January 20th, 2010
400mm at f6.3 (click and view original size):
Note: both images have been saved as jpeg, so there is some quality loss.
When used correctly, the Canon EF 2x II Extender / tele-converter with the 70-200 f2.8l, yields extraordinary results - however this requires a good tripod + cable / remote shutter release - this lens combination is not recommended for candid / hand-held photography.
Close up images work at f5.6 (within a distance of 2-3 meters max - good results require stopping down from f6.3 to f9.0 Shooting distant images with the Canon EF 2x II Extender requires stopping down from f8.0 to f11.0
The Canon EF 2x II teleconverter / Extender is built to L standards - it seems to be environmentally sealed, and includes a nice carry pouch. It is small, light, fits well with metal mounts on both sides, and doesn’t creak. It would probably be at home on the finest lenses and bodies.
Professional reviewers state Canon EF 2x II Extender has visible contrast loss - however my tests suggested that it isn’t too bad. To my untrained mind, the colors and contrast seemed OK after 6.3, similar to original L colors. It is recommended you shoot in RAW and adjust the contrast / curves a bit, also sharpen +1 (shoot with sharpness set to absolute zero).
Auto / Manual focus
The non IS 70-200 is a very good lens - better than the IS version - however even the best lens struggles to function when zoomed 2x - which is what the Canon EF 2x II Extender achieves.
Auto focus is hit and miss on my camera (EOS Rebel XS), but you may get better results with a 40d/50d or better.
Manual focus is recommended, and a tripod is needed for anything less than midday sunlight - even then it is a good idea.
You should also use a cable shutter release or remote shutter release and self timer / mirror lockup to reduce vibration.
Shallow DOF seems to exist, no matter how much the lens is stopped down - this is due to various flaws, and the fact that any aperture setting is actually two stops wider - i.e. when you stop down to F8 you are actually at f4 with two stops of light loss. Getting f8 on your original lens = f16 with the Canon EF 2x II teleconverter / Extender.
Taking into account the focal length, it is normal to have various areas out of focus - the best you can do is focus on a prominent feature (e.g. the eye of an animal) and hope everything else isn’t too badly out.
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