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icewoman

Teleconverter Lens (for Nikon D40)

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For budgetary reasons I am looking to purchase either a 1.4x or 2x Tamron Teleconverter lense. Any feedback on this lense would be appreciated.

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icewoman, if it's the best Tamron level of TC, it'll be pretty darn good. What lens(es) will you be shooting it with?

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Cool. I don't know which body you are using, but with a combined max aperture of greater than f5.6, most bodies won't autofocus the combination, and you'll have to rely on manual focus.

In other words, if max aperture on the zoom is f5.6 at 300mm, your max aperture for the combination will be f8, because the TC reduces max aperture on the lens by one stop. With Canon, only the "1" series bodies will autofocus a combo at f8. Not sure about other brand bodies.

You probably will notice a little bit of loss of image quality with the TC on that lens, but it shouldn't be a lot.

Good luck with it, and have a lot of fun!

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I have a Nikon D40 body. In your opinion do you think I would be better off using t5he 50-200 I got with the " kit ". Would that help with the image quality? What about going with the 50-200 and using the 2x tc.

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icewoman, I wouldn't use a 2x TC on any zoom, even top-of-the-line zooms. It degrades image quality quite a lot, and only the sharpest top fixed-focal-length lenses can afford that, in my opinion.

I'm not sure of the relative IQ comparison between the Tammy and the Nikon lens you mention, not being of the Nikon persuasion, so you might have to get info from one of the Nikon folks who post here. I would imagine you're better off IQ wise just sticking with the 70-300 than you would be if you put the 1.4 TC on the 50-200, because even if the Nikon has slightly better IQ, the TC will degrade that a bit. And then when you want to get out to nearly 400mm, strapping the TC on the 70-300 and manual focusing will be the way to go.

But again, I'm not conversant enough with the D40 to know if it will autofocus the combo. My guess is that it won't.

I'm also going to slightly edit the title of this thread to reflect that it's a Nikon question, too.

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I've got to disagree with you a bit here stfcatfish. I have the Kenko 1.4 (supposely the same converter as the Tamron) and the image quality really drops off using the 70-300VR, so much so that it's better to just crop the image than to use the TC. I also have the Tamron 70-300 and it isn't as good as the 70-300VR Nikon, I'm sure using the TC would effect the Tamron at least as much as the Nikon lens.

It might auto focus in bright light but isn't going to do it very well. My D80 and the 70-300VR will auto focus with the Kenko, but it's much slower and hunts back and forth A LOT and takes really good light to work.

I do agree with you that the Tamron 70-300 is almost certain to capture higher quality images than the Nikon 55-200 + 1.4 TC.

Sadly there is no free lunch when it comes to getting more reach. However, a TC is cheap, it won't hurt to try it, but don't expect miracles. If you're not happy with it you can always hang on to it for when/if you get something like the Nikon 300mm F/4, which by all accounts works very well with the 1.4 teleconverters.

Here is an example of what my 70-300VR + Kenko 1.4 can do, it's approximately a 60% crop and sized down another 50%. The TC really softened up the image.

DSC_2671_Hawk_cropped_sm_2.jpg

Focal Length: 300.0mm (420mm with 1.4 TC)

Exposure Time: 0.0013 s (1/800)

Aperture: f/5.6

ISO equiv: 250

Exposure Bias: -0.33

Here is another example. This osprey was way out on Puget Sound, I cropped away about 90% of the image to show just the bird. I used the 70-300VR with and without the Kenko 1.4 TC. In this comparison I up rezed the non TC shot by 140% to get it to match the size of the image taken with the teleconverter. As you can see the difference in the image is small to no-existent. It's just my opinion but I don't think it's worth using a teleconverter on lenses like the Tamron or Nikon 70-300.

Osprey_Kenko_vs_UpRez-1.jpg

Good luck with your decision icewoman, at worst you'll be out around $190 if you try it. Experimentation is one of the joys of photography. smile

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The response to this question has been great. If it makes any difference the distance that I will be shooting is between 30 to 50 yards. I mainly want this lense to capture the birds at the feeders that I have in my yard. I have placed my feeders in front of the kitchen window and set my tripod and camera up in the kitchen sink ( don't laugh ) and shoot out the kitchen window with the screen removed. I want to be able to get some real tight shots of the birds and the 70-300 does not give me the shot I want once I start to edit it. I am also sure that some of the difficulty is that I am still esperimenting with settings.

Thanks again for the advise. For that price I wll pick up the 1.4 and give it try.

