I am considering the purchase of the 300 mm f4 lens. In addition I will purchase a Nikkor TC for the lens. I would like some advise on the pros and cons between the 1.4, 1.7 and 2.0 converters. My main concern is about any loss of quality as one increases the magnification.
I will be using the lens mostly for birds but may also get more involved in macro as I think this lens has good potential in that area.
I've read good reports on the recently released III version of the 2.0 converters and I do not have it or the 1.7 to comment on but I do have the 1.4 and find it a very good converter. There are limitations with converters and the most talked about is loss of light. The 1.4 looses 1 stop, the 1.7 looses 1 1/2 stops and the 2 looses 2 stops. Most AF Nikkors don't focus too well beyond 5.6 which is what the 1.4 will bring the F4 to. Using the 1.7 and 2.0 may make the AF not usable. Now if you were to get the 2.8 version you could any of the 3 converters because the maximum f stop would be 5.6 using the 2.0. All that being said, if you plan on manually focusing your combo, then you could use any of the three.
The destination is our goal but it’s the journey that educates us. KeithR
If you are talking about the 300mm f/4 AF-S lens, then I've got experience with that lens and all three of the Nikon TC's you mention. IMHO, the 300mm f/4 AF-S is a fantastic value and one of the sharpest telephoto lenses you can get for the price.
All of my experience with that lens was with a D200. Most of the time I had the TC14e attached to the lens. I found it to be very sharp, even wide open. I used the TC17e when light was good and had no real problems with autofocus as long as I used the D200's center focus sensor. Like with the TC14e the images were sharp, even wide open.
I know that a lot of people put the TC20e down, even those who've never tried it. However, I've gotten some very nice pictures when testing it with the 300 f/4 AF-S. I've attached one image as an example. Ligthing was pretty harsh. The image was taken using a D200 set at 320 ISO and 1/160th and the lens set to f/11. According to the EXIF data, distance to subject is 7.1 meters. The first image is a slight crop of the original, resized to meet image posting requirments here. The original was shot as a RAW file to which I did my standard post processing of sharpening a bit, adjusting levels and adding a touch of saturation. The second image is a 100% crop of the first image, with the exact same post processing. I used the D200's center focus sensor (the only cross sensor the D200 has), whch resulted in not getting the entire bird in the frame. I didn't have any real auto-focus problems following this mockingbird around as long as I used the cross sensor.
The 300mm and TC20e combination makes for a very light 600mm lens. Which makes it more difficult to control lens and camera movement. I shot this image on a Gitzo 1410 tripod using an Arca-Swiss Z1 ballhead...and a lot of practice with long lenses under my belt. I think that some people don't realize the impact of slapping a 2x TC onto a lens. Once you double focal length you greatly increase the possibility of poor image quality because of camera/lens movement.
With all that said, I never used the 300mm with the TC20e for anything but testing and for my amusement. Though, I would have used it had I found the need to travel light and have at least 600mm available.
I highly recommend the 300mm f/4 AF-S with the TC14e and TC17e. The TC20e is not for everyone and IMHO only works well on a few lenses. Make sure you have a sturdy tripod and practice good long lens technique.
Wed 21-Apr-10 03:40 AM | edited Wed 21-Apr-10 06:29 AM by briantilley
Thanks, David, for the great info. You have convinced me to start with the 1.4 TC since I do not have experience with long lenses - my only longer lens is the 18-200 VR. I will only shoot the 300 f4 AF-S lens on a tripod since it has no VR and I have developed hand tremors. I am sure - like all things - that it takes practice but I feel this kind of practice will be enjoyable. Especially if I get better at it.
Your photos are beautiful and they give me something to strive for.
You can also use the 300f4 with TC-14E II for close up photography. The attached images of a corn earworm moth were shot with that combo and D300 on a tripod. The first one is cropped a bit and some pp, the second is a 100% crop with no sharpening.
Thanks for the kind words Douglas. Though, I'm pretty much just a hack compared to most of the photgraphers here.
