Shooting Macro With a Teleconverter

by | Dec 30, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“When you’re shooting with long lenses, even if you’re shooting a close-up, you feel the air, the distance between the camera and the subject.”—Emmanuel Lubezki

Teleconverters are small optical devices that fit between your camera body and lens producing greater magnification and increasing the lens’s focal length.

A 2X extender doubles the focal length of the lens but there’s no free lunch. It also gobbles up light to the tune of two f/stops. That’s not a bad trade but if you put it on a slower lens it can cause focusing problems. That’s because many AF systems require a maximum lens aperture of f/8 or less in order to function effectively.  So do the math before attaching a 2X extender to a smaller aperture zoom lens and be sure to read your camera manual, as painful as that may be for some of us.

How I made this shot: Having a teleconverter is also useful for macro work because it magnifies the size of small objects, such as this butterfly that was photographed at Denver’s Butterfly Pavilion using a Canon EOS 5D and  EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro lens and 2X teleconverter. Exposure was 1/25 sec at f/14 and ISO 400 with a Canon MR-14 EX II ringlight as a light source.

There are times when you don’t need a 2x lens conversion and other times when you just can’t afford the two stops of light loss. That’s when you may need something like a 1.4x teleconverter that turns a 300mm lens into 420mm but only decreases the maximum lens aperture by one f/stop. Having two teleconverters in your camera bags triples the number of focal lengths available and the prices ($329 for Sigma 2X models) for these devices represent an optical bargain.

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