Teleconverters For Nikon 'F' Mount
Evaluations By Bjørn Rørslett
For general rating criteria, please see the Lens Survey Page. Mounting a teleconverter leads to a loss of light which amounts to 1 stop for 1.4x units, about 1.5 stops for 1.6X, and 2 stops for 2X converters. A general word of caution which applies to all teleconverters: Most units seriously degrade image quality, so should be used only when absolutely needed. Never, ever, add a converter to a zoom lens! Poor results are virtually guaranteed to occur. Better results can be expected with prime lenses, and a focal length above some 100 mm. Wide-angles usually exhibit terrible quality when mated to a teleconverter.
The converter isn't and shouldn't be considered a substitute for a prime lens: Adding an 1.4X converter to a 300 mm/2.8 to give a 420 mm f/4 combination, for example, should not be done on a regular basis: You'll be much better off with a true 400 mm f/3.5 lens. However, there are a few rare setups of master lens plus converter that yield high quality results. On these occations, there isn't a need to stop the master lens down either. Otherwise, the combination should be stopped down at least two stops to try to ensure better image sharpness.
A final note is that the new generation of digital cameras, exemplified by the Nikon D1, should renew interest in the use of teleconverters. This occurs simply because the D1 utilise only the central part of the projected image, the quality of which frequently is much better than the image corners.
|1-3||Many shorter Nikkors (below 200 mm) need this converter because it lacks the protruding elements in front which are found on the TC14/14B/14C units. Expect moderate to severe vignetting on many master lenses and a concomitant loss of corner sharpness. It should not be mounted on long telephotos 300 mm and up unless as a desperate last resort.|
|2-4||This converter was, initially under the TC-14 designation, launched for use with the fast 600/4 ED-IF Nikkor, and continued unchanged in the Nikon line as the TC-14B. It works fairly well with longish lenses above 200 mm and is quite good together with the 200/2, 300/2.8 and 600/4 Nikkors. Best results (4) are shown, not unexpectedly, with the 600/4. On the 400/3.5 results are less satisfying. It can also be attached to the 500/8 Reflex Nikkors if their rear filter is removed, and this combination works quite well, too.|
|4-5||A very rare converter originally delivered
with the famous and elusive Nikkor 300/2, this unit gives
perfect results with
some fast long Nikkors such as 200/2, 400/3.5 and 500/4.
On the 500/4, for example, you would be extremely hard
pressed to tell that a converter had been used at all! On
other lenses, such as the 300/2.8 and 600/4, there is too
much colour fringing in the image corners to give useful
results; however, the central image sharpness is
extremely good on these lenses, too. Strangely, the
TC-14C doesn't give top performance on the 300/2 Nikkor
itself, showing noticeably colour fringing in the
Most TC-14Cs are now split up from their huge partner, the 300/2, and are sold separately. As only some 300 units were manufactured, the TC-14C can be quite difficult to locate today and likely commands a steep price.
converter designed for the long AFI/AFS lenses, the TC14E
delivers impeccably performance and is a valuable and for
many photogs, an indispensable item for their camera
bags. It has additional contact pins for conveying the
master lens data to the camera. AFS operation with the
TC14E added is fast and positive. I could not detect any
slowing down of focusing speed and focusing accuracy in
fact improved by the greater image magnification achieved
on my AFS 300/2.8 lens.Field flatness was virtually
perfect and for all practical purposes, no increase of
chromatic errors could be seen.
A protruding tab insid the bayonet mount prevents the TC14E from being attached to non-AFI/AFS lenses. This tab is easily removed to make the TC14E universally applicable.
Be aware that you will lose AF unless the prime lens is either AF-I or AF-S.
|This converter gives a "pseudo" AF function to manual Nikkors when used on an AF camera. All contemporary Nikon cameras need the 16A model. The optical design isn't optimised for any lens and most combinations tend to have quite fuzzy corners. However, central image sharpness can be really excellent when it is mated to some of the longer Nikkors, 200 mm and above. Pity about those corners, though.|
to the already long range of Nikon converters, this will
give 70% longer reach in conjunction with a 1.5 stop loss
of light. Thus, a 300 mm becomes a 500 mm lens.
Stopping down the master lens at least 1 stop should always be done to keep quality at a sufficient level. With some lenses, internal lens flare can be seen when the aperture is fully opened. By closing 1-2 stops the flare disappears. I noticed this when the TC-17E was combined with the AFS 300/2.8 VR lens.
You can modify the TC-17E the same way as the TC14E and TC20E, to make it compatible with non-AFS/AFI lenses as well. Note that AF operation is only possible with AFI/AFS lenses, though.
converter fulfills equal needs as the TC-14A, but with a
doubling of the focal length, As with the TC-14A, it
fails to give outstanding results in most situations, but
the image quality is rarely unacceptable. However, this
is not the case with 200/2 Nikkor, on which it is the
only possible 2X converter: Here image quality is
downright terrible. On the 300/2.8 lens somewhat better
results are achieved, but corners are quite soft.
Expect some corner light fall-off and watch out for soft corners when using the TC-200/201 converter. Thus, most combinations need stopping down a couple of stops to achieve acceptable results.
Likely this converter will perform best if used in conjunction with the D1.
(tested with AFI 300/2.8)
relative to the TC-14E, this converter for the new
AFI/AFS-generation of long lenses is an excellent
performer, although a bit less spectacular than the 14E.
It is quite short and thus does not leverage lens
instability in the same way the TC-300 does.
There are the same caveats regarding the inside tab preventing it from being attached to non-AFI/AFS lenses, and the same solution applies here too.
elongated and bulky converter is intended for use on long
telephoto Nikkors, 300 mm and above. In fact, its
protruding lens neck prohibits it being mounted on most
Nikkors. It gives good results on 300/2.8 AF Nikkor, not
so good with the MF version of the 300, though. The best
results are obtained mating the TC-300/301 to the 400/3.5
or 500/4 Nikkors. In particular, the 400/3.5 + TC-300/301
For some inscrutable reason, this converter isn't fully compatible with the metering system on some newer Nikon bodies. Thus, exposure needs to be corrected with +1 stop on the F4 with AF-300/2.8 lens and TC-301 using spot metering, and -1 or more stops when using centre-weighted or matrix metering. With the F5, however, these corrective measures are not necessary.
Last Update 15 March, 2005