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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gadget Bag: Extend Your Reach


Tele-extenders give you an inexpensive way to boost your focal length

Labels: GearGadget Bag
This Article Features Photo Zoom

Nikon AF-S TC-17E II 1.7X
Nikon offers the standard 1.4x and 2x extenders, as well as a 1.7x length that increases the focal length of the lens by 70%. All of Nikon's extenders use a Nikon Integrated Coating, which enhances the light transmission and reduces flare while improving color consistency. The 2x extender uses an aspherical lens element that works to eliminate the aberrations that occur at wide apertures. All three extenders attach to F-bayonet mounts, but it's important to check with the Nikon compatibility chart for lens listings. One additional Nikon extender is the AF-S Teleconverter TC800-1.25E ED. This converter is specifically designed to be used with the AF-S Nikkor 800mm ƒ/5.6E FL ED VR lens, extending the focal length to 1000mm, or 1500mm on a DX-format DSLR. This extender is sold with the lens, and isn't sold separately. Estimated Street Price: $549 (AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II); $519 (AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II); $499 (AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E II). www.nikonusa.com.


Canon Extender EF 1.4x III
Three extenders are in the Canon arsenal—the Extender EF 1.4x III, the Extender EF 2x III and the Life-Size Converter EF. The Extender EF 1.4x III and 2x III both have a microcomputer built into the extender to aid in communication flow between the lens, extender and body. The placement of the lens in addition to the lens coating has been designed to reduce ghosting and flare. An additional Flourine coating has been added to reduce smearing and fingerprints that may find their way onto the glass. The body maintains Canon standards for rugged water-resistant construction. These converters pair exclusively with L-series 135mm and over fixed-focal-length lenses, as well as the EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L, EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS, EF 70-200mm ƒ/4L and EF 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6L zooms. The Life-Size Converter EF pairs exclusively with the 50mm ƒ/2.5 Compact Macro lens and is specifically used for high magnification in the 0.26x-1.0x range, or approximately 1⁄4 life-size up to true life-size. Estimated Street Price: $499 (Extender EF 1.4X III); $499 (Extender EF 2X III). www.usa.canon.com


Sigma 2.0X EX APO DG
While many of the manufacturers insist that you stay brand loyal with each accessory for optimum results, Sigma carries 1.4x and 2x converters with mounts for several companies, including Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony/Minolta and Pentax. The converters have a multilayer coating to reduce flare and ghosting, and come with a carrying case. Check the website for a full list of compatible lenses. Estimated Street Price: $224 (1.4X Teleconverter EX APO DG); $249 (2.0X Teleconverter EX APO DG). www.sigmaphoto.com


Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 AF DGX 2.0X
Kenko has a myriad of extenders to choose from. The MC4 AF 1.4 DGX and MC7 AF 2.0 DGX come standard with Gate Array IC (Integrated Circuitry), which integrates the autofocus system with the camera. The extender's electronic system also communicates the full EXIF data from lens to extender to camera body. High-quality Hoya glass has a multi-coating to protect from aberrations. These extenders are available for Canon EF lenses (not for EF-S), Nikon AF and Sony Alpha. Kenko has also added a Pro 300 line of extenders designed specifically to match the optical quality of prime lenses and to avoid edge aberrations and vignetting. They're best used with prime telephoto lenses at 100mm or above (200-500mm is the sweet spot) and may be used with zooms. The Pro line includes the typical 1.4x and 2.0x extenders, but also the more rare 3.0x. The 3.0x multiplies focal length by three, turning a 300mm length into 900mm. Consequently, this reduces the light by three stops and means the lens must be manually focused. The Pro 300 line is compatible with Nikon AF and Canon EOS (but not Canon Digital Rebel XT/EOS 350D camera bodies). Estimated Street Price: $189 (MC7 AF 2.0 DGX); $149 (MC4 AF 1.4 DGX); $259 (Pro 300 AF DGX 1.4X); $269 (Pro 300 AF DGX 2.0X); $278 (Pro 300 AF DG 3.0X). www.kenkotokinausa.com


Pro-Optic 2X for Nikon
Pro-Optic makes standard converters that are compatible with Canon and Nikon cameras—a 1.4X and 2X for Canon and a 2X for Nikon. Pro-Optic characterizes their teleconverters as being specifically designed to be used with prime lenses of 100mm and longer, and they allow your camera's electronics to communicate with the lenses (contact Adorama to confirm that your camera and lens combination will work properly). The 2X model for Canon cameras won't work with EF-S lenses. Estimated Street Price: $79 (Pro-Optic Multi-Coated 1.4x Tele-Converter); $99 (Pro-Optic Multi-Coated 2.0X Tele-Converter). www.adorama.com


Olympus EC-20 2.0X
Olympus offers the EC-20 2.0X Teleconverter and EC-14 1.4X Teleconverter. Both are compatible with all ZUIKO digital lenses. Estimated Street Price: $479 (EC-20 2.0X Teleconverter); $439 (EC-14 1.4X Teleconverter). www.getolympus.com

Tamron also makes inexpensive extender options. Their 1.4x and 2x teleconverters are compatible with most autofocus and auto-exposure cameras. www.tamron-usa.com

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