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70-200 VR with TC Question

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by FoyGroup, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. I am about to purchase one of the Holy Trinity as Woody calls them. I am going for the 70-200 VR :biggrin: . I will use it mainly for outdoor daylight high school sports with my kids, but plan to find many other uses for it.

    Here is my question. I am also looking at purchasing a TC at the same time. As there are three TCs on the market TC14E II, TC17E II, and TC 20E II all of which work with the lens and allow for full funtion of the lens, is there any reason I should chose one over the other.

    My thinking was I should go for the TC20E for maximum reach, but from reading various postings, I don't see too many members talk about the TC20E, most sould like they are using the TC17E. Is there an inherent problem with the TC20E such as poor IQ or other reason I would not be satisfied with the TC20E.

    I realize I am giving up additional stops and would require more light when using a TC, and the greater the magnification the more stops I would give up. But given that understanding, and understanding that greater stops give a slower lens meaning possible blur in fast moving sports. All things being understood, is there known issues which lead many away from the TC20E in favor of the TC17E for IQ issues or something. :confused: 

    Your thoughts from those who have one of these combos would be appreciated.

  2. dagored


    May 4, 2005

    GVK answered this yesterday in another thread here:

    I prefer the TC-14E II with the 70-200 mm VR. Both the TC-14E and TC-17E can produce excellent results with this lens. However, with the TC-17E you pay an extra half stop of aperture for about 20% more magnification. In practice, I find that I can use the TC-14E stopped down only one stop to f/5.6 with almost no noticible degradation. However, I feel that with the TC-17E best results are obtained at f/8 or so. I find that extra stop of usable aperture results in many more opportunities to use the TC-14E, at least for sports action that I most often use the 70-200 mm VR for.

    Others prefer the additional reach and recommend the TC-17E, so YMMV.

  3. Gerry,

    Yes, that was me, but you were the only response I got, as I just added my question to someone else's post. I figured I would try to starting my own post to see if I could get more thoughts.

    I appreciate your information, and took that into consideration when I wrote my question.

  4. dagored


    May 4, 2005

    I gave you Gerry's answer. If you can wait one week. I am going to order the TC 1.4 for my 70-200vr.

    From what I have researched, I will lose one stop. Fine. Up from 2.8 not bad, but I do believe that a TC 1.7 is 1.5 stops. That might not be bad in good light. Remember, you are using a telephoto - 200mm tops. 300 on a D200. I forget the rule about shutter speed, but since I have had the lens for one week, I have learned a great deal. Nothing is perfect.

    I have been getting great picts at 1/300 and up and at f5 and up. At first I thought something was wrong with the lens. No, operator error. I started using a monopod and guess what, better pictures. The kind I expected.
  5. I bought the 1.7 because I had read over and over that it was the best compromise between added length and loss of IQ. At the time the 70-200 was the longest lens that I had so if I was going to kick out about $400 for a TC I didn’t just want to turn 200mm into 280mm. I am pretty happy with it, but it does need to be stopped down a bit. I used it for wildlife a bit, and it does make for a nice compact combo that you can keep with you. Right now I am shooting some softball with the 300 2.8 and the 70-200 + 1.4 TC, and the 1.4 with the 70-200 results in a very good zoom range for softball/baseball batting and infield action. When the sun starts to go down you have to pull it off and even f/2.8 isn’t quite enough.
  6. I have had great luck with the TC17E. I also will stop it down to 5.6 but the pictures are very sharp...as long as you have enough light. I also want to pick up a TC14E as it will be even sharper but less reach. I would also pass on the TC20...just not worth the loss...IMHO
  7. gvk


    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    I should also just comment that I have no direct experience with the TC-20E, so I did not offer any opinion regarding that one.
  8. Carman,

    Yes, I can wait. I look forward to your results.

    I was surprised by your last post. I thought that the VR would eliminate the need for the monopod. You have an option to turn it on or off correct? Did your operator error also result from not having the VR turned on?

    I have a 70-300 with no VR and have been pretty pleased with the results. I was hoping with the VR, I could go even lower on light, or further on TF without worry from hand shaking without the need for the monopod.
  9. Bill,

    The VR will make no difference with high school sports, since it basically only compensates for hand shake. (It does compensate for panning motion, but there aren't to many high speed high school sports), which is to say, yes, a monopod is a very useful tool for field level sports.

    Sports shooting is rarely the justification for VR, the'other' in your original post may benefit more. For VR to shine, IMHO, the subject of the photo needs to be stationary. That being said...

    With a TC, the VR is unlikely to provide any compensatory benefit to the lens. I'm going with the 1.7TC with my lens since it appears that it gives the best compromise between reach and quality, at least in the short term. (Ultimately, for baseball and soccer I see 300 and 400/2.8's in my future, but $$$ hold me back for the time being).

    I shot a lot of evening baseball with a 75-300 on a monopod, mostly less than 200mm. The frustrating part was having to put the camera away around 7:45 pm because I couldn't get below f/5.6. With the 70-200 and monopod (no VR), I was able to shoot a while longer.
  10. Mason,
    I had the same thought, going from 200mm to 280mm didn't seem like it was worth the $$$. As it stands on today's prices at B&H the TC's go for $409, $419, & $429 respectively. Not a big difference in price between the three, but a big difference in stops as you go up the line.

