Summary

Highly Recommended awardBoth new teleconverters from Tamron extend the reach of the Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 without compromising image quality too much. For best results it's advisable though to close the aperture by one stop to f5.6 with the TC-X14 and f8.0 with the TC-X20. The build quality of Tamron's teleconverters is very good and exposure and focus worked flawlessly in my test.

Support Cameralabs!

, B&H, or Adorama. Alternatively you could treat me to a coffee!

Tamron TC-X14 / TC-X20 teleconverter review
  • Written by

With their second generation telephoto zooms Tamron also offers two new 1.4x and 2x teleconverters (dubbed TC-X14 and TC-X20) which are specifically designed to work with the SP 70-200/2.8 VC G2 and the SP 150-600/5.0-6.3 VC G2. I had the chance to extensively test the Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC G2 (model A025) with the TC-X14 and TC-X20. They let this zoom-lens reach a maximum focal length of 280mm and 400mm respectively. But as every teleconverter magnifies the flaws of a lens it is interesting to see how big the compromise in image quality is (in addition to losing one or two stops of focal ratio) when shooting with a teleconverter.

For details on how the new zoom-lens from Tamron performs without teleconverter head over to my Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC G2 review.

Note: The TCs will not work properly with older Tamron lenses as either the aperture will not be actuated (on the Nikon version) or AF will fail (Canon version).

 

Hero_TamronTC-X14-20

Above: Tamron teleconverter TC-X14 (left), TC-X20 (right)

 

Sharpness and contrast with 1.4x teleconverter

Following are the results with the 1.4x converter at 150mm, 200mm, and 280mm compared to the image quality without teleconverter and the results of the Nikon 70-200/2.8E VR with Nikon TC-14E iii at the same focal lengths. Processing of the images as usual and all crops shown at 100%.

Let’s have a look at the performance at 150mm focal length first:

 

Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + TC-X14 shot with Nikon D810 at 150mm;
100% crop from center, APS-C/DX-corner, FF/FX-corner

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_150f4_20097

Above: 150mm, f4.0

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_150f5-6_20098

Above: 150mm, f5.6

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_150f8_20099

Above: 150mm, f8.0

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_150f11_20100

Above: 150mm, f11

 

Following is a comparison with the lens without teleconverter at 150mm, f4.0:

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_150f4_20097

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 150mm, f4.0

stars_tamron70-200f2-8vcg2_150f4_20118

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 at 150mm, f4.0

Clearly the Tamron produces the sharper image without teleconverter, especially in the center and the FX/FF-corner. But the performance with 1.4x teleconverter is still pretty good. Stop down to f5.6 and the Tamron with teleconverter becomes even sharper than w/o TC at f4.0.

 

Performance at 200mm:

Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + TC-X14 shot with Nikon D810 at 200mm;
100% crop from center, APS-C/DX-corner, FF/FX-corner

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_200f4_20174

Above: 200mm, f4.0

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_200f5-6_20175

Above: 200mm, f5.6

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_200f8_20176

Above: 200mm, f8.0

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_200f11_20177

Above: 200mm, f11

 

Following is a comparison with the competition at 200mm, f4.0:

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_200f4_20174

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 200mm, f4.0

stars_tamron70-200f2-8vcg2_200f4_20154

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 at 200mm, f4.0

stars_Nikon70-200f2-8EVR_TC14_200f4_21193

Above: Nikon 70-200/2.8E VR +1.4x TC at 200mm, f4.0

At 200mm the Tamron and the Nikon look almost indistinguishable when used with their respective 1.4x teleconverter with a slight advantage for the Nikon in the center. But the Tamron without TC again is better across the sensor.

 

Performance at 280mm:

Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + TC-X14 shot with Nikon D810 at 280mm;
100% crop from center, APS-C/DX-corner, FF/FX-corner

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f4_21106

Above: 280mm, f4.0

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f5-6_21107

Above: 280mm, f5.6

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f8_21108

Above: 280mm, f8.0

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f11_21109

Above: 280mm, f11

 

Following is a comparison with the competition at 280mm, f4.0:

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f4_21106

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 280mm, f4.0

stars_Nikon70-200f2-8EVR_TC14_280f4_21118

Above: Nikon 70-200/2.8E VR + 1.4x TC at 280mm, f4.0

At 280mm the new Tamron is a tad less sharp and contrasty than the Nikon especially outside the center. Stopping down to f5.6 helps a lot.

