Will a tamron sp 2x pro teleconverter work with a canon 75-300 IS lens? Going to Alaska

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Guest, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I'm planning on taking a trip to Alaska in August. I want to make sure I
    have the proper equipment to get great wildlife shots of bears, eagles, etc.
    I have a Canon 20d digital SLR and various lenses including a Canon 75-300
    IS lens. I was thinking about purchasing a 2x teleconverter to increase the
    range of my lenses. Will the Tamron SP 2x Pro Teleconverter work with my
    Canon 75-300 IS lens? How is the quality of this teleconverter? I will
    lose 2 stops, correct? I don't like bringing a tripod, but if I have to use
    it, I will. Can I somehow use shutter priorty mode to increase the shutter
    speed and shoot without a tripod? Or is a tripod necessary? Any other
    suggestions on equipment/tips for getting good shots in Alaska?

    Check out my images at:
    Guest, Mar 10, 2006
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  2. Guest

    SMS Guest

    Bring the tripod. I was very glad that I had it in Alaska, though I
    didn't have an IS lens. I didn't have a teleconverter, but I think that
    it would have been good to have for some shots. This was back a few
    years, and I didn't have a EOS-20D, I was using an EOS-5 with a 100-300USM.

    If you're taking pictures of glaciers, be careful with the exposure.

    Do not approach any grizzly bears.
    SMS, Mar 11, 2006
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  3. Guest

    Dimitris M Guest

    Will the Tamron SP 2x Pro Teleconverter work with my Canon 75-300 IS lens?

    No. Even if works, it will lower the brightness of your lens by 2 stops.
    This means F11 as the widest apperture. In this situation, no autofocus
    works, but no manual focus either helps as you will see only a dark gray
    grany image in the viewfinder.
    To increase the speed, you must have open apperures backup. You don't have.

    Generic teleconverters are primary build to use with normal to light
    telephoto leses. All of them have visible penalty in the image. They are
    exceptions for dedicated teleconverters. For ex, Canon builds nice
    teleconverters x1,4 and x2 to use with his 70-200 IS F2,8 and a few very
    bright premium primes tele.

    As a general rule, don't use a teleconveter if this darkens the lens more
    than F6,3. Your lens is already near this limit. It will not stand any
    teleconverter. Better do your best as it is and if needed crop the image in
    Dimitris M, Mar 11, 2006
  4. Guest

    Bill Hilton Guest

    writes ...
    It will mount to it (unlike the Canon tele-converters) but you lose
    auto-focus and if you shoot wide open (which will be only f/11 at 300
    mm) you might not like the image quality.
    You lose 2 stops, auto-focus and image quality ... :)
    You can increase the ISO to get a shutter speed fast enough so you can
    get by without a tripod. Shutter priority doesn't buy you anything
    over aperture priority at the widest aperture.

    Bill Hilton, Mar 11, 2006
  5. Bill,
    I think your were too soft on him. Hand holding 600mm?
    Perhaps briefly, but with no autofocus, one would have to
    hand hold and manual focus on a view screen that doesn't
    work well for manual focusing. Doing this for very long
    will likely result in increased shaking, thus not very
    good results (which adds to the poor quality of a low end zoom
    with a 2x TC).

    To the OP: would you consider buying new lenses for this trip?
    If it is an expensive trip or trip of a lifetime, and you
    want photographs, then consider spending money to get better
    equipment. Consider a 300 mm fixed lens, like 300 mm f/4 L IS
    where you could add a 1.4x TC to get 420 mm f/5.6 and still have
    autofocus. Then consider a good tripod. I wish I had such a system
    on my first trip to Alaska, but I didn't, so didn't get any
    good wildlife images (that was before IS lenses).

    This image was done on a 100-300 zoom (pre IS, film days):
    and it looks soft and it is only a 600 pixel image!
    Compare to an eagle image obtained with a better lens, tripod mounted with IS:

    If you are interested in bears, where are you going in Alaska,
    Katmai? Where for eagles? (I've seen eagles in the Sitka and Homer
    regions in summer, but not many).

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 11, 2006
  6. What part of Alaska, how are you traveling, what do you want to
    see and what do you want to photograph? The more detail, the
    better, because what you've said is no different than "I'm
    visiting the US in August."

