New Nikkor 500mm and 600mm/f4 E Compatibility with TC-14E

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuncheung, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Apparently this is an error on Nikon's new lens press release and TC compatibility chart on Nikon USA's web site. They are correcting it.
    Yes, I know that most of us do not buy those super teles, but they are the favorites for some wildlife and sports photographers. Those lenses were announced a month ago in early July and Nikon started shipping them pretty quickly.
    In the original Nikon press release, they had a footnote that the new 500mm and 600mm/f4 E AF-S VR cannot AF with any TC-14E teleconverters, be it version 1, 2 or 3. They are "compatible" in the sense that the combinations work, however without auto focus. On the other hand, those super teles can AF with the TC-17E II and all flavors of the TC-20E. I somewhat overlooked that footnote, but there was a brief discussion on DPReview when the lenses were announced: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/4974121664/nikon-unveils-af-s-nikkor-500mm-f4-and-600mm-f4e-full-frame-lenses
    Some people, including me, thought that was merely some typo, but it is not:
    Jon Rista
    "**Compatible with TC-14E series teleconverters (AF not possible). Compatible with TC-17E and TC-20E series teleconverters. AF is only available when used with DSLR cameras that offer f/8 support. "

    Um, WHAT?? No AF supported with TC-14E? If that is truly the case, then WOW...EPIC FLUB!!!​
    Yesterday, I went to Radio Road, a bird photography hot spot in the San Francisco Bay. And I noticed that a gentleman had the new 600mm E lens. I talked to him for a little while, and it turned out to be his first day with that new lens. He told me about the AF incompatibility with all TC-14E. He said that he had called Nikon, and of course Nikon is well aware of it.
    It is a strange incompatibility as the TC-14E III is quite new. I wonder what Nikon's difficulty may be.
    00dQrT-557971384.jpg
     
  2. I heard something about TC-14E not having the contact pins to drive E and AF.
     
  3. I'm curious to see the replies.
    A few years ago I had a discussion in my photography club about teleconverters. One of the Nikon users claimed that teleconverters worked always, with all lenses. Being on the side of the white teles I would not believe this; Canon disables AF above a certain f-value, in general above f/5.6 for consumer bodies, f/8 for series 1 bodies. A quick google search showed a lot of frustration about teleconverters on the Nikon side, so I wonder where the incompatibility comes from.
     
  4. My TC-14E III works fine with the 300/4E, there is no "contact pin" issue (the manual also lists TC-14 E and TC-14 E II as fully compatible).
    Nikon USA's compatibility cart here
    http://www.nikonusa.com/en_INC/IMG/Assets/Common-Assets/Images/Teleconverter-Compatibility/EN_Comp_chart.html
    is certainly in error. My guess is that the "AF not possible" regarding the TC-14E series and f/4 teles are a result of a mistake that got copied from press release to press release.
     
  5. Nikon international pages have different information than Nikon USA (and I can testify that at least for the 300/4E the international pages are correct). For the 300/4E,
    http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/singlefocal/Telephoto/af-s_300mmf_4e_pf_ed_vr/spec.htm
    Compatible accessories includes:

    "AF-S Teleconverters TC-14E III/ TC-17E II*/TC-20E III*
    * Autofocus is available only with single-servo AF (AF-S) and then only when the lens is mounted on a camera that supports f/8."
    As I said before the earlier versions of the TC-14E are also listed as compatible without restrictions in the 300/4E PF manual.
    For the 500/E,
    http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/singlefocal/Telephoto/af-s_500mmf_4e_fl_ed_vr/spec.htm
    Compatible accessories includes:
    "AF-I/AF-S Teleconverters TC-14E/TC-14E II/TC-14 III/ TC-17E II*/TC-20E*/TC-20E II*/TC-20E III*
    * AF possible when attached to f/8-compatible camera body."
    And finally for the 600/4E:
    http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/singlefocal/Telephoto/af-s_600mmf_4e_fl_ed_vr/spec.htm
    Compatible accessories includes:
    "AF-I/AF-S Teleconverters TC-14E/TC-14E II/TC-14 III/ TC-17E II*/TC-20E*/TC-20E II*/TC-20E III*
    * AF possible when attached to f/8-compatible camera body."
    Nikon USA has got a lot of errors in their publications recently regarding teleconverter compatibility. They claimed that the 300/4D and TC-14E III are compatible, which they are not.
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka, I had checked Nikon USA's web page before I started this thread. Nikon USA does say "compatible," but I assume that merely means you can mount the TC-14E (any version) on those 500 and 600 and take pictures. What is not specified is the lack of AF.
    That person with the new 600mm/f4 E mounted the TC-14E II and III on, and was surprised that AF didn't work. Therefore he called Nikon. Of course, Nikon had already pointed out the lack of AF when they announced those new lenses last month.
    The stranger part is that those lenses can AF with the TC-17E II and all versions of the TC-20E. So it is something specific with the 14E.
     
