The X1.4 Teleconverter

By James Gikonyo

Many times, photographers need to be closer with their lenses. In some of these situations; they just can’t afford the longer telephoto lenses, or they are not able to go as close to their subjects as they need to. It could be during wildlife photography or even when taking photos of distant subjects like birds or even the moon. That is why camera manufacturers have come up with teleconverters otherwise known as extenders. I was shooting a documentary for a client and I needed a lens with a better reach. The best solution I had was a Canon 70-200 mm lens with a Canon X1.4 teleconverter.

Canon 90D Aperture f/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/100 ISO 640
Canon 90D Aperture f/.6 Shutter Speed 1/100 ISO 100

What the teleconverter does basically is act as a magnifying glass between my camera and my lens. Since it was a 1.4 times teleconverter, it means that my focal length would be magnified to 98-280 mm. This meant it would give me a much longer reach with my lens. Since I use a Canon 90D which is an APS-C size sensor; otherwise known as a crop sensor, I was even having a much longer reach than compared if I was using a full frame camera. In short, my focal length during the assignment was 156-448 mm and it was pretty exciting for me. I am sharing the photos I was able to take with the teleconverter.

One of the things about zoom lenses is the minimum distance it allows you with subjects. It can be a little bit limited but with the extender, you are able to capture subjects closer. This means that I don’t have to crop photos which most times makes the photo lose quality. Canon has this amazing Dual-Pixel Raw Auto Focus system that makes subjects very sharp; although it does not mean that I don’t want to get the photo right on camera. Documentary assignments do not actually allow you to edit hence you have to get the photo right on location.

Canon 90D Aperture f/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/100 ISO 200
Canon 90D Aperture f/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/100 ISO 320

I loved the image quality I was able to get. It’s almost as if I was using a 150-600 mm lens. The sharpness was crisp as teleconverters are small, and they do not add to the weight of the lens too much. Sometimes, those heavy long lenses can cause a lot of camera shake hence images come out blurry. The client needed better photos of birds from last time, and I was able to get them without going too close. I was even able, for the first time in my life, to capture not one but two squirrels for my client. They have many trees hence squirrels are very common.

There was only one small disadvantage of using the teleconverter. The f-stop of the lens I was using was also affected by the same factor of magnification. This means that my lense’s minimum aperture of f/4 was not f/5.6. Hence, if I was using an f/2.8 it would then become f/4. Hence, it becomes really annoying since you can’t shoot on wide aperture. The good thing for me is that most of my subjects were far away and the background was blurred smoothly.

Canon 90D Aperture f/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/250 ISO 200
Canon 90D Aperture f/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/100 ISO 320

I loved the image quality I was able to get. It’s almost as if I was using a 150-600 mm lens. The sharpness was crisp as teleconverters are small, and they do not add to the weight of the lens too much. Sometimes, those heavy long lenses can cause a lot of camera shake hence images come out blurry. The client needed better photos of birds from last time, and I was able to get them without going too close. I was even able, for the first time in my life, to capture not one but two squirrels for my client. They have many trees hence squirrels are very common.

In conclusion, I would say that the teleconverter is an impressive device to have in your bag. It can come in handy in as many situations as you can think of. It could be travel photography, it could be a concert, it could be a protest or even street photography. It even saves you money since telephoto lenses can be quite pricey. Otherwise, keep shooting, keep pushing your limits and keep learning. Cheers!

Canon 90D Aperture f/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/100 ISO 320
Canon 90D Aperture f/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/100 ISO 200
Canon 90D Aperture f/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/100 ISO 320
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