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12-14-2010, 09:26 PM   #1
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ebay and cheap teleconverters

Hey, I see a bunch of old, cheap, manual 2x teleconverters on ebay, and I wonder if I can expect ANY of these brands to perform at all. When I say cheap, I mean like $5 to $15. It's not much of an investment, but I'd still don't want to waste my time, or the money. I'm not familiar with any of these brands, so I would have not idea which one to try out. Here they are:

Albinar
Toyo
Focal
Gemini

This is mainly just to play around, but it would be nice to find a keeper. Any advice is appreciated!

12-15-2010, 12:30 AM   #2
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cheap teleconverters are just that, cheap.

I have 5 cheap ones, and before you ask, I have not really tested them. the 5 I have are a takumar A 2x, a vivitar 2x, and a vivitar 3x (all K mount) plus a tamron MC 2x and soligor 2x in M42.

None cost more than your range, yes all of them will magnify the image, but the only one I have really used and tested is the tamron M42 teleconverter because I stopped my M42 kit at 200mm and use this occasionally with my Tak 200F3.5.

My main TCs that I do use, are the Sigma 1.4x and 2x Cs that are somewhat "matched" to sigmas long lenses (I use them on the 70-200F2.8) and the SMC-F-1,7x AF converter, which I use with my K300F4 and Vivitar 85F1.4

these TCs are an order of magnitude, and then some, over your price but are all excellent.
12-15-2010, 03:37 AM   #3
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I've accumulated a stock of cheap TCs, mostly M42's, as blow-by's when buying batch-lots of photo gear. I've successfully sold some of them. I keep the more expensive ones, not because they're great, but because they're not worth selling. In fact, I never use them, but I might someday. Yeah, stack a couple 2x's and a couple 3x's for a 10x gain on my Spiratone 400/5.6, you betcha!

I think all the cheap ones are about equivalent, IQ-wise. By which I mean, don't expect crystal clarity. Cheap TC's are great in certain applications: surveillance, blackmail, target-marking, cases where getting the image is more important than making it pretty. If you MUST grab a shot that is otherwise out of reach, use a TC. Ah, the drama...
12-15-2010, 04:32 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vote4Pedro Quote
Hey, I see a bunch of old, cheap, manual 2x teleconverters on ebay, and I wonder if I can expect ANY of these brands to perform at all. When I say cheap, I mean like $5 to $15. It's not much of an investment, but I'd still don't want to waste my time, or the money. I'm not familiar with any of these brands, so I would have not idea which one to try out. Here they are:

Albinar
Toyo
Focal
Gemini

This is mainly just to play around, but it would be nice to find a keeper. Any advice is appreciated!
Take out the glass and they will work fine as extension tubes, but not for much else.

12-15-2010, 05:53 AM   #5
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Cheap converters are, cheap... Expensive converters can deliver amazing results, however. I got a wide Raynox converter (0.66x) costing the price of a kit lens, that I used on my Canon S2 compact, and it was an excellent piece of glass.
12-15-2010, 06:17 AM   #6
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If you're going to use a TC only the best will do--otherwise, just shoot and crop.
12-15-2010, 08:41 AM   #7
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I second the statement about extension tubes, I've been considering getting one and removing the glass. But otherwise I think you would be better to crop from a good lens.
12-15-2010, 10:49 AM   #8
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One note about the older M42 TCs:

Two years ago I got bored and tried a comparison exercise with all my 135 - 400mm lenses and eleven TC's. All the usual "wisdom" about TCs was valid, however, I did notice a marked preference for the older lenses to perform better with the older, M42 TCs than with PK/PKA converters with M42 adapters.

In general, contrast and color fringing seemed subjectively better using glass of the "same era" and the appearance of good build quality seemed to coincide with better optical performance. Regardless of brand labels, there were only a few manufacturers of the common 2X TCs so actual differences in results may be more in build quality -- the precision of machining and assembly, coatings (if any) and especially the attention to reducing internal reflections with baffles and matt finishes. (I have noticeably improved some economy items with touch-up paint on reflective internal surfaces. Sometimes just snugging up threaded fittings helps.)

I wouldn't say that results with converters attached was ever awe inspiring, but certain lens/converter pairings were definitely better than others and some were quite acceptable when used within the limits of the basic lens and scene.

As cheap and plentiful as these old TCs are today I don't mind keeping a box full of 'em around just in case I come across a serendipitous pairing; various production runs with the same label can behave quite differently. And it's nice to occasionally pass along an older lens with a free "best match" TC to someone on a budget.

H2

12-15-2010, 12:43 PM   #9
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There was an early eighties Tokina 7-element 2x that was decent. I'm not sure what they go for or if there was a P/ka version. I use my Tamron adaptall II 2x if I really need it, but I would not call it stellar. I bought a cheapie the thebay for a P/ka extention tube.
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