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John, we don't disagree at all. I wouldn't myself use a 1.4 TC on an inexpensive zoom because of that falloff in quality, but that doesn't mean a more casual photographer wouldn't. I was tailoring the advice to fit (my perception of) the needs of the person asking it. I also used Kenko's top 1.4 TC for awhile, but even on the Canon 100-400L, which has excellent image quality, I didn't like the falloff in IQ so it stayed in my bag. Later I sold it and have the Canon 1.4 TC which, when used with the 70-200 f2.8L and 400 f5.6L, delivers pictures with virtually no IQ falloff.

icewoman, you might try buying a blind. They can be had from Cabela's for about $50 to $75, and if you put one up just farther away from the feeder than the minimum focus distance of your 70-300 and leave one of the zipper windows open only enough for your lens/camera to stick out, you'll get lots more pictures, and they will be close, tight shots.

And you can put up a simple perch, attaching it to or near the feeder. Many birds will land on the perch before hitting the feeder or will land there after leaving the feeder, and then you have a tight portrait of a bird on a natural perch like a twig or a branch. The simpler the better, because birds move quickly, and it's hard to get your camera moving around in time when the perch is complex with several perching locations available. A single twig about a foot and a half long is a good start, and then you can experiment.

If you can put the perch up in such a way that the background is pretty far away (and is a natural background) and shoot at wide open aperture, you'll see the background turn into that buttery watercolor texture, and that will be pretty and will help isolate the bird and perch and draw attention to it.

When I was doing a lot of that type of photography with a Canon 100-400L, the MFD was six feet, so I'd set up the blind so the camera was about 6.5 feet away from the closest part of the perch, and a chickadee or a siskin would fill over half the frame (when shot full-figure from the side). Not sure what MFD is on the Tammy, but with a blind just past the MFD, you're going to get much tighter shots that will require less cropping, and you won't need the TC for that at all.

It's also just a ton of fun for bird lovers to be that close to birds. I've spent hours just watching birds from that distance in the blind.

To do this well, you'll need a tripod too.

Good luck!

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Here are couple quick examples of work using the blind/perch.

I was actually shooting for larger birds in both cases and was set up about 10 feet away from the perch, so these birds are a bit smaller in the frame than they would be if I'd been just past the MFD of the lens.

Neither is cropped. The junco is on a perch that was just a single branch I'd nailed to my long wooden tray feeder. Nailed one end to the back of the feeder toward one side, bent the branch up into a shallow C shape and nailed other end to the other side of the feeder. The siskin is on a two-foot branch of red osier dogwood nailed to the same feeder. The background is about 35-40 feet away (a line of heavy shrubs). It's the same background in each image, only one was taken in winter and one in spring.

Once you get a setup dailed in, it's very fun and easy to accomplish this type of bird-on-a-stick photography.

Since you are in your own back yard and are free from the time constraints you'd have going into the field to photograph birds, you can make sure to wait until the light is right. Early morning and late evening on sunny days are best, of course, for that low sun angle, and they are the peak feeding times for most birds anyway.

I had mine set up so that the blind was facing east toward the perch, which made it a good evening setup. Of course, on cloudy days it didn't matter which direction I faced. While I have multiple feeders around my feeding station, when I was shooting from the blind I took all but the tray feeder down and put them inside so birds could only come to the one feeder with the perch on it. And all I ever put in that tray feeder is black oil sunflower and cracked corn, which takes care of about every bird that eats seed.

These were shot with the 100-400 at f8. Max aperture at 400mm on that lens is f5.6, but most lenses are at their softest wide open, and that's particularly true of zoom lenses, so I habitually shot mine at iso400 and f8. Iso400 so I'd have a fast enough shutter speed to get sharp images at f8, and f8 because the images were noticeably sharper than at f5.6.

2713570927_effd9fe2e3_o.jpg

2714382512_bf07bce80e_o.jpg

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Good advice on the blind. I had actually already thought about that. I have a couple of flip over fishhouses that will work perfect. The truth be told, I have been reluctant because I am already getting a bunch of gruff from people about how " involved" I have become both with the birds and the camera smile

I love the shots of the birds, that is exactly what I am loooking for. I will also take the advise on the perch. The new feeding station I ordered will give me some options as well.

I think the important thing for me at this point is to not get ahead of myself and not put the big expensive lenses ahead of my skill level. I need to become familiar and learn how to use the lense and camera I have first.

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I think the important thing for me at this point is to not get ahead of myself and not put the big expensive lenses ahead of my skill level. I need to become familiar and learn how to use the lense and camera I have first.

You've just given yourself the most important piece of advice there is when starting out in photography.

If you seriously get bitten by the bug and decide to make it a big part of your life, plenty of time then to invest real money.

Meanwhile have fun with it, and be sure to show us your pictures now and then.

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