1.4 teleconverter vs. 2x

Discussion in 'Nature' started by chuck_post, Jun 17, 2001.

  1. I'm planning a vacation to Alaska. I have a Cannon Elan 7e with a 28-
    135 IS and a 75 - 300 IS. I'm not a professional, but would like to
    get some nice wildlife and landscape shots. I'll be going to Denali,
    down to Glacier Bay, and then to Pack Creek for a day with the bears.

    I'm planning to shoot Provia 100, and Royal Gold 400 (unless I get
    any better suggestions).

    I'm also considering buying a teleconverter. The price for a Cannon
    1.4 and 2x is the same. I know the 2x will get take me longer
    distances, but I imagine the quality will be less then with the 1.4.
    I don't know how to choose which one to get.

    I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks!
  2. cgo


    I don't believe the Canon 1.4x and 2.0x are compatible with your lenses - the Canon extenders have protruding front elements that require lenses with recessed rear elements. You may need 3rd party extenders such as Kenko MC7's ...
  3. If the Kenko etc will allow your lens to IS and AF fully, then get them. Both the 1.4 and 2 kenkos would probably cost the same as just buying one of the Canons, so you could get both.
  4. I don't know anything about the compatibility issue above. But all things being equal, I'd stick with the 1.4x. You obviously only lose one stop with it, and you'll get out to 420 with the longer zoom. My feeling is that the optics are better with a 1.4x than a 2x, but that's purely my subjective opinion of my Nikon converters.
    Check to see about the compatibility of the IS system with the converters before choosing.
    David Clayton
  5. 1.4x will generally give you better quality than 2x with a prime lens, if you can get close enough, and you only use 1 stop with the 1.4x. You might ask, though, whether the lens you are using is better with the 2x at 210mm or 1.4x at 300. All things considered, if you can only afford one converter, I bet you'll be happier with the extra reach of the 2x.

    Bring a tripod, or the quality difference between the two won't matter much anyway.
  6. Forget about the 2x converter, although you can make it work with an extension tube. You won't have auto-focus. The f11 minimum aperture is going to make the viewfinder so dark that manual focus will be very difficult as well. This is also a very small aperture for any kind of animal photography. The image quality will be very poor given this combination shot wide open at 600.

    Even with the 1.4 I think you will lose auto-focus at f8, although this might have changed with the newer Elan 7e, I would double check you manual.

    When the 75-300 was my longest lens, and I was heading for Denali, I rented a 300 2.8 and 2x converter. You might consider this option - it will probably be less than the cost of a new converter. I assuming you already have a tripod.

    Good luck and enjoy your trip!
  7. (1) The Canon TCs will not work with your lenses (they won't mount).

    (2) 3rd party TCs will mount on your lenses. You will probably lose AF or AF will become unreliable with a 1.4x. You will certainly lose AF with a 2x. I'd probably go with a Tamron myself. The Elan 7e is not designed to AF with lens systems slower than f5.6 (the EOS-3 and 1n work to f8).

    (3)Stick with a 1.4x, it will soften the image of course but a 2x will turn the image to mush.
  8. IMHO those converters are only worth a darn if you're using top-quality single-focal length glass in the first place, like the 300/2.8 or something bigger and of the same calibre quality wise. Either way, even with the 1.4, you will lose the ability with those lenses to get anything decent with the Provia 100, just too slow. Anything attempted will result in disappointing softness. Consider Fuji 800 film and Provia 400. And maybe even pushing the Provia 400 if the resulting shutter speed for the situation is anything under 1/125. Andi f you follow the rule of "1/the focal length" then faster shutter speeds will be in order.
  9. I own/use the 28-135 USM IS, the 75-300 USM IS, and a Kenko 1.5X TC. (I also live in Alaska but I have no idea where Pack Creek is). Alas, I'm stuck with an Elan IIe.

    The 75-300 USM IS will still autofocus with a third party 1.4X or 1.5X TC if there is still sufficient light & contrast, but it may "hunt" some. The quality is somewhat poor, but 4 X 6" prints look okay. Much better than the cheap 500mm mirror lens I used before. The 2X TC will loose all AF and quality will be considerably worse. The problem is the 75-300 is not very sharp to begin with at 300mm and the teleconverters just magnify the problem.

    Image stabilization will still work, but it does seem to loose some of it's effectiveness with the TC attached.

