I just bought a Nikon D90 any suggestions for using a teleconverter on a 70-200 2.8 VR?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by christopher_disney, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. I picked up the D90 kit with the 18-105VR and also purcahsed a 70-200 2.8 VR. I really do so many different styles of photography its hard to keep track of at times. I shoot modeling portfolios, so both outdoor locations and studio. High speed motorcycle stunt shows where guys are doing wheelies passed me at 60+ mph. Child and adult pageants shooting continuous stage shots and crowning photos. Bridal runway shows. Product line photos for clothing designers. Weddings. Headshots. Automotive portraits. Child and family portraits.
    Up till this point I started with a Sony 8mp fixed lens 28-200 Carl Ziess. Then stepped up to a Nikon D80 with a 28-200 lens. I finally desided to go semi pro and pick up the D90 and 70-200 2.8 VR
    I was looking into buying a teleconverter for this lens for a few reasons. I thought it may help me with shooting the motorcycle stunt shows, the pageant stage shots where lighting is not always up to par, and to shoot photos of my sons dance recital which is usually in a low light and a good distance from the seating area.
    Does anyone have any suggestions for these types of sittuations with the D90 and 70-200 2.8 VR?
  2. A converter will increase the focal length of that fine lens, at the expense of some image quality. It will also reduce the maximum aperture of the lens, making it slower than it naturally is, which means it will perform less well in darker circumstances (like the dance recital situation). In brightly lit situations, where you're able to use the 70-200 + TC stopped down a bit, it can perform well enough to make for good results.

    As the light gets worse, and you need to use the lens wide open (which - depending on the TC you use - 1.4, 1.7, or 2x), you might end up with only f/5.6... which makes AF less accurate/workable, and loses you a few stops, shutter-speed-wise.

    So: for what you mention, it's not necessarily a good investment. If you're talking about bright outdoor light, you might find it very helpful. But a longer, fast lens (like the 300/4) might server you better. Getting closer will be better still!
  3. Hey Matt
    Thanks for the response. Yes ideally I'd love to be closer when shooting the motorcycle stunts but those guys are flying by sometimes at over 80mph on one wheel. HAHAHAHA not exactly the safest location for a photographer. In regards to the recital. The stage is usually well lit but its the distance from the seating area that concerned me. I usually have to sit a good distance back tobe placed above the stage level. In some of the performances the lighting is dimmed for a dramatic effect such as ballet performances. So you think the 300 f4 would be a better fit for the low light sittuations? Also with uising the TC 20 for the motorcycle stunt photos will that funcition well for high speed shots? Keep in mind these take place outdoors in broad daylight so the lighting issue is non existant. Thanks again for your advise Matt. It is greatly appreciated.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The topic of the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR with TC has been discussed quite a few times. The bad news is that any TC, even a 1.4x, will seriously degrade the optical quality of that expensive lens: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00G5ff
    If you search this forum you'll find a lot more discussion.
  5. As many other people I don't think it is a good idea to use a TC with a zoom lens for all the reasons above. But sometimes one has to live with it and compromise.
    I don't know about prices where you live but in my area a Nikon TC cost 40% of the price of an AF-S 300 f/4. If it was me I would go for a 300 mm lens instead. Cheers!
    PS. Also in my area, the old AF 300 f/4 is just about 100 USD more expensive than the Nikon TC. That could be another option but the AF is much slower.
  6. So the 300mm f4 sounds to be a better investment than the TC. I saw a 300mm 2.8 on CL here in California but the guy was asking $3500 that's close to what they sell for new. I assume being a 2.8 that would be the ultimate best for what I'm shooting but finance wise it sounds like the 300 f4 is closer to being within reach. I saw one on CL but the owner hasn't responded to me yet. I'm hoping he is willing to do a partial trade with some cash then I would be in better standings. Well thank you to everyone for your input. I greatly appreciate everyone's efforts to help me find the perfect fit. If anyone happens to be selling a 300 f4 let me know.
  7. 300mm f/4 you can handhold, but you should get a monopod for support, it makes a difference. 300mm f/2.8 you wouldn't be handholding for long...
    Monopod or Tripod, but for your active purposes a monopod should do better. Yes you can get good focus handholding 300mm but you can get even better results on focus with monopod, and more importantly framing. Don't buy 300mm f/2.8 unless you tried it first, it's a great lens for those who use it properly, for others it's too heavy.
    You can put a 1.4X teleconverter on 300mm f/4 in the future if you want, but it slows down the focusing, which might not matter enough, it depends.
    300mm f/4, 63% crop
  8. I have the 70-200 and a 1.7 tele converter that I use on my D300. Works just great in decent light, don't listen to the naysayers. The only thing you have to be wary of is using maximums with the teleconverter on. I saw a great page somewhere where a guy tested this combo and explained it, but can't find the link.
    Anyway, by maximums, I mean if you have the aperture wide open (which I belive is 4.8) with the TC on, you can't zoom in completely, or you'll get some softness. Probably only to about the 170mm range. The trick simply is to stop down to at least f6.3 or higher, and presto, you can zoom all the way in with great clarity.
