Getting close to your subjects is vital in wildlife photography. Both Canon and Nikon make some of the best “super-telephoto” lenses in the world for wildlife photography and these babies are incredible! Incredibly long, incredibly sharp and incredibly expensive. So what do you do if you can’t afford to spend thousands (or tens of thousands) for these really long lenses? How do you get close to your subject while not breaking the bank?
This is where the teleconverter (also known as the tele-extender) comes in to play. This wonderful little device is an easy and affordable way to extend the reach (focal length) of compatible telephoto lenses. It mounts between the body and the lens and multiplies the focal length by 1.4x.
For example, mounting the Canon EF 1.4X II Extender to my EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens provides me with 420mm of reach. However, it also decreases the lens’ aperture setting by 1 stop. The maximum aperture still opens to the same size but the ratio of the aperture to the focal length is reduced. So my 300mm + 1.4X is now a 420mm f/5.6 lens. This a great combination for shooting larger birds or mammals in the wild with fairly good results. Not as good as a 500mm f/4 lens but much more affordable.
The Canon EF 1.4X II Extender goes for under $280 at Adorama!