    As other have said, the Canon TC's won't fit, and even if it did the AF would be shut off.
  10. I have seen the bs about not using the 2x considered as gospel by many. Look at the work of George Lepp who stacks a 1.4 and 2x and gets sellable photos. The keyis using good techniques and you also have to use lenses that are top quality. I do not shoot Canon, but perhaps a question to Lepp might help. You canuse a good 2x and get good results, it is just harder than using a 1.4x. the reason is that you lose two stops and have to use longer exposures, therefore making vibration control more of an issue. so, good luck. either will work if you do yor job, but it is easier with the 1.4x due to faster shutter speeds at the same aperture. Make sure to use a good enough tripod so you can optimize the effect. Also, try the Moose Peterson recommended technique of resting your hand on the lens above the tripod mount and also pushing your face againse the rubber eyecup. IF you do not have an eyecup, it is cheap and useful. have fun
  11. In response to the good Doctor: George Lepp uses the TC's stacked mostly one of two ways:

    1. With a prime lens. Image quality is much better to begin with, so he's not loosing as much.

    2. Macro. Where depth of field requires the stopping down, so image quality doesn't suffer as much as it would if someone were to shoot wide open (which is typically, and most definitely how you would shoot if you loose 2 stops from a lens that starts at f5.6 (read f11!!).

    F11 is not going to work very well for most wildlife, unless you use very fast film.
  12. I use both a 1.4 and a 2X with my Sigma 400 on a Nikon N90s. I
    get consistantly good results with my 1.4. Hit and miss with my
    2X. I'll willingly take the blame for that. However, I notice that on
    contrastier days I do better with the 2X. One very important
    addition to your kit should be a cable release. I'd use it with
    either extender if possible.

    Mike Kitei
  13. George Lepp would not use a 2x's converter on this lens, and to imply so, I believe is misleading.
  14. What Geroge Lepp or anyone else would do is immaterial. The fact that George Lepp can stack TCs and still get publishable images is due far more to the fact that he is George Lepp (and has an established market for his work) than the technical quality of those images - and he's putting them an a $4000 prime, not a $200 zoom. Galen Rowell shot the cover of a major magazine with a P&S, but that doesn't mean you or I will ever do that!

    The simple FACT is that a 3rd party TC on a 75-300 zoom at 300mm will give you quality that, with luck, might be almost as good as a 38-140 P&S camera zoomed out to 140mm but without AF and with a dim viewfinder image. OK for snapshots and small prints on ISO 400 print film.
  15. Sorry, Chuck, but the teleconverters won't work with your lenses...and it's always best to stick with OEM teleconverters matched to the lens maker's optics.

    I, too, have stacked 1.4x and 2x with a 12mm ext tube on my 300 f/2.8 and have had decent luck but only in controlled circumstances.

    You might consider a used 400 f/5.6 lens if money is an issue. A used Tokina may work ok.

    Good luck.
  16. Note that the Sigma (and I think Tamron) teleconverters are sort of inbetween the canon and the kenko for quality, and cost. The sigma also has a protruding front element, so won't fit. Don't know about the tamron.

    As far as I can tell the only converters that will fit this sort of zoom lenses are the ones that are of lesser quality, and you need all the quality you can get extending a zoom.
  17. I'd also recommend against getting a TC for your lenses, though the Canon TCs should mount if you add a 12mm extension tube to the end of them. Instead, spend the money on renting a longer lens and TCs -- around here, there are several places that rent the 300/2.8, 300/4, or 400/5.6, as well as TCs, and those are the lenses I'd suggest you consider renting. The 300s may not be longer than you already have, but they accept TCs and will provide you with sharper photos than you'll get with your zoom. Since it's a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip, I think it's worth considering the rental.

    Note that I wouldn't suggest renting a 500/4, 600/4 or 400/2.8 unless you are already familiar with using such heavy lenses and have the tripod to handle them.
  18. You asked for opinions Chuck, and here they are, all over the board...

    Here's mine just to add to the confusion. Regarding the image quality issues with TCs. I'm going to make an assumption that you are an amateur with interest in learning more about photography but not someone who has spend a lot of time honing his skills to this point. If you want shots of bears and elk in Denali and Pack Creek (where ever that is) and you are not in a situation that makes good sense for you to invest in or rent a long telephoto lens (300-600mm f4 range) then adding a 1.4 and or 2.0 TC to your current lens will be OK.

