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Thread: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

  1. #1
    tbob's Avatar
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    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    I never thought I would be convicted of the crime of pixel peeping. However; I am becoming obsessed by the loss of sharpness and detail at the 300mm end of my current telephoto zoom; a Nikon 75-300 F4.5-5.6. The lens is great out to just under 200mm but then the rot sets in. It might be a combo of atmospheric distortion/camera movement and the lens. I suspect atmospheric distortion should not be a huge problem at 300mm in the quite dry environment I live in. And the loss of sharpness is a problem even if I shoot mirror up with a cable release.

    So, given that I like shooting landscapes (yeah landscapes, I live in the prairies, have you seen a wide angle shot of open grasslands or grain fields? Boring is too nice a term) and nature at the far end of my zoom; has anyone had experience with the above lens plus teleconverter? I could go with a series of primes, but I already carry way too many lenses (my obsession with not limiting any photographic options when I some distance from home or the truck is a problem for another day) and we have already established that pixel peeping is fast becoming an obsessive behaviour so they would have to be fast primes so $$$$$$$. Plus I like the ability to have the compose in the camera options that zooms give me. So a zoom it will be.

    I don't mind the reduction of f stop, I shoot pretty static stuff so going to f5.6 when using the teleconverter is of low import. Sharpness is the main problem. Short of professional help to overcome the pixel peeping, will this cure my problem?

  2. #2

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Trevor I found something the same last year when reaching out the full 300mm on something in the far distance it was not a sharp as I would have liked it, it is was closer and at 300 no problem. As I also shoot landscapes,I went with 80-400, just got it from a guy in Alberta. shipped for just over $1050.00 as they go for $1630.00 new from the dealers. I use mine on a D7000 so I have a zoom out to 600mm. Still playing around with it to get a better feel. As for what you are thinking of will go in the range of $3000.00 and with that converter I believe you lose 2 stop so you are at f5.6 at best.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Thanks Allan; I am considering the 80-400 as the alternative to the expense of the lens/converter. It will be on D700 so no magnification bonus. Let me know how you find it at 400mm.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    If you are considering the Nikkor 80-400mm, the Sigma 150-500 might also be on your list. We own both and the two lenses give you similar quality. The upside on the Sigma is the extra 100m of focal length, internal focus motor and a lower price. The downside is that the build quality of the Nikon is slightly better and that the zoom ring turns in the opposite direction of the Nikon. The Nikon focus is slow with the screw drive focus.

    Both lenses work on FX and DX cameras.

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Thanks Manfred: I will check it out. My problem is that I am 600 km from the nearest large camera store and quite busy in my work life so I cannot just pop into a store and check out the three lenses. I am considering renting before buying since we are talking significant capital outlay here. The more grist for the mill before renting or buying the better.

    The problem with the current lens is that aspen trees and grain fields are rendered as soft grainy mush rather than being nicely blurred as they would be if out of focus. Most unattractive to my eye.

    How is the sharpness of the Sigma? And how do find the Nikon for sharpness?

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Trevor, in your first post you indicated you don't know what the problem is with the lens. Your thoughts were atmospheric, camera movement or the lens. I would suggest you set up some shots to find out for sure. No sense laying out more cash if a change in technique is called for.

    Atmospheric can be removed from the evaluation by focusing on something closer. Specs say that lens can focus down to 5 feet so you should easily be able to eliminate the the applicable distortions by working with something in the 100 to 300 yard range. Do it first thing in the morning when it's cool so you don't get the effects from ground heat.

    A tripod in conjunction the mirror up and either a remote or time delay setting will get rid of the camera movement. A good idea all the time unless you are rock steady shooting hand-held.

    The only thing left is the lens. If you want a true idea of what that is like you will need to do your basic sharpening routine required for most DSLR's and a touch of contrast if called for. On-screen results won't suffice. You then need to get a print made from a quality shop. I'd suggest an 8x10 and tell them to make no corrections with their equipment.

    This removes your concerns and most of the operator controllable items. Using tried and true techniques may give you a pleasant surprise in the results. It may still not be up to the standards you are aiming for but at least you'll have a more informed idea of where you stand.

    Also take a look at what's available as other have indicated. Your comments regarding a preference for landscapes and the title of your thread is a bit out of sync. That's not to say 2.8 and 200 - 400 mm (plus 1.6?) won't do landscapes, it just wouldn't be the usual first choice for that genre.

    Good luck in your hunt and let us know how you make out.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Both the Nikon and Sigma are mid-range lenses, so performance is going to be considerably better than your 70-300. I do have the f/2.8 70-200mm Nikkor, and neither the Nikkor 80-400mm or Sigma 150-500mm can touch it; but then it is the pro line.

    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    This is a hand-held shot with the 80-400mm ($1530 Cdn) and the image is fairly sharp. The Sigma 150-500mm ($1100 Cdn) is in the same league; but it is my wife's lens, so I don't use it a lot. If I pixel peep, I would say it is slightly softer than the Nikon racked all the way out, but then I'm comparing a 400mm shot to a 500mm shot.

