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Nikon Teleconverters (2x) - so many ... which to choose?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by RobWatson, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I want one to use with my old Nikon lenses (mostly manual focus) but holy cow there are so many different ones that come up on google, ebay, amazon, etc.

    Any suggestions for a decent one for use exclusively with manual lenses?
  2. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    My experience is with third party converters first designed for film cameras in the 80's. . They were pretty dreadful on film and didn't get any better 30 years later when I put them behind my adapted lenses on DSLR's. Admittedly, mine bear names like Asunuma, Soligor, and Vivitar. In my opinion, they're not worth buying.

    I would expect, but don't know, that an old converter from Nikon is better, but Nikon did have a quality standard to meet in their optics. However, who knows if anything from that era is going to be any good. On top of that, ebay is a jungle, with plenty of sellers ready to foist that brand name on you for inflated prices. Hopefully, someone here with a Nikon brand will give you an idea of their worth.

    Maybe you could check out KEH.com. Here's their current inventory. They have a reputation for fair market pricing.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    Of TC's you have your choice of KenKo PRO (around $200 I think, but if you go Kenko Pro get the 1.4). The best Nikon convertors are the current ones, and the TC 2 III is the best of all TC 2 - but pricy and you have to remove a small tab to use it with older lens but it is an amazing TC on long lenses (about $400 new, between $250-300 used on Fred Miranda).
    • Like Like x 1
  4. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Good question & good example of the irony of too many choices-:) 

    I've been doing lots of bird photography including a lengthy stent @ an eagle nest. I currently have half a dozen TCs - 4 that are Nikon mount. (I consider ebay a reasonable long term rental agency & will eventually be selling many of these.) I've done lots to practical & resolution chart testing. At the eagle nest, when the chicks were first born, I even stacked a 2x & 1.7x TC on a MF Nikon 400mm to get the shot. It was ok but certainly not great. Here are some general conclusions but there are exceptions to all of these:
    -You'll always get better results from a lens alone that is the right FL w/o a TC.
    -1.4x TCs will produce the least IQ degradation and are well worth owning.
    -w/ very few exceptions, 2x TCs produce significant degradation & should be avoided. But sometimes they are the only way to get the shot w/o severe cropping.
    -Many 3rd party 2x TCs are as good as name brand in the center but worse at the edges.
    -Nearly all tele zooms have too little IQ at the long end to tolerate a 2x TC.
    -An exceptionally sharp prime tele can yield satisfying images using an exceptional 2x TC but you'll still be able to see the degradation.
    -1.6-1.7x TCs come close to the performance of good 1.4x TC but there are few & they are specialized for specific lenses. I modified a Nikon TC-17E II to fit a AIS tele.

    For old Nikon prime teles, the TC-14B & one of the 2x TC-300s are terrific. But the 300s only fit really long teles 300mm & over I think - you can check what fits what following the links over here: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/teleconverter/index.htm

    Hope this helps,
    • Like Like x 1
  5. LensWork

    LensWork Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 9, 2014
    Orlando, FL
    The first question that needs to be answered, if you are looking at Nikon brand teleconverters for manual focus lenses, is which specific Nikon lens(es) are you wanting to use a teleconverter with? Nikon did make several versions depending upon Ai, non-Ai, less than 200mm focal length, greater than 300mm, etc.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Rob, a detail I should mention because it differs from what Ken Rockwell has recommended about Nikon TC. He reports getting significantly better performance from the Nikon TC-17E ii than the TC-20E (which I've never owned). Much of Rockwell's comments are about the use of the TC-17E on 70-200mm F2.8. And my experience confirms that regarding image resolution but NOT CA & PF using Nikon ED 400mm lenses.

    The TC-17E is designed specifically for AF-I & AF-S lenses & has a small tab in the female mount to prevent older lenses from mounting.

    Nikon also made a couple TC-16 that have AF connections to give old MF lenses AF. I've never owned one of these & haven't found much about their IQ performance.

    I ground off the tab (as many others have done) to allow use on AI-S MF lenses. It certainly retains a lot of the resolution of the f5.6 & f3.5 ED-IF 400mm MF Nikons I've used it on. The f5.6 has very well corrected CA & almost no PF but these issues emerge when even this lens is used w/ the TC-17E-ii. The TC-300 on the other hand does a better job of controlling CA & PF but looses significantly more resolution. The TC-14B does well for both resolution & CA/PF.

    So I now avoid the use of the TC-17E if shooting anything w/ bright backgrounds or strong OOF highlights. I can do better simply cropping an image shot w/ the TC-14B.

    I bring up this detail in case you will be shooting anything where CA or PF are important issues.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    BTW Rob, I've bought 5 Canon FD, Nikon & Olympus ZD TCs off ebay. Bought a used Sigma 1.4x off Amazon. I don't usually buy the cheapest because I read condition descriptions carefully. Been completely happy w/ all.
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