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Thread: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?

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    To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    I'm thinking of buying myself the 400 f5.6 prime for Christmas. I already have a 2x TC but it'd reduce the aperture too much on the 400, and I wouldn't be able to afford the 1.4x TC for a while.


    But that got me thinking. As far as I understand it, a teleconverter just magnifies the existing image, right? And you lose a stop or two of light because the light coming in from the front of the lens is, effectively, being spread more thinly over the sensor?


    Surely, assuming that loss of resolution isn't an issue (for argument, using an ∞MP camera), the image degredation (CA etc) will be the same as cropping? In fact I'd expect a cropped image to look better, as it's not being sent through any extra glass.


    In my experience with using my zooms on my 5DII, image degredation becomes an issue with cropping long before loss of resolution does; and besides, a 1.4x crop is still using more of the sensor than an APS-C camera. I realise that resolution is more likely to become the limiting factor for cropping with primes, but the 5DII has so much to play with that even then I'm not convinced it will be an issue for day-to-day print sizes.


    What's the opinion of the experts? On today's modern high-res sensors, should we be using TCs at all?

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    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    In my non-professional experience, unless you're actually dealing with a pixel resolution issue (which you can in some cases, though I don't know about a 5D2... teleconverters are usually worse than just cropping, but it will depend a little on the lens too. Some lenses seem to be more friendly to a teleconverter. If the pixel resolution doesn't make full use of the lens, it may very well be better to use a teleconverter.


    Is that ambiguous enough?

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    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    As far as I understand it, a teleconverter just magnifies the existing image, right?

    Yes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    And you lose a stop or two of light because the light coming in from the front of the lens is, effectively, being spread more thinly over the sensor?

    No. The amount of light lost from the TC is the exact same as the amount of light lost from cropping. Furthermore, the amount of light from the *subject* is the exact same. In other words: as it pertains to the subject, you have less light intensity, but more area, so the total amount of light from the subject is the same.


    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor


    Surely, assuming that loss of resolution isn't an issue (for argument, using an ∞MP camera), the image degredation (CA etc) will be the same as cropping?


    With an ∞MP camera, the TC would have more aberrations than cropping..


    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    On today's modern high-res sensors, should we be using TCs at all?

    Yes. If you think 21 MP on FF is enough to make TC unnecessary, then that means you also believe 8MP on APS-C is enough to make TC unnecessary. I find TC highly effective on 8 MP APS-C, even with zooms.


    The other factor to keep in mind is noise. For example, try this comparison:


    5D2, ISO 100, f/2.8 (cropped digitally by 2X), 1/1000


    5D2, ISO 400, f/2.8+2X TC (f/5.6), 1/1000


    You will find that the second shot has far, far less noise.

  4. #4

    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    Quote Originally Posted by Colin


    In my non-professional experience, unless you're actually dealing with a pixel resolution issue (which you can in some cases, though I don't know about a 5D2... teleconverters are usually worse than just cropping, but it will depend a little on the lens too. Some lenses seem to be more friendly to a teleconverter. If the pixel resolution doesn't make full use of the lens, it may very well be better to use a teleconverter.


    Is that ambiguous enough?
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    I think you're pretty much saying what I was trying to .


    On older bodies, there'd have been reason to use a TC. Back in the days of the 30D when you were looking at 8MP sensors then pixelation would probably have been an issue before light degredation. But on a 21MP FF camera like the 5D2 I strongly suspect it's either roughly 50-50 or the other way round, possibly by a significant margin.

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    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    I think it depends on a number of factors. I just sold my 1.4x converter because I just didn't find it gained me anything in the types of shots I was taking. When I did need it (because somethat was really far away) it wasn't enough. To view on screen or print small prints I don't think it matters (and cropping is cheaper).


    The converter has the advantage that you can frame more precisely... In the meantime, it is free to shoot and crop and see if you are happy with the results. If not - then you are really deciding between the 1.4/2x or the longer lens.

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    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Back in the days of the 30D when you were looking at 8MP sensors then pixelation would probably have been an issue before light degredation. But on a 21MP FF camera like the 5D2 I strongly suspect it's either roughly 50-50 or the other way round, possibly by a significant margin.

    But the 8MP on 30D is *exactly* the same as 21MP on the 5D2. If the lens is good enough to use TC on the 30D, then it is good enough to use TC on the 5D2.

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    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Browning


    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    On today's modern high-res sensors, should we be using TCs at all?

    Yes. If you think 21 MP on FF is enough to make TC unnecessary, then that means you also believe 8MP on APS-C is enough to make TC unnecessary. I find TC highly effective on 8 MP APS-C, even with zooms.


    Daniel is right- there are many people who want the MP's. However the question you should be asking isn't "should we" but "should I". If 5mp is enough for you, I say forget the teleconverter and crop.


    I don't tend to get good enough results with a 2x teleconverter to mind losing the mps, so I rarely use it. But I use mine mostly with a zoom lens... maybe with high quality primes it is a different story.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Browning


    The other factor to keep in mind is noise. For example, try this comparison:


    5D2, ISO 100, f/2.8 (cropped digitally by 2X), 1/1000


    5D2, ISO 400, f/2.8+2X TC (f/5.6), 1/1000


    You will find that the second shot has far, far less noise.


    I don't think so, Daniel. They'll be the same- if anything, the second will be a little noisier due to the light loss from the extra glass of the teleconverter.


    Of course it is possible that I'm confused, in which case I don't doubt you'll explain to me the error of my ways []


    One thing I often wonder about is how many abberations are introduced by the teleconverter. Teleconverters have a nasty reputation for introducing optical problems, but my guess is they mostly just magnify those that are there already. Anyhone done a test of this? What I have in mind is a comparison of a cropped image with a teleconverter image done in a way that does not display limits of sensor resolution.



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    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Ruyle
    They'll be the same- if anything, the second will be a little noisier due to the light loss from the extra glass of the teleconverter.

    You are right if we only consider photon shot noise, but when it comes to read noise, the TC will be superior. For wildlife, I'm always hitting read noise because of the fast shutter speeds and long lenses required.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Ruyle


    One thing I often wonder about is how many abberations are introduced by the teleconverter. Teleconverters have a nasty reputation for introducing optical problems, but my guess is they mostly just magnify those that are there already.


    I think you're right: a lot of their bad reputation comes from simply magnifying existing aberrations in the underlying lens. Thankfully, the worst part of the aberrations are some C.A. and distortion that are easy to correct.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Ruyle


    Anyone done a test of this?


    I'm sure there are some good tests out there somewhere for this, but I can't recall any. It would have to be certain that the pixel size is small enough to completely oversample the lens, so as technology marches on this test will get better with more and more lenses.

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    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Browning
    You are right if we only consider photon shot noise, but when it comes to read noise, the TC will be superior. For wildlife, I'm always hitting read noise because of the fast shutter speeds and long lenses required.

    You're right- I was thinking of photon noise only. Do you get quantization noise if you shoot lower iso and underexpose? (You must I guess... or you would.)






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    Re: To crop or to use an extender with the 5DII?



    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Ruyle
    Do you get quantization noise if you shoot lower iso and underexpose? (You must I guess... or you would.)

    Never. The read noise is always so high that it completely suppresses quantization noise (AKA quantization error). In order to get quantization error, you would have to reduce read noise down to amazingly low levels without increasing bit depth. In practice, no one does that, because bits are cheap. In fact, in real life we have the *reverse* problem: camera manufacturers adding way more bits than necessary, when there has been no improvement in pixel-level read noise.

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