Secrets to using a TC ??

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Jun 13, 2010
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Southern California
I've started using a TC-1.4e II on my 70-200 f2.8 VR II (D300 Body) to shoot youth soccer and am having trouble getting a consistent exposure.... most are under-exposed with a lot of noise.

Is the rule of thumb the 1.4 TC causes a loss of a full-stop just an approximation and you need to find the real loss amount by trial and error?

My D300 is set up this way to shoot manually on a bright sunny day ----- ISO 250, Aperture f4.5 and Shutter speed of 1/3200.

Any suggestions and/or tips?
 
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
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Have you tried shooting in aperture priority - that way the camera can decide what shutter speed. It may be that your SS is to high so not enought light is being captured. I
 
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Sep 3, 2008
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Delaware, US
In my experience the TC 1.4 with the 70-200 rendered the same as without the TC at the same f/stop and focal lengths. i.e. from 140-200, largest aperture of f4. But what you will find is that beyond 200mm up to 280 that the ability to gather light is diminished accordingly for the camera/lens. That 1/3200 is your culprit. If you're up for it, try auto ISO with at least a top end of 800 or 1600.

And then watch your exposure meter in camera. Lower your shutter speed until your ISO changes to 200 and the increase your shutter until it changes to 800 for first time. This will give you some idea of how fast you can go on the shutter for the given subject, distance, focal length and light conditions. Shooting soccer, need to know where the sun is in relation to your subjects, shoot from one side and you can dial in your shutter speed and let Auto ISO help make up any differences. If they are backlit, you're going to have a harder time "going fast" so to speak as opposed to front lit.

On a super bright sunny day, I would set ISO auto from 200-1600 and then plan to shoot anywhere from 1/800 up to 1/2500 at f4. Again, depending on where the sun is at.

[Edit] One more thing I would add is a monopod. I have no issue handholding the 70-200 even with TC, but I found my IQ went up dramatically with the Monopod and that it was somewhat hit and miss when zoomed all the way out at 280.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
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Aperture priority, and let the camera meter on its own. The camera will know that the TCis there, and it will automatically adjust the exposure for you. Just set it to ISO 400, f/4.5 (so it's stopped down just a little for better sharpness) and see what shutter speed you get. If it's not fast enough, bump the ISO to 800, but on a sunny day, you shouldn't have an issue with shutter speed.
 
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I totally agree with the suggestion to shoot at aperture priority, but it might be helpful if you understood why you were underexposing your shots using your set up.

Sunny 16 rule (what photographers used to determine exposure before we had smart cameras) says that on a bright day, if you set your aperture for f16 and set your shutter speed to 1/the ISO you are using, you will get a good exposure.

Therefore in your case, shooting at ISO 250 the sunny 16 rule would tell you to shoot at f/16 at 1/250th second. If you open up to f4.5, that is approx
3+ stops faster than f16. (not bothering to do the exact math). Therefore, you would have to increase your shutter speed from 1/250 by the same 3+ . Which means that rather than shooting at 1/250, you should be shooting at approx 1/2000 +. You are shooting at 1/3200. Therefore, you are underexposing.

The sunny 16 rule is not ironclad due to differences in what constitutes "bright midday light" and my math on the differences between f16 and f4.5 is not exactly accurate, but you can get a sense of why you are having a problem.

In fact, even without the TC mounted, if you shot at f4.5 at 1/3200, your shots should still be underexposed. Have you tried it without the TC?

I wouldn't race out to sell the TC since I doubt that it is the TC that is causing your problem. Just shoot in either aperture priority or shutter priority and allow the camera to compensate. Of course one should never blindly shoot at what the camera tells you to and hope it is right. Even the most sophisticated meters can run into problems. But it is a great way to pick a starting point and then look at the histogram and adjust depending on what you see.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2010
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Southern California
1.4 tc

Sunny Rule of 16 as I understand it -- ISO 250

f16 -- 1/250
f11 -- 1/500
f8 --- 1/1000
f5.6 - 1/2000
f4 --- 1/4000

and f4.5 is 1/3 between f4 and f5.6 so I used 1/3200 which is 1/3 between 1/4000 and 1/2000 -- according to my table of f-stops and shutter speeds.


I started out using Aperture-Priority but setting the apeture at a fixed value and letting the shutter speed wander can give me wildly varying exposures depending on what the meter is seeing -- if I'm tight on two girls and one is in a white uniform and the other in black or red or whatever -- the exposure will depend on which girl the focus point is on --- and there are several teams in the league that wear fluorescent uniforms -UGH!

And I don't much care for letting the ISO move on it's own between values as then I can get varying DOF's (and I hate taking a great image and I can see everyone in the background for 200 yards) and I rarely shoot above ISO 400 as I don't care for the noise as I consider anything smaller than 11x14 or 12x18 to be wallet size.

I do understand that TC's typically have a more shallow DOF than shooting without a lens so I may try f5.6 or f8 the next time I shoot and see what happens.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
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Boise, ID
Don't use spot metering, use matrix metering, it will give you very good results. I have never had an issue using matrix metering and shooting sports, including soccer on a very bright day, where one team would wear white, and the other team wear black. I usually under-expose by about 1/3 or 2/3 stop to retain some more highlight detail.

Use these settings:

Matrix Metering
Aperture Priority
f/4.5
ISO 400 (most of the time I get 1/2000+ at ISO 100 on sunny days).

As far as using a TC vs. not using a TC and DOF is concerned, the TC does not reduce the DOF, as with the increase in FL decreases your aperture, giving you the same pupil diameter whether you're at 200mm f/2.8 w/o it or 280mm f/4 with it. The difference in DOF comes from the added focal length, and if your camera-to-subject distance stays the same, since the subject will be larger in the frame.

Also if you're shooting in Aperture priority, ISO will have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with DOF.

I shoot my 200 f/2 with the 1.4 TC at or near wide open (usually f/2.8 or f/3.2) and have never had an issue with the DOF being too shallow, as usually for sports you are focusing on one individual player, or sometimes two if they are battling for the ball, and they are usually side-by-side. I like my subjects to really stand out from the BG.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2008
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New Mexico
The 1.4 plays better with the VR II if that's any consolation. Good long lens technique comes
into the mix (effect. 420mm) so 1/800th sec min SS unless you're really good. :wink:
One typically stops down an additional 1/3 to 2/3 when employing them...NOT
for sharpness per se but rather to recover some loss of contrast. Mine's tack sharp
wide open. There's a fair amount of sample variation with all TC's I like to buy
a few used of each flavor and keep the one that gives the best results on all of
my superteles. If it's also good on the 70-200's I consider it a bonus. :biggrin:
 
Joined
May 14, 2008
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California
But it doesn't. There are very good reasons to shoot full manual and one, as the OP has described is to prevent the meter from doing silly things like exposing the grass for 18% gray or having a bit of sky tweak settings and get a stop underexposed. Sunny day shooting doesn't see much variance in light and as long as you watch the +/- in the viewfinder you can bump the exposure as necessary. Auto doesn't necessarily = better. :smile:
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
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New Zealand
Sunny day shooting doesn't see much variance in light
It does when there are grandstand or tree shadows casting shadows on the ground, or broken up clouds moving swiftly, but yeah, I know what you mean, if you haven't got those things you're right.
 
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