Comparison of Nikon 300mm and 600mm with Teleconverter TC-14

I’ve always been skeptical when it came to teleconverters. The few times I used one I wasn’t really happy with the results, until now.

Buzzard in flight

Buzzard (Buteo buteo) flying away from a carcass (Nikon D800, 600mm/f4, 1/1600s at f5, ISO 2000). Downsampled from 4254×2836 pixels.

Together with some colleagues, I spent four days in northern Germany in the Feldberger Seenlandschaft to photograph White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). Half of the day we were on a boat for fishing action, the other half waiting in a hide near a carcass. The weather was gray and foggy, so high ISO settings around 1600 – 5000 were required to obtain exposure times above 1250. Unfortunately, the eagles didn’t play along and we didn’t see any at the hide and only once had fishing action (which I missed…).

But at least I got some nice shots of Hooded Crows (Corvus corone cornix), Magpies (Pica pica) and Buzzards (Buteo buteo).

All photos below are shot from a hide at the same location and same distance, but on different days.

Teleconverter TC-14 II + 300mm/2.8

The photo below is taken with the Nikon D800, the Nikkor 300mm/f2.8 VR II combined with the teleconverter TC-14 II ending in an focal length of 420mm.

Buzzard with prey

This photo of a buzzard (Buteo buteo) eating a raccoon (Procyon locor) is taken with the 300mm/2.8 VR II + teleconverter TC-14 II. The picture is downsampled from the full size photo of 7360 x 4912 pixels. Nikon D800, 420mm/f4, 1/800s at f4.5, ISO 1600.

Buzzard with prey

Same photo as above, but downsampled from a crop of 4040 x 2699 pixels.  Isn’t it nice to be able to crop, when you’re not close enough?! Nikon D800, 420mm/f4, 1/800s at f4.5, ISO 1600.

Comparison of 300mm + TC14 vs 600mm

To the right is the same photo as above, but at 100% (pixel level). To the right a similar shot taken two days later with the 600mm/f4 at the same location, but downsampled to about the same size. The photo from the 600mm (see below) is quite a bit sharper than the 300mm x 1.4 combo, but nevertheless the teleconverter delivers a very good performance.

60Buzzard on dead raccoon

Buzzard (Buteo buteo) pulling out organs from a raccoon.  Nikon D800, 600mm/f4, 1/1250s at f4.5, ISO 2000.

Teleconverter TC-14 II + 600mm/4

The photo below is taken with the Nikon D800, the Nikkor 600mm/f4 VR combined with the teleconverter TC-14 II ending in an focal length of 850mm.

Buzzard

Buzzard (Buteo buteo) pulling out organs from a raccoon taken with the 600mm/f4 + TC-14 II. This photo is downsampled from the original full resolution of 7360 x 4912 pixels. Nikon D800, 850mm/f5.6, 1/1250s at f5.6, ISO 3200.

Buzzard feeding

Same photo as above but downsampled from 4591 x 3064 pixels. Nikon D800, 850mm/f5.6, 1/1250s at f5.6, ISO 3200.

Comparison of 600mm + TC14 vs 600mm

Comparison of the combo 600mm + TC14 versus 600mm alone. The 850mm is less sharp than the 600mm even with the advantage of downsampling. But the 600mm + teleconverter still provides great pictures especially taking into account that this is with ISO 3200 and ISO 2000.

Teleconverter TC-14 + 300mm hand-held from a boat

Both photos below are taken from a boat without using a tripod.

Lake in fog

Landscape. Nikon D800, 420mm/f4, 1/2000s at f4.5

foggy-landscape-100

This is a 100% crop of above photo.

Birch trees

I love using telephoto lenses for forests. The photos lose all depth and look painted, especially in foggy weather, which adds low-contrast. Nikon D800, 420mm/f4, 1/2000s at f5.6, ISO 1600.

Birch trees

This is a 100% crop of the above photo.

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