Sigma teleconverter TC1401 - Experience so far preferably on Sigma 100-400 C

Natureale 6 76 Slovenia
8 Sep 2020 6:18PM

I like my 100-400C very much for its versatility, it even excels at close-ups. However, when birding it comes a bit short.
As I don't have an intention to lug the150-600 C for hours when out, I was thinking of adding the TC1401. Good idea or not?

What is your opinion/experience related to the Sigma TC1401 preferably on Sigma 100-400 C.

I use Nikon D7500 body but experience with Canon bodies may count as well.

Thanks in advance.


davereet 16 443 United Kingdom
9 Sep 2020 7:47PM
I don't know about the 100-400 but I use one on a Nikon 105 mm macro and a Sigma 150 mm macro and a Sigma 180 mm macro, it works great and tack sharp.

Natureale 6 76 Slovenia
9 Sep 2020 8:41PM
Thanks for chimin' in. Good to hear the TC works fine.

Shall wait for someone who uses 100-400 C with it.
Camerade 1 3 United Kingdom
13 Sep 2020 6:58AM
While I havenít used the TC1401 specifically, I have used a Kenko Pro DG 1.4x TC on the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary, which has the same max aperture as your 100-400, of f/6.3. While the additional zoom was nice and image quality didnít seem to suffer too heavily under optimal light conditions, itís not a great combo for birding in my experience.

The main issue is the loss of light, which creates a few problems. Even on bright, sunny days, my ISO would have to be 1600-3200 in most instances. This means noisier images. While the noise can be cleaned up with post production software, it certainly creates more work and detailed areas can soften as a result.

Another issue I had, was that my D800 autofocus would hunt often and Iíd miss a lot of shots because of this. For animals like deer, or something else that is quite large and slow moving when grazing, youíll probably have better success, as lower ISO and shutter speeds can be used and you have more time to focus.

Birds, however, tend to constantly hop from branch to branch, or turn their head frequently and at a high rate of speed. Iíd often get images of sharp bodies and burred heads. What I found works much better, is simply getting closer to your subject and forgoing the need for a teleconverter. Pop-up hides can be purchased relatively cheaply, allowing you to positioning yourself near a perch that birds frequent.

This is a much cheaper option and one that garners superior results in terms of the number of successful shots and image quality. While there are products like MagMods MagBeam that can help offset some light issues with the aid of HSS, it is another bit of kit to carry and if the subject is at a distance, the results of fill flash can be negligible, again due to the max aperture of f/9.

Using a teleconverter on less than bright days, you have to really crank the ISO up to get a decent enough shutter speed to avoid blur from camera shake, as well as motion blur from the subject. Thatís on top of the autofocus issues.

In summation, while obviously not impossible, if the critters play ball, the additional reach of the 1.4x TC isnít without huge drawbacks. Personally, I wouldnít bother using one on anything higher than an f/4, purely because of the focus, noise and blur issues.
Natureale 6 76 Slovenia
13 Sep 2020 1:30PM

One big Thank you for your detailed and elaborate answer.

Speaking frankly, I couldn't agree more. A lightweight pop-up hide is certainly one thing to consider. As lots of things can be predicted especially if you know the terrain and animal behavior well.

Otherwise, the best TC substitute is certainly "Get closer." Wink Smile

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