Last Friday I got myself one of this on eBay for a bit more than US$ 130,00. I love to shoot birds but as I have been a bad boy spending too much on equipment, Santa told me I wouldn't get the 100-400L for Christmas, forcing me to find an work around.
I checked the Canon 1.4X Extender II
, but as everything with Canon's brand, it is overpriced and would work only on L lenses
, that I don't have.
What I do have is an EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM that I love to use but at it's Tele range, will get pretty dark and at first impossible to use AF if attached to a teleconverter , since it will lose 1 stop (due the teleconverter) and Canon's bodies auto-focuses only to 5.6 wide open, rigth? WRONG!
The thing is that Kenko's 1.4x teles are known to bypass Canon's limitations
and allow you to AF even with darker lenses (sometimes there's a need to tape some pins for it to work), so let's see how it works.
So, what's in the box?
- Kenko 1.4x teleconverter for EF mount
- Lens pouch
- Instruction manual
- A paper warning you about incompatibility with some lenses and the listing those lenses
The converter itself is very well finished
and besides the different fonts on the writing, it is almost unnoticeable once attached.
The caps looks very cheap and are no match for Canon's caps. The pouch is just OK.
The lens coat give them a "green" look. The contacts are golden covered and there is a good room between them and the Tele sides, so if you need to tape them to use with darker lens without losing AF, it's pretty easy to fit your fingers there.
The bad news is that this converter won't work with EF-S lenses
. There is a warning about AF issues with the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, but it worked like a charm with mine
But my ultimate test would be the 70-300 at 300mm and F/5.6.
Well... it did work pretty good! The IQ was superb.
The only problem was with the AF
. (see the update below!!!)
The AF did work
as stated, but it was surprisingly imprecise
making me switch to Manual most of times.
I still didn't get it yet. For some subjects it would focus as fast as the lenses without it, but for others it would hunt, hunt, hunt and give up. I though it could be a contrast thing, but my tests revealed it is much deeper than that.
Forget about shooting flying birds in AI-Servo
. It's just too slow for that. MF is the way to go.
Sitting birds are easier to spot, but still won't work every time. A lens with MF Override would definitely help here.
The Pro300 DG 1.4x Tele is an excellent value for the money
. It will give you 40% more reach and will AF where other's won't. Well... it will AF with issues, but does work most of the times. I can't call the AF trustworthy
, but it's there.
It's an good option to extend your reach on teles and macros, since the IQ is kept very good IMHO (I'm no professional so I don't need the very very best).
Besides the incompatibility warnings, it did work with all my EF lenses pretty well, including the 100mm f/2.8 Macro that specifically says has issues with. It may be a version thing
Do I recommend it? Well...
If you need AF a lot and need it to be quick and precise with darker lenses, then NO. Fast subjects just won't focus and you'll lose your shot.
If you get faster lenses and/or MF is not issue to you, then definitely YES.
I don't regret buying it for my 100mm f/2.8, but I do for my 70-300 f/4-5.6.
- Very well built
- Excellent IQ
- Quick to install/uninstall
- Won't work with EF-S lenses
- Cheap caps
- Will turn AF into a nightmare with dark lenses (see the update below!!)
Further testing revealed that the inaccuracy with the AF happens only at exactly 300mm. If you slightly zoom out (let's say 290mm) the aperture will be kept the same (5.6) and it will AF very precisely almost every time.
even in low light/contrast situations.
Now, I have no idea why this 10mm makes such a difference when focusing, but it really does. Subjects that I tried for 10 times to AF at 300 without any success would focus VERY accurately all the 10 times
Some pictures (MF) with the 70-300 @ 300 f/5.6 with the 1.4x Tele
= 300mm from lens, 1.6x from body, 1.4x from tele):