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Nikon AF-S TC-14E III 1.4x Teleconverter Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new Nikon TC-14E III 1.4x Teleconverter.


|  Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III in Convertors and Other Adaptors
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Nikon AFS Teleconverter TC14E III (2)

This 1.4x tele-converter fits between a lens and your Nikon camera, increasing the focal length of the lens by 40% and reducing the maximum aperture by one stop. This is Nikon's third generation 1.4x converter, which adds support for lenses with an electromagnetic diaphragm, as well as sporting a new optical design that promises to reduce chromatic aberrations created by the converter itself. In this review we will test the converter with a Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens to see how it performs. 

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III Handling and Features

Nikon AFS Teleconverter TC14E III (3)

Weighing only 190 grams, this 1.4x converter is an ideal way of adding extra focal length, without adding much extra weight to carry around. The Build quality of the converter is excellent, with a robust weather sealed construction being employed.

There are few controls on the converter, with only a release latch for locking a lens to the front bayonet sticking out of the side. A rubber gasket on the rear of the converter provides a seal against the camera body to help prevent the ingress of dust and moisture. The seal on any weather resistant Nikon lens then presses against the flat front of the converter. Nikon have applied a fluorine coating to lens surfaces, which is designed to repel dust and moisture too.

Nikon AFS Teleconverter TC14E III (1)

This teleconverter has the full compliment of electronic contacts to support AF-S lenses, and newer Nikon lenses that have an electromagnetic aperture diaphragm, such as the new AF-S 400mm f/2.8E lens. There is also a mechanical linkage for operating the aperture on legacy lenses. Screw-driven autofocus lenses and third party lenses can not be mounted on the teleconverter, as there is an extra metal tab on the front bayonet mount to prevent any lens that isn't an AF-S lens being attached. The converter is easy to fit, and the minimum focusing distance of the mounted lens remains unaffected, allowing more of the frame to be filled with less of your subject.

When used with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, focus speeds seem largely unaffected, even in relatively low light conditions. 

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III Performance

To test the converter, we checked the clarity produced with the 70-200mm lens at 200mm, with the converter as well as without to see how much effect it has on image quality. Overall, sharpness is reduced compared to using the lens on its own, but only by a very slight, almost imperceptible margin. The lens and converter combination is capable of delivering outstanding sharpness levels when stopped down to by one stop, which is similar to how the lens performs on its own.

Nikon 70-200mm with 1.4x III
Nikon 70-200mm with 1.4x III MTF chart
 
Nikon 70-200mm without 1.4x III
Nikon 70-200mm without 1.4x III
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column. The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple. For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D600 using Imatest.

Levels of chromatic aberrations are increased, but again the difference is almost imperceptible. Fringing only exceeds half a pixel width with the lens stopped down to f/22.

Nikon 70-200mm with 1.4x III
Nikon 70-200mm with 1.4x III
 
Nikon 70-200mm without 1.4x III
Nikon 70-200mm without 1.4x III
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software. Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more. For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D600 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is noticeably reduced with the converter in place. Without the converter, the corners of the frame are 2.31 stops darker than the image centre at 200mm and maximum aperture. With the converter this is reduced to 1.75 stops.

Pincushion distortion is increased ever so slightly, with only 0.719% present. Without the converter, Imatest detected 0.239% pincushion distortion at 200mm.

With the converter in place, contrast is pretty much the same as without, even when shooting into the light at maximum aperture.

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III Sample Photos

Value For Money

Currently, this teleconverter can be picked up for around £450, which seem like quite a lot, especially as the previous TC-14E II currently retails for around £299, and also has an excellent reputation for optical quality.

Those shopping around for a bargain may consider the Kenko 1.4x Teleplus Pro 300 DGX converter as an alternative, as it can be picked up for only £130.

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III Verdict

Some people are nervous about using a teleconverter, as they have a reputation of reducing image quality by a noticeable amount. This new converter from Nikon proves that doesn't have to be the case. Unfortunately, the price means that unless you intend to use it with one of Nikon's latest lenses that have an electromagnetic aperture diaphragm for shooting at high frames rates, the cost may be difficult to justify, especially as the MkII version is still available for just over half the price of this optic. Even so, the fluorine coating applied to lens surfaces to repel dust and moisture may be worth it on it's own, if you tend to work out in all weathers, or in dusty and dirty environments. After all, the performance delivered by this accessory is excellent.

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III Pros

Reduction in sharpness with converter is almost imperceptible
Excellent build quality
Reasonably lightweight and compact
Reduced falloff with converter
Weather sealed
Support for Nikon's latest lenses with electromagnetic aperture
Fluorine coating on lens surfaces to repel dust and moisture

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III Cons

Price could be difficult to justify if you don't own a lens with an electromagnetic aperture
Extra tab on front bayonet mount prevents mounting third party and older lenses on the converter.

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Nikon TC-14E III delivers excellent performance.

 

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III Specifications

ManufacturerNikon
Lens
Effective Magnification1.4x
FittingNikon
Box Contents
Box ContentsFront lens cap BF-3B, Rear lens cap LF-4, CL-0715 (supplied)
Dimensions
Weight190g
Width64mm
Height24.5mm

View Full Product Details

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Comments


ano 5
5 Oct 2014 7:11PM
great review.
An suggestion : it would be great to have a comparaison with the old TC14E II to see exactly the improvement we can hope.
And a test with big pro lenses that we often uses with TC, 300 2.8 etc ...

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DocE 4
7 Dec 2014 2:38PM
I am testing the TC14 EII versus EIII on a 80-400 AFS VR, 200-400 f4 AFS VR, and 400 f2.8 AFS VR (not the fl). Test object is a 5" plastic owl at ~65 feet, robust tripod, MUP mode, cable release,i TTLBL on SB910. I previously checked all lenses for back focus and have found none with either converter. So far results are disappointing. On the 400 they are equal. Would use either one. EII is favored on the 200-400, and is good. They are equally bad on the 80-400. Wouldn't use either. Further tests in progress, including field use when it stops raining. Good idea to check EIII against EII on your lenses if you have one. Would love to see these comparisons down with a professional setup.
DocE 4
7 Dec 2014 3:06PM
Forget to indicate camera used in TC Challenge vII vs VIII is a D810. Sorry for omission. Another issue ifs VR. The 400 VR can't be turned off, but is used in tripod mode. VR on the other lenses was off. Should it be on or off? Will do the comparison, but would appreciate feedback.
Thanks

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