    An overlay of Alaska on the Lower-48 puts Ketchikan down in
    Florida, while I'd be in Minnesota, and Attu is in California
    and Anchorage is somewhere near Kansas (?). The range of
    climate and geography is even greater.
    It might well vary from place to place. At the Anchorage zoo
    you don't need much of a telephoto to photograph a polar bear,
    where I live (bears are interactive and) the longer the lense the
    As others have mentioned, that lens is a f/5.6 at 300mm, and a
    2x teleconverter puts it down to f/11. Then consider that for
    best results you'll need to stop the lense down at least one
    f/stop (and depending on the lense maybe two). Hence you are
    then looking at f/16 or f/22! (I.e., that is acceptable many
    days of the year in Fairbanks, and rarely works well in coastal
    areas where the number of cloudy days is twice what it is in the
    Alaskan Interior!)

    If you think a 600mm lense is appropriate, perhaps a fixed focal
    length lense would be a better idea than a teleconverter. You
    still might want a teleconverter for the few times that you can
    take advantage of it... but put it into the "extras" category,
    and don't consider it a primary tool that will be used with any

    I'm not familiar with your camera, or how easy it is to use with
    manual focus lenses, so I won't comment on that, but obviously
    using the teleconverter means you have to be handy at manual
    focusing. (If you haven't tried it, you might want to buy
    something cheap to practice with before deciding to spend real

    Familiarity with manual lenses might also find application if
    you decide to purchase a fixed focal length telephoto lense too,
    simply because older manual focus lenses are easier on the
    pocket book than newer AF lenses.
    The question is not if you want a tripod. How many different
    tripods do you want to have available?

    Again, it depends on where you are going and your mode of
    travel. If you plan on backbacking you'll need something you
    can carry. If you don't plan on packing it far, a more
    substantial tripod is a good idea. An assortment of 3 or 4
    different tripods is not unreasonable...
    The tripod is necessary if you really want to shoot everything
    possible. Not having at least one would be a serious limitation.

    But again: where in Alaska, what mode of travel, and what is it
    you want to photograph?

    And I would seriously recommend not just giving extra thought to
    photo equipment tips, but also Alaska tips too! Ask questions
    in alt.culture.alaska, and maybe ask questions in some of the
    rec.travel groups too, and perhaps also in rec.backcountry if
    you are thinking of backpacking or anything close.

    As someone else mentioned, if this is a "once in a lifetime"
    trip to Alaska, you *don't* want to trust generalities either
    for your photography or for where to go. Find out *exactly*
    what gives you the best bang for the buck *before* you go,
    rather than once you are here and are locked into a schedule you
    can't change.

    A trip to Denali (along with literally a million plus other
    tourists each summer) is certainly interesting, as is the drive
    from Anchorage to Fairbanks... but in all truth what you would
    be seeing is the part of Alaska that is the most *similar* to
    where you live. What you'd miss is almost everything that makes
    Alaska what it is! Which do you want to see and photograph?
    Floyd L. Davidson, Mar 11, 2006
  7. Floyd,
    Good post. I would like to expand on your point above, with
    which I agree.

    The discussion has been about hand holding a long
    telephoto for wildlife or use a tripod, but I can't
    imagine NOT using a tripod for a serious landscape image
    with a wide angle lens. The OP needs to learn that
    a tripod will probably be the most significant improvement
    in image sharpness he could obtain, at least for many situations.

    If photographing from a boat or other moving platform, image
    stabilization is a big help when you can't use a tripod,
    but if you are on solid ground a tripod is essential in most
    situations unless one only wants snapshots and 4x6 inch prints.

    I've never been to Alaska without a tripod.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 11, 2006
  8. Guest

    Scott W Guest

    My way of thinking on this is that if there is enough light that I can
    hand hold a 300mm lens and get a sharp image then when I am shooting at
    30mm using that same shutter speed the blurring I get from camera shake
    will be insignificant.
    I think this is a rather broad statement, to say that you need a tripod
    or your photo will be good for nothing past 4x6 prints is a bit extreme
    don't you think?

    If you can't get a great looking 8 x 12 print from a hand held shot
    using a good DSLR then there is something very wrong.

    I do a lot of shooting with and without a tripod and I would say that
    there are many cases were a tripod is a great help, but in bright light
    the help is minimal for short to normal lenses.

    Now if we are talking about cases where camera shake is a problem, long
    shutter times, then we also should talk about mirror lockup. Even with
    a tripod you will suffer a fair bit of loss if you don't use mirror
    lockup. I don't know about other cameras but the 20D has a neat mode
    where when you push the shutter the mirror locks up, the camera waits 3
    seconds and then takes the photo. Of course if you are photographing
    bears this is not a recommended technique.

