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12-11-2015, 06:45 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Teleconverter challenge Sigma vs Kenko vs Tamron X1.4

I have too many teleconverters and need to rationalise. In so doing I thought to do a very quick and dirty test, not unlike the conditions one might experience when shooting in the wild. After all, that is the way it is isn't it.

Teleconverters tested:

1. Sigma X1.4 Tele Converter AF (a rare? teleconverter - not the APO, not the EX or EX DG). Comes in a gold box and was a film release (I assume)
2. Kenko X1.5 Teleplus MC DG
3. Tamron-F X1.4 AF

I attempted to control environmental variation as follows:

1. Tripod
2. SR off
3. Photos taken in quick succession
4. 2 sec delay on shutter release to reduce shake.

I used the FA*80-200/2.8 as the subject lens. An initial photograph minus a teleconverter was taken at zoom = 170mm - this is my control image. Image was taken in P mode (I allowed the camera to choose the best f stop and speed). P selected f8 and 1/1000. Camera used = K3.

I then took two photos with each teleconverter attached. The first photo was the P selected f stop and shutter speed. Each teleconverter selected the same settings - these being f5.6 and 1/640. I then manually set the camera to f8 and let P select the shutter speed (which was 1/250 for each converter).

Now to the images. There are differences. A little surprising too. I'll let the comments speak of the differences.



FA*80-200mm CONTROL @ f8 1/1000



FA*80-200mm + Sigma X1.4 TC @ f5.6 1/640



FA*80-200mm + Sigma X1.4 TC @ f8 1/250



FA*80-200mm + Kenko X1.5 TC @ f5.6 1/640



FA*80-200mm + Kenko X1.5 TC @ f8 1/250



FA*80-200mm + Tamron-F X1.4 TC @ f5.6 1/640



FA*80-200mm + Tamron-F X1.4 TC @ f8 1/250

---------- Post added 12-12-15 at 01:31 PM ----------

My boxed copy of the Sigma X1.4 Tele Converter AF tells me it is a 5 element/ 5 group teleconverter. OK, that is cool. The Tamron is a 4 group/ 4 element design. So there is optical difference, although there is no design drawing to help me understand what the differences are.

Anyway, my two bobs worth for the test is simple. I cannot distinguish between the Sigma or the Tamron. Truthfully, both have performed very well, and I was pixel peeping at a ridiculous scale. The Kenko has disappointed me greatly. Perhaps copy variation. Speaking of which, I have three Sigma X1.4 - I might see what sort of variation there is. Another test to do


Last edited by Wild Mark; 12-11-2015 at 07:32 PM.
12-11-2015, 08:59 PM   #2
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Nice test. Results are probably pretty typical, unfortunately.

Keep in mind that different lenses respond in various ways. The Sigma TCs tend to be "tuned" with designations for short and long focal lengths. They are somewhat matched to the Sigma lenses of their era. The Tamron is similar to a TC that I've used for Canon - and it is clearly a higher level optic than the Kenko SHQ series. The 1.5x isn't a terrible TC, though, but is best when mated primarily to better prime lenses of relatively modest light-gathering capability (f/2-2.8) and low CA. Bottom line, the 80-200/2.8 has its share of CA and purple fringing issues on the long end - not ideal for TC use. Of the various fast zooms ending at 200, probably only the Sigma would control the CA problems on a high level similar to quality primes.
12-11-2015, 09:13 PM   #3
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very nice testing.
I read somewhere that the tamron and the kenko might be the same TC?
12-11-2015, 09:28 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
I read somewhere that the tamron and the kenko might be the same TC?
Thanks

I have read this too. I have by chance had the opportunity to test this idea (only on one sample of each) and found the Kenko wanting! They cosmetically/ design wise look identical - they definitely look the same beast.

This Sigma TC is AWESOME. I have just run around with it clamped onto the F*300 - WOW - just wow. I feel like I have a pocket F*450/5.6 - images are sharp and easy to acquire. This little teleconverter is the goods!

12-11-2015, 09:30 PM   #5
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Can you post pictures of the Sigma TC? I have used the standard ones but not the one you are mentioning.
12-11-2015, 09:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
80-200/2.8 has its share of CA and purple fringing issues on the long end
Interesting. I chose that lens for testing as it was f2.8 and I had never experienced CAs/ PF with it - check out the control image, pretty clean (some PF in reflected sunlight, but otherwise clean).

I'll ponder your comments some more and perhaps widen my testing to see what happens. Interesting to see such wide differences.

---------- Post added 12-12-15 at 03:35 PM ----------

@ sergysergy - yes I will - in a few moments
12-11-2015, 10:05 PM   #7
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The testing of the Pentax 80-200 in various reviews shows a pretty significant CA and purple fringing problem on the long end; you only would notice it under stress conditions - which the TCs are showing you. The Pentax probably outperforms the Sigma and Tamron competition in the middle of the zoom range, but those newer designed lens share the goal of providing better optical performance at the long end at the expense of compromised performance in the middle of the range where 70-200s tend not to get much use.

Bottom line - other long lenses are better suited to TC use.

