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09-05-2022, 04:54 AM   #1
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Questions re: Tamron 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 Tele-Converter

Just want to make sure I understand what a teleconverter does, and that it will work with my lens. I have a Pentax K-70, paired with a Tamron 70-300 f1.4 -5.6 that I use for shooting my son's soccer team. Works great for away games when I can sit on the sidelines. Homegames from the stands not-so-much, as I'm about another 20+ yards off the field. So am looking for additional reach.

These photos largely end up on the phones/social media posts of parents so they don't need to be amazingly sharp. I do post-processing through Topaz and Luminar Neo, so just want them decently close to in-focus and shareable out of the camera. I can fix quite a bit on the back-end..

Will something like the Tamron 1.4x pz-AF MC4 Tele-converter with a Pentax mount get me there?

Looks like they can be had in the US $100.00 +/- range, which is considerably less than a dedicated longer lens.

thx.

09-05-2022, 05:48 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by dr_canak Quote
Just want to make sure I understand what a teleconverter does, and that it will work with my lens. I have a Pentax K-70, paired with a Tamron 70-300 f1.4 -5.6 that I use for shooting my son's soccer team. Works great for away games when I can sit on the sidelines. Homegames from the stands not-so-much, as I'm about another 20+ yards off the field. So am looking for additional reach.

These photos largely end up on the phones/social media posts of parents so they don't need to be amazingly sharp. I do post-processing through Topaz and Luminar Neo, so just want them decently close to in-focus and shareable out of the camera. I can fix quite a bit on the back-end..

Will something like the Tamron 1.4x pz-AF MC4 Tele-converter with a Pentax mount get me there?

Looks like they can be had in the US $100.00 +/- range, which is considerably less than a dedicated longer lens.

thx.
It might work, but there are two things working against it.

1) with a tc the lens needs to be very good optically before adding the tc to get good images. If your lens is already only ok - you may lose enough definition that it is no longer ok. For your stated use it might still provide enough quality.

2) the lens you have is f 4-5.6 which means with the addition of the tc it will become f5.6-8. F8 is pushing things as far as autofocus goes. There are some people who have used the Pentax branded HD DA 1.4x with the 55-300 PLM and has good results, and that lens is slower at f6.3 on the long end (before adding the tc). However thatís using the Pentax tc with the Pentax lens both of which are excellent performers.

Additional, there are many tcís by third parties with varying quality and autofocus accuracy. The one you mention isnít one Iíve personally used (nor the lens).

A final point: there are arguments that cropping (particularly for your intended use) can be superior (or at least equal ) to using a tc. If you upgraded your lens to a 55-300 (the hd wr model or the hd PLM) then the additional quality might make crops better. But I know from personal experience that using a tc helps with framing the subject and making the shot work depending on the situation.

As for longer lensesÖ there are some that wonít break the bank but all involve compromises. The da 60-250 plus the 1.4x Pentax tc is what I would start with myself but I already own both. That combo is 350mm at f5.6 with exceptional image quality. Itís also expensive sadly which doesnít fit your requirements.
09-05-2022, 06:03 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I'll second Uncle Vanya's advice.

I have the Tamron 70-300, and while it was a very good value, it is not as good as the Pentax DA55-300 lenses, especially at 300mm, which it sounds is where you want to use it...

The teleconverter will amplify the shortcomings of the lens, and making the F5.6 lens into a f8 lens will make the focus slower and less accurate. I've noticed with my copy of the Tamron that it really wants to be shot at f8 or so for best quality. With the teleconverter, that's now f11, which will impact shutter speed and ISO in a way that may make your photos worse.

All that said, $100 may be a reasonable price for an experiment... especially if you have other lenses that may benefit from the teleconverter.
The solution free of all budgetary constraints would be to get a new 150-450 lens and shoot with that... but that $100 is about what it would cost to rent for a week...
I'd probably give the teleconverter a try, and if it didn't work, either sell it on or keep it for other lenses... since all of the other choices are much more expensive...

In terms of other choices, in addition to the Pentax 150-450, there are zooms from Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron of various ages and capabilities that would also work.
Sigma recently made a 50-500 and 170-500; Tokina had an 80-400, if I remember right, and Tamron had a 200-500. They are all uncommon in Pentax mount, though... especially in autofocus...
There are also primes. The Pentax DA 300mm is well suited to use with the Pentax teleconverter, but that's expensive. Older, manual focus lenses are less expensive but harder to use with sports. I've had good luck with the Pentax A 400mm f5.6, but I'd rather shoot sports with a zoom.

