TC-20E III 10 December 2009
The Nikon TC-20E is an expensive (about $400) 2x teleconverter.
Its front elements poke out, so they are shrouded in rubber. After about ten years, this rubber develops a little bit of a gray haze on it, which wipes right off.
Nikon makes no AF teleconverters for its general line of AF lenses. One must instead use a Nikon manual focus converter and focus manually, or screw with discount brands and hope the matrix metering couples correctly. See Teleconverters for more.
Nikon has also made manual-focus 2x teleconverters for decades. I'm ignoring them here.
Nikon TC-20E II.
Nikon's first AF 2x teleconverter was called the TC-20E. It was marked "AF-I" for the only kind of lenses with which it worked when it was introduced. As Nikon introduced AF-S lenses, these converters worked perfectly, but innocent people were confused as to why it said AF-I instead of AF-S.
Nikon tweaked the cosmetics, changed the lettering to read "AF-S" and renamed it the TC-20E-II.
Nikon made about 20,000 of the original TC-20E, and as of 2008, has made about 15,000 of the newer TC-20E II.
I use the names TC-20E and TC-20E II throughout the text interchangeably. They are the same product.
7 elements in 6 groups, multicoated.
2.588" diameter by 2.174" flange-to-flange (65.73 x 55.22mm), measured (TC-20E), excluding lens release pip.
Nikon specifies 2.6" (65mm) around by 2.2" (55mm) long.
12.577 oz. (356.6g), measured without caps; 13.160 oz. (373.05 g) with caps.
Nikon specifies 12.5 oz (355 g).
Special extended BF-3 or BF-3A (albino) cap.
CL-31S, not included.
Nikon Product Number
2130 (TC-20E II).
Front, Nikon TC-20E. enlarge.
The TC-20E provides perfect data and signal interchange with Nikon cameras. This means the f/stop correctly reads two stops different both on the camera and in the EXIF data. VR works swell. Focal length reads double in the EXIF data, too.
The TC-20E has so much magnification that, at least on a D3, there is usually some loss of sharpness wide-open.
If you're splitting pixels, the TC-17E gives sharper results at the largest apertures. If you need 2x, the TC-20E is your converter.
This shot looks great to me, and needed the full 2x 400mm to give me an 800m lens.
Sunset. Nikon 400mm f/2.8 AF-I with TC-20E on a D300. f/11 at 1/2,000.
Rear, Nikon TC-20E. enlarge.
This converter is intended for professional use with long AF-S and AF-I super telephotos. It is not like the old TC-201 teleconverter that was intended for general use to make a normal lens into a telephoto. Likewise, the results are great with 300mm and longer fixed AF-I and AF-S lenses, but only so-so with the 80-200 AF-S and 70-200mm VR zooms.
If you have an f/2.8 AF-S or AF-I super telephoto lens this is a very handy addition.
It is useless unless you have an AF-I or AF-S lens of f/2.8 or faster. One CANNOT mount any other AF or manual lens or accessory to the front because it is keyed mechanically to prevent this.
It makes little sense to use this with the 28-70 AFS, and you'll damage the system if you set the 28-70 lens to its shorter focal lengths since glass will collide. Only silly people worry about the fact that this probably does not work with the 17-35 AFS.
Just for fun, you can attach another manual focus teleconverter to the rear of this, but not the front.
There is no difference between the TC-20E and TC-20E II. They both work with VR and AF-S lenses.
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