Sign up for our newsletter
Stay up to date on all the latest photography gear!Subscribe
Curating Your Images Will Improve Your Photography. Here’s HowCurating your images well is a critical...
Close Encounter With Bear Gives Photographer A Jolt (& A Great Image)Ever stumbled across an animal...
5 Ways to Create Stunning Photos Using New AnglesEven a small change in perspective can...
The Surfing Life
How a lifelong love and respect for the ocean inspires my photography.
Does Camera Sensor Size Matter?
How important is sensor size for the quality of your photographs? We consider the pros and cons of each of the most common camera sensor formats.
How To Plan A Milky Way Photo Shoot
Tips for choosing locations, timing and creative approaches to photographing the Milky Way above the landscape for incredible nighttime photos.
Ends Of The Earth
Paul Nicklen on his career in conservation photography, climate change in the polar regions and his new book, Born To Ice, celebrating those ecosystems and their inhabitants.
Pumas Of Patagonia
Private lands adjacent to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, now opening to photographers, provide an unparalleled opportunity for observing wild puma behavior.
Surf Photography: Catching The Wave
How to capture epic surf photography on land and in the water.
This is the 1st of your 3 free articles
Become a member for unlimited website access and more.
FREE TRIAL Available!
Already a member? Sign in to continue reading
This Article Features Photo Zoom
Q) I have an excellent 300mm ƒ/4 lens and would like to increase the magnification using a tele-extender. I’ve been told that this will degrade the image quality and I won’t be happy with the results. What is your experience using these add-on magnifiers?
St. Louis, Missouri
A) Tele-extenders can be valuable tools if used properly and with the right lenses. The zoom lenses that are usually designed to work with extenders are 70-200mm or 80-200mm zooms from several manufacturers, and these typically give good results. For other zoom lenses, a 1.4X tele-extender likely will yield reasonable results, and a 2X tele-extender probably will disappoint you.
Your question concerns a single focal length 300mm ƒ/4 lens, and these are usually excellent candidates for use with either a 1.4X (yielding 420mm) or 2X (yielding 600 mm) tele-extender. The advantage of using this type of lens is that the quality generally is quite good and the close focus remains at the same distance even though you have the increased focal length. Other advantages are the lower price (rather than buying a new longer focal length lens), the light weight of just adding a small adapter and the versatility of having several focal lengths. Be aware that you’ll lose 1 stop of light with the 1.4X and two stops with the 2X tele-extender, and compensate for this in your exposure decisions.
Finally, try to purchase the converter from the same manufacturer as your prime lens. It may be more expensive, but it will be matched to the lens you intend to use it on and the quality of the images will be maximized.
The addition of a 1.4X Canon tele-extender made my 500mm ƒ/4 lens a 700mm ƒ/5.6 lens. The added reach was instrumental in capturing a Rufous hummingbird coming to a delphinium flower. A Canon EOS-1D Mark III was used with a Canon 580EX flash.