In older, manual focus there are even more choices, including the Vivitar/Cosina 100-500 that is often inexpensive, but you may be better off cropping from the Tamron you have.
I'll also suggest you stay away from the inexpensive 2-in-1 800/1300mm or whatever lenses you see all over eBay. They are not great for sports...

-Eric
09-05-2022, 10:30 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Another agreement for Uncle Vanya's summary.
I've got a K-70, it's fitted with a Tamron 90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 at the moment, a fine pairing, but add in my 1.5x teleconverter (Kenko branded, but probably the same as the Tamron 1.4x) and the combination becomes a "good-light-only" system, and then only really reliable on a static subject.
If you want/need 450/500mm reach, and cropping simply will not do, you need a 450/500mm lens, else a 300mm with a wider aperture for use with the converter.

09-05-2022, 10:50 AM   #5
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Many thx for the feedback. So long as it's feasible, I'll give it a go as TwoUptons suggested. With only a couple exceptions, these are all daylight games, so light itself should be adequate. I'll just steer clear of the combo during the couple night games, as I don't think the stadium lighting is all the great. i guess if it's a fail, and use with the other couple lenses I have is a wash, i can just unload it and call it a learning experience ;-).

Last edited by dr_canak; 09-05-2022 at 11:37 AM.
09-05-2022, 02:52 PM   #6
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I have that very TC. I have only used it on my Pentax FA* 300mm f/4.5 lens, though I have other lenses for potential use. It is very effective on this lens. I don't have the Tamron lens you have, and as with Sigma, there were a number of different versions of 70-300mm lenses over the years. There are ratings given of these in the lens review section of the forum. I have the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO which is given but in my case one has to go nearly to the bottom of all that are listed to find it, and mine is given a high rating, which has been verified in my own use. I have not tried the TC with it. If someone here has your exact version Tamron lens and has tried it with that TC, it might work but still not be satisfactory for them.

I agree with TwoUptons- the only way to find out how useful it would be to you in your own case is to try it and see.

For such a low cost I would think it to be worth a try. TC's are generally meant to be used with faster lenses (having more aperture) than your Tamron zoom lens. If it does not work out, I would say keep it anyway, as you might wind up getting another lens where it would be more useful.

Last edited by mikesbike; 09-05-2022 at 02:57 PM.
09-05-2022, 05:20 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
...there were a number of different versions of 70-300mm lenses over the years. There are ratings given of these in the lens review section of the forum. I have the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO which is given but in my case one has to go nearly to the bottom of all that are listed to find it, and mine is given a high rating,....
Thx. Good to know about the various iterations of this Tamron lens. I had no idea, but now looking I have the "AF Ld Di" which is not that highly rated . But that's o.k. It was probably the cheapest available at the time, when I first got my K-x DSLR many, many moons ago. No doubt the price factored large in my decision making haha. I'll give the TC a whirl and see where I land.

09-06-2022, 02:45 AM   #8
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I don't know how urgently you need the TC but with patience they can be had for far less than $100.
Mine cost $30aud and yes it is a 1.4 pz. Happy hunting 😊
09-06-2022, 05:22 AM   #9
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I have that exact TC and the main problem is that it really slows down the focusing, making it difficult to use for sports or fast action photography. Anything else is is fine. Of course if you focus manually this isn't a problem.

With my Pentax DA *300 and 55-300 PLM lenses I didn't experience any significant drop in image quality.

Last edited by Theov39; 09-08-2022 at 08:43 PM.
09-08-2022, 04:17 AM   #10
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Absolutely buy the teleconverter and give it a try. I use this exact set up as a low cost & lightweight way to identify birds. I use a K-5IIs, and set the ISO to 3200. Typically, if you have a steady hand in good light, your shots can often be good to very good.

Now for the tricky stuff:
- The Tamron 1.4x AF teleconverter was made by Kenko in Japan. Another version of the exact same teleconverter (but without PZ contacts) was the Vivitar Series One 1.4x AF, and there were others. Do not buy a 1.5x, as it is slightly slower, and it will impact the ability of the autofocus to lock on (note: there is one exception to this rule, and it is one of two versions of the Kenko SHQ 1.5x AF teleconverter. Same name, same appearance, but the rear element on one of the versions is larger, and it's actually identical to the Tamron & Vivitar 1.4x. Confusing, huh?).
- There was also an early 5-element Sigma 1.4x teleconverter from the film days that is quite good, but it doesn't come up for sale too often.
-The earliest versions of the Tamron 70-300mm autofocus lens were made in Japan, and took a 58mm filter. These are typically quite sharp, and the autofocus is considerably faster than the later Tamron 70-300mm that takes a 62mm filter. Of the later 62mm version, the last variation of these was a DI model made in Vietnam, and it is quite sharp - but the autofocus is still slower than the 58mm versions.
-The Pentax DA 55-300mm with the green ring is a nice lens and works well with the Tamron teleconverter, but it's autofocus is also slower than the 58mm Tamron 70-300 lens.

