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Lens converters

Discussion in 'Introductions...' started by ian cowley, Jun 13, 2020.

  1. ian cowley

    ian cowley New Member

    Hi,
    Can anyone help a very amateur photographer? I have a Nikon D3200 with a 55-200mm lens on it. Can I increase the length of the lens using a converter, or do I need to buy another lens? I want to photograph bird at the end of my garden 30-40m yards away.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Yes but.
    You cannot fit a Nikon converter to a Nikon 55-200. Nikon go further than not recommending it; they make it impossible.
    It is possible to fit some third party converters such as a Kenko. I suggest that you do not do so. The Nikon D3200 may well be described as an entry level camera but the sensor is top quality. You will do better just cropping your image rather than using a converter. If you really insist on spending some money then I suggest the Nikkor 200-500 f5.6. This must be the most competitively priced long Nikkor telephoto zoom ever. I use one myself. The price might make it overkill for birds at the bottom of the garden but it is good value if you use it often.
    Another possibility is to set your camera up on a tripod pointing in the right direction with your present telephoto set at the right distance and shoot remotely. For this check compatibility of D3200 with Snapbridge. I will check that compatibility and get back.
     
    EightBitTony likes this.
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi Ian, it’s nice to have such a big garden! For photographing small birds, even with a 500 mm lens, 30 m is absolutely tops as a distance and you’ll be cropping hard at that.

    Teleconverters work best with prime lenses that have a large maximum aperture (F4 or larger). Historically DSLR focussing systems used to give up at about F8 - which is a F4 lens + 2x converter. The newest mirrorless, with off the sensor AF, may be able to work at smaller apertures but I haven’t seen much discussion of this. You’ll struggle to focus manually at F8 or smaller with an optical viewfinder. You can see this by setting F8 or F11 on your lens and use the depth-of-field preview button to close the aperture. Everything will go very dark.

    OEM converters are optically matched to their super-telephotos and compatibility with other lenses may be limited if the optical element intrudes into the back if the lens where it might hit the internal lens element during focussing. Third party adaptors, such as the above named Kenko, probably don’t have “sticking out bits” but always check before using.

    I think converters have a useful role to play, I carry a Canon x1.4 for use with compatible lenses, but if you are keen to photograph a variety of small birds 400 mm is really the “shortest” focal length and it is best to be no more than 10 m away. This is also about the closest distance most birds will let you get. Some people set up a garden “studio” based on making an attractive perch near a feeder and using either a hide or a remotely controlled camera to get birds as they wait their turn to feed.

    Nikon did well to bring out an affordable 200-500 zoom and take on the independents (Sigma and Tamron). That’s the direction to go if you want to get serious. If you do go that route I’d suggest try before buy to see if you can hold it and whether the camera works well with it. The bigger lenses pull more power to drive their AF, because the internal elements are bigger and heavier, so AF speed can vary depending on the camera.

    I use Canon and a 400 mm F5.6 prime and many bird photography websites recommend that as a starting point. I also have a 300 mm F4 + x1.4 converter which is a little heavier and slower to AF. I use a x1.3 crop factor and full frame cameras.

    Some people have gone for the m4/3 cameras because a 300 mm lens on these has the field of view of a 600 mm on full frame. A 600 F4 is a serious piece of glass! How m4/3 perform with teleconverters I don’t know.

    I haven’t seen much done with Fuji mirrorless and bird photography. They so far have one super-telephoto (a 200 mm F2 which becomes a 400 mm F4 with x2 converter) and a more affordable 100-400 mm zoom. The camera is x1.5 crop factor.

    Some bridge cameras offer effective focal lengths of 600 mm and more (up to 2000!). My wife has a Sony Rx10 mkiii. They won’t “beat” a dedicated bird photography SLR or mirrorless kit for image quality but can do surprisingly well for the price.
     
