used it but I have never seen positive comments on its optical quality.

Professor K. , Jun 28, 2005; 09:19 p.m.

It will not autofocus on all bodies; for example it was not activated by the N70 or F100. Worked fine on an N8008s and a N90s. I believe it won't function on any body the requires the aperture to be set on the body - it's lacking the second tab that convinces the body the lens is set to minimum aperture. Said to work only on lenses f3.5 or faster, mine works just fine with the [first version] 300mm f/4.0, and it worked fine on an even older 300 f/4.5! Generally center sharpness is very good but with some lenses (the 300 especially) the corners suffer and are a lot darker. Very limited autofocus range with a 300 tele. Mechanically excellent - unlike the Nikon TC 200 or 300 the front flange is identical to the one used on the camera body, and the combination is more rigid than any other TC (Kenko, Tamron, Sigma, TC 200 and 300) I have tried. Optically better than the [old, not "pro"] 1.5X Kenko I tried, and much better construction. Depending on condition, they seem to turn up at KEH for $ 60 to $ 90 regularly. On the other hand the current Sigma 1.4X "EX" version [cant' be used on all lenses due to the protruding front element] offers slightly less magnification but much more even illumination across the field with the 300 f/4.0. Hope this helps.

John N. Wall , Jun 29, 2005; 12:19 p.m.

The TC-16A is an outstanding TC but IF (and only IF) you understand how it works and why it was constructed. It is a bit more complicated to use than other AF TCs because of how it works. I do not have one now (switched to the KENKO Pro TCs which are great, esp. the 1.4x), but I found the one I had worked splendidly -- optically it was excellent (no reservations there) and mechanically it was a Nikon.

The TC 16A was build in the early days of AF for Nikon to add AF capability to MF lenses; Nikon used this TC to encourage shooters to invest in Nikon AF bodies even when they had big investments in MF lenses. They stopped making it when they built up their AF lens range and no longer expected that new AF body buyers had a bag full of MF lenses.

It provides 1.6x magnification. It also provides AF capability. This is provided by a moveable element in the TC itself, so it is limited by the range of movement in that element. AF capability varies from lens to lens, but in a set pattern. The wider the lens the greater the AF capability; the longer the lens, the less AF capability.

I do not remember the specific details, but I think I remember that with a 35 mm lens (and wider), you can get full range AF capability, from close focus to infinity. As you use lenses longer than 35 mm, the range of the AF capability declines. What this means is, you need to understand how to use this TC with a telephoto lens to get full benefit from it.

With a tele lens, you focus manually with the lens to approximate focus, then touch the shutter button (as with any AF lens) and the TC 16A will bring your lens into sharp focus. You watch the electronic rangefinder and bingo, the light turns green.

There is of course some light loss (about 1 stop) as with any TC. You can use the TC 16A with an AF lens, but the AF lens becomes an MF lens; in other words, the only AF getting done will be done by the TC with this set-up.

I think this TC is a bargain Nikon item, given its optical quality and compatibility with Nikkor glass. You get at least some AF capability with this TC without paying the vast sums required to buy Nikon's AF TCs and the lenses that go with them. You also get to use a piece of arcane Nikon history.

PS do not confuse this TC with the TC 16, which was a TC designed, if memory serves, to be used with the short-lived F3 AF model.

David H. Hartman , Jun 29, 2005; 02:13 p.m.

The reputation of the TC-16A is sharp in the corner and soft at the edges. I found it better than cropping TX with my 300/4.5 ED-IF even though that lens is not noted as a good lens for use with TC(s). The contrast did seem off some.

You can use the TC-16A on manual focus cameras by setting the optical group to the infinity position. In this way the TC-16A works just fine with a Nikon FE2 or FM2n.

I’ve done limited tests of the TC-16A with a 400/5.6 ED AI on the D2H. There is CA that needs cleaning up with Panorama, Correct. This setup gives one a 640/9.0 lens. The “crop factor” makes it handle like a 990/9.0 lens so it’s a pain to use and requires a heavy tripod.

The TC-16A is similar to a TC-14A (as I understand). Since a DX camera only uses the center of the image the TC-16A may be worth a second look. I really do not know as yet.

Regards,

Dave Hartman.

---

When looking for CA in a lens on my D2H I look at 200% and 400% but if it’s not noticeable at 100% I don’t consider it a problem. On charts I often see color moir頡t the smallest partly resolved chart. When testing lenses on Tech Pan as a continuous tone film I used to see astigmatism at the limit of resolution. All lenses have aberration so at some level of inspection you’ll find everything provided your test are stringent enough. If these aberrations do not effect your images as you use them then it doesn’t matter. If they do then it does.

In the case of the 400/5.6 on the TC-16A and with a 20/2.8 AIS (on its own) I see some image sharpening as well as reduction or correction of CA when using Panorama Correct. The images are quite useable once corrected but it would be a pain to have to correct a large group of images as in events photography.

I’m seeing very clean images with my 55/2.8 Micro, 85/2.0, 105/2.5 and 135/2.8 (all AIS, the 135/2.8 has Super IC). CA problems are most common with wide angle lenses on the D2H. This isn’t a manual focus v. auto focus problem as the AF 20/2.8D has the same optical formula as the 20/2.8 AIS. It’s a lens by lens issue. Digital isn’t a panacea. We trade grain for CA and to a lessor extent noise.

Any events photographer should just go out an buy a lens like the AF-S 17~55/2.8G ED-IF. It’s a boring zoom range but very useful. It’s a bread and butter lens. I wish I had one. I also wish I owned a AF-S 28~70/2.8D ED-IF for film. The only reason to buy these lenses is the fine image quality.

Vivek . , Jun 29, 2005; 09:38 p.m.

Thanks a bunch!

Thanks for your user experiences folks!

I wonder why Nikon does not offer an AF/VR Teleconverter now? Should be possible (and hence will eliminate most problems of producing long lenses with VR) and easier to incorporate VR is a TC. --------------------------- David, On the CA issue with digicams- yes, it is a lens specific thing.

I find the following lenses with no CA (or very little CA) on my D70:

16mm f/3.5, 20mm f/3.5 (AIS), 25-50mm f/4, 50-135mm f/3.5, 75-150mm f/3.5, 50-300 f/4.5 (up to 280 or so) ED, 105mm f/4 Micronikkor.

200mm f/3.5 ED Nikkor- almost neglible CA (bluish), unlike the 180mm f/2.8 ED.

Regards, Vivek.

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