    IMO if you are shooting landscapes with a tripod you might as well go
    the extra step of using a panoramic head and get images that are truly
    sharp. Once I have taken the time to setup the tripod and level it the
    extra time to take 15 to 30 photos to be stitched is nothing.

    Scott W, Mar 11, 2006
  9. Guest

    Neil Ellwood Guest

    It's funny you should say that - neither have I or even with one.
    Neil Ellwood, Mar 11, 2006
  10. Yes, but we are talking f/11 with the 2x TC, and with landscapes,
    you often need f/8 to f/16 for depth of field. That plus low
    ISO for good S/N and exposure times are relatively long.
    Then add a polarizer, and 1/4 second and longer is common.
    Yeah, that was an extreme statement. Good 8x10s hand held are are reasonably
    done, but would most likely be sharper with a tripod.
    Yes, I agree. I do a lot of hand held imaging too. But almost
    of the landscape images on my web site were done with a tripod
    (all but the Hawaiian sunset with sailboat),
    and most of the wildlife images too. Four images total hand held
    out of 289 currently on the site: http://www.clarkvision.com
    Yes, that is a good point too.
    If they are distant and still, it can still be a help to image sharpness.
    Yes, I agree. But there is a lot of post processing effort involved.
    I have a lot more 1 frame images processed than I do mosaics, and
    many mosaics waiting to be processed. I need a faster computer
    and more time ;-).

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 11, 2006
  11. I should add, that the telephoto wildlife images I've done hand held
    included many frames of soft or poor sharpness, with perhaps
    one good one. A tripod raises the sharpness/unsharp image ratio a LOT.
    And that includes image stabilized lenses.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 11, 2006
  12. Guest

    Scott W Guest

    Yup, a tripod is definitely needed there.

    I think tripods are great and if you have one with you there is little
    reason not to use it.
    If I have a number to do I will run them in batch more. Mostly time is
    only needed it I have people moving in the photo and have to hand
    adjust the seams around them.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that it is ok to put the photos to
    be stitched off to the side and stitch them when you have good tools to
    do so. What I have found is photos that I could not stitch, at least
    easily, a few years ago I can stitch with ease now. This is
    particularly true of scenes with moving clouds, which the earlier
    version of the software I used would not blend at all well. I am
    willing to bet that what seems like a huge image now will seem pretty
    average in 10 years. 10 years ago the idea of dealing with image of
    100MP seemed pretty far fetched, now it is no big deal.

    Scott W, Mar 11, 2006
  13. Yes. interesting. I just looked back and 9 years ago, 1997, I started doing
    my first 4x5 drum scans: 650 mbyte files processed in Photoshop
    on a Pentium 1 100 MHz machine with 256 mbytes of RAM.
    Every operation I did meant a coffee break!

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 11, 2006
  14. Guest

    nobody Guest

    I will be staying at Northface Lodge in Denali National Park in late August
    mainly, among other places. I also plan on going over into Canada to do
    some shooting. Any suggestions for photographing Mount McKinley around
    Wonder Lake? I have purchased several additions to my equipment repertoire
    lately including a Galen Rowell Singh-Ray Soft Graduated Neutral Density
    Filter, more CF cards, Expodisc, etc and thought a 2x teleconverter might be
    nice to have. Don't you think a teleconverter would be wise to have? If
    not the Tamron one I mentioned, which one? Any other suggestions on low to
    moderate priced equipment/books/videos/workshops. I am willing to spend
    "some" money on something that will really help me get great photos and
    could possibly reuse, but I'm not rich and photography is more of a serious
    hobby than a career, so I probably won't spend 4k or more on a nice L lens.

    Thanks for all the help,

    Rick Baker

    nobody, Mar 11, 2006
  15. Guest

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Rick Baker writes ...
    I've stayed at North Face three times for up to 11 days each time, and
    also once stayed at their sister lodge up the hill, Camp Denali ...
    late August is great for the tundra changing colors and you should get
    chances at moose, caribou and grizz and maybe wolves. Email me if you
    want more details ... try to get on the pre-breakfast "photo bus" if
    they have one going out one morning, that's your best chance at
    grizzlies close to the road ...
    Most days it's clouded over but if it's clear I'd suggest skipping
    dinner and staying out at the Lake to shoot, that's what I always did
    (they will hold food for you, I've gotten back at 11 PM and they still
    had food for me) ... this way you get the best light ... you can take
    one of their mountain bikes along on the bus when you ride out in the
    AM and if it's clear just ask to be dropped off and ride back late
    while everyone is at dinner ... from the WL Ranger station it's mostly
    downhill to the lodge so it's easy enough if you have a pack for your
    camera gear (maybe 4-5 miles distance). If you're a moderately strong
    rider you can ask to get off at Eielson, which is about 26 miles from
    the lodge, if you're a really strong rider you can get off at Highway
    Pass but it's 33 miles and you have to bike up 2 passes to get to
    Eielson, but it's worth it if you're a good rider. There are a lot of
    caribou and bears in the Highway Pass area most years. You need to
    know what to do if you come across a grizzly bear in the road if you do
    this alone, but if you act properly you shouldn't have a problem (I
    never did ... so far).