    As I said in my previous posting, neither lens is perfect, but both can do a reasonably good job.

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    A micro angular tremor by your camera corresponding to just 1 second of arc - 0.0003 degrees - will have the same effect as a movement of about half a millimetre by your subject at a distance of 100 metres, which rises to 5 cm when the subject is 10 km away. Factor in unavoidable atmospheric scattering, which also becomes greater as distance increases, and you'll see the near impossibility of obtaining ultra sharp images at long distances with even the best of lenses on a rock solid tripod.
    Last edited by Brocken; 20th August 2012 at 08:11 AM. Reason: typo

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Trevor: I am posting 2 images I hope, both taken this morning with the 80-200mm f5.6 a 1/160. I took a shot of a tree in the distance I would guess about 350 to 400 yds. First one was at 80mm the second was 400mm. Both were taken on a tripod, took one at 400mm handheld, lots of shake, Oh also there was a light breeze.

    Cheers:

    Allan

    80MM
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter


    400mm
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Thanks Allan,Andrew and Manfred: The reason why pixel peeping is such a heinous crime is because despite the fact that the images are really quite adequate at normal size, even up to 8X10 as Andrew suggested I enlarge them to to assess the sharpness, I find myself obsessing over the sharpness and detail at an effective size of 80 inches by 140 inches; which is ludicrous. It becomes a self delusional problem much like when I was sixteen and a pimple on my forehead was the size of Mt Everest to me and nonexistent to the rest of humanity.

    That having been said; here are some images at different magnification and a crop at 10X magnification of each. Perhaps you would be kind enough to see if you think the problem is sharpness in the lens: and /or atmosphere or camera movement. I have included a telephone pole as reference for straight lines.

    75 mm
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    75mm at 10X
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    190mm
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    190mm at 10X
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    300mm
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    300mm at 10X
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

  11. #11
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Thanks Allan and Manfred for the images.

    In the tree and meadow image: even accounting for the wind the 80-400 would only exacerbate my obsession at 400mm; so probably out of contention.

    The bear is quite sharp, I am assuming this was shot at some magnification; or you braver than me!

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Trevor: I think you really need to move from Dawson Creek (very nice place), you are obsessing about something that in your mind is inportant but in the real work is not. If you were to take an image with a 25+mpg camera and have the image printed at about your 80" x 140" you print DPI would be around 44 to 50 dpi. An image that size is suppose to be viewed from about 20 to 25ft+ distance and when viewed from that distance will look just fine, if you are that worried you will probably need the D800E as I understand it is better with slight haze. The only other thing that I suggest is back away from the monitor, back a long ways away from the monitor. I hope the best with at finding a len or any len that will give you tack sharpness at that size.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Without a calculator to work it out correctly I make the square root of the hypotenuse of the 80x140 inch picture about 14ft. rather than the 20<25plus.
    Is this resolution you seek as out of the camera or after applying moderate sharpening? If the first, to me, sadly you are suffering from a serious sickness, and moving is unlikely to be a cure

  14. #14
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    You realize that you are removing my excuse for buying a new lens! Now I will have to upgrade with no justifications beyond sheer avarice and lens lust.

    I am entering into a twelve step program for pixel peepers next week.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Quote Originally Posted by tbob View Post
    The bear is quite sharp, I am assuming this was shot at some magnification; or you braver than me!
    The bear was on dry land, while I was in the water in an inflatable boat and was supporting the camera on the gunwhale (if that is what they call it on a Zodiak); neither too brave nor too foolish (for a change). The image is full size (no cropping), hand-held and taken with my D90 at 400mm zoom.

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Oh that extra reach I get with the 80-400mm over the 70-300mm is really good, I like your self like to shoot landscapes, but instead of open areas I have to put up with lots and lots of coloured trees in the fall.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    The bear was on dry land, while I was in the water in an inflatable boat and was supporting the camera on the gunwhale (if that is what they call it on a Zodiak).
    Just out of curiousity; Khutzamateen? Never been but maybe sometime. Definitely on the list. We have a lot of Grizzlies locally but best never approached close enough to get a nearly full frame image. Dot on the horizon is usually the optimal distance.

  18. #18
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    instead of open areas I have to put up with lots and lots of coloured trees in the fall.
    Must be truly harsh; All those trees cluttering up the landscape and blocking the horizon line. I guess we all have our crosses to bear.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 18th September 2012 at 09:55 PM. Reason: Fix quote tag

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Quote Originally Posted by tbob View Post
    Just out of curiousity; Khutzamateen? Never been but maybe sometime. Definitely on the list. We have a lot of Grizzlies locally but best never approached close enough to get a nearly full frame image. Dot on the horizon is usually the optimal distance.
    You are bang on with your geography; that shot was from the Khutzeymateen. Taking pictures from an inflatable in the rain has its own set of challanges...

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    Re: Nikon 70-200 f2.8 plus Nikon TC20III E teleconverter

    Tbob, the 300mm shot looks a bit soft to me, too. I wonder whether you are seeing some diffraction at f/14. Does the lens give better results at f/8 or f/11?

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