  4. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    The Nikon 55-200mm zoom is fairly slow and adding a teleconverter reduces the maximum aperture further. I'm not sure about the D3200 but this may mean that it will not get sufficient light to autofocus properly. The Nikon 200-500 lens would certainly be a good starting point (!) but there are cheaper options.... you could look at second-hand 150-500 or 150-600 zooms from Tamron and Sigma, for example (but be aware that Sigma lenses may need a firmware update to auto-focus with the D3200 depending on their age), and Sigma (possibly Tamron as well) also offer a "matched" 1.4x teleconverter. Under "normal" circumstances I'd suggest taking your camera to a decent store and trialling different lenses, new and second-hand, until you found something that you felt would work for you..... I did this last year and ended up with a Sigma 150-600 "C" and teleconverter for what I thought was a good price on a special offer, also trading in an old body as part of the deal.
     
  5. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I rarely have used my Nikkor converter on any of my Nikkor lenses, but I will not offer advice other than to say two things

    Your model camera will not focus with a converter on the small apertures

    Get a better zoom PRE OWNED from a reputable seller such as London camera Exchange, the first real lens I bought many many years ago I still have the 28-300 it is a superb lens, there have been times when it has come home so covered in dust from a race that you would not see what make/model it was, or

    https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Nikon-AF-S-Nikon-55-300mm-f/4-5.6G-ED-DX-VR_277190.html

    https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/55-300mm.htm

    https://www.imaging-resource.com/lenses/nikon/55-300mm-f4.5-5.6g-ed-vr-dx-af-s-nikkor/review/


    You get more for your money pre owned, and a guarantee avoid ebay unless you KNOW what you are buying
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  6. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

  7. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    The links are above


    AF-S Teleconverter Compatibility


    The following lenses may be used with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverters, some with noted functional limitations. NIKKOR lenses not listed cannot be used with the AF-S Teleconverters. The rear elements of NIKKOR lenses not listed can contact and damage the Teleconverter element and must not be attached. List includes current lenses along with lenses for which production may have ceased. Lenses no longer produced are shown only for convenience as a compatibility reference!

    Lens Name TC-14E II TC-14E III TC-17E II TC-20E II TC-20E III TC80-125E
    Prime Lenses Compatibility/Limitations
    AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF Not Possible AF Not Possible AF Not Possible AF Not Possible AF Not Possible
    AF-S VR NIKKOR 200mm f/2G IF-ED
    AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II
    AF-S VR NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED
    AF-I NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED
    AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR
    AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED II
    AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED
    AF-I NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED
    AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
    AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4D IF-ED II AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4D IF-ED AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-I NIKKOR 500mm f/4D IF-ED AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4D IF-ED II AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4D IF-ED AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-I NIKKOR 600mm f/4D IF-ED AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Not Possible AF Not Possible AF Not Possible
    Zoom Lenses Compatibility/Limitations
    AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
    AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED
    AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
    AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 80-200mm f/2.8D IF-ED
    AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Not Possible AF Not Possible AF Not Possible
    AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations♦ AF Limitations♦ AF Limitations♦
    AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Limitations†
    AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF Limitations† AF Limitations† AF Not Possible AF Not Possible AF Not Possible
    † Autofocus is available only with cameras that offer f/8 support. These include the Z 7, Z 6, D5, D500, D4/D4S, Df, D850, D810/D810A, D800/D800E, D750, D600/ D610, D7100, D7200 and D7500. For cameras that do not support f/8, teleconverters can be used without autofocus.

    Z Mirrorless Cameras - All the AF points work for Z mount system even at f/8 or f/11 maximum effective apertures. But AF accuracy may decrease and focusing speed may vary to subjects and shooting situations.

    ♦ When using the built-in teleconverter on the AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens, autofocus is not available.

    For additional information about Nikon Teleconverter compatibility and/or Compatibility/Limitations, refer to the documentation packaged with the NIKKOR lens and/or Teleconverter, information provided in Nikon product brochures or the Nikon website.
     

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