  7. Ok, so then the international pages are incorrect regarding the TC-14E II and III and 500/4E and 600/4E as they mention no AF restrictions regarding these combinations but do note the AF limitations with the 1.7X and 2.0X.
    On the other hand, Nikon USA's claim that the TC-14E III and 300/4E "AF is not possible" at
    http://www.nikonusa.com/en_INC/IMG/Assets/Common-Assets/Images/Teleconverter-Compatibility/EN_Comp_chart.html
    is certainly incorrect.
     
  8. Shun,
    Seems the new 200-500 5.6 E lens has similar notice for all TC's but opposite the 500/600: works with TC-14 but not the TC-17 or TC-20 (if I'm reading the info correctly.) Interesting to find out more; if/how resolved.
    Joe
     
  9. The 200-500 with TC-17E or 20E would have a smaller maximum aperture than f/8 (so no PDAF officially supported).
    I imagine live view (contrast detect) AF may still be possible in some conditions with some setups that have smaller maximum aperture than f/8, but this would have to be checked on a case by case basis.
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Right, the 80-400mm/f4.5-5.6 and 200-500mm/f5.6 are slow to begin with. Adding any TC-17 or TC-20E will make it drop below f8 so that AF is pretty much useless.
    However, it is quite annoying that two new, top-of-the-line Nikon 500mm/f4 and 600mm/f4 lenses cannot AF with any 1.4X Nikon TC. I wouldn't care much if it couldn't AF with a 2X TC, as AF and camera shake would have been quite iffy anyway. But no AF with any 1.4X TC is somewhat a serious issue.
     
  11. Don't understand that the new 500 will not autofocus with the TC14III. Since I frequently don't understand many things I just went outside with the new 500 with the TC14III and my D7100. I had received the 500 last Friday so I hadn't had a chance to do any shooting with it. Tried all kinds of combinations with the combo and autofocus was excellent throughout, crazy sharp too. Can't speak for any of the 600/TC combos but the 500 certainly does not have an autofocus problem with the TC14III.
     
  12. I don't know about the newer DSLRs, but with F100, the AF minimum aperture limit was more of a suggestion than a hard constraint. I remember it focused 300mmf/4 with TC-20E just fine.
     
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I checked with Don Cooper that his 500mm is indeed the new 500mm/f4 E AF-S VR introduced last month. Thanks Don.
    Hopefully I can get clarification from Nikon USA. I have gone back to check their press release (which is also on DPReview, see my link above), and clearly that "no AF with all TC-14E" footnote applies to both the 500mm E and 600mm E.
     
  14. Shun, I just posted a question about AF with Nikon 1.4x tcs on the new 600mm f 4.0 E. Nikon just responded that they are compatible.
    Not sure what that means. The link to the product manual for the 600mm f 4.0 E that NikonUSA provided me in its response just says compatible:
    http://download3.nikonimglib.com/archive2/E2ADm00SSUpI01Z0vT694Lge6S69/AFS600_4EFLEDVR_(7C_DL)02.pdf
    I will email a friend of mine who has the new 600mm f4.0 E and see what he says.
    Joe Smith
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Thanks Joe. Again, what exactly does "compatible" mean is in question here, with or without AF. And we have at least one owner who indicates that there is no AF with such combo. Would be great to hear from additional owners.
     
  16. It could simply be a glitch with an individual TC, lens, or camera body sample that they don't work correctly together.
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka, I'll point out again that 600mm E owner (I don't even know his name, but his lens is pictured above) has both a TC-14E II and a TC-14E III. Neither one can AF with his lens. He called Nikon USA, and Nikon USA confirmed that this is a known issue/limitation, or "feature" :). And that limitation is clearly documented in the press release last month.
    If his situation were out of the norm, I would imagine that Nikon USA would have asked him to send the lens and/or TC in for testing. Or his lens should be new enough that he could potentially get an exchange.
     
  18. No Nikon site in another country than USA that I've been able to find has any mention of any AF incompatibility of 300/4E, 500/4E, or 600/4E with TC-14E III in press releases, in product pages nor in the lens manuals. Nikon USA claims that with these three lenses, AF is not possible with the 14E series TCs. I have personally used a TC-14E III and 300/4E which autofocus together perfectly fine (and I know other users who have the same experience).
    Don's 500/4E with TC-14E III autofocuses reportedly excellently.
    B&H Photo-Video have one user review of the 600/4E
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1166859-REG/nikon_af_s_nikkor_600mm_f_4e.html
    and it happens to include an attachment shot with the product (600/4E) with TC-14E III hand held. How likely is it that this user would have manually focused this rig while hand holding it and not thought it worth mentioning that he had to focus it manually? I don't think it is very likely at all.
     