    Keep in mind, with this combo, you can have an 510mm equivalent focal length, and VR and focus still work just fine.
  9. Christopher... The AF-S 300 f/2.8G VR is the best but it's in a different leage. The price is too much money. The 300 f/4 will do just right. I use mine with a Kenko TC 1.5x and a Nikon TC17eII. The 1.7x works great during daylight. The widest you get is f/6.7 and my D300 has problem focusing in dim light. For dim light I use the Kenko and get a f/5.6 aperture which works much better. As Robert said, you will need a monopod.
  10. Cool. Yes I have a mono pod and tripod. For the sport action stuff im sure the monopod would be more convinient. Here is a sample photo I took of the motorcycle stunt show. It was done with my D80 and 28-200 lens. I have not had the chance to try my new toys since I just purchased my D90 18-105 VR and 70-200 VR on valentines day. With the rain I have not set up any shoots to try out the new equipment. I plan to once I see a break in the rain.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  11. I have to humbly disagree with one of my mentors in this thread. Shun I'm sorry - I trust you fully....... But.....
    I have a whole folder of a day at the L.A. Zoo where I shot the 70-200VR on the D300 with the TC-17E II & I'm actually happy with the result.
    Here are some of the shots
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  12. Using a teleconverter can be a good or bad experience, depending on how you use it, the final size of your prints, the subject matter, which camera you are using and how picky you are. Typically (but not always), you can crop the original image to the size a converter would have given you and end up with equal or better results than an image shot with the converter.
    For low light situations, the converter would be useless - stick with the 70-200mm. For outdoor shooting and if you are picky and going to pixel peep, I suggest you invest a bit more money and get the new 70-300mm VR lens which is only slightly more expensive than the converter, will give you the zoom range you are looking for and possibly a little bit better image quality than the 70-200mm with a converter on it.
    As you can see from the comments above, results vary as much as the recommendations. As Shun suggests, do a search on Photo.net - there has been a lot of discussions on this topic. Perhaps the best advice would be for you to buy a converter and try it out for yourself. If you buy from a reputable store, you will be able to return it if it doesn't meet your needs.
    Truly perhaps the best way for you to judge the effectiveness of a TC is to take two identical shots with and without it, crop the non TC shot to the same perspective as the TC shot and then compare the two (as Shun did and posted). I have yet to take/see a shot with a TC (I own 3 and don't really use them) that is any better than a cropped non TC shot. But, like Lil and Geoff, I have had good results. The bottom line is that the D90 has plenty of room for cropping without loss of IQ.
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have the 70-200 and a 1.7 tele converter that I use on my D300. Works just great in decent light, don't listen to the naysayers. The only thing you have to be wary of is using maximums with the teleconverter on.​
    Geoff, if you have a different opinion from mine, that is perfectly fine. But what makes you feel that Christopher should only listen to you and not other different opinions?
    It is actually very easy to demonstrate the even an 1.4X TC will turn the 70-200mm/f2.8 to a soft lens wide open. When you do an A/B test against a 300mm/f4 or 300mm/f2.8, the difference is very obvious, and I have shown that with images over and over.
    But if you can stop down even by 1 stop, it improves drastically. The problem is that you start with f2.8, the TC robs a stop, and you need to stop futher down, you'll end up with a 280mm f5.6 lens. In that case you might as well spend $500 or so for a 70-300mm/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR instead of over $2000 for the 70-200 + TC 14E II. (Unfortunately, prices have gone up on all of the above recently.)
    Christopher, I think your motocycle images will be a lot better if you can get a cleaner background. I don't know your exact shooting condition, but if possible, I would find a different shooting position to get a less-cluttered background. Using a fast long tele such as a 200mm/f2.8 or 300mm/f2.8 @ 2.8 (instead of 300mm @5.6) will help throwing the background out of focus. (Another option is to do some major PhotoShop work to totally replace the background of each image, but that is a lot of work on image after image.)
  14. Lil... I agree 100% with Shun. There are too many things to consider. Shun is much Uhmmm! I'll say picky in a good way. Meaning he is much more advance than me and he notices many more things about images than me. I might be able to live for a while with a zoom and a converter coz I only make small prints and and my images have no other porpuse than my personal pleasure but as i advance I start noticing so many things i didn't before and shots i thought were great a year ago now I don't like them. In the case of spending so much money in a good lens like the 70-200 and putting a TC on it I would look for a better option otherwise in a few years I won't like the work I am doing right now. I am on the same boat right now. i could get a USED 200-400 for a very good price right now and use it with my TC. Right now I would be very happy with the results but I know in a year or so I'll be sorry. So idecided to wait until I can pay the full price of a 500 coz that lens is too hard to find used.
    Chris.... A fall from that must hurt a lot! Looks like fun!
  15. Rene' - I agree Shun has high standards & that's good. He's been supportive & helped push me to grow & I consider Shun one of my mentors & treasure that.
    I think the thing here is - (just a few)
    1. how picky one wants to be.
    2. how large the prints are going to be.
