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09-13-2021, 10:13 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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Teleconverters - Pentax v Kenko v Tamron

I'll start with the conclusion - Better testing would be needed to determine which of these three is the sharpest.

I've had the Tamron-F 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 for a while now and bought the Kenko 1.5x TELEPLUS SHQ a few months ago. These, I am certain, are one and the same re-badged. Both are actually 1.39x magnification.

Last week the Pentax came within my price range and I grabbed one because of the AW and the fact that the camera knows that it's there. It has a magnification a bit over 1.4x but I haven't yet worked it out exactly.

I've done two quick and dirty tests. In the first the Pentax appeared sharper but it was in direct sunlight and the ruler bowed as it heated up so the focus point may have changed between tests. The second test (today) was in bright shade with the ruler allowed to stretch without bowing.

Images from todays test:

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09-13-2021, 11:13 PM   #2
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Man, those all look pretty good to me. Iíve been vaguely waiting for the Pentax to come up in the right price range but those other options look pretty good, at least in that example.
09-14-2021, 12:09 AM   #3
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Although I'm a fan of teleconverters, I only use one when necessary and haven't yet found an appropriate Pentax unit that could justify it's asking price (for what I want).
I'm usually happy with the results from my Kenko 1.5x and seeing these results I'll probably stay that way
Thanks for making the effort to take and publish these results
09-14-2021, 12:40 AM   #4
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Interesting comparison Craig. I have the Kenko too. If using a tripod with SR off (as I assume your test shots are), the Kenko compares well with the Pentax DA in your test. But for handheld use, the major limitation of a third party TC is that it doesn't pass the effective focal length to the camera and this affects shake reduction.

I would spring for the DA for this alone if it weren't so expensive. Even in the recent ebay sale, it was still $A500. Ouch. That's more than I paid for my 55-300 PLM. The Kenko was about $A150 in mint condition.


Last edited by Des; 09-14-2021 at 12:47 AM.
09-14-2021, 01:11 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
the major limitation of a third party TC is that it doesn't pass the effective focal length to the camera and this affects shake reduction.
I'm not sure how much that matters really.

Remember this shot? This is at 275m (300ft) K3 DA*300 Tamron-F TC.

I've scaled it up to 200%. I really wouldn't have expected to see the pupil of a Goshawk at that distance.

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On the other hand I do expect benefits of the camera knowing there is a TC fitted.
09-14-2021, 01:31 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by alfa75ts Quote
I'm not sure how much that matters really.
I suppose one way to test it would be with a manual lens and dialling in different focal lengths.

Are you not noticing any improvement in the field with the DA TC? If the optical performance is similar, the difference can only be because the camera knows the effective focal length. And surely that matters because of SR?
09-14-2021, 01:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Are you not noticing any improvement in the field with the DA TC?
To be honest, things vary too much in the field to make direct comparisons. One tiny puff of wind.....

Besides, it's only been a few days.

09-14-2021, 04:11 AM   #8
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In my opinion and experience (I've owned F-1.7AF , A-1.4, and DA-1.4 rear converters), teleconverters were useful with film and with early DSLRs but now with pixel-dense cameras like the K3 and later cameras you get better results cropping the images taken with just the lens than with the lens+converter.
Perhaps with stopped down apertures, teleconverters may give better results than cropping, but I usually use long lenses wide open or close to wide open.

Last edited by Spock; 09-14-2021 at 04:18 AM.
09-14-2021, 04:31 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by alfa75ts Quote
I'll start with the conclusion - Better testing would be needed to determine which of these three is the sharpest.

I've had the Tamron-F 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 for a while now and bought the Kenko 1.5x TELEPLUS SHQ a few months ago. These, I am certain, are one and the same re-badged. Both are actually 1.39x magnification.

Last week the Pentax came within my price range and I grabbed one because of the AW and the fact that the camera knows that it's there. It has a magnification a bit over 1.4x but I haven't yet worked it out exactly.

I've done two quick and dirty tests. In the first the Pentax appeared sharper but it was in direct sunlight and the ruler bowed as it heated up so the focus point may have changed between tests. The second test (today) was in bright shade with the ruler allowed to stretch without bowing.

Images from todays test:
Nice work.
I never use teleconverters because of a long held belief they degrade the image too much . But nowadays struggling for reach with the K-1 I wonder if I need to re-evaluate this.
I am aware that they have a use in macro and have been told that image degradation is less with macro but am not sure about that.
But most people use them for long distance work and I wonder if you were to test at a longer range that you may get a different result?
09-14-2021, 04:45 AM   #10
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Of the three pics, I'd pick 'em in this order: tamron, kenko, pentax. That's not about sharpness, it's about data loss (contrast, luminosity, texture).
09-14-2021, 06:22 AM - 1 Like   #11
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You can also reference the comparisons in this thread, by myself, WildMark and others.

Teleconverter challenge Sigma vs Kenko vs Tamron X1.4 - PentaxForums.com

Also the reviews:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/kenko-pz-af-1-5x-teleplus-shq-teleconverter.html
09-14-2021, 08:05 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I can't see any differences among your test shots. They all look sharp to me. I've had the Pentax DA 1.4x for about 2 years. The only lens I use it with is the DA*300mm. I see no need to use it on any other lens I have. I am still undecided as to which is best. The 300mm w/teleconverter or the 300mm alone and just crop the image.
09-14-2021, 08:55 AM   #13
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The Kenko & Tamron are indeed the same. I actually just compared the Tamron (two of them) vs the Pentax yesterday and couldn't find a difference in quality other than the Pentax is slightly more magnified. The Pentax has the advantage of weather-sealing and it transmits the proper adjusted focal length to the camera so the shake reduction works better. The Kenko/Tamron is full-frame however, and the Pentax is not.
09-14-2021, 09:23 AM   #14
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What was the underlying lens used? This may vary with the lens as much as anything.
09-14-2021, 12:25 PM   #15
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I'm guessing the DA* 300/4 is the primary lens, as the OP has one.

The Pentax TC is pretty obviously the worst performer here.
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