    No, you will not produce images on the quality scale of George Lepp and you won't likely win any contests. But, if you want photos to capture memories of bears and to show your friends what you saw on your trip, or even have something to blow up to an 8x10 for you desk at work then those combos will do just fine. Just don't use them a lot and be prepared to deal with difficult focusing. As suggested you will need a decent tripod and good technique or the degraded images will also have shake making them a bit worse. Yes, as you advance in your photography those TCs may end up on a closet shelf in disuse, but it is an economical way to extend the range of your consumer grade lenses to get consumer grade images that you should be perfectly happy with.

    If my assumption is not correct (skill level) then you really do need to consider renting or buying a "big lens" if you want professional quality results. And do it soon and practice with the lens so that you know how to best use it.

    No one has really commented on your film choices, I will. What do you want to do with your shots? Make prints or have slides? I think you really need to choose. The combination of a slower slide film and faster print film doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If you are shooting landscapes of Denali NP with the Provia then notice wildlife and change over to the 400 print what are you going to show in the slide show? What about the photo album? If you do not have a lot of experience shooting professional slide film then I would suggest going with Royal Gold 100 and Royal Gold 400 or the Fuji equivalents. Print film will be a lot more forgiving of your exposure errors and you can easily get enlargements made of any "keeper shots". If you have your mind set on slides then there is a Provia 400 slide film (albeit expensive) that is quite good. You will need to be very careful about your exposures and if you are not someone that knows how and when to make exposure compensations with your camera (i.e. knows when the camera's chosen exposure will not be correct) then you should do some reading. I'd suggest John Shaw's new book "Nature Photography Field Guide" to get you started.

    Good luck, have a great trip, and don't get to discouraged by all the competing suggestions.
  19. I would go for the 1.4 if you end up getting one, but if your end product is a print why not spend the money on some more film and crop when you get the prints done?

  20. I just want to say "thanks" to everyone who has taken the time to post a response. I am a beginner who had learned an enormous amount from this site, and I greatly appreciate it.

    Several of you asked about Pack Creek. It is a bear wildlife view area on Admiralty Island (near Juneau). they issue 12 permits per day, have a bear viewing platform and an area by the creek where you can be. WWW.state.ak.us/adfg/wildlife/region1/refuge1/pacreek.htm

    Thanks again for all you advice.
  21. I use the Kenko Pro 1.4x and 2x on my Canon 80-200mm with good results. Be sure you are getting the top end Kenko and not the cheap one.
  22. Hi
    I have the Kenko X2pro and canon 300mm 4L
    and I dont like the results ,the picture is too
    soft so I dont think it will be good idea to put it on your
    zoom lens.
    so rent a good lens or buy the Kenko X1.4 pro which is
    cheep and suppose to be better then the X2
    enjoy your trip
    (I wish i could go...)
  23. The lenses you have are very slow and were simply not designed for converters. Yes, you can find Kenko or others that may fit, but you'll be very disappointed in results. You said you want to shoot wildlife. Much wildlife is active when the light is relatively dim. The view through your viewfinder will be correspondingly dim. It's not that bright to begin with with slow lenses, and a converter will make you think you've gone half blind. You'll have to shoot very fast film to make up for the loss of light, and the results will then be both grainy and unsharp, even assuming you are successful in focusing accurately. Even with the 1.4X, you'll be manually focusing...I don't think the Elan 7 will autofocus at slower than f/5.6.

    The Canon TCs are matched for the Canon lenses that they fit. They do not fit yours. They offer excellent results (even the 2x) with fast primes or the 70-200 f/2.8L zoom.

    Your lenses should be fine for landscapes without TCs, although something wider than 28mm would be nice. I'd say to lower your expectations on wildlife shots, unless you can rent some big glass.
  24. Probably too late, but . . . . Rent a quality prime and use fast (eg 400 iso) print film. Why make it harder than it has to be? There's a place in Juneau that has a pro 300 2.8 with two converters, 1.4 and 2.0. Look in the archives under Alaska and Bear -- you'll find a thread by me with the name of the shop. I think they quoted me $35 a day. Even if you buy the converter for the rest of the trip, rent the big glass for Pack Creek. Don't forget tripod, esp. in SE, 'cause light levels are frequently quite low.

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