    Brian & Gerry, I feel I could live with the TC17E and be happy at 340mm for the max, but still have the ability to hit under 120mm at the wide end. Later, it may be worth it to get the TC14E, but to start out, everyone seems to be shying away from the TC20E. I guess, if I really wanted to go out further, I could always jump to a larger prime, and still use the same TC again if that was not enough.

    Thanks for the input.

    Still no word from TC20E owners. Maybe it's just one of those mythical creatures like big foot.
  11. Mark, I am typically shooting Lacross & Soccer (indoor & outdoor). I have been doing a bit with panning shots and felt the VR would be helpful, if I was going to go with a TC for more reach.

    I love using a zoom as opposed to the primes when I shoot, on fast moving games it makes it easier to follow the ball and switch between wide shots or full frame shots of one player. I know I could always crop in PP, but have been trying to get as close as possible in camera.

    My "other" outdoor stuff usually centers around architecture. Not much movement there, but I am not always in areas which allow me the use of a tripod. I find myself at the top of many abandoned factories or highrise buildings taking long shots of places across town. It's like urban mountain climbing, some of the shots can be amazing as long as your not scared of heights.

    My daughter and I have also been getting into more of your typical nature trails and walking which may turn into a real father-daughter thing as she gets more into it. She loves the sunsets, and waterfalls.

    Thanks for your insight
  12. dagored


    May 4, 2005
    No, it was shutter speed and f stop. I was looking for sharppicts and in Ohio the last couple of days, weeks, the sun has been at a premium. I did turn off the VR when on the monopod. I was also shooting a moving object:


    This is cropped - 1/400 @ f6.3 120mm. It is a cloudy day. No PP. I guess I am really picky.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2007
  13. Carman,

    Here is a picture of my son last week at 6:00pm. He is the one in black about to layout the opposing team. This was shot with my 70-300 @ 300mm 1/750 F5.6 hand held no monopod using my D2X. No PP, just resize to fit your screen. I am hoping to get sharper images and lower light.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    He only has a few more games, but soccer starts soon which puts my daughters teams on the menu.
  14. dagored


    May 4, 2005
    I am not being critical, but that is not sharp to me. I was getting better than that with the 70-200 hand held. You will like the 70-200. The colors are great. Like I said, I must be really picky.
  15. CArman,

    That is what I am talking about. I don't feel it is sharp either. That's why I am interested in the 70-20oVR for the sharper images. I can get a good image subject, I am just not happy with the sharpness.
  16. InitialD


    Mar 12, 2007
    I have and I use it on my AF-S 300mm f/4 for some desperate birding fix. Acceptable quality if you get rid of camera shake.

    I've tested it on my AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8 but I did not like what I saw. Besides for longer focal lengths, I'll reach for my 300mm f/4 instead.
  17. Thanks Jason, that seems to be the concensus.
  18. Bill, I've shot a fair amount of soccer with the 70-200 and the TC-17EII. I think everything in this gallery was with that combo: http://www.pbase.com/dave_dickerson/freestate_tournament I guess these shots are decent but are certainly not anything to write home about. BTW, I believe all these shots were wide open (f/4.8)-I generally shoot youth soccer at maximum aperture because the backgrounds are so crappy. The light wasn't great for this tournament, so keep the ISO's pretty high (400 to 800 IIRC). I used a monopod and had VR set to off. It takes the better part of a second for VR to kick in after you half-press, so it seems to cause me more problems than it solves for sports. I believe a monopod improves my sharpness and framing and reduces fatigue.

    As others have said, the 1.7 is a pretty good compromise between length and speed. On a D200, AF is speed is reduced but not horribly; I'd expect your D2X to do somewhat better. I've never tried the TC-20E on the 70-200 for soccer, but have used it on my 300/2.8 for birds. Even in good light, AF is much more of a struggle in terms of both speed and accuracy.

    For most of the youth/high school venues I've seen, indoor and night games are a challenge at f/2.8, let alone f/4 or f/4.8 with a TC.
  19. Dave,

    Thanks, those are the kinds of shots I am looking for. They are clear, sharp, and I agree bluring the background is a much better affect. I have to work on my focus technique to get it down, but first I have to get a better lens. I just feel the 70-300 I am using now is just too soft. I am looking at the 70-200 VR not just for the VR, but also because it is a more substaintial lens. This is what I would consider in their professional line, and would match my camera better then what I am using.

    I plan on purchasing the 70-200 around the beginning of May and at that time I will get a TC to go with it. It sounds like I wont be using the VR for these types of shots, but from what I have seen on the postings, there are many reasons to get the lens just for the glass.

    Thanks Dave, maybe I will have the lens before the next time we get together.
  20. moffo


    Oct 20, 2005
    Central TX
    Maybe I'm the only one around these parts using the TC20 with the 70-200. I think it's a usably sharp combo at f/6.3 or so, and I haven't felt the need to look for a TC17. If an established member of the community who has the 70-200 with TC14 wants to borrow the TC20 for formal head-to-head testing, drop me a line.
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