What is a Teleconverter? A Confident Yes or A Big No

what is a teleconverter

Ever wondered what is a teleconverter? Have you ever been on location and wish you could get a tighter shot, closer up? Were you just out of range of the perfect framing you were looking for? That is when a teleconverter comes in handy.

Let’s explore what is a teleconverter and go over if a teleconverter is right for you. We’ll boil down some of the positives and negatives about using a teleconverter so you can make the worthwhile decision in the end. Let’s explore:

What is Teleconverter?

A teleconverter, which is also commonly known as an “extender” or “multiplier” is a secondary magnifying lens. A teleconverter attaches between the camera body and the lens. The purpose of the teleconverter is to increase the focal length of the lens you are using.

The magnification effect of a teleconverter varies depending on the teleconverter. The magnification may be in the range of 1.2x to 3x. The most common teleconverters are 1.4x and 2.0x.

For example, if you attach a 2.0x teleconverter on a 135mm lens, the focal length will become 270mm. Or a 1.4x teleconverter to a 70-200mm lens, the focal length will become 98-280mm. Now, if you attached the 1.4x teleconverter to an APS-C camera with a 70-200mm lens, the focal length becomes 156-448mm.

Not only does a teleconverter affect the focal length but also the aperture. So, if you were to attach a 2.0x teleconverter on an f/2.8 lens, then the effective aperture would become f/5.6. You will essentially be losing two f/stops.

What is a teleconverter – What is inside a teleconverter?

A teleconverter is made up of multiple optical elements. The total number of which can vary depending on the optical design and focal length multiplication factor of the teleconverter. The larger the multiplication factor and the longer the teleconverter, the larger the physical size and weight of the teleconverter.

Since most teleconverters are designed to be used with several different lenses, their optical design usually incorporates standard lens elements without optical corrections, which unfortunately results in increased optical aberrations, such as lateral chromatic aberration.

In some cases, manufacturers try to minimize the effect of optical aberrations by incorporating more complex lens elements. The elements might include aspherical elements into their teleconverter design.

What is a teleconverter – Should I use a teleconverter?

A camera captures picture-perfect moments. Sometimes that extra zoom is what you need to click a perfect picture.

Having the right lens in every situation would be the ideal thing for every photographer. Buying a new lens with the required features can be a rather expensive affair for those on a tight budget. One solution to this problem is getting a teleconverter.

When the situation arises, you can mount the teleconverter between the camera and the lens and extend the focal length of your lens.

Using a teleconverter has its pros and cons when discovering what is a teleconverter. And it will be your ultimate decision if a teleconverter is right for you.

Some of the positive things about a teleconverter:

Cost-Effective

They are a much cheaper option than what it would cost to buy a separate long lens. Also, it can be used on multiple lenses allowing you to change the focal length of many different lenses.

Extend the Focal length

It is a fantastic device to extend the sufficient focal length, no matter with which lens you use it. The magnification varies, but we notice the most common one to be 1.4x. Remember if you’re using an APS-C camera to then multiply the number by 1.6 to get focal, you will be seeing.

Light Weight

Longer lenses can sometimes be pretty huge to carry around. A 2X or a smaller device can save your back from some of the strain and damage that a larger lens could bring with it. You can carry fewer lenses if you have a teleconverter in your bag.

Minimal Focal Distance

This device allows you to keep minimal focus length of the lens you are using. It lets you get closer in on a subject that is not very far away, especially when you don’t have a macro lens handy.

Some shortcomings of using a teleconverter are:

Light Issues

The most important thing is that using a teleconverter will mean less light. Less light would also mean a decrease in the widest aperture. A large amount of light comes off the edges of the digital sensor during exposure. The teleconverter magnifies the original image created by the lens. This makes only parts of the light affect the sensor. If you are in low light situations, a teleconverter is probably not the way to go.

Camera Shake Risk

Teleconverters usually increase the size and weight of the lens. It is challenging to keep the camera still while photographing. You may have to slow down on shutter speed and may also want to keep a tripod handy when using a teleconverter.

Lowers Focus Speed

Depending on the lens to lens. Teleconverters tend to reduce the speed at which your camera will focus. Though it may be a lower light issue. You may not be able to use the auto-focus feature while using a teleconverter if using a lower-end DSLR camera. It depends on the camera compatibility.

