SIGMA 1.4 Teleconverter Review and Hands On
More for Less
The two Sigma Tele converters have the ability to turns my Sigma 120~300mm f/2.8 into a 170~420mm f/4.0 or 240 ~600 f/5.6 respectively. After using both for about a week the results speak for themselves; On this web site are some photos taken with both 1.4 and 2.0 Teleconvertors, just browse through the photos, the comments will indicate the use of which Tele converter and my settings for the camera. here mainly are the results; http://www.truetoad.com/Gallery/Wildlife/Birds.aspx.
My hands on experience using the Sigma 1.4x EX APO DG: Lets start with the 1.4, using this teleconvertor had very little impact on focus performance or image quality, in fact – I can almost swear it improves my image sharpness when used it with my 120~300, but I am sure it is just my imagination, what I am trying to say is I was VERY Pleased, this Sigma 1.4 teleconverter worked perfectly. The sharpness, contrast, and focus speed was maintained to a performance level that never caused me any concern, and I found myself just leaving the TC attached for long periods of time. In short, I highly recommend the Sigma 1.4x EX APO DG for any of the Sigma Tele lens in the f/2.8 – 4.5 range.
My hands on experience using the Sigma 2.0x EX APO DG: While walking through a wildlife refuge on a nice clear day, I mounted the Sigma 2.0x onto my Sigma 120~300mm. This combination worked very well on this bright day overall, focus was noticeability slower and depending on the subject I did experience some focus hunting at times. However, knowing this and getting used to some of the quirks, I modified my lens lens focus limiter settings for far or near depending on the situation – this did improve the overall focus performance, but one could tell the focus was somewhat slower, but with the added reach – I could live with it. The overall sharpness and contrast of images I captured with this combination were very pleasing, in fact I had at least two very nice bird in flights, here is one shot (Click Here), and a Gull walking, and Canada Geese on water.
Overall thoughts 1.4x TC: I can without hesitation recommend the Sigma 1.4x EX APO DG teleconverter to be used on any of the Sigma compatible lens. Please check compatibility here before your purchase – Sigma Teleconverter Compatibility List is here., Nikon and Canon bodies seem to be a good match.
Sigma_20xOverall thoughts 2.0x TC: If you shoot mainly on bright sunny days this is a solid investment, the price is very reasonable as compared to Nikon or Canon 2.0X TC, coming in at almost half their cost, but I am hesitant to do a full recommendation due to the slower focus results I experienced in low lighted situations, in some situations my camera lens combination spent a lot of time hunting for the focus, birds in the trees for example. However, if you don’t mind working your technique, and your situation allows for manual focus, the resulting images taken through the 2.0 is very pleasing while maintaining sharpness overall. Sharpness is also relevant to the overall capabilities of your lens without the converter, if your lens is not sharp without the TC, then you can bet it will be worse with it. With the 2.0x mounted on a 300mm for example, you are out there in optical length and that requires higher shutter speed, and a steady platform (tripod) to make the best of the situation. So, fault may not be in the design of any TC but the technique of the user. I have actually shot with a Nikon 500mm and got horrible results while a friend of mine using the same lens had perfect results, this was due to my lack of experience in using longer lens a few years ago. So, when you mount a 2x you need to think more in how you shoot to achieve the best results in sharpness in terms of the ISO, f stop and shutter speed. That said, not much one can do to fix slow focus except provide more light and contrast, and in the case of the Sigma 2.0x TC more light is what you need to maintain faster more reliable focus. I find myself using the TC on days that afford the best opportunity for its use or when I am setup waiting and have my focus already fixed.
My Hints for best use of Teleconverters:
- If you don’t need it “take it off” and or consider using a crop sensor camera body if you have one.
- Try to keep the shutter speed up @ least equal to the focal length of the lens + converter, @ 500mm = 1/500second, higher shutter speeds are even better.
- Use Optical Stabilization when off the tripod.
- When panning for birds in flight – Pan parallel if possible, maintain a high shutter speed, and in most cases you get best results with your lens mounted on a gimbal while panning.
- Practice. Practice, Practice; Get use to the lens tele converter combination through practice with and without the OS on, also don’t forget if your shooting handheld, your shooting technique is important to maximize steadiness = sharpness.
- If possible, seek bright daylight which provides you with wonderful lower ISOs along with higher shutter speeds. The weatherman may not always accommodate , so be prepared to drag a tripod/monopod along just in case.
Help the site buy a Sigma 1.4 Teleconverter: Buy a Sigma 1.4 Telecoverter
Help the site buy a Sigma 2.0 Teleconverter: Buy a Sigma 2.0 Teleconverter