Sony Teleconverters 1.4X and 2.0X Review - Photo Jottings

Sony Teleconverters 1.4X and 2.0X Review

Here’s a brief look at the Sony teleconverters.  Scroll down for the review.

Sony 1.4X and 2.0X teleconverters
Box contents
Both come with front and rear caps, plus a nice carrying bag.
$548 each.
Build quality
Very Good.
That all depends.  See conclusion at page bottom.
Add. Info
They only work on the Sony 70-400mm F/4-5.6, (no AF with TC use), Sony 300mm F/2.8, Sony 500mm F/4, Sony 70-200mm F/2.8 and Sony 135mm F/2.8, but no AF on this lens at all.

Specifications compiled using the owners manual

Sony 1.4X and 2.0X teleconverters
1.4X has 5, 2.0X has 6
1.4X has 4, 2.0X has 5
Angle of view
Min. focus (macro)
Same as lens used.
Max. magnification
1.4X or 2.0X  of the attached lens.
Min. F/stop
Filter diameter
1.4X is 2 1/2″ x 13/16, (64 x 20mm)  2.0X is 2 1/2 x 1 11/16 (64 x 43.5mm)
1.4X 5.9oz (168g)   2.0X  7.06oz (200g)
Requisite product shots.

2.0X box and contents.
1.4X box and contents.
Side shots
Rear view
2.0 X-ray view, Sony screen grab.
1.4 X-ray view, Sony screen grab.
All testing done with the Sony A 700 and Sony 70-200mm F/2.8 G lens.
The Sony teleconverters (TCs) are for use on a few select Sony high-end lenses.  They’re relatively expensive and have limited uses.  If you don’t know much about them and what they fit, you probably won’t be needing one.  Never-the-less, it’s always fun to read my reviews right?
The Sony teleconverters are used to increase the focal length of the existing lens, but they also reduce the light gathering power by one and two stops.  When mounted on a F/2.8 lens, the aperture doesn’t physically stop down to F/4 or F/5.6 when a TC is attached, It’s really still wide open, the focal length change from the teleconverters results from the distance using the TCs and adjusts the aperture light gathering power accordingly.  For instance, when you mount the 1.4X TC on the 70-200 F/2.8 lens, you’ll only be able to go as fast as F/4.0, or one stop, with the 2.0X, F/5.6, or two stops, even though the lens aperture is wide open like it would be at F/2.8 without the teleconverters.  The additional focal lengths and apertures automatically read correctly on screen and in the EXIF data.  As of this review, these teleconverters only work with five Sony lenses, the 135mm F/2.8 STF, (Manual focus lens), the 300mm F/2.8, 500mm F/4, 70-400mm F/4-5.6 (no AF with TC use) and 70-200mm F/2.8.  They’ll work on various Minolta lenses too.  On APS-C cameras, use the normal 1.5x conversion plus the TC factor.  For example: when mounting the 1.4X TC on your Sony A700 with the 70-200mm F/2.8 at 200mm, you’ll actually be at 280mm; 200 x 1.4 = 280.  Now you add the Sony APS-C sensor conversion factor of 1.5x which is 280 x 1.5 = 420.  Obviously, film or full frame cameras don’t need the conversion factor.
Build quality is very good, the same as the lenses they work on.  They say “Japan” so I’m assuming they’re made in Japan.  The TCs match the finish and texture of the Sony white lenses perfectly.
Both TCs are multi-coated, with a predominately amber color.
Focusing speed and accuracy seems unchanged with the addition on the TCs for the most part in my fairly narrow use range.
The boxes for these teleconverters are way too big.  Just look at the pictures above.  The give you “eco information” on the boxes like paper cushions used, and lead free solder, come on!  Once inside the massive box you’ll get the caps and a nice carrying bag, though not as nice and convenient as the old Minolta gray suede cases.
Bokeh seems just a bit smoother without the TCs.  That’s just my opinion.
A slight pincushion at full telephoto without a TC at (200mm) seemed to be corrected and level using the 2.0X TC.
Light fall-off is no different with the TCs.

More tidbits:  Make sure you fasten these to your lens and camera correctly, otherwise you won’t get proper metering or autofocus.  The proper mounting sequence is: mount the TC on the lens, then mount it on your camera.  Also, make sure the little lever on the TC snaps into position, or you won’t get AF, like I did.  Just re-mount and everything should be fine.
You cannot “stack” these teleconverters, meaning mounting one on top of the other, they’re designed so you physically can’t do it.


It appears spherical aberration is introduced by the Sony teleconverters on the 70-200mm F/2.8 G SSM at the widest available aperture.


Minimum focusing distances stay the same with or without the teleconverters as measured from the film or sensor plane.


Magnification is 1.4X or 2.0X that of the lens used.



Let’s start off with a few pictures with the Sony 70-200mm F/2.8 lens alone, and with the TCs added.


200mm with no teleconverter.
200mm with 1.4X teleconverter, for 280mm.
200mm with 2.0X teleconverter, for 400mm.