Some lower-level Tamron and Kenko TCs are identical. However, the excellent Tamron SP 140 does not have a similar Kenko offering in Pentax mount. Anyone who has these TCs can quickly conclude they are not identical, or even similar. This is a fact that routinely gets questioned by those repeating Internet myth. Stop it people.
12-11-2015, 10:53 PM - 1 Like   #8
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OK in fairness to the Kenko, I have retested against the Sigma using same protocols and the F*300


F*300mm + Kenko X1.5 TC @ f5 1/640



F*300mm + Kenko X1.5 TC @ f8 1/250



F*300mm + Sigma X1.4 TC @ f5.6 1/400



F*300mm + Sigma X1.4 TC @ f8 1/200



F*300mm @ f5 1/2000



F*300mm @ f8 1/640

---------- Post added 12-12-15 at 04:56 PM ----------

The results show, to me, that the Sigma remains better than the Kenko, with the gap narrowing. Not surprisingly, the cropped shot without TC shows the awesomeness of the F*300 (no TC needed at that distance - crops are better).

---------- Post added 12-12-15 at 04:59 PM ----------

And the Sigma TC is picture here (cheekily taken using F*300 + Sigma TC at 6 metres)



I am now interested in testing the optimum range for using a TC on the F*300mm. I suspect the TC might be useful when distances greater than 100m are involved.

12-11-2015, 11:35 PM   #9
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I was a bit disappointed with a 1.4x Kenko on my F*300/4.5..... until about F8 ish
12-11-2015, 11:37 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by noelpolar Quote
I was a bit disappointed with a 1.4x Kenko on my F*300/4.5..... until about F8 ish
Good call, I am too. The Tamron is far superior. I have to say the Sigma is neck and neck with the Tamron. Nothing separates them!
12-12-2015, 01:33 AM   #11
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kev

that is exactly what I did. read the first post carefully. All conditions were maintained. In the second test I excluded the Tamron-F. I was only interested in ScooterMaxi Jim's comments re: master lens. I changed to the F*300 for this purpose. Some aperture and shutter speed differences are evident - my error. I am quite satisfied with my bucket science results (I know I could have done better, but I am not interested in extreme climate control).

The Tamron-F is an excellent TC as is this 'Sigma X1.4'. The Kenko 1.5X really did not perform no matter how I tried. This did surprise me and given the amount I paid for the Kenko I was disappointed.
12-12-2015, 05:10 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
very nice testing.
I read somewhere that the tamron and the kenko might be the same TC?
I agree, nice test, but mistaken identity. The TC's that are said to be identical are:
  • Tamron-F 1.4X Pz-AF MC4
  • Kenko SHQ PZ 1.5X
The OP tested neither of these.

To further complicate matters, it has been shown that there are two different variations of the Kenko SHQ PZ 1.5X. One is 1.6X magnification, the other is 1.4X, and is optically the same as the Tamron-F 1.4X PZ-AF MC4.
Re: Teleconverter magnification comparison. (5 imgs): Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

I have the "Kenko SHQ PZ 1.5X which is actually a 1.4X". It is very close in IQ to my Pentax HD 1.4X RC. In fact with one lens, an A135mm f2.8, it may even perform better.

Last edited by audiobomber; 12-12-2015 at 07:46 AM.
12-12-2015, 06:00 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I recently acquired a 1.4x kenko MC4 DG, pic 1, I was interested to see if it might be usable on my DAL55-300, and also to compare with my adaptall 014F on my 300mm f2.8 60B.

Results so far are quite good, it does work on my DAL and certainly in good light I still have AF on my K5. Crop 1 - DAL, crop 2 - DAL + kenko. Both f8 on camera.

Comparing the kenko with the 014f on the 60B is ongoing, so far test pics suggest comparable performance. One interesting point however was that the 014F clearly has a slightly larger magnification than the kenko. Counting pixels, I estimated the kenko as actually 1.37x. #3 is screenshot of images compared at 100% in faststone..

However one test the kenko fell flat on: on my smc-A 50mm. f1.7 This was at f2.8 (crop 4). Ugh!
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12-12-2015, 08:15 AM   #14
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I too have shot the FA* 80-200 f/2.8 in what I thought were torture conditions and gotten no CA/PF. I shot it against my DA* 200 f/2.8 and the DA* showed CA/PF but not the FA*; I no longer have the FA* since I sold it but that experience was an eye opener to me. I wonder if the FA* that was reviewed was typical or not.

As for TC's - I would love to see the Pentax HD AW 1.4x in this testing mix.

I need to do some tests myself. I have the FA* 300 f/4.5 and the Pentax A series 1.4x as well as the HD 1.4x - the HD is on loan to my dad at the moment however.
12-12-2015, 12:59 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I agree, nice test, but mistaken identity. The TC's that are said to be identical are:
  • Tamron-F 1.4X Pz-AF MC4
  • Kenko SHQ PZ 1.5X
The OP tested neither of these.

To further complicate matters, it has been shown that there are two different variations of the Kenko SHQ PZ 1.5X. One is 1.6X magnification, the other is 1.4X, and is optically the same as the Tamron-F 1.4X PZ-AF MC4.
Re: Teleconverter magnification comparison. (5 imgs): Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

I have the "Kenko SHQ PZ 1.5X which is actually a 1.4X". It is very close in IQ to my Pentax HD 1.4X RC. In fact with one lens, an A135mm f2.8, it may even perform better.
Ok, this helps
Too many similar names
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