There are terms and phrases you’ll hear in the hallways of photography that are ubiquitous in everyday life, and ‘bang for your buck’ is one. In these days where food prices are so high and your house price is so low, where the contents of your fridge are worth more than your home, everyone’s trying to be smarter with their purchasing power. Typically, photographers and those on their way to becoming one, are not exactly overburdened by the weight of their paycheck, and camera equipment doesn’t come cheap. But it is one of those fields where your equipment WILL make a difference.
I’ve alluded to it many times and said it outright many more, that there are just things you can do with certain gear that you can’t with others. The quintessential piece of equipment for most photographers today, as far as I would say, has got to be the 70-200mm f/2.8. Everyone’s either got one, getting a new one, or saving to get one, and it’s easy to see why. If I could have just two lenses it would be a 70-200 f/2.8, and a 24-70 f/2.8. Throw in a teleconverter and you’re set to cover the bases like Roberto Alomar (Too old of a Toronto Blue Jays reference?) A teleconverter you say? Don’t those sort of ruin good glass? Maybe. Not always.
I’ve used good teleconverters and cheap ones, and 1.4x and 2x teles, and I tend to not favor them. If you’re into aviation photography, wildlife, or sports photography, even of your kids, you’ll want some extra reach, and then you’ll see just how much that reach will cost. The 70-200 2.8s are typically going to run you around $2k and isn’t length enough for those genres, but you’ll use it elsewhere till it dies, or you do.
Once you get to around 400mm, then you’re talking, but maybe you’re not going to use that focal length all the time. Those lenses aren’t exactly cheap either. So one idea is using something like a 2x teleconverter on your 70-200 2.8 giving you 400mm of reach at f/5.6, and at the same time giving you the great portrait lens that is the 70-200, and all round versatility – bang for your buck.
However, if you slap on a 2x tele, will you miss the f/2.8 aperture or the f/4 of the 100-400mm? Will the resulting images from the tele be much worse than what you’d get from the dedicated longer lens? Tony and Chelsea Northrup, like us, field this question a lot and have done a dedicated test and video to find what’s really the best bet. You can and should look at the video as they divulge a good amount of info in a short time, but the eventuality of their testing is that with a good teleconverter, even with a high-resolution 5DS, your image quality with the tele is going to match that of the dedicated 100-400mm. That’s great news for you and your wallet.
Do you use any of these set-ups? What’s your favorite lens?
Check out lots more great stuff from Tony and Chelsea here.