Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide

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You may have thought more than once that your telephoto lens may become too short in certain situations. However, buying a longer telephoto lens is not always an option, as it involves lenses that require a very high budget. In these cases, it is best to have a teleconverter.

Thanks to a teleconverter, you can extend the focal length of your telephoto lens from 1.4 to double, which extends your telephoto lens much further. Would you like to know what the biggest pros and cons are? Then we analyze it in detail.

What is a Teleconverter?

A teleconverter, also called a multiplier, duplicator, or extender, is a lens that fits between the body of the camera and the lens, extending its focal length. We’ll get great if we need a longer focal length, but we do not want to spend that much on a longer telephoto lens.

Teleconverters usually have a multiplication of 1.4x or 2x, although Nikon and Hasselblad also produce models with a multiplication factor of 1.7x.

The teleconverter multiplies by the specified factor the focal length of the lens with which we use it. For example, if we use a 1.4x teleconverter with a 200mm lens, we get a focal length of 280mm (1.4×200). If we use a 2x teleconverter in a 600mm lens, we will not reach as much as a focal length of 1200mm.

Teleconverters are ideal for various types of photography where a very large focal length is required because we are very far away from our center of interest.

  • Photographing birds and fauna in general: Being far from animals is essential to capture them in their natural habitat and not frighten them with our presence.

Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide

  • Sports photography:  In many sports we must be far away from the players or competitors, so having a long focal length will be essential if we want to capture close enough pictures of them from the stands.

Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide

  • Photograph of the moon:  If there is a center of interest that is very far away, it is undoubtedly the moon. A long focal length will not only help us to capture all its details better, but also the greater the focal distance, the greater the moon will appear compared to the landscape.

Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide

  • Macro photography: Even if we are not far away from our center in macro photography, we have to get very close to it. A teleconverter mounted on a macro lens also multiplies the approach of this type of lens.

Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide

Pros and Cons of Using a Teleconverter

The use of teleconverters has its advantages and disadvantages. We analyze the main points of its pros and cons, so you can decide for yourself whether you want to use a teleconverter or not.

Advantages of Using a Teleconverter

  • They make it possible to double the focal length of your telephoto lens: The most obvious advantage of using a teleconverter is that we can extend the effective focal length of our lens. A 1.4x teleconverter gives you an extra 40% focal length, while a 2x teleconverter adds 100%.
  • They are much cheaper than a new lens: the biggest advantage of using a teleconverter is that you can get a telephoto lens with a longer focal length than your current telephoto lens, without having to buy a new lens, which would mean a great investment , of money.
  • Its size and weight are much smaller: a telephoto lens with a large focal length (300mm or more) is usually a bulky and heavy lens. Adding a teleconverter to a lighter lens instead becomes a long telephoto lens, but much smaller and lighter.
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: Using a teleconverter, you can minimize the focusing distance of the lens you use it with. Normally, a telephoto lens with a longer focal length has a minimum focusing distance greater than the minimum distance we achieve with a shorter lens and a teleconverter. This may be useful in certain situations when we are very close to our subject and want to use the telephoto lens to capture details.
Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide
photo by Mark Walsh (CC license)

Disadvantages of Using a Teleconverter

  • Reducing the brightness of the lens: using a teleconverter means less light, which means that the maximum aperture of the lens we use it will be reduced. If you use a 1.4x teleconverter, we lose a step, whereas we use a 2x teleconverter, we lose two steps.
  • Quality loss in the picture: If we add a lens to the lens, the quality is lost. So if you add a teleconverter to your lens, the quality will be subtracted from the final image, especially in the longer teleconverters (x2). Using a teleconverter will cause a loss of sharpness and contrast in your photos. But if this lens is also of poor quality, the result will be much worse and even your photography will spoil because of the lack of sharpness and the appearance of aberrations and reflections (especially if we have a light source up front). Therefore, the first important advice when purchasing a teleconverter is purchasing a quality converter to minimize these issues.
  • Decreasing the autofocus speed: Using a teleconverter can greatly affect the speed and accuracy of the autofocus of your camera. So much so that it’s possible that some low and medium range models can not even use autofocus. In low light conditions, or when you combine it with a lens that is not too bright (for example, with a maximum aperture of f / 5.6 or below), any camera can have serious problems focusing correctly with a teleconverter. In these cases, it is best to focus manually to help with the help systems of many cameras, or to use the live view to digitally zoom and focus the image more precisely.
  • Greater dissatisfaction with the camera in the hand: The longer the focal length of a lens is, the more it affects any kind of movement. This is a problem that affects every telephoto lens. If you use a teleconverter and increase the focal length of the lens, it is therefore more susceptible to restlessness. To avoid this, it is best to use a tripod or a monopod. However, if you choose a camera in hand, think of these tricks for stability. Also keep in mind that it is always advisable to work at shutter speeds in excess of the focal length we use (not your lens but your lens + the factor of the teleconverter multiplication).
Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide
photo by Andreas Levers (CC license)

So, is it convenient for me to use a teleconverter?

After seeing the pros and cons of teleconverters, the big question is: Is it convenient or not for me to buy a teleconverter?

Using teleconverters is the most cost effective way to extend the focal length of your photographic equipment without having to buy a longer lens. However, you must assume that this will undoubtedly affect the image quality and performance of your camera.

Our conclusion, therefore, is that using a teleconverter is a good option, as achieving such a long focal length compensates for the loss of some quality and luminosity. However, you should keep a few tips in mind so that you can really compensate for a teleconverter:

  • Always use good quality teleconverters to minimize the problems of loss of sharpness and contrast, and the appearance of aberrations.
  • Always try to use them with good quality and fairly bright objectives . Otherwise, you may notice a lack of brightness and sharpness.
  • Try not to open the diaphragm as much as possible. Place it at least one step below the maximum opening to obtain a better quality and reduce the aberrations that occur.
  • Although some allow it, try not to add more than one teleconverter to further extend the focal length of your target. This will greatly reduce the quality of the photographs.
  • Also keep in mind that using a longer focal length will have a lower depth of field , so you should take care of the focus.
Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide
photo by Wil C. Fry (CC license)

Some Highly Recommended Teleconverters

Finally, we would like to show you some teleconverters that may interest you. Keep in mind that the teleconverter is anchored to the camera body and therefore must be compatible with the bracket of your camera.

On the other hand, not all lenses are compatible with the use of a teleconverter. Therefore, check the teleconverter compatibility with your device before purchasing to ensure that you can use it without any problem.

Teleconverters: How to Use teleconverters and Purchase Guide
photo by Ken San (CC license)

Tamron Teleconverters

Sigma Teleconverters

Nikon teleconverters

Canon teleconverters

Fujifilm Teleconverters

Sony Teleconverters

Olympus Teleconverters

Yongnuo Teleconverters


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