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Nikon TC-17E
Teleconverter
(2004 - Today)
© 2008 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Nikon TC-17E-II Teleconverter

Nikon TC-17E II. enlarge. I'd get mine at Adorama or Amazon. It 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-20E

 

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I personally buy from Ritz, Adorama and Amazon. I can't vouch for any other ads.

 

Introduction       top

Intro    Specifications    Performance    Recommendations

The Nikon TC-17E is an expensive (about $400) 1.7x teleconverter. You lose 1.5 stops of light and get 70% more (1.7x) the focal length.

1.7x sounds stupid, but it's actually wonderful because I find performance is much better than I've gotten with the TC-20E. Since you lose 1-1/2 stops, an f/2.8 lens becomes an f/4.8 lens.

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.

 

Compatibility

It ONLY works with the more exotic AF-I and AF-S lenses. One CANNOT mount any other lenses on it unless one grinds down certain lugs on the female mount at a machine shop.

Nikon makes NO AF teleconverters for its general line of AF lenses. One must instead use a manual focus converter like the TC-200 and focus manually, or screw with discount brands and hope the matrix metering couples correctly. See Teleconverters for more.

 

History

This is Nikon's first and only 1.7x teleconverter. It was introduced in 2004. Nikon has made about 10,000 of them so far in 2008.

Unlike the TC-14E and TC-20E, there never was a TC-17E before the TC-17E II. The first and only model is marked "II." Ha ha!

 

Nikon TC-17E Rear

Rear, Nikon TC-17E. enlarge.

 

Specifications

Optics

7 elements in 4 groups, multicoated.

 

Size

2.593" diameter by 1.243" flange-to-flange (65.87 x 31.57mm), measured.

Nikon specifies 2.6" (66 mm) around by 1.2" (32 mm) long.

 

Weight

8.740 oz. (247.9g), measured, no caps.

9.350 oz. (265.15g), with caps.

Nikon specifies 9 oz (250 g).

 

Caps

Special extended BF-3A front cap, since the front pokes out. It also takes the BF-3 which is black; the BF-3A (albino) is a light gray cap to differentiate it from a conventional body cap.

 

Rear Cap

Standard LF-1.

 

Nikon Product Number

2151 (TC-17E II).

 

Front, Nikon TC-17E

Front, Nikon TC-17. Note cut-out in bayonet at 8 o'clock. enlarge.

 

Performance

I've used the TC-17E 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 count every pixel on a D3, images are a little softer wide-open, but better a 1/2 stop down, and perfect 1-1/2 stops down.

AF and VR work great. Unlike the TC-20E, you don't lose anything except at the widest half-stop with the lenses I tried.

 

Recommendations

If you have an f/2.8 AF-S or AF-I fixed focal length super telephoto lens, the TC-17E is is a very handy addition. Forget about it otherwise; the TC-17E is for professional use with f/2.8 super teles and f/2.8 tele zooms.

Don't use this TC-17E with lenses slower than f/2.8 since the resultant lens aperture isn't fast enough for the AF system to be happy.

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, but not the front.

This converter is intended for professional use with long 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.

 

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

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