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Nikon TC-20E
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Nikon TC-20E

Nikon TC-20E. enlarge. I bought mine at Adorama, and Amazon is also a great place to get it. I helps me keep adding to this site if you use these links to get yours, too. Thanks!


June 2008      More Nikon Reviews     TC-14E      TC-17E

TC-20E III 10 December 2009


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Introduction       top

Intro    Specifications    Performance    Recommendations

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.



It works only with the more exotic of Nikon's AF-I and AF-S lenses. One cannot mount any other lenses on it unless one grinds down lugs on the female teleconverter mount at a machine shop.

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 Teleconverter

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.

Both converters are identical except for the name and trim. Both work with both AF-I and AF-S lenses.

I use the names TC-20E and TC-20E II throughout the text interchangeably. They are the same product.


Specifications       top

Intro    Specifications    Performance    Recommendations


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).


Front Cap

Special extended BF-3 or BF-3A (albino) cap.


Rear Cap

Standard LF-1.



CL-31S, not included.


Nikon Product Number

2130 (TC-20E II).


Nikon TC-20E

Front, Nikon TC-20E. enlarge.


Performance       top

Intro    Specifications    Performance    Recommendations

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.

I've used the TC-20E with the 70-200mm VR, 400/2.8 AF-I and the 80-200/2.8 AF-S. See those reviews for details of performance with this converter.

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, 2007-

Sunset. Nikon 400mm f/2.8 AF-I with TC-20E on a D300. f/11 at 1/2,000.


Nikon TC-20E

Rear, Nikon TC-20E. enlarge.


Recommendations       top

Intro    Specifications    Performance    Recommendations

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.

For instance, the 70-300mm AF-S VR, 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-D and 80-400mm VR lenses can't even be mounted to this converter. Nikon designed them this way.

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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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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