Panasonic 'Nature' Competition - Win A LUMIX FZ1000 II!

Kenko Teleconverters


chefmarcus 6 18 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2014 11:02AM
I was considering buying a Kenko teleconverter for use with my D3200. I would be interested in your views on Kenko. Additionally I am unclear on the timeframe of models currently available? Would I be right if I said DG then DGX followed most recently by Pro 300? I Would also be interested in views on whether the latest models are an improvement on their predecessors or just facelifts.

I am using a Nikon D3200 with: Nikkor 18-55mm, 55-300mm, 40mm and Sigma 50-200mm.

Thanks Marcus

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

mikehit 9 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2014 11:15AM
I can't advise on Nikon names, but the Kenko is a very good tc - I have the 1.4x myself.
I have read a review (the only one I could find) with images that compared it favourably with Canon's own tc so I would say buy with confidence.
14 Mar 2014 2:53PM
Chef, Like you I've been looking at Kenco TCs. There are many articles on the Internet, which I've been reading.
They all say you will loose a degree of quality. Most people say that it's acceptable though.
Most, but not all, say you will loose AF in all but the brightest of light, and even then only if your lens is not of the best quality, if you have F4 or brighter then AF should work OK.
Everyone agrees that you will have to drop an F-stop on the 1.4X and two on the 2.0X.

The latest is the Pro 300 DG-X. This has a chip in it to keep the EXIF data from lens to camera.

The cheapest I can find for a 2.0X is 105 on Ebay. (Canon)

Hope this helps.
mikehit 9 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2014 3:49PM

Quote:Most, but not all, say you will loose AF in all but the brightest of light, and even then only if your lens is not of the best quality, if you have F4 or brighter then AF should work OK.


Just to clarify that, the 'lose AF in all but the brightest of light' only applies where you are putting the tc on a lens with aperture of f5.6 or less. This can be an issue with zooms (such as my 100-400 f4-5.6) where it is OK at the short end (f4) but not at the longer end (f5.6).

But this all depends on the camera body. Most 'non-professional' grade cameras will only AF with lenses up to f5.6. If I use the Canon tc with a f5.6 lens it communicates with the lens and tells the camera 'this is now f8' and the camera will refuse to even try and AF. But the Kenko tc doesn't communicate in the same way and will at least try - but as BD says, you need excellent light for it to do so.
LenShepherd 11 3.9k United Kingdom
14 Mar 2014 5:15PM
The term Kenko Pro 300 has been around for at least 10 years (that is when I bought mine) and refers to more expensive Kenko models which AF with AF-s lenses as well as the now mainly updated screwdriver AF lenses.
All new Nikon lenses in the last 10 years have been AF-s so it is important to avoid the cheaper screwdriver AF only versions with a D3200. From memory the cheaper 2x is designated MC 7.
When digital came in it was widely reported independent lens makers had not multi coat rear elements because it mattered little with film. Good rear lens coatings matter a lot with digital as sensors are much more reflective than film. As far as I know DG and then DGX refer to improved coatings.
There is a widespread myth about AF ability, part because Nikon have minimum standards for focus tracking ability which are not met at f8 except with a few recent f8 bodies.
The reason I chose Nikon over Canon in 1999 was every Nikon sensor on every Nikon does AF to a good standard with static subjects in good light at effective f8.
I have never in 15 years encountered a Nikon body which did not have decent AF static subject ability at effective f8.
Kenko build is not up to Nikon standard and in my tests Kenko resolution is not far behind. As Kenko have small diameter glass elements there can be optical vignetting (gradual corner darkening) with some long lenses at some apertures.
Kenko Pro 300 cost less than Nikon and have the advantage of fitting just about every Nikon lens.
Kenko advise not using them with focal lengths shorter than 100 mm.
A Kenko pro 1.4x works "well enough" with something like an 18-200 if you do not have a 70-300 VR just as the same Kenko works well enough on the 70-300 VR if you do not have the recent AF-s 80-400. The Nikon TC 14e does not fit the 18-200 or 70-300.
A converter is usually better than cropping if you do not have a longer lens with you or do not want to carry a big and heavy long lens.
Summing up photography is often about the compromise of the equipment you can afford versus the equipment you cannot afford.
chefmarcus 6 18 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2014 7:30PM
Thank you all! A great deal for me to take in me thinks? I am not really sure that I will proceed along the teleconverter route maybe I should seek out some used lens options?
18 Mar 2014 1:43AM
Based on my prior experience with the Kenko 1.4X Pro 300 DGX in combination with my 70-300 VR on both my D200 and D5000, I would expect you would have no AF problems on your D3200 with your lenses with at least reasonable, not necessarily bright, lightening conditions as long as there is reasonable contrast in you subject.

