anyone know about TC / AF-S compatibility issues?

Started Jun 9, 2007 | Discussions
Kim Letkeman
Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
anyone know about TC / AF-S compatibility issues?

I have a 300 F4 AF-S ... I recently got a TC17e for it and the combination on my D70s behaves strangely. The LCDs flash, meter goes haywire, and it won't auto focus.

I isolated it to the lense this way:

Tested the lense and body with a known good TC14e.
Tested the lense and TC on a store demo D200 body.

Ergo, the lense is the common element. That lense with any TC does not work on any body.

I took it into a local camera store that has a good reputation for repairs. They took it onto their bench and returned the verdict that the lense and body are fine. The TC is likely at fault. I repeated my story that it failed with a known good unit (known to work on a 70-200VR anyway) and he smiled and said he'd seen multiple TC failures of this type.

So ... what to do? Send the whole kit to Nikon? Or send back the TC and try TCs around the city until I find one that works with my lense? If I never find one, I'll be forced to send the lense to Nikon anyway.

Note: The lense really does work great on the D70s without the TC.

Comments?

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k3rry Regular Member • Posts: 235
Contacts?

Have you tried cleaning all the contacts?

I've seen similar problems due to dirty contacts

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Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
Re: Contacts?

k3rry wrote:

Have you tried cleaning all the contacts?

I've seen similar problems due to dirty contacts

I'm pretty sure their technician would have done that while he was testing everything.

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Pradipta Dutta
Pradipta Dutta Veteran Member • Posts: 9,782
Can you do another simple check

All the E series TCs are known to work fine with AF-S lenses. However, you got to remember that at effective F/6.7 (because you will lose 1.5 stops when you attach 1.7x TC on the F/4 lens) unless you have very good light, AF will not work very well. This is particularly true on a D70s body that sports a relative weak auto focus module - Multi CAM 900.

So, do this very simple test - take the combo out when it is the brightest - probably around 3pm to 4pm. Point it to a very contrasty subject and try it out.

I think, when you tried there was just not enough light for the combination on a D70s body.

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Pradipta Dutta
Pradipta Dutta Veteran Member • Posts: 9,782
One more thing

Check out the TC on a F/2.8 lens. If it works, then the TC is just fine.

BTW, I would be tempted to conclude that if you upgrade your body, the lens + TC combo will likely work ok in reasonable light.

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Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
Re: One more thing

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

Check out the TC on a F/2.8 lens. If it works, then the TC is just
fine.

BTW, I would be tempted to conclude that if you upgrade your body,
the lens + TC combo will likely work ok in reasonable light.

I do appreciate the help, but I did try it in bright light. I had it out in midday sun.

Also remember that the auto focus is the last issue I mentioned. The flickering displays and the inability to meter are actually more important and obviously point to an electrical issue with the lense or the TC when used with this lense.

And also remember than I clearly said that I tried it on a brand new D200 body, so upgrading the body won't do anything. Note also that my D70s is only a year and a bit old.

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Pradipta Dutta
Pradipta Dutta Veteran Member • Posts: 9,782
Hmmm...get the whole combo checked out by Nikon

Kim Letkeman wrote:

Also remember that the auto focus is the last issue I mentioned.
The flickering displays and the inability to meter are actually
more important and obviously point to an electrical issue with the
lense or the TC when used with this lense.

And also remember than I clearly said that I tried it on a brand
new D200 body, so upgrading the body won't do anything. Note also
that my D70s is only a year and a bit old.

I sure missed those points. If I were you, I would get the whole combo checked out by Nikon.

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Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
Re: Hmmm...get the whole combo checked out by Nikon

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

I sure missed those points. If I were you, I would get the whole
combo checked out by Nikon.

Trying like crazy to avoid being without my cam for a month

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Mike Neary Veteran Member • Posts: 3,355
Re: Hmmm...get the whole combo checked out by Nikon

Kim Letkeman wrote:

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

I sure missed those points. If I were you, I would get the whole
combo checked out by Nikon.

Trying like crazy to avoid being without my cam for a month

Maybe time for a new body while you wait ?

Mike

Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,181
Well documented issue...

Kim Letkeman wrote:

I have a 300 F4 AF-S ... I recently got a TC17e for it and the
combination on my D70s behaves strangely. The LCDs flash, meter
goes haywire, and it won't auto focus.

I isolated it to the lense this way:

Tested the lense and body with a known good TC14e.
Tested the lense and TC on a store demo D200 body.

Ergo, the lense is the common element. That lense with any TC does
not work on any body.

I took it into a local camera store that has a good reputation for
repairs. They took it onto their bench and returned the verdict
that the lense and body are fine. The TC is likely at fault. I
repeated my story that it failed with a known good unit (known to
work on a 70-200VR anyway) and he smiled and said he'd seen
multiple TC failures of this type.

Nope, they had no TC failures, at all.

Many AF-S lenses, including specimens of the 300mm f4 and the 70-200mm f2.8, have an electrical problem that only shows up when you increase the resistance between the camera and the lens. The teleconverter adds more resistance in the form of an extra set of contacts and a skinny piece of ribbon cable between the two connectors. It often brings out these problems in a lens.

Nikon has this well documented, and performs what they call a "grounding modification" in the US, and an "earthing modification" in the UK. I don't know what they call where you are in Canada.

So ... what to do? Send the whole kit to Nikon?

Nope. Send just the lens, and tell them that you have camera blackouts and lockups only when that particular lens is used on a teleconverter. They'll know exactly what to do.

Or send back the TC
and try TCs around the city until I find one that works with my
lense?

There's no "magic TC". You'd have to make one, by rewiring it for less resistance, and giving it better contacts.

If I never find one, I'll be forced to send the lense to
Nikon anyway.

