Nikon Teleconverters: using the Nikon TC-17E II

    By | Tutorials | 17/04/2013 08:00am
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     If you want to achieve extreme magnifications with your photography but don’t want to carry around a cumbersome larger lens, a teleconverter could be the answer. Here we explain how teleconverters work with Nikon lenses, as well as show you how to attach one to your Nikon DSLR. 

    Nikon TC-17E II

    Teleconverters increase the focal length and hence the magnification of a lens. In theory, a teleconverter could be used with any lens, but in practice they’re designed principally for telephotos. They enable photographers to achieve extreme magnifications without having to buy and carry around much larger lenses.

    Teleconverters magnify the image by a fixed amount, but there is a drawback – the maximum aperture of the lens is reduced in proportion to the magnification achieved. For example, a 1.4x converter will increase the focal length of a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens to 105-280mm, but the effective maximum aperture of the lens is reduced by one stop from f/2.8 to f/4. If you use a 2x converter with the same lens, you’ll get a focal range of 140-400mm, but the effective maximum aperture will be two stops smaller at f/5.6.

    This is an unavoidable side effect of teleconverters. It’s why Nikon has enhanced the autofocus system in the latest versions of its full-frame cameras, starting with the D4, to work at a maximum aperture of f/8 – it means the camera can still autofocus even when one of Nikon’s f/4 pro lenses is used with its maximum-strength 2x converter. With the f/2.8 pro lenses, the 2x converter still gives you a maximum aperture of f/5.6.

    Not all Nikon lenses can be used with its teleconverters, due to the position of the lens elements within the converter and those in the lens. There’s little point in using teleconverters with regular zoom lenses, since proper telephotos will be more effective. And cheaper ‘consumer’ telephotos aren’t suitable either, since they have maximum apertures in the f/4-5.6 range, and the further reduction caused by fitting a teleconverter would make them impractical.

    Using the Nikon TC-17E II

    Using the Nikon TC-17E

    Choose a lens

    Teleconverters can only be used with specific lenses. We’re fitting the TC-17E II to a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. This lens’s internal elements are deeply recessed.

    Using the Nikon TC-17E

    Screw on the converter

    The teleconverter uses the standard Nikon mount, so it turns and clicks into place just like a regular lens. To remove it later, simply press the release button.

    Using the Nikon TC-17E

    Attach to a tripod

    The tripod collar on the 70-200mm f/2.8 has two mounts – the teleconverter will move the camera further back so you may need to use the rear mount.

    Using the Nikon TC-17E

    Set the exposure

    The TC-17E II reduces the lens’s maximum aperture by 1.5 stops, so the new maximum aperture is f/4.8. You need to factor this into your exposure calculations.


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    Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 at 8:00 am under Tutorials. You can subscribe to comments.


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