Strange behavior: 400/2.8 ED-IF II + TCs

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sandiegosteve Forum Member • Posts: 70
Strange behavior: 400/2.8 ED-IF II + TCs

I just picked up a new to me AF-S 400/2.8 ED-IF II. This is the second AF-S version, but well before the VR came out. I joke that the lens is old enough to drink (well, it isn't quite that old). It is as sharp as my other Nikon prime glass and AF is very fast. But...

Short story:
I've noticed very different, but consistent problems using a TC with 2 of my 3 bodies. Anyone else find quirks with these older AF-S ED II lenses and TCs?

Long Story:
I've used it on 3 bodies and it works mostly great with no TC. On the D750 and D500, it just works close or near and changing between. On the D5 it works mostly great, but if it needs to go from the closest focus to anything longer (less than 12ft to say 50), it sticks at a few points momentarily like the focus limiter is getting in the way. This is rare and I've only made it happen in testing, so I'll say it works great. I've shot about 10 events with it so far and am happy and it is starting to pay for itself already. I could almost stop here...

I decided to test it out with my 1.4x and 2x teleconverters (both are compatible per Nikon and are Nikon TCs). On the D5, it works great with both. There are problems on the D500 and D750 with both TCs. It may work one or two times, but the AF stops working and the top display shows the aperture flashing between two values. Like with and without the TC. The lens has AF modes of A, M and A/M. In M, the weird flashing goes away. Either Auto AD mode and I'm back to errors.

Clearly that is like a bad electrical connection. So I cleaned everything. Same results; D5 works, D500 and D750 have problems. I tried different AF modes with same results.

So, I'm 99% sure it is an electrical connection. Even thought it is all nice and clean, maybe the D5 is less worn than my other bodies. I tried the D5 battery in the D500, and it worked for about 15 minutes, then the same problem.

Why do I care? I do like the 900+mm range for some surfing that I shoot. The D5 with 2x is obviously 800mm. Af is slower, but not a show stopper in surfing at that distance. The D500 gives me another 1.5x with crop and a better change to fill the frame when the surfer isolation is needed (as opposed to getting the whole wave too).

So, if anyone has seen things like this and has any insight, I'm open to ideas. I almost think that the maybe a tricky connection inside the lens at the AF switch which is only a problem in the TC situation for those bodies. I can live with it. My 300/2.8 + 2x TC and D500 (900mm) does kick out great results that I often still need to crop. But, if there is a path for the 400... I would be pretty happy.

 sandiegosteve's gear list:sandiegosteve's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +8 more
Nikon D5 Nikon D500 Nikon D750
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