  19. In this thread one user at dpreview.com forum says he got the 600/4E
    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/56256486
    and says "The TC14EIII also slows down AF noticeably." No mention that it doesn't AF at all.
     
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka, what I would like to see is some first-hand information that responses to this specific thread, or some response from Nikon USA indicating that (1) their press release is wrong and (2) their custom service also provided a wrong answer to this new 600mm E owner who happens to have some defective lens, TC, or body.
    Of course, there is a chance that what I heard from him yesterday was totally off the mark, but I find that unlikely.
    Again, I have already sent an e-mail to Nikon USA for clarification. Not sure how long it'll take them to respond.
     
  21. Shun, I just got an email from my friend. He uses the Nikon 1.4 TC-III on his new Nikon 600mm f4.0 E lens. He did not state it, but the camera he uses is probably his D 810 or D4. As stated below, he has no AF issues with the TC-III or TC-II on the new 600mm. He definitely recommends the TC-III over the TC-II for use with any of the newer Nikon tele lenses, from 300mm to 600mm.
    "I can only speak for the 600 with the 1.4TC III. It will focus at any f-stop even wide open. No issues what so ever. "
    "..... and went and dug up my old 1.4TC II. It focuses fine wide open and beyond, BUT, if your going to invest in the new 5 or 6, then get the new 1.4TC III. It’s so much better than the II."
    Hope this helps.

    Joe Smith
     
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Thanks a lot Joe. Hopefully that settles it, and we won't get more confusion such as different behavior from a different serial number range for those TCs or different behavior from different camera bodies or firmware versions. For whatever it is worth, I think the person I met yesterday was using either a D7100 or D7200, but at the time I was interested in the new lens and didn't think about paying close attention to his camera body. I was also busy taking pictures myself. :)
    BTW, I have both the TC-14E (first version) and TC-14E III. The earlier TC is already excellent and I don't feel that the III version is that much of an improvement. Please keep in mind that the TC-14E III is only compatible with G and E lenses, not those AF-S lenses with an aperture ring.
    I apologize if it is all some false alarm, with some errors on Nikon USA's part. Hopefully I can get some definitive answer from Nikon in the next day or two. Unfortunately, a simple word such as "not" can really change the meaning in a press release. :)
     
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon acknowledged receiving my e-mail inquiry on this matter. As Ilkka pointed out earlier, this teleconverter compatibility chart apparently has a few errors, particularly on the three f4 E lenses introduced in 2015: 300mm PF, 500mm, and 600mm:
    http://www.nikonusa.com/en_INC/IMG/Assets/Common-Assets/Images/Teleconverter-Compatibility/EN_Comp_chart.html
     
  24. Shun, I looked a little further into the combos that I can duplicate. With a D7100 and the 300mm F4E PF autofocus works fine with both my TC14E II, TC14E III, and also the TC17E.
    Results are the same with the 500mm F4E.
    This looks like a major screwup from somewhere in Nikon, to put the supposed incompatibilities into print for the entire planet to read is pretty puzzling. I wonder how many users switched to Canon or put off purchasing any of these 3 Nikon lenses due to this error. I'd hope that somewhere at Nikon an executive is blistering the paint on the walls to get this straightened out pronto. Looking forward to anything more you might hear from Nikon.
     
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Don, maintaining a compatibility chart like that can sometimes be a bit challenging, as new lenses and TC are added fairly regularly. Some 20 years ago I used to maintain that kind of FAQ (not for photography-related topics), and I found it difficult to keep everything perfect all the time with constantly changing information. However, I am surprised that they overlooked a press release, especially now a month later and there is still no correction.
    We are all humans and we do make mistakes sometimes. To me, it is how quickly one fixes such errors that matters. Nikon USA has received my e-mail and they are aware of this thread.
    Thanks again to Ilkka, Don, Joe ... for your help.
    00dQzs-557988584.jpg
     
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It looks like Nikon USA has corrected the rows for the 500mm E and 600mm E. However, unfortunately it is still incorrect for the 300mm/f4 E PF.
    Again, here is the link: http://www.nikonusa.com/en_INC/IMG/Assets/Common-Assets/Images/Teleconverter-Compatibility/EN_Comp_chart.html
    If anybody spots any other error, please let Nikon know or I'll be happy to forward the info.
    Thanks in advance.
    [​IMG]
    00dR6J-558002984.jpg
     
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As I pointed out earlier, it is not easy to maintain these compatibility charts. I ended up printing the chart and started marking all the errors:
    1. The 300mm/f4 E PF (#2233) should be fully compatible with both TC-14.
    2. The line for the new 200-500mm/f5.6 E lens (#20058) is incorrect. If you put a TC-14 on, its maximum aperture drops to f8 such that AF is only possible with post-2012 bodies that can AF with f8 lenses.
    3. For the three lenses that are max f5.6, namely the 80-400 (#2208), 200-500 (#20058) and 800mm (#2205), AF should be listed as not possible with either TC-17E or TC-20E, as maximum aperture will drop below f8.
    4. Camera bodies that support AF with f8 lenses should include the D810A for astro photography.
     
