Tag Archives: DSLR

Lenses and Teleconverters – A Comparison with my Canon Lenses

Want your telephoto lens to be a little MORE “telephoto”?  Here is an option to consider.  You could buy a teleconverter. This device inserts between your camera and the lens, and extends the effective focal length of the lens. Most often, you will find these as 1.4X and 2X teleconverters.

As with all things, with the benefit comes some tradeoffs.  You have to be really careful in your selection of a teleconverter and read lots of reviews before purchasing, otherwise you could be really disappointed.

One tradeoff is you lose one stop of light with a 1.4X teleconverter and you lose two stops of light with a 2X teleconverter. Also, depending on the teleconverter, you’ll have varying degrees of degradation in image quality. With some teleconverters attached to some lenses, you might even lose other features like auto focus! So, before you buy, do your homework.

I thought I’d share some observations with a teleconverter I own.  I use Canon cameras and they call their teleconverters “extenders”.  (They just had to be different from everyone else, don’t ask me why.) I own the Canon EF 2.0X III Telephoto Extender for Canon Super Telephoto Lenses.

I happen to own these two Canon telephoto lenses:

I absolutely love both of these lenses. The 70-200 is literally one of my all-time favorite lenses I have ever used over my 40+ years in photography. And the 100-400 is an excellent lens for use in my wildlife photography, for example on our Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops we host in the Summer and Fall.

We shoot with both of these lenses, and sometimes use the Canon 2.0X Telephoto Extender on the 70-200 lens, to extend its focal length to 140-400mm. This really works pretty well.

I would most definitely not recommend you use the 2.0X Extender on the 100-400mm lens though.  That is not a good combination, primarily because the auto focus system will not work, plus the images turn out a bit too soft.  But the 70-200 is quite nice with the 2.0X Extender. If you shoot with the 70-200, you can keep the 2.0X Extender in your camera bag to boost the focal length when you need it without lugging all that extra weight of the 100-400.

Also, if you already own the 70-200, buying the Extender would be the cheaper alternative, rather than purchasing the 100-400.

When you use the 2.0X Extender on the 70-200, you’ll note that it shifts from being an f/2.8 maximum aperture to being f/5.6 (which is two stops down from f/2.8). That’s really not bad at all.  It is comparable to the 100-400 which is also at f/5.6 when you zoom to 400mm.

Let’s look at the two setups side-by-side. The one on top is the 70-200 with the 2.0X Extender. The one on the bottom is my 100-400.

Canon 70-200 with Extender vs 100-400


The overall length is about the same when zoomed to 400mm, although when zoomed down to their lower focal lengths, the 100-400mm is more compact.

Here are some comparison shots, done with these two combinations.

Here is a shot done with the  Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens set to 400mm:

Canon 100-400

And here is the same shot done with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens with the Canon EF 2.0X III Telephoto Extender extending the focal length to an effectively equivalent 400mm:

Canon 70-200 with 2X Extender

I noticed the 100-400 rendered ever so slightly warmer toned images compared to the 70-200 with the 2.0X Extender. I also noticed that the 70-200 at 200mm and adding the 2.0X Extender actually enlarged the image a little more than the 100-400 at 400mm. They were not exactly equal at effectively at 400m.  I was really a little surprised at that.

When I cropped in closer on the two images, I found the 100-400 at 400mm yielded the sharpest results, but still the 70-200 at 200mm with the 2.0X was not bad at all. I consider the two scenarios to not be exact equals, but quite acceptable (enough that I own the 2.0X Extender and I intend to keep it.

Here is the enlarged cropped-in version of  the  Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens set to 400mm:

Canon 100-400

And here is the enlarged cropped-in version of the same shot done with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens with the Canon EF 2.0X III Telephoto Extender extending the focal length to an effectively equivalent 400mm:

Canon 70-200 w 2.0X Extender

So, the bottom line is: I am pleased with my Canon EF 2.0X III Telephoto Extender at least when using it with my favorite lens, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens! If I want the sharpest shots at 400mm with my Canon lenses, I’d have to go with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens.

Oh, by the way, make sure if you buy any of these items, note the “II” designations on the lenses and the “III” designations on the Extender. Those indicate different versions of these items.  The “II” versions of my 70-200 and 100-400 are truly wonderful, outstanding lenses with excellent image stabilization. I am totally happy with both of these remarkable lenses.

Happy Picture-Taking!
Kevin Gourley




Make the Choice to Improve Your Photography

DSLR, photography classMost people start out using a camera using its most automatic settings. Many stay in that mode of taking photos, not really knowing what they are doing, but sometimes getting good results, and sometimes not. If you’re not satisfied with that, I encourage you to learn more about how to best use your camera.

The starting point for you to get better images is to attain more control over your camera. That can be intimidating to dive into all those settings and options, especially on any of the modern day digital cameras.

While camera manufacturers have tried to add more and more fancy features and more ‘automatic’ options, they have added lots of complexity. In fact, I think they have maybe pushed this a little too far. But then, the real key is to learn which of those settings are really important and which are not.

Photography 101, Austin, Photography Class, WorkshopIn my Photography 101 Workshops, we focus on covering the important fundamentals of photography that every photographer should know. Learn what options really matter and which settings you SHOULD be adjusting to get the best shots. You really can create better images if you do not have your camera in its fully automatic mode. It is just a machine. It is not the artist. You are!

Photography 101, Austin, Texas, photography class, workshopWe spend time looking at technical details, but also explore various other factors such as light and composition and the importance of YOU and how you see the world around you.

Photography is a very powerful and meaningful art medium. We capture images that have great value to us. Our photographs tell our life story. We remember those special moments with loved ones. We embrace moments we will never get to experience again. I encourage you to make those images you capture the best you possibly can.  Some of the images you create will be of priceless value to you and your family later on.

So, if you have not already taken my Photography 101 Workshop, I encourage you to consider it. And if you have taken my Photography 101 Workshop, I encourage you to consider taking my Photography – Mastering the Fundamentals Class or one of my other classes to expand your photographic skills even further!

Student Comment:  “I thoroughly enjoyed the Photography 101 class. I learned so much about my camera that I’m much more comfortable pushing myself and my photos. The classroom setting is comfortable and Kevin is a really great teacher – combining technical information and answering questions readily. Kevin’s way of teaching is friendly and you feel that he listens to you and understands what your needs are. I can’t wait to take another class! I will be telling all my photo friends about Kevin and definitely encourage them to take some classes!”

I also offer Private Teaching on virtually all aspects of photography, meeting your time schedule and specific photographic needs.

Want to have some fun on a real photographic adventure? Join us on our Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop!  Get prepared for the trip first by taking my Photography 101 class!

Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop, RMNP, Colorado, Workshop, Photography