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Keywords: Nikon TC 2X III AF-S


bradhill

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 9
Nikon 2X AF-S TC-20E III review by bradhill
Review Date: 2/22/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Dramatically improved image quality
Cons: Makes me wish for a new TC-14EIII and TC-17EIII

I recently completed field testing the "new" TC-20EIII 2x teleconverter. I have never been a fan of Nikon's TC's, but have to acknowledge when someone improves a product (and improves it this dramatically). Nikon is going to make a LOT of photographers happy with this product. Here's my "Executive Summary" of what I found and a link to my full field test:


25 March 2010 Update: I have added my results of testing the TC-20EIII with the 400mm f2.8 VR to both the Executive Summary below and the longer review found on my website.


The Executive Summary:


My copy of the "new" 2x teleconverter from Nikon (the TC-20EIII) represents a dramatic improvement over its "Series II" predecessor (the TC-20EII). This means that the output using the two TC's went from virtually unacceptable (with the TC-20EII) to completely acceptable (with the TC-20EIII) for virtually any use. With all lenses tested with the new TC images were visually slightly less sharp when shot wide open (at maximum aperture size) compared to when stopped down by a single f-stop. In most cases, and with most lenses tested, stopping the aperture down further resulted in only very, very minor increases in sharpness. Both image contrast and colour saturation shot with images using the TC-20EIII showed only marginal reductions compared to when NOT using the teleconverter (while the previous model of reduced image contrast and saturation quite dramatically). I experienced the best image quality, and highest overall "usability" of the lens/TC combinations when pairing the TC-20EIII with "f2.x" lenses (the 70-200mm f2.8 VRII, the 200mm f2 VR, the 300mm f2.8 VR, and the 400mm f2.8 VR). However, I was able to produce very acceptable results when using the new TC with selected f4 lenses (the 200-400mm f4 VR and 600mm f4 VR). Autofocus speed (including initial focus acquisition and focus-tracking on moving subjects) was only slightly impaired on the f2.x lenses. Despite Nikon's claim that autofocus does NOT work with f4 lenses, I found that autofocus did work (albeit in a reduced capacity) on both f4 lenses tested (but was accurate and efficient only using the more central of the D700's 51-focus brackets, i.e., autofocus with extreme outer focus brackets was completely inefficient or failed outright).


In summary - and to be brutally honest - I found the best use of the "old" TC-20EII was as a paperweight. In stark contrast, the new TC-20EIII is a useful photographic tool that has earned a permanent space in my gear bag.


My full report on my field tests, and about a dozen or so sample images, may be found here:


http://www.naturalart.ca/artist/fieldtests/tc_series3.html


Cheers...


Brad


 






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