You are going from 200mm, 280mm and 400mm.  Or if you’re using an APS-C camera, 300mm, 420mm and 600mm in 35mm terms.


Below we have some sample crops using the 1.4X.


The distance is about 50ft (15m) from the camera to the book and cloth scene.  All comparison shots were taken indoors to eliminate heat shimmer, which is a big problem in the summer here in southern AZ, and wreaks havoc on detailed comparison tests.


F/4  200mm with 1.4X TC
F/5.6  200mm with 1.4X TC
F/8  200mm with 1.4X TC
F/11  200mm with 1.4X TC


The 100% cropped scene above shows a soft looking F/4, but much sharper one stop down at F/5.6 and F/8 seems to be the sharpest.  F/11 looks good also.  It appears the Sony teleconverters are introducing veiling haze (spherical aberration) (on the 70-200mm) at the largest available corrected aperture for that converter, but through the veiling haze you still have plenty of detail present.


Now for the 2.0X teleconverter.


F/5.6  200mm with 2.0X TC
F/7.1  200mm with 2.0X TC
F/8  200mm with 2.0X TC
F/11  200mm with 2.0X TC


Again, soft looking wide open at F/5.6 due to spherical aberration. Less than a full stop down it almost disappears and looks good at F/7.1, and seems sharpest at F/8.  Spherical aberration is more noticeable using the 2.0X.


Below are comparisons of no TC upsampled to the size of the 1.4X to the right. 


No TC, upsampled to match 1.4X.
Using the 1.4X TC
F/4 2008/52440noab.jpg 2008/541a1440a.jpg


The little 1.4X does a real good job here.  Other than the top shot, things look pretty sharp stopped down.  The 1.4x wins here, but not by a big margin.


Next, the 2.0X teleconverter and comparisons to the 1.4X upsampled image.


Using the 1.4X TC, upsampled to match 2.0X size
Using the 2.0X TC
2008/542a1456ad.jpg 2008/551a2056c.jpg


I don’t need to say much here.  Things look better a stop down, but it really looks like you’d be just as well off by leaving the 2.0X in the bag.


Here’s an extreme comparison of no TC against the 2.0X.


No TC, upsampled 200% to match image size of 2.0X TC F/5.6
Using the 2.0X TC F/8


Clearly here you’re a little better off with the 2.0X TC, though remember these image are 100% crops.  Small to medium sized prints would not show any difference.



Bonus section!


Now for some samples between the 70-300mm G SSM and the 70-200mm G SSM with the 1.4X TC.


70-300mm G SSM @280mm
70-200mm G SSM @200mm with 1.4X TC


It looks like you’re still a little better off with the 70-200mm, but the much less expensive 70-300mm is doing a good job.


More comparisons, read the text and headings carefully.


70-300mm @280mm upsampled to 400mm F/8
70-200mm @ 200mm Using the 2.0X TC F/8


The 70-200mm is still a little sharper with the 2.0X TC attached than the 70-300mm is, set at 280mm.


70-300mm G SSM @ 200mm  F/8
70-200mm G SSM @ 200mm F/5.6


A surprise here for me.  Obviously, the 70-200mm G SSM is very sharp, but it’s also much bigger and heavier and—$1000 more.  No teleconverters were used in the crops above.  The 70-300mm is sharpest at F/8, the 70-200mm is sharpest at F/5.6.  The 200mm range is not the absolute sharpest for the 70-300mm.


70-300mm G SSM @ 280mm
70-200mm G SSM @ 200mm with 1.4X


Sony 500mm reflex shot below.


Sony 500mm reflex F/8 lens
Real world results aren’t so dramatic, but there is a difference.  Look at the house numbers in the top crops, you can barely make out the outline of the numbers with the 70-200mm, but the 70-300mm is just a little soft and can’t quite separate the lines.  Remember, you’re looking at 100% crops and it’s still rather tough to see the differences.  The sharp Sony 500mm reflex reveals each number, but obviously isn’t as versatile as the other lenses.

I like the 1.4X TC, it does what it’s supposed to do, and that’s providing extra focal length with real resolution increases.  It comes at a cost though, and that’s not just one stop of light loss, it’s really two stops (or 3 with the 2.0X) as you can see above.  You need to stop down one extra stop to clear up the spherical aberration.  The 2.0X isn’t so useful on the zoom lens, maybe it is on the 300mm F/2.8, I haven’t been able to review that lens yet.

The Sony TCs are pretty expensive, and have limited value for most people.  If you can afford the primes that work with these teleconverters, you may as well buy both the TCs to add to your collection just to make it complete.  So far, Sony has only one zoom lens that supports the teleconverters, and that’s the 70-200mm F/2.8.  If you’re thinking of buying the 1.4X for that lens, it’ll be worth it.  I’d pass on the 2.0X for the zoom, there is no advantage as I’ve pointed out, and you’ll be out $399.
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