  28. When you are dealing with a lens that long and a TC-14 in any variation, unless you are shooting very fast moving subjects I honestly don't know why you would not just focus manually. The depth of field is so shallow at that focal length(s) that the subject pops in and out of focus very easily, most especially if there is a specular highlight (like the sun reflected in a eye) in the frame.
    Granted, I only own the 600mm f/4 ED-IF AIS and TC-14B and TC-300, but manual focusing is a snap with either one of them.
     
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon has gotten back to me. As far as I can tell, they have corrected everything I identified above on their teleconverter compatibility table: http://www.nikonusa.com/en_INC/IMG/Assets/Common-Assets/Images/Teleconverter-Compatibility/EN_Comp_chart.html
    However, as new lenses and teleconverters are added in the future, so will new errors. Again, if you find anything or have questions, please let me know or post here.
    I apologize again for the wrong information to start this thread.
     
  30. Sorry for the late arrival to this thread. I thought Shun was saying that his "gentleman" had tried the new lens with some TC-14 variants and seen it not work; are we now confirming that everything is okay, as per Nikon's updated table, and the person Shun talked to either had camera-specific issues or hadn't actually tried it? I'm not prepared to take claims that other E lenses work with these teleconverters as an indication that the big telephotos do. Not that I'm shopping just now.

    On an unrelated note, I'm interested that the "TC80-125" (which I think is actually the TC800-125e" - the 1.25x teleconverter for the 800mm) is incompatible with everything. I guess it's E-only? If so, I'd still expect it to work with the other recent E lenses.

    Scott: I find it a little hard to believe that you'd use a lens that long with a static subject, all that much. Maybe a nesting bird, but even then I'd tend to be trying to time it for some activity, where the AF starts to help. (I've also used mine for astrophotography, but frankly sticking an adaptor on a dobsonian telescope is cheaper.) When I've been birding with a 500 f/4 AI-P, the lack of autofocus has been hugely painful, to the extent that a modified TC-16A was a substantial help (but would be more so if the optics held up). I rarely use my 500mm mostly for this reason, which makes me more interested in the new 200-500 and saving up for a 400mm VR than I would have been.
     
  31. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    the "TC80-125" (which I think is actually the TC800-125e" - the 1.25x teleconverter for the 800mm​
    You just spotted yet another typo on that compatibility chart.
    It has been my little on-going project with Nikon USA to correct that compatibility chart. Besides that TC-800-125e typo, currently they are missing three lenses on that chart:
    1. The first generation 300mm/f2.8 AF-S, without VR, Nikon product #1943
    2. The second generation 300mm/f2.8 AF-S, also without VR, #2125
    3. The current second-generation 200mm/f2 AF-S VR, #2188
    The 200mm/f2 AF-S VR they currently have listed is the older version 1, #2150. Both versions should be on the chart.
    This whole thread started because I bumped into that person with a brand new 600mm/f4 E AF-S VR. He told me that it wouldn't work with some TC-14E and that limitation was "confirmed" with a phone call to Nikon. They might have worked off that same incorrect compatibility chart earlier, and Nikon's original press release is also wrong.
    I don't even know that photographer's name, although I took a close look at his new lens and it has a serial number that is easy to remember.
    Concerning that dedicated 1.25x TC, that is designed for the 800mm/f5.6 E AF-S VR only. In fact, it comes standard with the 800mm lens and is otherwise not sold separately.
     
  32. Thanks, Shun - sounds (if I understand correctly) as though it would work fine, and he just never tried it. Good news, I guess!

    That's what I thought the TC800-125e was - I'm just curious as to why it wouldn't work on the other superteles! (At least, the "E" ones.) Maybe it clouts the rear element. I realise it would be a bit odd to use it on other combinations, although I gather the TC-14C from the 300 f/2 set is popular elsewhere.
     
  33. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Andrew, you can always buy a TC800-125E and find out whether it actually works on your 200mm/f2 AF-S VR. As a bonus, you'll also get a nice 800mm lens in the package. :)
     
  34. Thanks for the suggestion, Shun. Perhaps you could get
    one for me (at cheaper, U.S. prices), and I'll pay you back
    in a couple of decades? :)

    Still, no harm in curiosity, unless you're a cat.
     

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