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best 2x converter?

  1. Markster
    I've got a 2x convertor I use for my 200mm zoom sometimes, but I am always curious about others' preferences. What is the best 2x converter with regards to image quality? Looking for brand and model number if you have them.

    Just need more fodder for my camera-related web browsing, and it's something that's been bugging me in the back of my mind.
  2. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning;

    Usually it is pretty obvious what a "good" teleconverter will be. The main thing to look for is the way that it is constructed. The best designs seem to be of a seven (7) glass element construction. This also means that the glass parts will be a noticeably bigger diameter inside the teleconverter than the cheaper and less effective simpler designs.

    Just do not ask too much of a teleconverter. The results you get from a 1.4 X model will usually be better than the results from a 2 X teleconverter by the same manufacturer. The 3 X models may be pushing it.

    Please note that no teleconverter is designed to be used on a wide angle lens. Normal focal length lenses of about 50mm and longer only.

    There are a few that I can recall. The Vivitar 2X Macro Focusing Teleconverter was available in a 7 element version. The Canon people had some good ones. The Minolta 200-L, 300-S, and 300-L 2x teleconverters where the "S" and the "L" refer to short and long focal length lenses with the dividing line being at about 200mm. The Minolta APO models are lens specific, but they are very good. There are a couple of the Nikon ones that are also very good, especially in their 1.4 x models. The Kino Precision Kiron MC-7 2X Teleconverter. The Quantaray 7 Element 2x Teleconverter. Is this enough to get you started?

    In most cases, yes, you will lose some resolution, but you do gain from the optical image magnification. The main comparison to be made is the trade-off between what you gain from the magnification against what you lose in the resolution and contrast. Even with some of the simpler but well made cheaper ones, you do gain something. With most of the 7 element designs, you will gain overall. The main thing is the history of the individual teleconverter that you have and how it has been treated in the past.

    All bets are off it it has been dropped, just as with any used lens you might consider. Then it becomes a question of finding a way to test that particular sample to see if it is something that you can use.


    Latte Land, Washington
  3. Markster
    Excellent list for me to pore over. Thanks!

    The one I've got right now is the Vivitar Automatic Teleconverter 2X-4 (FD-FL). I'm not sure how many elements it has in it. Bought it used on ebay, but came with the case and looks in good condition, no problems on the glass, I've never really worried it was in poor shape. It's more a doubt of whether I just got one of the lesser quality ones or not.

    Now, I'm off to google!

    Edit: Mine looks like this:

  4. CanonShot
    > What is the best 2x converter with regards to image quality? Looking for brand and model number if you have them.

    Canon made two different 2X teleconverters for the FD lenses. The 2X-A was optimized for lenses 300 mm and over.
    The 2X-B was optimized for lenses up to 300 mm. I also use a Vivitar 3X coupled with a 75-300 mm zoom with good results.
    I try to use a tripod and a fast shutter speed for best results with any teleconverter.

    Canon also suggests first attaching the teleconverter to the camera and then the lens to the teleconverter to avoid coupling problems.
  5. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, Markster;

    The Vivitar 2X Automatic Tele Converter is their basic model. The 2X-4 model designation says that it is a 2X formula design with a Canon FD/FL mount. I believe that it has three glass elements in it. The "Automatic" part means that it does transfer the mechanical lens aperture stop-down movement through the tele converter.

    As mentioned, it is a basic 2X teleconverter type. You may hear some people say that you should not use a teleconverter with any lens. Well, if you do not have a lens long enough, it really will get you closer, even though it may not be as good as a telephoto lens of the equivalent focal length. However, it is not as expensive as an equivalent telephoto lens either. Actually try it and see how you like the photographs you get. You may be quite surprised.


    Latte Land, Washington
  6. Markster
    I use the one I've got mostly with my 70-200mm zoom, often on the 200mm side. Basically I'm using it as a cost effective way of getting a large telephoto lense. It gives me 400mm zoom without having to pay ungodly amounts and without having to carry a massive foot long telephoto lens in my kit. Since my kit is usually over-crowded as-is, I find the teleconverter (which is smaller than my smallest 28mm!) to be handy in all areas.

    I was doing some googling the other day and it seems these 7-element converters are somewhat hard to find these days. Also, it seems like a LOT of teleconverters have manual focus. I assume that's to allow macro focusing, but IMO having 2 focus rings will just slow me down. I'd rather have the non-focusing type where I can't accidentally screw up my shot.
  7. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, Markster;

    You bring up an excellent point about the enhanced portability of the combination of a fairly common and reasonable size lens and the teleconverter. Yes, I do have mirror lenses that are fairly portable. Then there are such things as the Asahi-Pentax 500mm f:4.5 telephoto lens in M42 mount that weighs 7.5 pounds (3.5 Kg) just by itself and is about two feet (60 cm) long. I do not regard that lens as a truly "portable" or "man-carryable" lens. Then there is the point about the tripod and head that it should go onto. Operation out of the car is much more practical. Still, I do have adapters to put it onto various Canon camera bodies.

    The question of the "macro focusing" teleconverters and inadvertently changing focus. I have not found that to be a problem. There have been a couple of times when having that slight additional extension came in handy for additional cropping and magnification to fill the frame with the size of the flower I was trying to photograph. The Vivitar 2X Macro Focusing Tele Converter has been the one I have used that way, and it does have the advantage of the better 7 element optical formula.


    Latte Land, Washington
  8. Markster

    Thanks for the comments regarding the macro focus and its interference. I think that helps a lot. I'm going to add the 7-element 2x converter to my "wishlist" now.
  9. waynecrider
    I think the best 2x converter at this time is probably, and for the price, a Panny G1. I add the 2b for 800mm astro shots.
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