Teleconverters are secondary lenses mounted between a camera’s body and lens in order to enlarge the central point of a photograph. Its effectiveness in that regard is not up for debate. Rather, the question most potential users contemplate is whether its presence helps or hinders the overall quality of their photographs. As photographer Jay P. Morgan explains, this handy piece of equipment has its own set of pros and cons to carefully consider:
As photographers, it’s natural for us to always want to get closer to the things that catch our eye. Therefore, the most attractive feature of any teleconverter is its ability to instantly create a longer lens. As Morgan demonstrates with the Tamron 1.4x teleconverter, simply mounting it into place creates 40 percent more focal length. Similarly, the Tamron 2.0x doubles the focal length of any lens it’s paired with. It also comes at a fraction of the cost of a pricy telephoto lens (which can easily exceed $10,000). Better yet, the use of a teleconverter retains the minimum focus distance of its primary lens, a factor often sacrificed when opting for longer focal lengths.
The Downsides of Teleconverters
That being said, there are some serious downsides when it comes to the use of a teleconverter. Most significantly, what the teleconverter adds in focal length it loses in exposure range. When using a teleconverter, most photographers should expect to shoot one or two stops above what would normally be necessary. In addition, autofocus slows down. Images, overall, lose some amount of quality. Finally, teleconverters effectively magnify any amount of camera shake. A tripod is a must, as you likely won’t be able to get a clear shot holding your camera by hand.
So, when push comes to shove, what acts as the determining factor when figuring out whether or not a teleconverter is worth it?
It all comes down to application. The teleconverter is not right for every occasion; it will add very little to any traditional portrait or sprawling landscape. However, it can make an exponential difference for photographers seeking out a closer vantage point. Most commonly, teleconverters are utilized by wildlife photographers and sports journalists, and they’re great tools for those who wish to get up close and personal while still retaining an element of stealth. If you’re looking for something to, as Morgan phrases it, “get you out there and bring things in,” look no further than this small yet powerful extension.
“It’s gonna give you a little better reach out there, a little nicer image, and so I’ll have that always in my bag and I will use it…for me, I think they’re absolutely worth the money and something worth having your kit.”
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