    Here are some wildlife shots my wife and I have taken from this area
    the past couple of years (late Aug - early Sept) ...


    Also here's a web page of thumbnails from Alaska (scenics and wildlife)
    that I started a few years ago and never finished, you can click on a
    thumb to see a larger image but the other links aren't implemented ...
    http://members.aol.com/marlinazul/gallery/g_alaska.htm ... the images
    from North Face are row 1 col 2,3,4, row 2 c 1-4, row 3 c 2,4, and row
    4 c 1 ... the McKinley images from Wonder Lake are r1/c3, which was
    shot across from the WL Ranger Station late in PM (I was the only one
    there, everyone else was at dinner :), and r2/c1 which was shot near
    the inlet/outlet of the lake near the gravel road. You can also shoot
    at Reflection Pond to get a nice reflection, but I always skip that
    area. You can bike to this area in the early AM from the Lodge but
    it's uphill, unfortunately.
    With the lens you have I'd get a 1.4x instead of a 2x ... a tripod will
    be handy if you find caribou or moose while on the bike since you can
    set up, but your bear and wolf shots need to come from a bus. A tripod
    is very handy for shooting scenics at Wonder Lake or the tundra, even a
    small light one. You can approach caribou safely to 25 yards legally
    and moose to 25 yards legally, but be careful with the moose -- some
    areas I will approach them to 25 yards but if it's flat and open or if
    they look particularly feisty I stay back further, they will stomp you
    if you misread their moods.

    Good luck, it's a great place with the tundra, mountain and animals
    when the weather cooperates ... our last time there we had 7 days with
    heavy smoke from forest fires south of Fairbanks and shot nothing, then
    it snowed which cleared the air, then we got the shots of the grizz and
    wolf on the same day to make up for all the bad days. So it's a place
    where you can do great or you can be really disappointed.

    Bill Hilton, Mar 11, 2006
  16. Rick,
    Yes, a TC is nice to have, but only if it is used on a good
    lens. On a low quality lens, all it does is magnify the blur
    circle. Your 75-300 lens on a 20D is probably already maxed out
    in terms of resolution, so I don't think a TC will help
    (perhaps a little, but not worth the effort and loss of
    autofocus and shutter speed).

    If you are willing to spend a little, but not 4K, take a look
    at the 300 mm f/4 L IS lens and a Kenko pro 300 1.4x TC.
    I use both and find them excellent. The 300mm is about $1100,
    and a 1.4x Kenko is about $200. Then a good tripod.

    For that focal length, a Bogen 3001 tripod will be limiting (too much
    vibration), so a 3021 class tripod is needed, with a good head.
    A much lighter Gitzo 1228 carbon fiber would be ideal, along
    with a good head and perhaps the Wimberly sidekick.
    The 1228 is about $460, a good ball head $250-400, sidekick $250.
    I use an arca-swiss B1 ballhead (about $400) on the 1228, and
    carry the sidekick. This would be a good starter wildlife system
    that would produce good results and something you would not
    need to replace later. You could look for ball heads on ebay, and
    perhaps the other stuff, but they are rare and the prices aren't
    much lower than new.

    This is the system I take when I need to travel light for wildlife
    (300mm, 1.4 and 2x TCs, Gitzo 1228, B1 head, sidekick,
    plus shorter focal length lenses and a 1D Mark II body).
    (For more serious stuff, then it's a 500mm f/4 plus the 300 plus
    more sturdy tripod and full Wimberly.) I'm not a pro either,
    but I take the fun seriously ;-).

    ---just my opinion.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 11, 2006
  17. Rick,

    I recommend paying close attention to what Bill says.
    Bill helped me out a lot when I started into wildlife
    photography with big lenses, and has always given me good
    advice. His experience with both equipment and locations
    is very impressive. And if we say something contradictory,
    go with Bill.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 12, 2006
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