The road to nirvana

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My journey into Photography, Horology, and Audiophilia

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Nikon TC-20EII Teleconverter

Having sold my Tamron AF 70-300 f/4-5.6 for a Nikkor AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8, I immediately felt the loss of 100mm when taking telephoto shots. As I plan to shoot birds in flight, I feel I really need an extension. As I can't afford the super telephoto lenses of Nikon, I had to settle with a teleconverter option. My mind is torn between two models, the TC-20EII (2x) and TC-17EII (1.7x)

What's written on the net  actually gave me second thoughts about acquiring this 2x model. They say that the 1.7x gives sharper results, and lacking the experience or even actual use of the the 2x and 1.7x, I was biased towards the 1.7x model.

However, an opportunity came which somewhat tipped the balance in favor of the TC-20EII. So now I can try it myself and find out if what's written on the net is what I'll get.

TC-20EII + AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED

The following shots were taken from behind the glass window of my office. I'm aware that the glass window will have an influence on the performance, but I wanted to find out anyway.

Lack of tripod means I have to take these shots hand-held, with some support from the glass window itself. 

  
400mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 200, VR off


400mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO 200, VR off


400mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO 200, VR on

Part 2 >>

I hope to take more interesting shots with this combination in the near future. 

TC-20EII + AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED 

This combination is what surprised me a lot. Having read the lens manual a few times, I am aware that I will lose auto focus function (see pages 18, 24) and that was a big factor for me. But to my surprise, auto focus did work with this lens! That made me really pleased.

 
210mm, f/11,1/125, ISO 200, VR on, SB-28 fired TTL auto

This shot is 1:1 and I do it by setting the lens to 1:1 (see the distance/magnification window) and manual mode (M/A-M switch to M position),  then I compensate to focus by moving the camera forward or backward. What a difficult task without using a tripod with macro rail, and to add to the difficulty, this was taken at night with illumination coming from a 50W fluorescent bulb. I can barely see the housefly!

This photo is not cropped.

 
210mm, f/9, 1/125, ISO 200, VR off, SB-28 fired TTL auto

The following photo is still 1:1 with 100% crop that shows the diamond stylus tip of my Clearaudio Talisman MC cartridge. It is really difficult taking these shots handheld, so I had to take a few and select the better one. 

 
210mm, f/11, 1/125, ISO 200, VR off, SB-28 fired non-TTL auto

Conclusion

Given my requirements for reach and sharpness, I am pleased with the TC-20EII. It does not seem to have a significant effect paired with the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED and has acceptable sharpness paired with the AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED.