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Nikon Teleconverters TC-14A and TC-201

Teleconverters were once very popular. So popular that there are thousands of third party brand options on ebay, as well as Nikon's old manual focus ones which are quite cheap. A teleconverter is a set of optics that goes between the lens and the camera, increasing the focal length. They tend to do well with primes and poorly with zooms. They also take light away. A 1.4x TC takes away one stop of light, while a 2x TC takes away two stops. You probably know all this already. Although quite out of fashion, I was curious to see if Nikon's old teleconverters were worth owning with a lens like the well respected Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED. I did a lot of google research and couldn't find much. As I have recently acquired a Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED, it seemed fitting to get the related teleconverters to see how they did. With a modern high mega pixel camera are we better off just upsizing in photoshop?

Sizes compared to the Nikkor-N 24mm f/2.8.

I paid $40 for the TC-201, $48.11 for the TC-14A and $54.99 for the Nikkor-N 24mm f/2.8

These were shot on a tripod, with electronic first curtain shutter on the Sony A7. ISO 200, ten second delay before exposure. Manually focused on the sign, at maximum aperture and the focus was left there with no adjustments made for focus shift. White balance set to daylight.  Shot wide open and at f/4. This building is about a quarter of a mile away, there is no way to read the Western Holiday Lodge sign with the blind eye.

The images were upsized in Photoshop CC using the new "Preserve Details" method, which is incredibly better than the previous bicubic smoother methodology.

First a look at the field of view with the TC-201 attached.

Field of view with the TC-14A

180mm f/2.8 ED field of view.

Wide open 100% center crop of the Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED and TC-201

Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED and TC-14A, cropped then upsized to match the TC-201

Now at f/4 the 180mm f/2.8 ED and TC-201

180 ED and TC-14a at f/4

Nikon 180 ED straight up.

Worth noting is the fact that the upsized images look far better with Photoshop's new "Preserve Details" resampling. The teleconverters really do their job quite well with this classic lens. It's worth noting that they are really suited to bright light or tripod work, as the TC-201 had to be shot at 1/100 of a second and 1/50 while the plain 180 2.8 was at 1/400 and 1/200, a fine speed for hand holding. What's perhaps the most surprising is the lack of purple fringing when the TC-14a is attached. Regardless, at ~50 each they are a sound investment if you happen to own a Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED.

Lenticular cloud over Alta Peak. With an effective focal length of 504mm, atmospheric conditions can be the largest issue with infinity shots. 

Sony A6000, Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED, Nikon TC-201.

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