Have you ever been out and about with your DSLR and wished that the lens that you had fitted could zoom in just a little more? That extra reach can be handy in many situations – but for most of us a new lens is out of our budget – so what’s a photographer to do?
One solution to the problem is to consider getting yourself a teleconverter for your lens. Teleconverters (sometimes called extenders or multipliers) are generally much cheaper than a new lens and can multiply the focal length of your lens by anything from 1.4 times to 2 times.
In this tutorial I’ll explore some of the pros and cons of teleconverters.
Last year I took a trip to the Australian Open Tennis and in preparation for it I treated myself to a Canon 1.4x (L) Teleconverter EF (also called extenders) to use with my 70-200mm f/4 lens.
I’d previously used this lens at similar events and while it produced some wonderful results it left me thirsting for more focal length to get even more closely framed shots of players.
Canon make two teleconverters for DSLRs – the 1.4x and 2x versions (and other manufacturers make similar models – for example Nikon’s 2x, 1.7x and 1.4x). Keep in mind that extenders don’t work with all lenses. You should check with your manufacturer before purchasing to see if you own compatible lenses. I’ll profile a few more teleconverters below.
The Pros of Tele-converters/Extenders
Focal Length – The obvious benefit of using a teleconverter on your camera is that it extends the effective focal length of whatever lens you use it with. A 1.4x converter will give you an extra 40% (extending my 200mm maximum to 280mm) and a 2x converter will give you a 100% boost (effectively giving me a 140-400mm zoom.
The benefits of this extra reach are obvious – it could turn the framing of a tennis player shot from court side from a full body shot to a tightly framed upper body shot which reveals rippling muscles, dripping sweat and the grimace of their face as they strike the ball….
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