new subject for camera geeks!!

Apr 5th, 2007, 11:48 AM
  #1  
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new subject for camera geeks!!

how well do teleconverters work? I have an 18-200 nikon lens, but for the safari I am thinking of either adding a teleconverter which I can keep for future use vs. renting a telephoto lens for the trip....
jenack is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 12:15 PM
  #2  
 
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I will be the first photography geek to respond to this thread. There are differing opinions on teleconverters, but my impression is that even for people who like and use them, they are restricted to being used with faster lenses. The reason is that using a teleconverter not only extends the focal length of the lens, but also affects the aperture of the lens.

So, for example, if I have a Canon 300 f/2.8 lens and I add a 2x teleconverter, it becomes a 600mm f/5.6 lens.

For this reason, I suspect that a teleconverter would not be a good combination with your Nikon 18-200 lens. That lens is f/5.6 at the telephoto end, so if you added a 2x TC to it, you would have 400mm but with a maximum aperture of f/11. This would create the situation where it could only be used in really strong light. Also, I have heard of Canon cameras not focusing well (with autofocus) when a teleconverter is used with a lens of comparable aperture.

So, I would say rather than adding a TC to your 18-200, you will get far better pictures in a far better range of lighting situations by renting a telephoto. If general-purpose wildlife photography is what you have in mind, I suspect the Nikon 80-400VR would be a good choice. There are some Nikon shooters on this Board who use and like that lens. It is also small enough to carry around and handhold easily. It will suffer a bit in low light (like the Canon 100-400L), but as an all-around choice I think it would work well.

Let's see if the other photography geeks agree with me ...
Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Regarding teleconverters, the general rule of thumb is that teleconverters are not designed to be used with zoom lenses. There are a few exceptions, but I am being very general. Here are some lenses that work with teleconveters:

70-200mm f/2.8
200mm f/2
300mm f/2.8
300mm f/4
200-400mm f/4
500mm f/4
600mm f/4

Sometimes the optical quality loss just ins't worth it, and you would be better off cropping your image. Nikon makes 3 different teleconverters: a 1.4, 1.7 and 2.0. The light loss is 1 stop, 1.5 stops and 2.0 stops. As you lose light, you also lose speed with autofocus. Depending on the camera, some cameras will not autofocus with a lens/teleconverter combination of f/8. In other words, with an f/4 lens and a 2.0x teleconverter.

In my opinion you would be better off looking at something like an 80-400mm, a 300mm f/4 or perhaps a third party lens from a company like Sigma.

The rule of thumb that I tell my guests is to bring the longest lens you can afford financially and size-wize. Even with a 600mm lens, you will still find that you do not have enough lens for all situations. You just pick a point where you are ok with the focal length. Each 100m costs you financially, in size, or in weight.
andybiggs is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 01:11 PM
  #4  
 
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Jenack, I've seen several tests on tele-converters and basically with the best 1.4x ones matched to the lens you lose about 10% in contrast and resolution and one f/stop; with the best 2x converters you lose two f/stops and about 25% contrast and resolution.

I don't know the aperture on your 18-200 but if it's f/4.5 or f/5.6 at 200 mm then with a 1.4x converter you won't be able to autofocus (if it's f/4 or faster you can still AF). So that's the killer for many people with fairly slow lenses.

I agree with Chris that for a Nikon shooter the 80-400 VR is a very nice safari lens without being too heavy or too costly. The VR (Vibration Reduction) feature is very handy shooting from a jeep. A couple of people brought this lens on my first photo safari to Africa and did well with it.

Also, I think there's someone on this group whose longest lens was an 18-200 and, Africa being Africa, he came back with some excellent photos (maybe one of the Tom's?). I'm sure there are many times when a longer lens is appreciated (I carry a 500 and use it most of the time with a 1.4x) but you can still do very well with shorter focal lengths.

I would recommend renting the 80-400 or, if you can't find one for rent, sticking with the 18-200 and not getting the t/c unless your lens is f/4 or faster. If you can't find the 80-400 for rent then the 300 f/4 is a good safari lens too.

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 01:23 PM
  #5  
 
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I'm not a Nikon geek so this is more of theoretical help.
I usually use a 1.4x converter with my 100-400/4.5-5.6, and a 2x converter with my 500/4. I wouldn't do that if these lenses hadn't an image stabilizer.
My advice: if your camera/lens has some kind of image stabilizing system buy an original Nikon converter, otherwise don't do it.
nyama is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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jenack,
What camera will you be using with the lens?

