Everybody wants to get closer when shooting wildlife, and one of the most affordable ways of doing this is to buy a teleconverter. These little gadgets will instantly add to your lens magnification without making your wallet thousands of dollars lighter… but are they worth it? Let’s find out.
For those of you who are not familiar, a teleconverter is a small 2-4″ lens adapter that goes between your camera body and the back of the original lens. In exchange for a little bit of light and image quality, it can extend your reach significantly; the question is: is that trade-off worthwhile.
That’s what Morgan set out to test in one of his latest videos, coming up with this helpful list of Pros and Cons in the process:
- 1.4X adds 40% to your focal length making your 150-600mm a 210-840mm. The 2X will double to a whopping 300-1200mm.
- A longer 800mm telephoto lens is going to cost an astronomical $13,000, whereas a teleconverter will set you back only about $400.
- It keeps your minimum focusing distance the same, whereas a bigger tele lens will keep you further away from your subject.
- The biggest disadvantage is that you lose a stop of light on the 1.4X and 2-stops on the 2X. Since a big tele is often already slow to begin with a 2-stop loss can be significant, especially on cloudy days or when the wildlife is hiding in the shade.
- Some lenses are not compatible for Auto Focus with teleconverters, although newer models are more likely to. Even when they are, they may be slower to achieve AF and difficult to use with fast moving wildlife.
- For pixel peepers, the image quality will always be a little less than without the teleconverter as you are introducing extra glass elements, but in most cases it is better than cropping the image to get the same magnification (see final example below).
- As the focal length increases, the lens will become more difficult to hand hold and a tripod, or at least monopod, may be necessary.
Finally, here are a few image samples from the video, showing you the power of 1.4x and 2x teleconverters:
What do you think? Is a teleconverter worth it? Will you ever really need 1200mm of reach, and if you do, will the 2-stop light loss make the added reach useless anyhow? Let us know what you think in the comments, and if you like this video, check out the rest of The Slanted Lens’ work on YouTube.