FZ200 with teleconverters - tests and comparison

Started Oct 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
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privateman
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FZ200 with teleconverters - tests and comparison
Oct 11, 2012

Some days ago I did an extensive testing of teleconverters (as well as wide angle converters and polarizers) with my FZ200. I had done so before with my FZ150 and had written about these experiences in some postings here.

With the FZ150 life was so much easier, tele shooting at 600mm took place mostly at F5.2. And the FZ150 produced at least 'acceptable' photos with all those converters.
Now with a new FZ200 I was totally surprised and at first disappointed with some of the results, due to the whole range of possible F values from 2.8 to 8.0. I quickly realized I had to find out the sweet spot for each converter individually. So I set up a static garden scene with a photo journal on a table about 25m away and shot each converter or stacked combination with the complete range in Aperture mode from 2.8 to 8.0, with 3 exposures in every setting, remotely fired. Sharpness, NR and EV were all set to 0, Standard.

The converters and combinations I used were
a) KonicaMinolta ACT100 1.5x
b) Nikon TC E15ED 1.5x
c) Olympus TCON17 1.7x 
d) Nikon TC E17ED 1.7x as well as
e) Nikon TC E15ED stacked with E17ED (2.55x) and
f) two Nikon TC E17ED stacked (2.89x).

For detail and sharpness analysis I shot in JPEG and cropped the central 1366x768pixels (losslessly) and chose the best of 3 photos for each single F setting.

Now, some kind of ranking, as a final conclusion:
The best of the bunch is undoubtly the E17ED, as was to be expected, usable over the complete F range, but of course a little soft at F2.8. Sharp from F3.2 to F6.3 and sharpest at F5.0.

Second is the E15ED, usable best from F4.0 onwards, sharpest at F4.5.

Third is the ACT100, which was a little surprise to me, as on my FZ150 it showed more detail in picture center than the E15ED. Now with the FZ200 it has a smaller usable range from F5.0 onwards, sharpest at F6.3, But in total a little softer than the E15ED.

Fourth is the TCON17, sharpest at F6.3.

The quality of stacked combinations is according to their single converters, of course there is visible vignetting in full frame, but the gain of detail in picture center can be impressive.

What I learnt: 1. The usability or quality of converters may vary from camera model to camera model, or from one camera generation to the next. 2. The E15ED qualifies clearly as second best in my test, of course with more vignetting than all the others, but therefore it's cheap, small and light. 3. You have to experiment to find the sweet spot for your specific converter.
And 4th, most important: You'll have to think more about your shooting style with the FZ200 in combination with converters to get best results. With the FZ150 it was easy to shoot in P-mode at longer focal lengths, now the FZ200 tends towards F2.8 in P-mode, and it's probably better to go to Aperture-mode and preselect the desired F value.

Here the pictures: The full frame photo to show the scene, and then the best crop for each single converter or stacked combination. Later I might upload all my pics to flickr or so, but I have no experience yet doing so.

Comments and suggestions are of course welcome.

No  converter

No converter - cropped.

KonicaMinolta ACT100 @F6.3

Nikon TC E15ED @F4.5

Olympus TCON17 @F6.3

Nikon TC E17ED @F5.0

Stacked E15ED plus E17ED @F3.5

2 Stacked E17EDs @F5.6

Panasonic Lumix DMC-F5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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