Perhaps the better question is what are you trying to shoot and how much cropping will you do? You may find that your images are a little too soft using the Kenko TC in combination with your current lenses.

Note that I subsequently switched to the Nikon TC-14e ii and AF-S 300 f/4 for long reach shots. I could not believe the detail I was suddenly capturing when I switched to the TCV-14e and 300 f/4 from the Kenko/70-300. I traded in the Kenko for the Nikon shortly after purchasing it because of mechanical and camera/lens communication issues, and not for image quality issues. I found that the Nikon attached to my camera with far less play than I had had with the Kenko, which was so bad on my D5000 that I used a thin piece of paper on one side between the TC and camera body to take out the slop and provide good signal connectivity between the TC and camera. I did not keep the Kenko long enough to draw any conclusions relative to the difference in IQ between the Kenko and NiKon TCs.
gingerdougie 12 67 United Kingdom
18 Mar 2014 9:09AM
I have used a Kenko convertor on a Nikkor 300 prime no probs.I then used the same convertor of my Nikkor 70-200 at a rugby match.Result loads of well exposed out of focus shots.Dead loss!
LenShepherd 11 3.9k United Kingdom
18 Mar 2014 11:08AM

Quote:I then used the same convertor of my Nikkor 70-200 at a rugby match.Result loads of well exposed out of focus shots.Dead loss!

It would help if you posted a link to a sample image with EXIF intact.
While a Kenko Nikon fit AF-s comparible converter affects auto focus speed, it does not disable autofocus. The likely cause is an unintended camera setting rather than the converter.
Harpic 9 13 England
4 Jun 2014 10:56AM
Quick question. Kenko 1.4 (pro300)+ AF Nikkor 300mm ED OR Sigma 150-500 zoom ( On Nikon D7000). Longer reach sigma obviously but what about quality ?.
NEWMANP 11 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2014 1:04PM
i cant speak for everything but you would be in a disaster situation with the 150-500 sigma and a converter.

the light is hardly ever kind enough to allow you to lose a stop and the lens will not perform until f8 and even then its way behind sharpness of many other lenses and particularly a nikon 300 f4. i feel sure you would do better with a second hand 300 f4 prime and a 1.4x converter but even then i doubt the light would be good enough often enough to get speeds fast enough for nature of sport.

the 150-500 is not one for you to be looking at, i am not a lover of the one i own.

regards
Phil
Harpic 9 13 England
4 Jun 2014 1:45PM
Sorry for the confusing way I might have put the question, what I meant was using a 1.4 kenko + 300mm versus using a sigma 150-500 (no converter). I had a sigma 150-500 but I exchanged it for a second hand prime and bought the converter (Nikon converters do not fit this old type of lens). But I still wonder about the quality difference.
LenShepherd 11 3.9k United Kingdom
5 Jun 2014 9:27AM

Quote: I meant was using a 1.4 kenko + 300mm versus using a sigma 150-500 (no converter). I had a sigma 150-500 but I exchanged it for a second hand prime and bought the converter (Nikon converters do not fit this old type of lens). But I still wonder about the quality difference.

Unless somebody does precise tests in your shooting conditions there is no precise way of knowing.
First you are comparing f5.6 AF (assuming an f4 lens with 1.4x) with f6.3 on the Sigma so you should get faster AF starting with a Nikon AF-s f4 - the old Nikon screwdriver AF version maybe not.
Second l300mm primes are close to maximum image quality wide open whereas variable aperture zooms improve on stopping down, andmore in the corners. There is unlikely to be much difference between the lens by f11.
Third TC's are better than cropping an equivalent amount. The primary reason is cropping by the equivalent of a 1.4x reduces the MP retained by half - those who have upgraded from 12 to 24 MP generally see an improvement in image resolution of about 15%. Although using a 1.4x looses some resolution it is a lot less than 15%.

With the lens combinations under discussion the prime + converter is 420 mm equivalent and needs some cropping to get the 500 angle of view (at infinity) pf the zoom at 500mm. There can be a slight complication for subjects like close ups of birds as most modern lenses change equivalent angle of view during close focus but not by the same amount from lens to lens.
Not discussed is the recently released 150-600 which seems to be a significant improvement on the 150-500 though I am not sure if the Nikon mount version is out yet.
Digressing chasing photographic image resolution, while useful, is of little practical value unless you crop heavily or make large print, restrict yourself to base ISO, shoot only at the optimum aperture of the lens, shoot only in high quality light and use a first class tripod.
Most wildlife subjects are not that co-operative.
Providing you have the best you can afford my advice is photographic skill usually counts for a lot more than the equipment you cannot afford.
I would like the Nikon 800 AF-s but not being able to afford it does not prevent me taking good photos with what I have.


Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.