    3. are these going to be sold.
    If this is just for someone to enjoy at home - than it will be OK. But if clients are to be considered.... That's a huge difference. If clients - I'd start off by getting a D300 or D700 instead to start with & I'd probably go with a prime & a second camera with the 70-200VR.
    I would also not ever shoot this wide open. I've shot my shots at f/8 & at that time - now about a year ago - I would not ever have thought I'd even consider trying to sell anything ever.
    I have to admit that I do not ever use my TC-17E II any more. I've gone to a Kenko 1.4 which I will eventually replace with the TC-14 E II. I do notice enough of a quality difference in between the 1.7 & the 1.4 - - the shots taken with the 1.4 Kenko are actually cleaner than those with the Nikon 1.7
    I need to add that for the last four - five days I've been suffering from a very bad headache - or headaches. I should probably not have even responded last night.
    Interestingly enough at this time I probably feel that the 70-200VR is the one lens I use the least. I simply do not use it these days..... Very expensive lens to not use all that much.
    I'm actually considering selling it & the 50mm f/1.2 & starting my funds towards a 500mm f/4 - - not the VR version - - but the version before. To have next to my Sigmonster. I wish Nikon had a AF 400mm f/4 prime. That would be my best option. But...... The 70-200VR gets no work these days. I could just as well just replace it with a 80-200 for half the price & not worry about it - it would not upset me at all.
    Last time I used it was early last summer when the chicks arrived at Sepulveda. Or did I use the 300mm AF-S f/4....... I only use it for head shots now & then these days..... I got the 180mm f/2.8 & I love that little lens. So convenient to play with...
    I'm rambling....
    So I should probably say that today I'd max put the 1.4 TC on - if even.....
    What a difference a year makes........................
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Lil, sorry to be repeatitive, while I fully understand that not everybody needs really high-quality images, when one is spending close to $1900 for the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR alone (thanks to the price increase) and then a few hundred more for a TC-14E, presumably you are interested in high quality. Otherwise, you might as well just get a 55-200mm AF-S VR or a 70-300mm/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR and save a lot of money.
    That is why I never think it makes a whole lot of sense to put a TC-14 onto the 70-200 and turn a ~$2300 set up to a mediocre lens that you need to stop down to get decent results.
  17. I have used the 70-200/2.8 extensively with my old D70 and D200, and I'd say that I got benefits from using the TC-14E II with the D70 but the D200 had such high resolution that the 1.4X TC just didn't produce results to match the sensor. I felt it simply wasn't better than cropping - and the 300/4 just blew the results of the 70-200+TC-14E II away.
  18. Shun - which is why in my second comment I put in...
    "So I should probably say that today I'd max put the 1.4 TC on - if even.....
    What a difference a year makes........................"
    So I guess we can say I agree with you. :-D
    Lil :)
  19. I have been looking into a 300 lens and found 2 i'm considering. I found a 300mm 2.8 and a 300mm f4. I'm assuming that the 2.8 is obviously going to perform better in low light situations such as the dance recital. How much of a difference am I looking at by going with the 300 f4? Its about a third of the cost and I just want to make sure I purchase wisely and don't have to keep buying and selling equipment. I couldnt find a place to rent a lens close to me or else I would have tried them both first.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    A new 300mm/f2.8 AF-S probably costs about 4 times as much as a new 300mm/f4 AF-S. I have the 1st version of the 300mm/f2.8 AF-S from 1996, and it is arguably the sharpese Nikkor lens I have. I believe that used price has dropped to the $2500 range. Keep in mind that it is a lot heavier than the 70-200 so that you need at least a monopod. A 300mm/f4 is roughly the same size as the 70-200.
    Additionally, the D90 uses the same AF module as the D80. I assume you find their AF capability OK.
    Since you just got the D90 and 70-200, why don't you play around with that combo for a little while and see whether you indeed need a longer lens? There are places where you can rent Nikon lenses remotely and they ship it to you.
  21. Ok sounds good. I found a killer deal on a 300mm 2.8 for about $2,000 I'm considering it but at the same time I'm trying to wait to see how the 70-200 2.8 performs for me. I just need a break in the weather its been raining here where I live.
  22. **UPDATE**
    SOOOO CLOOOSSSEEEE!!!! I was bidding on a 300mm 2.8 on ebay that I was outbid on last minute it sold for $2,075 with $40 shipping NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO........ Oh well back to the old drawing board. I was considering trying the 80-400 VR but from what I heard this lens does not have the built in motor which would make the auto focus much slower correct? I was also considering picking up the 300mm f4 but noticed there is an older model and the newer model. From what I gather the older models are suppose to be better quality? My sons dance recital isn't till the end of June but I want to pick up the lens ahead of time and have some time to tinker with it. Let me know if anyone has a specific recommendation as far as the three lenses mentioned is concerned. Thanks again everyone. I think I'm very close to having what I need.
  23. Ok I just won a 300mm 2.8 on ebay for $2470.00 Looks like I should be set for a while. Thanks everyone for your advise. It is much appreciated

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