When using long lenses its very important to practice. I seldom get much free time during the day here lately, but when I do I try to set my camera up on my back porch and take pictures of the birds that visit my feeders. It helps me prepare for many of the more exotic locations I visit, like the local lake and city park.
>I >seldom get much free time during the day here lately, but when >I do I try to set my camera up on my back porch and take >pictures of the birds that visit my feeders. It helps me >prepare for many of the more exotic locations I visit, like >the local lake and city park.
David, my backyard with no feeders or birdhouses, yet it has become a great place to photo birds, etc. I can actually call in certain birds who come to investigate. I now have a nest of a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks. Their josts with an abundance of crows is a daily treat & adventure.
I have been wondering about purchasing the 300 f/4 & a 1.4 converter combined with the 4/3 (1.3x stated) crop of my new D7100 to result in an equivalent 840mm, albeit not VR. Wouldn't mind trying one. Really need the reach at some of the real "exotic locations" that I would like to go to.
I have the 300 mm f/4 AFS and use it with a Kenko 1.4 TC and Nikon's 1.7 and 2.0 II TC's. They all Auto focus, but get progressively slower as you move up. The lens is very sharp as the others posts say. I am extremely happy with this lens and how it performs with TC's.
Any of the converters you list (and the Kenko Pro 300 1.4x) have the ability to deliver a sharp 16 inch wide print from 12 MP. Bear in mind with no converter prints up to at least 20 inches wide are possible. One issue to bear in mind particularly with the 300 f4 is the faster shutter speeds needed as you focus close. The guideline of some hand held shots sharp at 1x effective focal length assumes the subject is at least 12 feet wide. Whilst hand holding ability varies from photographer to photographer as a guide a 6 foot wide subject needs 1 shutter speed faster, 3 foot wide 2 speeds faster,, 18 inches wide 3 speeds faster, 9 inches wide 4 speeds faster, and 4.5 inches wide (the lens goes this close on DX) needs 5 speeds faster. Add a converter looses further effective shutter speed and you can quickly reach the zone of serious tripod money, or loss of significant resolution at very high ISO's, or unsharpness due to even the slightest subject movement. Using any converter looses some image quality. I said 16 inch wide is possible with the 2x - but without flash getting it can be extremely challenging.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
The Nikon 300mm f/4? Isn't that the lens that hasn't been available from B&H or Adorama since...well it seems like forever?!
I've been looking for a new one (US import) for about two months now and it appears that KEH or other "pre-owned" sources might be the best bet. Unless, of course, anyone has current intel on proposed delivery dates?
I know the D700 would love to play with the 300mm.
Be patient! All of the top tier Nikkor lenses are built in batches. A particular model of Nikkor lens will be out of stock everywhere and all of a sudden be avaialable again everywhere. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
B&H does not list a number of hard to find lenses at the moment, such as most of the super-teles (400/500/600 f/4). This seems to be a new procedure for them, but it's doubtful all those lenses are discontinued. The 300/4 has been in short supply at other times in the past. _________________________________ Neil Nikonians Team My Gallery
Thanks, David, for the great info. You have convinced me to start with the 1.4 TC since I do not have experience with long lenses ********* I have a 300 f/4 and the 1.4 & 1.7 TCs. If you are going to buy only one, I would suggest the 1.7 if you plan to use the combination for birds. I think that the 1.4 will have you wishing for more reach.
I am an opportunistic bird shooter; here is one of a pair of Owls that I happened on last month. Shot with the 300 + 1.7 combo and some crop. I tried the 300 + 1.4 and it wasn't long enough.
I hope I can borrow this thread. I got the D600 camera with 300 mm f/4 and it should be able to autofocus up to f/8 but. I consider to buy either the 1,4x converter or the 1,7x converter from Nikon. The Kenko is not as sharp as a Nikon converter according to this thread. http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/652946/0
Have any of you seen any picture quality changes using the 1,4x or the 1,7x converter? I have no converter today and I have to step down the lens to something near f/5,6 for maximum sharpness. What would the f-number be with 1,4x converter and 1,7x converter for maximum sharpness? Are they usable with only hand held photography? I am quite steady on the hand.