Image Quality

The extenders magnify and multiply the focal length of your lens. They also magnify and multiply any problems your lens has. For example, there are a few aberrations that are common in some lenses, so they become worse. Your images will suffer in sharpness when adding another set of optics the light has to travel through. To beat this, use your best lens to keep any reduction in image quality to a minimum.

An alternative to a teleconverter

An option, should you decide to go without a teleconverter, would be to crop your picture in the post. Cropping is definitely the cheaper option – however, in my own experience, I’ve seen better results with a teleconverter. You can get away with cropping – but if you want to blow up your images a lot, the converter will be an option to consider.

What is a teleconverter – How to use a teleconverter

After learning what is a teleconverter, it’s not very hard to use a teleconverter. Simply screw your teleconverter onto the body of your camera and the lens on the other side.

Teleconverters can even be stacked. Let’s say you have a 2x teleconverter on a 400mm lens. You now have an 800mm lens. So then two teleconverters will give you a 1200mm focal length. Pretty cool, huh?

Most photographers will only want a maximum of two or three teleconverters, otherwise, you will have a hard time focusing and the contrast will diminish greatly. Make sure you figure out if your lens is compatible with teleconverters first before trying this. Just do so by checking with the manufacturer.

What is a teleconverter – Which teleconverter is right for me?

Sony teleconverters

If your camera of choice is a Sony, I would recommend the Sony 2x teleconverter lens. This lens is top-rated by Sony customers who believe the picture quality, ease of use, design, and features are excellent.

The Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter is the next best Sony teleconverter. Customers love the performance of the 1.4 teleconverter which maintains full performance and essentially no CA of IQ reduction. Sony’s superior performance is always a win and sure won’t disappoint those who use this teleconverter.

Best teleconverter for Canon

It’s important to note that Canon refers to their teleconverters as “telephoto extenders.” Their top-rated best teleconverter for Canon DSLRs is the Canon EF 2.0X III Telephoto Extender for Canon Super Telephoto Lenses.

Customers love this teleconverter for its clean and crisp images. Do note that you may also get slower autofocus because of the reduced effective aperture size. That is usually something that can happen with teleconverters.

Nikon 2x teleconverter compatible lenses

Nikon also sells its own special kind of teleconverters, compatible with their cameras that don’t have to be checked. In fact, customers who work with a Nikon camera are very happy with these teleconverters. If you’re using bright light, the picture quality comes out amazing. The teleconverter still allows the camera to do autofocus, which solidifies their excellent rating.

Nikon lovers rejoice, as the Nikon AF-S FX TC-14E III (1.4x) Teleconverter Lens with Auto Focus is another supreme choice for Nikon lovers. A good thing to know is that the Nikon F lens mount supports both FX and DX format AF-S NIKKOR lenses. It won’t be so hard to find compatible models.

Customers love this teleconverter because of the rich results they get by using it. Nikon customers also love the sharpness and color that comes from using this teleconverter. Catch images of the moon, birds, animals, and sports games with clarity.

Tamron teleconverters

Tamron sells its own 2x teleconverters which work with different camera models. These teleconverters are not as higher-rated as the other brand-name teleconverters but may be easier if you can’t see to find the most compatible teleconverters. If you have a decent camera, you should get the best shots out of this one or any other teleconverters on our list.

What is a teleconverter – Conclusion

Using extenders/teleconverters is a more affordable way to extend your focal length than to purchase a longer lens – however, the cost can be to your image quality and camera performance. If you can use longer exposure time, you will be in better shape. If you are not working with decent light, I would stay away if I were you.

I think they are well worth using if you need the extra reach but wouldn’t use them for every shot. I travel with a 1.4x extender at all times when shooting with my 70-200mm lens, just in case I need to get a little tighter of a shot. And it doesn’t take up much room in my camera bag as another lens would.

When using one, try not to use them at the maximum aperture that your camera will allow – but stop it down at least one stop, and you’ll find the results are significantly better. Also, keep in mind that longer focal lengths will leave you with less depth of field to play with – so your focusing needs to be spot on!