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Tele-extenders

Attach one to your lens for greater magnification


Teleconverters attach between the lens and the camera. The smaller one on top has a magnification of 1.4; the other a magnification of 2.
Teleconverters attach between the lens and the camera. The smaller one on top has a magnification of 1.4; the other a magnification of 2.

A tele-extender (also known as a tele-converter, teleconverter, an extension ring or an auto-extension ring) is a device that provides a lens with greater magnification, effectively increasing the lens's focal length.

They look like lenses themelves, or at least like tubes that fit between the lens and camera. Some may fit the front of the lens. They are in fact magnifiers that enlarge the scene before its light enters the camera's lens.

Tele-extenders are commonly available with reproduction ratios of 1.4, 2 and even 3 times the magnification. A 1.4x tele-extender permits a 100mm lens to function as a 140mm lens; a 2x extender effectively increases a 100mm lens to 200mm.

There are prices to pay, however.

  • The aperture effectively decreases;
  • you generally must focus manually; and
  • lenses fitted with tele-extenders rarely if ever equal the sharpness of a true telephoto lens of the same focal length.
  • On the plus side, buying a good 300mm lens with a 2x tele-extender is a lot cheaper than buying a 600mm lens. If you hardly ever need a 600mm lens, a tele-extender is a much more economical way to go.

    Some camera manufacturers make their own tele-extenders while others are available from lens accessory suppliers whose products are matched to the make of camera. The two examples pictured on the left are Nikon products, compatible with Nikon lenses and cameras, including Nikon dSLR (digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras.