Inexpensive tele-coverter for Olympus XZ-1 - any good?

Started Jan 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
Randyflycaster
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Re: Inexpensive tele-coverter for Olympus XZ-1 - any good?
In reply to AndreasBraun, Jan 15, 2013

AndreasBraun wrote:

Randyflycaster wrote:

AndreasBraun wrote:

Randyflycaster wrote:

Any thoughts about this tele-converter? I can't afford the TCON-1.7X

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-5x-Tele-Converter-for-Olympus-XZ-1-/160830281627?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item25723b579b

Is the price too good to be true?

Randy

I would not recommend any optical teleconverter for a high-quality compact like the XZ-1. Having thought about this for quite some time (I've purchased the XZ-1 two years ago) I've chosen to go another route.

The 2560x1920 resolution is more than adequate for almost all of my demands. This will extend the zoom range by a factor of 1.425x without any trade-off in picture quality (extended optical zoom EOZ). The resulting focal length now extends to 160mm.

Above that the digital zoom can be incorporated to some minor extent where it not yet visibly degrades the quality. With "visibly" I'm referring to image scales of up to 600mm by 450mm (24" by 18"). This is achieved with additional digital zoom factors up to 1.5x yielding a total zoom extension range of 1.5x1.425=2.14x translating into 240mm focal length. Only VERY close inspection (100% crop view) will show minute differences in picture quality and this only if perfect targets like the DPreview test picture are used.

Bottom line: without ANY additional piece of equipment and thus maintaining the compactness of the XZ-1 you'll have a zoom range of about 8.6x (28mm to 240mm).

Even if the full resolution 3648x2736 is chosen the likewise also almost unnoticeable picture quality impact with digital zoom up to 1.5x will extend the zoom range to 112mmx1.5=168mm.

Andreas

Andreas,

I'm still learning, so I want to make sure I understand:

Then if I go your route, am I better off not shooting in full resolution and instead stay with 2560x1920?

Thanks,

Randy

Randy,

short answer: yes

more detailed answer: it depends (as always :-))

Generally speaking, the full resolution 3648x2736 is not neccessary for most applications like vacations, family celebrations, landscapes, pets, flowers, and similar everyday situations. Common agreement is that for such applications the number of picture elements (pix) in the picture's diagonal should be about 3000 to give very satisfying results. The resolution 2560x1920 will already give ample 3200 diagonal pix.

The full resolution (4560 diagonal pix) is handy to have for very high demand pictures (very large print-outs, ample reserve for extracting parts of the picture).

The genuine focal range of the XZ-1 already is quite versatile with 28mm to 112mm. Using now the slightly reduced resolution of 2560x1920 the tele end is extended by a factor of 1.425 to yield 160mm WITHOUT any sacrifice in image quality as compared to the regular 2560x1920 quality. Slightly employing additionally the digital zoom will increase even more the useful tele range. And all of this without any hardware solution which invariably increases the bulk of the camera and complicates the ease of use.

Bottom line: for general use the slightly reduced resolution will noticeably increase the useful focal range without much - if any - disadvantage. For highest demand the genuine focal range of 28mm to 112mm still is available which is also very useful.

Andreas

Adreas,

Thanks again. I should've pointed out that I'm a fly fishing writer and sometimes I photograph for publication.

What I still don't understand is why shooting in the fullest resolution, as opposed to 2560x1920, will limit my zoom (or crop) capablities - or will it?

Also, I believe I once read that, for high quality photos, I should never use digital zoom.

Randy

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