The Current Issue
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Is It Worth Converting?
Simon Stafford tests the merits of using teleconverters with Nikon’s new AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED, and assesses its VR performance on a tripod.
Since my review of the AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens was posted on the Nikon Owner magazine website, many subscribers have contacted me to enquire about the performance of the lens when used in conjunction with a teleconverter. Particular interest has been expressed in how Nikon’s first VR lens, the AF VR 80-400mm f/3.5-5.6D, used at 400mm, compares with the new lens plus a Nikon TC-20E (x2) teleconverter.
The AF VR 80-400mm f/3.5-5.6D was Nikon's first VR lens for an SLR camera.
Apparently, due to some misinformed comments circulating in a number of web site forums a few people remain unsure about whether they can use a teleconverter with the VR 70-200 lens. Let me reiterate that the AF and VR functions of the lens work fully, and simultaneously, with both the AF-I and AF-S variants of the TC-14E and TC-20E.
I’ll be candid and say that whilst teleconverters find regular employment behind my 300mm and 500mm lenses, I would not generally use one behind an optically complex zoom, such as the VR 70-200, for reasons that I will explain later. For me to do so would be one of those ‘any picture is better than no picture’ situations. So I was confident that I knew the answer to the comparative performance question before I began my testing, however, given the outstanding optics of the new lens I was intrigued to find out how it would cope.
The new AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED is Nikon's first lens to combine AF-S and VR technology.
Before discussing my test results I think it would be worthwhile to consider some of the issues you will encounter when using a teleconverter.