Overall Tamron’s new 70-200mm zoom fares pretty well with Tamron’s new 1.4x teleconverter. It’s almost up there with the new Nikon 70-200/2.8E VR plus 1.4x teleconverter and if you can stop down to f5.6 the results are very good at every tested  focal length.

 

Sharpness and contrast with 2.0x teleconverter

The Tamron TC-X20 converts the Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC G2 into a 140-400mm f/5.6 zoom. For comparison in this case at 150mm, 200mm, 290mm, and 400mm I use the results of the new Tamron with the 1.4x converter and the Nikon 80-400/4.5-5.6G VR ii. As the Nikon was shot on a D800 with softening AA-filter I used a stronger sharpening of 70/0.5/36/10 to make those crops comparable.

Let’s have a look at the performance at 150mm focal length first:

 

Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + TC-X20 shot with Nikon D810 at 150mm;
100% crop from center, APS-C/DX-corner, FF/FX-corner

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_150f5-6_20136

Above: 150mm, f5.6

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_150f8_20137

Above: 150mm, f8.0

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_150f11_20138

Above: 150mm, f11

 

Following is a comparison with the competition at 150mm, f5.6:

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_150f5-6_20136

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 150mm, f5.6

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_150f5-6_20098

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 150mm, f5.6

stars_Nikon80-400_150f5-6_65177

Above: Nikon 80-400/4.5-5.6G VR ii at 150mm, f5.6

With the 2x teleconverter the new Tamron is becoming somewhat soft at f5.6. Better to stop down to f8. The quality of the Tamron with 1.4x TC is clearly better as is the Nikon 80-400/4.5-5.6 VR ii without TC.

 

Performance at 200mm:

Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + TC-X20 shot with Nikon D810 at 200mm;
100% crop from center, APS-C/DX-corner, FF/FX-corner

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_200f5-6_20190

Above: 200mm, f5.6

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_200f8_20191

Above: 200mm, f8.0

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_200f11_20192

Above: 200mm, f11

 

Following is a comparison with the competition at 200mm, f5.6:

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_200f5-6_20190

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 200mm, f5.6

Stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_200f5-6_20175

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 200mm, f5.6

stars_Nikon80-400_200f5-6_65229

Above: Nikon 80-400/4.5-5.6G VR ii at 200mm, f5.6

At 200mm we get similar results as at 150mm although the image quality of the Tamron with 2.0x TC looks a bit better at 200mm than at 150mm.

 

Performance at 290mm:

Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + TC-X20 shot with Nikon D810 at 290mm;
100% crop from center, APS-C/DX-corner, FF/FX-corner

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_290f5-6_21153

Above: 290mm, f5.6

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_290f8_21154

Above: 290mm, f8.0

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_290f11_21155

Above: 290mm, f11

 

Following is a comparison with the competition at 280/300mm, f5.6:

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_290f5-6_21153

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 290mm, f5.6

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f5-6_21107

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 280mm, f5.6

stars_Nikon80-400_300f5-6_65421

Above: Nikon 80-400/4.5-5.6G VR ii at 300mm, f5.6

At 290mm the Tamron with 2x TC has closed the gap to the alternatives even surpassing the results of the Tamron with 1.4x TC outside the center and also looking better than the Nikon (w/o TC). That’s quite impressive!

 

Performance at 400mm:

Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + TC-X20 shot with Nikon D810 at 400mm;
100% crop from center, APS-C/DX-corner, FF/FX-corner

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f5-6_21169

Above: 400mm, f5.6

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f8_21170

Above: 400mm, f8.0

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f11_21171

Above: 400mm, f11

 

Following is a comparison with the competition at 400mm, f5.6:

stars_Tamron70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f5-6_21169

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 400mm, f5.6

stars_Nikon80-400_400f5-6_65428

Above: Nikon 80-400/4.5-5.6G VR ii at 400mm, f5.6

At 400mm and f5.6 the new Tamron suffers a bit from residual spherical aberrations showing in the lower contrast. Still the level of detail is comparable to the Nikon in the APS-C/DX image-circle and even surpasses the competition in the FF/FX-corner.

All-in-all using Tamron’s TC-X20 with Tamron’s new 70-200mm zoom gives you double the reach of the zoom without teleconverter without compromising image quality too much. In comparison it fares best at the long end and you should stop down to f8.0 at the short end if you can.

