Why are there no m4/3 teleconverters available

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Paul80, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    Hi all

    Just wondering

    Why are there no Teleconverters available for m/43 cameras.

    Obviously the loss of light may effect autofocus performance, but the same applies to any teleconverter regardless of the system and that never stopped anyone else did it.

    They make extension tubes with autofocus contacts, they make speed boosters with autofocus contacts so why no Teleconverters which are the same as speed booster just with a different lens set in them

    Am I missing something obvious here

  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    There should be no technical reason, as my 4/3 teleconverters work fine with the E-M1 and 4/3 lenses. Maybe the manufacturers have looked at it and decided it's not economically worth doing because to do them well isn't a cheap exrecise.
  3. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Olympus has a 1.4TC for use with the 40-150 Pro and 300 Pro lenses. The TC and 40-150 ship in November.
  4. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    Yes but the trouble is it will only fit those two lenses so no good for anything else.

  5. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    No technical reason why. Someone just needs to see the market for such a product and make it.
  6. shutterduster

    shutterduster Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2013
    Keremeos, BC. Canada
    Real Name:
    Dave T
    This has been discussed here before.
    Apparently there isn't enough room for the required optics.
    The reason the new teleconverter works with the new telephoto lenses is they have more room between the flange and last element.

    Dave T
  7. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    I was pretty disappointed with the lack of a general purpose TC for m43. It may well be there is not sufficient room because of the flange depth, but it is too bad.

    If there was a GP TC I might well not be investing in more 4/3 glass, as it is the EC14 and EC20 are super convenient. And even a 1.4 TC for m43 would be really useful with a lot of lenses.

    75 -> 105 f2.6

    12-40 -> 17-56 f4

    I could see a 12-35, 75 + 1.4TC being a great travel kit.
  8. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    I believe this is only true for the new Olympus 1.4x design specifically. There shouldn't be any general size that teleconverters must be which the M43rds system prevents as far as I am aware. For instance, there are many different teleconverters for DSLRs, some 2x TCs from the same company for the same lens mount come in different sizes. It should be entirely possible to design the options to fit the desired size.

    It's simply a matter of designing a generic TC that will work with any lens, this TC would probably be a bit larger, and the image quality probably would not but as good as the 1.4x (which was undoubtedly design to maximize image quality with the two lenses it works with).

    In the dslr world there are many examples of TCs from first parties like Canon, Nikon and Sony that are designed specifically for certain high end teles that have designs very similar to the Olympus 1.4x, and yet there are countless examples of universal designs that have no such restrictions from Tamron, Kenko, and even first parties like Nikon.

    Check this out: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/teleconverter/index2.htm you can see both type of TCs here, the universal sort that will mount to any lens, and the "matched" sort with a protruding front element that was designed for specific lenses.

    Even more interestingly, Nikon designed telecoverters that turned MF lenses into AF lenses, by moving the lens elements in the teleconverter itself: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/teleconverter/tc16a/index.htm Surely if such an optical design is possible, creating a universal M43 mount teleconverter would be simple by comparison.

    I think the real reason we haven't seen TCs hit the market for M43rds (or mirrorless in general) yet is because TCs generally make the most sense with long, fast lenses, and the Oly 300/4 is really the first lens that will fit that description for the system, though the 35-100/2.8 and 40-150/2.8 are certainly good candidates as well. Even if there were 1.4x and 2.0 TCs available, they wouldn't likely work with the existing long lenses in the system, the 75-300, 100-300, and countless XX-140,150,200mm, as the aperture of those lenses is simply too slow for autofocus with a rear mount TC.

    Another thing is that TCs quite often come with significant degradation in image quality, to the point that cropping often gives similar or the same results (or even better in some cases, there was some interesting tests done with Sony's APO TCs for the A mount system). Back in the film days, if you wanted extra reach a TC was a great option, because cropping wasn't nearly as easy as it is with digital. Even with DSLRs, you rely on the mirror prism to give you accurate framing, so TCs make some sense there as well, but with mirrorless, you can often simply use the electronic TC mode, which gives you a digitally cropped image, and an accurate preview of the frame. Really again, the only time where this is at a significant advantage is if your lens + teleconverter combo out-resolves your camera's sensor, at which point there will be little if any loss in image quality. Hopefully the 40-150/2.8 and 300/4 + the 1.4x provide image quality that good.

    Here is the Sony TC review I was talking about (I can't say much about IQ ramifications of other brands): http://www.kurtmunger.com/sony_teleconvertersid229.html
  9. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    Thanks for all the replies, most helpful.

  10. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Real Name:
    Interesting, I thought Pentax where the only ones who done that. The 'SMC Pentax-F 1.7x AF' adapter does have slightly less limitations than the Nikon TC16A though.
    It can be used with any autofocus PK camera and can mount any PK lens, (including adapted lenses, I've used mine with a M42 adapter) Getting the focus roughly right manually is aparently needed with both models.
    Similar AF lens mount adapters for legacy lenses to ยต4/3 cameras could be very useful, though I can't see them being afordable.
  11. wushumr2

    wushumr2 Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2013
    The other problem with TCs is that they almost always increase levels of chromatic aberrations and astigmatism; well-designed ones don't do so significantly, but that goes back to the point about purpose-built TCs vs "general" ones. Ming Thein's review of the Panasonic 100-300 states that there is CA at virtually all focal lengths and apertures; if a TC is going to make the CA worse, then you're going to end up with pretty poor edge definition because of the CA and added softness of the TC. Since you'll be at 420/f8, stopping down will probably make no difference to sharpness, AF will be a joke, and I can't imagine being able to successfully handhold a 850mm equivalent without a tripod or monopod.
  12. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    Mind you most of those have always applied and it never stopped anyone from making them or trying them. They used to say you couldn't use them on a zoom because it degrades the image too much and auto focus would not work but there are many photographers who did use them on the zoom lenses and got good sharpness and the auto focus did work, ok there where limitations but if all the circumstances where right they worked well, but at least they had the choice.

    I suppose one reason for there being none is that most of the makers that used to produce them are no longer making lenses as most of the compatible makers from the 70's & 80's are now long gone.

    Still it would be nice for one of the enterprising Chinese makers to give us the chance to find out how good or bad the idea is wouldn't it.

  13. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Real Name:
    I used to hand hold a 400mm f4.5 with 2x converter all the time. I'd shoot 100 ISO film, manual focus and no such thing as automatic image stabilization. All it takes is practice and breath control. One stop down (effective f11 or so) and you still get 1/125-1/200 second, plenty of capability for eliminating camera shake and following action. For still wildlife subjects like herons etc., I'd sometimes go down to 1/15-1/30 second hand held.
    Put me firmly in the camp of wanting a couple of premium 2x converters, one for short teles and macro lenses, another for longer glass.
  14. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Works for us. All we plan to carry by the end of next year is the 4 Pro lenses and the 60mm macro. We don't need a TC for the two shorter Pro zoom lenses.

    Have not heard of Panasonic making a TC.
  15. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    Yes, I hope someone can make a "universal" m43 TC as well.. I don't think there are technical limitations to it either.