I have the Nikon 80-400 and use it with the Nikon D2x which has a high speed crop feature. The 80-400 won't match a telephoto lens plus converter, but I set the high speed crop on when photographing at a distance and have gotten some decent photos.
divewop is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 03:09 PM
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Jenack,
As Andy implies, come lenses can take a teleconverter and some not. The zooms are the least satisfactory but some of htem do all right with the lower power teleconverters (1.4X). However, the zoom in your kit (18-200mm) covers such a very long focal length, I doubt you would be satisfied with even a 1.4 or 1.5X TC. If on the other hand you were trying to use a TC with a lens having a lesser zomm (70-200mm) you would probably get decent results. You can rent a lens, buy a used lens from one of the reputable on-line delaers or at Fred Mirandas buy and sell forum or you c ould buy a new lens and resell it when you return. Good lenses loose very little value, particularly over such a short time. I guess I just wouldn't waste mone putting a TC on an 18-200mm lens. I think I would concentrate on optimizing my shots and cropping them later. You will still get some great oportunities with a 200mm focal length zoom. Optimize your light (morning and late afternoon), try not to shoot down onto the backs of all your animals, use a bean-bag whenever possible, use low ISO to minimize noise (it's a Nikon remember and shoot raw or at least fine JPEG. Finally bear in mind that your Nikon is (I think) a 1.5X crop camera so your zoom tele is really a 300mm equivalent in 35mm terms. Have a ball and for your encore safari, get more stuff.
Cheers, Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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jenack -
In Sept 2005 I took my new Nikon D200 with the new 18-200 VR on safari. Other than a Canon S2 for backup and video, no other lenses.

First, if I remember correctly, the 18-200 can NOT be used with a teleconverter due to some physical interference, I think, check it out.

But that was ok, the 200mm length was fine for 90% of animal shots. A good off road game drive can get you very close to the critters. But if we are talking birdies then maybe only 40%. If you get a nice sharp photo at 200mm then you can crop it to look like a 300mm lens. It all depends on what you are going to do with your photos. Prints up to 11x14 will be good doing this.

How about renting the Nikon 80-400mm zoom? Not super big or heavy at 2and1/2 lbs. (But does cost $1,500 to buy new). BTW, I just got the new Nikon 70-300mm VR. Why it instead of the 80-400? Well, cost was a consideration but more so the size and weight. And I think the extra 100mm (200-300) will cover 98% of everything (birds excepted). And I will still take the 18-200VR in May (yes, yes, just 5 weeks away ). So, now I have two good safari lenses, backup if you will. I just don't like lugging around a lot of kit. Add the bag of electronic support stuff, batteries, chargers, backup drives, and two of all of that and it is enough already.

Iíd show you some photo examples of that 2005 safari using that 18-200 but Iím in the final efforts of moving those photos to the Smugmug hosting site (from the Kodakgallery). I should have it set up like I want it (it was a learning opportunity ) any day now and Iíll then put up a little posting here for any one to have a look see.

Regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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Tom, Forget what I said about Nikon and high ISO, I leave in 7 weeks and can't wait. Hope MalaMala man is not there.
Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 04:38 PM
  #10  
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Wow, great info, thanks everybody as usual. I think I stick with my 18-200 lens, and, if anything, rent a 300 or 400, but perhaps not. Tom, I don't leave until September, so if you do post those 18-200 shots, please include the post on this thread.
thanks
jenack is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 06:40 AM
  #11  
 
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Another option would be to purchase a used lens for the trip, use it, and then sell it for roughly the same cost you bought it for. This can be less expensive than renting, depending on how long you are going to be away. Here are some links to lens rental outfits:

http://www.rentglass.com/
http://www.lensrentals.com/
http://www.photolensrental.com/

I hope this helps!

-Andy
andybiggs is offline  
Jul 13th, 2016, 01:06 AM
  #12  
 
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There is a new lens and binocular rental company based in Nairobi you may want to check out. They have high end lenses and you don't have to drag rentals from home and back. Also reduces the number of days you have to rent for.

www.safarilensrental.com
gtathman is offline  

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