I own all of the above lenses & teleconverters, and many more in this category, as I started using these combinations at the beginning of the autofocus era. You may find in actual practice that a slower autofocusing speed is not terribly significant, but in my application, I need the autofocus to lock on as quickly as possible. Probably most important is to not buy a 1.5x Kenko-make teleconverter (or a 1.7x Kenko-made such as the Promaster Spectrum 7, which is the exact same teleconverter!), as they will often hunt & fail to lock on. Stick to a 1.4x teleconverter, and have fun with it!
09-08-2022, 05:41 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobore Quote
Absolutely buy the teleconverter and give it a try. I use this exact set up as a low cost & lightweight way to identify birds. I use a K-5IIs, and set the ISO to 3200. Typically, if you have a steady hand in good light, your shots can often be good to very good.

Now for the tricky stuff:
- The Tamron 1.4x AF teleconverter was made by Kenko in Japan. Another version of the exact same teleconverter (but without PZ contacts) was the Vivitar Series One 1.4x AF, and there were others. Do not buy a 1.5x, as it is slightly slower, and it will impact the ability of the autofocus to lock on (note: there is one exception to this rule, and it is one of two versions of the Kenko SHQ 1.5x AF teleconverter. Same name, same appearance, but the rear element on one of the versions is larger, and it's actually identical to the Tamron & Vivitar 1.4x. Confusing, huh?).
- There was also an early 5-element Sigma 1.4x teleconverter from the film days that is quite good, but it doesn't come up for sale too often.
-The earliest versions of the Tamron 70-300mm autofocus lens were made in Japan, and took a 58mm filter. These are typically quite sharp, and the autofocus is considerably faster than the later Tamron 70-300mm that takes a 62mm filter. Of the later 62mm version, the last variation of these was a DI model made in Vietnam, and it is quite sharp - but the autofocus is still slower than the 58mm versions.
-The Pentax DA 55-300mm with the green ring is a nice lens and works well with the Tamron teleconverter, but it's autofocus is also slower than the 58mm Tamron 70-300 lens.

I own all of the above lenses & teleconverters, and many more in this category, as I started using these combinations at the beginning of the autofocus era. You may find in actual practice that a slower autofocusing speed is not terribly significant, but in my application, I need the autofocus to lock on as quickly as possible. Probably most important is to not buy a 1.5x Kenko-make teleconverter (or a 1.7x Kenko-made such as the Promaster Spectrum 7, which is the exact same teleconverter!), as they will often hunt & fail to lock on. Stick to a 1.4x teleconverter, and have fun with it!
Thank you. That's a very thorough summary. I did find a Tamron-F AF 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 teleconverter on ebay. Just got it today, and have to say, shooting soccer (which is really why I bought it) was very difficult. Natural light was abundant (4:30p CST), and I was trying with the sun to my back. That said, the auto-focus did struggle. Others commented this might be a problem. That said, i literally opened the box, stuck it on, and gave it a go. I'm sure I'll learn the nuances of the thing over time. I certainly am encouraged by your post to stick with it for a bit to see what I can get out of it.
09-08-2022, 10:47 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dr_canak Quote
Thank you. That's a very thorough summary. I did find a Tamron-F AF 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 teleconverter on ebay. Just got it today, and have to say, shooting soccer (which is really why I bought it) was very difficult. Natural light was abundant (4:30p CST), and I was trying with the sun to my back. That said, the auto-focus did struggle. Others commented this might be a problem. That said, i literally opened the box, stuck it on, and gave it a go. I'm sure I'll learn the nuances of the thing over time. I certainly am encouraged by your post to stick with it for a bit to see what I can get out of it.
You acquired one of the best options - hope it proves to be useful for you down the road. Soccer, with itís constant movement, does seem like a rather tall order for this set up. Other tips - Regarding filters, only use a UV filter, which does not cut down on transmitted light (as opposed to a polarizer). Also, try using center spot focus only, as it may be more efficient at locking on, with just one focus point.
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