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Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 - Which Teleconverter?

William Haines , May 01, 2012; 05:55 p.m.

I have a question that may sound stupid to some, but I need some advice. I am an amateur who loves shooting wildlife, specifically birds. I live in a coastal area so there are plenty of opportunites for shooting shore birds.
I am using a D300s with a 70-200 f/2.8 VRll. I am considering purchasing a Nikon teleconverter but am not sure which one would be the best choice. I read somewhere that the TC 17E 1.7x worked best with the 70-200 but am not sure. I thought I'd ask for a little input.
Also, the lens is awfully heavy and I sometimes about the mount being strong enough. If a t/c is added, are the mounts hearty enough for trekking through the wild. Just a thought...
Thanks so much for the help!

Responses

Matt Laur , May 01, 2012; 06:04 p.m.

The TC17E is going to treat the 70-200/2.8 II pretty well. Just remember that it's going to reduce that f/2.8 aperture's speed in exchange for bringing you out to 340mm.

The lens mount, with or without the TC, is quite sturdy. But I'm wondering about your concern, since you mention hiking. Are you thinking of hanging the camera from your neck, with the lens/TC mounted? Don't do that - if for no other reason than because it's just awkward. There are lots of great packs, slings, bags, and other carrying rig that can let you get where you're going without the camera flopping around like that. Personally, if I were hiking hiking, I'd just remove the lens from the body, cap both of them, and stow them in a comfortable carry rig.

Jose Angel , May 01, 2012; 06:25 p.m.

Following Matt`s comment and running the risk of being considered a sales rep, I`d recommend to look for a thing named "Lens Drop In" from Think Tank photo. It is my latest purchase, I was looking for a small whatever to throw the "other lens" (I use to carry with two small primes for my Leica on trips) and found this accessory, supposedly designed for TCs and small lenses, even without caps (very soft linning). Love it. (The good one is the small sized one -the other is a bit large to my taste-).

Lisa B , May 01, 2012; 06:56 p.m.

I use the TC-17E with my 70-200VR and am quite happy with it. When I was looking into it the general consensus seemed to be that the TC-17E was the perfect compromise between the slightly sharper TC-14E with less range, while being more than a bit sharper than the TC-20E that has more range.

Elliot Bernstein , May 01, 2012; 11:31 p.m.

I believe you may find the newest TC, the TC-20EIII, is possibly your best choice if you are looking for a 2x. I was never happy with the older version but am quite pleased with this one.

Dan McCarty , May 02, 2012; 10:09 a.m.

I received my TC1.4 last Friday. Friday afternoon I was walking and shooting with the TC on my 70-200/2.8 VRII. :) Saturday I went on a hike along a river for about 4-6 miles carrying the lenses on my D700. I was walking around for about five hours carrying the camera. I debated on taking my tripod and in the end decided that the trip was to hear a lecture, to scout out future sites for taking photos and I wanted to have the camera in hand for any quick shots. I will go back with the tripod. I took several photos that without VR would have required a tripod. I am impressed with the TC and lens combination. The VR still amazes me. The TC and lens simply worked. No problems and the image quality is great.

I too was worried about how well the TC would lock into the camera and the lens. It is not a concern, it is rock solid. The TC does rattle until it is mounted on the lens and camera. It is quiet once in place.

The D700 and the 70-200/2.8 is a bit heavy and the TC does not help but it is not too bad FOR ME. I am used to using the D800 and 70-200/2.8 for hours shooting sports. Weight wise I have not noticed the TC. You can always get a mono pod to help carry the load. I carry the camera and lens cradled in my arm with the camera strap around my neck as a safety device if I drop the camera.

I looked at the lens tests of the 70-200/2.8 and the various TCs. I did not like the degradation in image quality on the TC 2.0 so that left the TC 1.4 and 1.7. I really went back and forth between the two and in the end I went with the TC 1.4 for two reasons. Sightly better image quality for one. At some point I will buy or rent the 300/F.4 lens and the TC 1.4 will turn the 300/f4.0 into a 420/F5.6. The TC 1.7 will be iffy on the 300/F4.0. I have been thinking about this combination of TC's and lenses for decades and I am finally doing it. :) What really made me decide on the TC 1.4 over the TC 1.7 is that I am on a list to get a D800. The D800 is going to help crop those small birds. The wait for the camera is killing me though. :) I am working on two projects where the D800 would give me more successful images.....

On the Saturday trip I got one series of images with a small bird. Unfortunately there was low light in the forest and the combination of high ISO and cropping made for a very ugly image. The 70-200/F2.8 and the TC 1.4 was NOT enough focal length to get the image and I was pretty close to the bird, maybe 30 feet I would guess. Using the D800 I think the image would have been great. The TC 1.7 might have been able to get the photo.

It is a very TOUGH choice. Good luck. :)

Later,
Dan

Shun Cheung , May 02, 2012; 11:16 a.m.

Concerning teleconverters, it is very simple: the smaller the magnification, the better the quality. Your 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II is best without any teleconverter. If you need more than 200mm, get the teleconverter with the smallest magnification that can meet your needs.

And when you add a TC, it helps to regain some quality by stopping down the lens by a stop, but that also means you'll have a long but slower lens. Vibration becomes a bigger issue. As they say, photography is about getting the right compromise for the best results.

I have both versions of the 70-200mm/f2.8 VR and all versions (all optical formulas) of the Nikon TC-nnE teleconverters. The TC-20E III is slightly better than the previous TC-20E/TC-20E II, but don't expect miracles from a 2x TC. Again, stopping down helps.

Dave Fitch , May 03, 2012; 08:19 a.m.

I would also suggest you look at getting a monopod to use with a teleconverter. I occasionally use a TC-20E III with my 70-200 VR I - it *can* provide great results but my D700 has a fair bit of trouble focusing with it [tracking is particularly weak - but this may be my technique].

Alastair Anderson , May 28, 2012; 02:24 p.m.

Well, I've made my mind up, at least with regard to the tele lens. Today I took possession of the D800 and I also bought a 70-200 VR II and a 1.4 II TC, had to part with a lot of good Leica glass to do it. Jury is still our re the shift lens. Thanks very much for all your help.

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