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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:28 pm 
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

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

VEREDICT

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.

PROs:
- Cheap
- Very well built
- Excellent IQ
- Quick to install/uninstall

CONs:
- Won't work with EF-S lenses
- Cheap caps
- Will turn AF into a nightmare with dark lenses (see the update below!!)

UPDATE:
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 at 290mm.

Some pictures (MF) with the 70-300 @ 300 f/5.6 with the 1.4x Tele
(effective 672mm = 300mm from lens, 1.6x from body, 1.4x from tele):

Image

Image

Image

Image[/b]


Last edited by Alex_Venom on Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:30 pm 
Alex vc e Brasileiro?

I must say this is the first time i ever seen a review on TC. Which is a great tool to extend your lenses just that much more! In theory i always though of them as great, like you just attach it between your lens and camera and whoala there is no big diff there (except for the lost in fstops).

But it seems to be just a bit more then that!

Interesting review, even tho i m not Canon user, but these brands usually make their products for the bigger brands on the market these days.

Those are some interesting shots, how about sharing some EXIF + 100% crops? I m not willing to judge the IQ by looking at images as that size.

Obrigado,


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:07 pm 
Thanks for the review.

The f/5.6 figure for AF is not a definite value but rather a ballpark figure after which lenses are generally considered to lose accuracy as your own results confirmed.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:32 pm 
alex168 wrote:
Alex vc e Brasileiro?

I must say this is the first time i ever seen a review on TC. Which is a great tool to extend your lenses just that much more! In theory i always though of them as great, like you just attach it between your lens and camera and whoala there is no big diff there (except for the lost in fstops).

But it seems to be just a bit more then that!

Interesting review, even tho i m not Canon user, but these brands usually make their products for the bigger brands on the market these days.

Those are some interesting shots, how about sharing some EXIF + 100% crops? I m not willing to judge the IQ by looking at images as that size.

Obrigado,


Yes, I am Brazilian, Alex. I'm from São Paulo, SP :wink:
You can get the EXIF on my Flickr
And here's an 100% crop for you to evaluate (this one had no PP at all, only cropping and converting to JPEG):

Image


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:27 pm 
Sorry, forgot about getting the EXIF from flickr thing.

Wow those are some pretty amazing crops! You should be pretty happy with that TC.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:04 pm 
alex168 wrote:
Sorry, forgot about getting the EXIF from flickr thing.

Wow those are some pretty amazing crops! You should be pretty happy with that TC.


Thanks, Alex!
You can bet I am VERY happy with it! Specially today when I found the AF issue almost won't happen at 290mm with the 70-300, even with low light/contrast subjects.
I posted an update on the topic related to this. I tested 20 times (10 times AF at 300mm and 10 times AF with 290mm) and got 0% success at 300mm and 100% success at 290mm.
Pretty good if the 10mm difference is not importat to you. I know for me it is not! :wink:


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