 

Long-distances performance with teleconverter

The Siemens-star test-targets are shot at a distance of 40x focal length (i.e. at 16 m for 400 mm focal length). But performance of lenses also depends on the shooting distance. Therefore I present another series of test-shots of a city-scape around 1km away. Processing was done in Lightroom 6.8 from RAW at Adobe Standard settings. Noise-reduction is set to 0, sharpening to 35/0.5/36/10, with no extra tone, or saturation-adjustment. There’s no tinkering with vignette-control so you see it here as it is produced by the lens. I used AF in live view at the largest aperture and did not change focus for other apertures.

You can click on each image to access the large original. Please respect our copyright and only use those images for personal use.

The main image shows the complete scene to give you an impression of the angle of view. You can access the respective shots at different apertures via the links beneath the main image. All shots with the 1.4x TC were made at ISO 64 while I used ISO 200 on the shots with 2.0x TC. VR was switched off and I used mirror-up and electronic first curtain to avoid any vibration from the camera. Following the main image are 100% crops from the center, the APS-C/DX-corner and the FF/FX-corner from the new Tamron.

Let’s start with the 1.4x teleconverter at 280mm focal length:

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f4_20309

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 280mm, f4.0; also available at f5.6, f8.0, f11

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f4_20309_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 280mm, f4.0; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f5-6_20310_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 280mm, f5.6; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f8_20311_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 280mm, f8.0; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC14_280f11_20312_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 1.4x TC at 280mm, f11; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

The performance with 1.4x teleconverter is pretty good even at f4.0. Stopping down to f5.6 improves the center. The performance in the FF/FX-corner seems to deteriorate at the same time. But this impression comes from the +0.7 EV higher brightness of the corner at f5.6 over the corner at f4: if you develop both crops to the same brightness they appear equally sharp.

 

Here’s the Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 with 2.0x teleconverter at 270mm focal length:

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_270f5-6_20324

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 270mm, f5.6; also available at f8.0, f11, f16

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_270f5-6_20324_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 270mm, f5.6; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_270f8_20325_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 270mm, f8.0; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_270f11_20326_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 270mm, f11; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_270f16_20327_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 270mm, f16; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

Shooting at the same focal length but with the 2.0x teleconverter reveals that the overall quality and contrast suffers considerably wide open, which is now f5.6. The image is still usable but you can easily see how much sharper the shot at f8.0 is even at only 50% magnification.

 

Here’s the Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 with 2.0x teleconverter at 400mm focal length:

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f5-6_20316

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 400mm, f5.6; also available at f8.0, f11, f16

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f5-6_20316_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 400mm, f5.6; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f8_20317_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 400mm, f8.0; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f11_20318_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 400mm, f11; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

city_Tamon70-200f2-8VCG2_TC20_400f16_20319_crops

Above: Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 + 2.0x TC at 400mm, f16; 100% crop from center, DX-corner, FX-corner

Again, the combination of the Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 with the TC-X20 teleconverter produces very usable results even wide open at f5.6 right up into the corners of a full-frame sensor. Stopping down to f8 did not improve the image quality by much so you can shoot wide open and enjoy the benefit of a shorter shutter speed.

 

Verdict

Both new teleconverters from Tamron extend the reach of the Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC G2 without compromising image quality too much. For best results it’s advisable though to close the aperture by one stop to f5.6 with the TC-X14 and f8.0 with the TC-X20. The build quality of Tamron’s teleconverters is very good and exposure and focus worked flawlessly in my test.

For details on how the new zoom-lens from Tamron performs head over to my Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC G2 review. Or if you came here reading that review already head back to the last chapter in it: Sample images.

There’s also a section on how both teleconverters perform with Tamron’s longest telephoto zoom in my Tamron SP 150-600/5.0-6.3 VC G2 review.

Buy Gordon a coffee to support cameralabs!

Like my reviews? Buy me a coffee!

Tamron TC-X14 and TC-X20

Hero_TamronTC-X20

Buy it from Amazon.com

Tamron TC-X14 and TC-X20

Hero_TamronTC-X20

Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Tamron TC-X14 and TC-X20

Hero_TamronTC-X20

Buy it from Amazon.de

Tamron TC-X14 and TC-X20

Hero_TamronTC-X20

Buy it from Amazon.fr

Tamron TC-X14 and TC-X20

Hero_TamronTC-X20

Buy it from Amazon.es

Tamron TC-X14 and TC-X20

Hero_TamronTC-X20

Buy it from Amazon.it

Tamron TC-X14 and TC-X20

Hero_TamronTC-X20

Buy it from Amazon.ca

Tamron TC-X14 and TC-X20

Hero_TamronTC-X20

Buy it from B&H

Follow Gordon Laing

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

Website design by Coolgrey