Note: The lense really does work great on the D70s without the TC.

Comments?

Find a new dealer. (well, you asked)

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Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,181
Here's the link...

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

Kim Letkeman wrote:

I took it into a local camera store that has a good reputation for
repairs. They took it onto their bench and returned the verdict
that the lense and body are fine. The TC is likely at fault. I
repeated my story that it failed with a known good unit (known to
work on a 70-200VR anyway) and he smiled and said he'd seen
multiple TC failures of this type.

Nope, they had no TC failures, at all.

Many AF-S lenses, including specimens of the 300mm f4 and the
70-200mm f2.8, have an electrical problem that only shows up when
you increase the resistance between the camera and the lens. The
teleconverter adds more resistance in the form of an extra set of
contacts and a skinny piece of ribbon cable between the two
connectors. It often brings out these problems in a lens.

Nikon has this well documented, and performs what they call a
"grounding modification" in the US, and an "earthing modification"
in the UK. I don't know what they call where you are in Canada.

And here's the post from a fellow who watched the Nikon technician perform the modification while he waited, and saw the Nikon document.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=9602000

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Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,181
Another "simple check"

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

All the E series TCs are known to work fine with AF-S lenses.

Actually, they don't.

Many 70-200mm f2.8 and 300mm f4 AF-S lenses (and I'd heard the 300mm f2.8, 500mm f4 and 600mm f4) have a problem dealing with high resistance between the lens and the camera. It's especially likely to show up with a D70 or D50 body. Add a teleconverter, and you get exactly the problems that Kim described.

A good check is to really increase resistance. Kenko converters and tubes have higher resistance than Nikon converters, and are notorious for "setting off" problem lenses. So, a quick test is to put the lens on a D70 with a pair of Kenko 1.4x converters, or two or three Kenko tubes. That will definitely show off the problem.

Nikon does a free "grounding modification" on problem lenses. One wire, and it makes the lens immune to higher resistance.

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Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
Re: Hmmm...get the whole combo checked out by Nikon

Mike Neary wrote:

Kim Letkeman wrote:

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

I sure missed those points. If I were you, I would get the whole
combo checked out by Nikon.

Trying like crazy to avoid being without my cam for a month

Maybe time for a new body while you wait ?

The perfect excuse is at hand

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Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
AWESOME!!!! That's the answer I was looking for.
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Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
Re: Well documented issue...

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

Nope, they had no TC failures, at all.

Many AF-S lenses, including specimens of the 300mm f4 and the
70-200mm f2.8, have an electrical problem that only shows up when
you increase the resistance between the camera and the lens. The
teleconverter adds more resistance in the form of an extra set of
contacts and a skinny piece of ribbon cable between the two
connectors. It often brings out these problems in a lens.

And again, I can't thank you enough for this info. I googled the heck out of it and could not get a hit at all.

Nikon has this well documented, and performs what they call a
"grounding modification" in the US, and an "earthing modification"
in the UK. I don't know what they call where you are in Canada.

It'll be grounding here.

So ... what to do? Send the whole kit to Nikon?

Nope. Send just the lens, and tell them that you have camera
blackouts and lockups only when that particular lens is used on a
teleconverter. They'll know exactly what to do.

Well, there goes my excuse for a new body

Comments?

Find a new dealer. (well, you asked)

I shall definitely chastise them ... this they should have known.

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Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
Re: Here's the link...

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

And here's the post from a fellow who watched the Nikon technician
perform the modification while he waited, and saw the Nikon
document.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=9602000

And once more ... thanks very much. Proving once again the immense value of these forums besides the obvious entertainment value of the bickering.

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David Rosser
David Rosser Veteran Member • Posts: 3,475
Re: Well documented issue...

All this does not alter the fact that Nikon do not guarantee autofocus to work if the resulting maximum aperture of lens+converter is smaller than f/5.6.
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Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
Re: Well documented issue...

David Rosser wrote:

All this does not alter the fact that Nikon do not guarantee
autofocus to work if the resulting maximum aperture of
lens+converter is smaller than f/5.6.

Yes, that issue has been pounded pretty well ... fact is, f6.7 is within the ability of the D70s to focus in decent light. Just not quickly. So I know that it is a stretch and is not going to be all that useful for firds in flight for example.

But for longer shots of animals that are not moving about at dizzying speeds, I look forward to being able to work with the 1.7x ...

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Mike Neary Veteran Member • Posts: 3,355
Re: Well documented issue...

Kim Letkeman wrote:

David Rosser wrote:

All this does not alter the fact that Nikon do not guarantee
autofocus to work if the resulting maximum aperture of
lens+converter is smaller than f/5.6.

Yes, that issue has been pounded pretty well ... fact is, f6.7 is
within the ability of the D70s to focus in decent light. Just not
quickly. So I know that it is a stretch and is not going to be all
that useful for firds in flight for example.

But for longer shots of animals that are not moving about at
dizzying speeds, I look forward to being able to work with the 1.7x
...

Yes, from what I've seen it should work ok in good light. I'll probably end up with the same solution for long reach "on a budget".

What are the alternatives at 500mm ? Tamron 200-500 or Sigma 50-500, both cheaper but worse IQ, and the Tamron does not have AF-S.

Any other solution is more than twice as expensive, more likely three times

Cheers

Mike

Kim Letkeman
OP Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
UPDATE

My new D2Hs arrived today ... no problems with the 300 F4 AF-s + TC17e ... this makes sense as the whole thing is now being driven by about a half pound of battery.

It will take a while to get used to this combo, but I must say that it focuses very positively with any light at all ... very cool.

Needless to say ... I will not be sending the lense to Nikon at this time. I can easily live with restricting my use of the TC with the D2Hs, since that was a significant reason for acquiring it (among many others of course.)

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