A TC20E becomes an electrified extension tube

Started Sep 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
ForumParentFirstPrevious
Flat view
mmalkin15 Regular Member • Posts: 290
A TC20E becomes an electrified extension tube
1

A TC20E becomes an electrified extension tube

Many of us have been waiting years for Nikon to build a quality electrified extension tube. These are useful for macro work and small live subjects ( dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, etc) where one would like to use some of Nikon’s lenses at closer distances than they can focus. Kenko does make a decent set of such extension tubes and I do use these for some macro work but structurally they are inferior, made of plastic, and just not up to being a solid support for larger lenses like the telephotos and 70-200 or larger size zooms.

Several years ago I did modify a Nikon PN11 by adding contact assemblies to electrify it and although the result is wonderful it was a difficult and very time consuming process to make all the modifications to the PN11 and incorporate the contact assemblies from a scrapped Kenko tube. And - one mistake and it is toast… The PN11 is a wonderful tube about 52mm in extension and it includes a rotating tripod collar so when added to a lens like the Nikon 105mm macro it gives the landscape-portrait orientation which is so important for much of the macro work that I do. I even use this tube solidly mounted by joining the tripod mounts of PN11 and lens together with my Nikon 200 F4 AF-D Micro Nikkor.

I finally purchased a TC20Eii with the intent of removing the optics and turning into an electrified extension tube. It is superbly made, very robust, has excellent tight F-mounts but the optics are disappointing. Now that Nikon offers the new TC20Eiii which has enormously improved optics the TC20ii is common on the used marketplace – so I purchased one for about $165.00 in E+ condition. I note that Dealers seem to sell these for less than they sell for on EBAY; mine came from KEH.

It only took me about 1 hour to remove the baffles and remove the optics assembly with a spanner wrench, and re-assemble the TC20. If there is a next time it will be faster – it is not a difficult job and vastly simpler than modifying a PN11. It would actually be easy to re-assemble the tube back into a TC20 if there was ever a reason to do so. A few extra minutes to disassemble the lens mount and file off the tab that restricts it for AF-S lenses – as a tube there is no reason to make such a restriction but do realize there is no screwdriver AF coupling – just the AF-S focus system will work.

The modified TC20 tube seems to work as it should using my 70-200 and 300 VR lenses. VR works, AF works, the aperture is reported as 2 stops below actual as set on the lens (as it should be for a 2x teleconverter) and I have not seen any vignetting as the opening is larger than that in the Kenko tubes . And it is built beautifully – by Nikon…..

I note that I have only briefly tested the modified tube and I will be doing more testing over time but not immediately. For those who have been waiting for a good electrified tube and are skilled working with such optical and mechanical components perhaps this is a project of interest. It is not at all difficult if one has the correct screwdrivers and a spanner wrench that fits the optic carrier.

ForumParentFirstPrevious
Flat view
ForumParentFirstPrevious
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow