EXTENSION TUBES versus TELECONVERTERS ?
PRICE/FLEXIBILITY: It is like having a new longer focal length lens, at an affordable price point. I used a pre-production copy of the XF 1.4x TC mounted on the XF50-140 Fujinon lens, which gave it a "new" focal range of 70mm to 196mm. As one can elect to shoot with or without the TC, if offers a lot of additional flexibility on the road.
It comes with its own dedicated cap, which is deeper than the usual camera body cap. Possibly giving it a slightly different color like Nikon does with theirs, would be beneficial to find it easier in a camera-bag. Minor detail only however!
POST-PUBLICATION (29 NOV 2015): it is now clear that my pre-production copy (August 2015) of the 1.4X TC, had a more degraded sharpness than the final production copy. Fujifilm has offered to send me a production copy the extender to test again together with the recently released Firmware updates for both bodies and the 50-140 lens. I have a feeling that especially the firmware copy makes a big difference in the image quality (both in jpg and RAW). The text and images below, have now been replaced with updates of the new combination; firmware XT-1 4.10, 500-140 lens 1.10.
Note: All comparison images above have been shot on a sturdy tripod and are in-camera jpegs without additional image editing.
With the lens set wide open at f2.8, both the camera viewfinder and the Metadata, reflect the actual f4 f-stop. With the latest 50-140 firmware update, the meta data does now list that the TC is installed; it shows XF50-140 + 1.4X TC.
|ISO 3200, 70mm, f8, 1/140s|
|ISO 400, 196mm, f4, 1/950s|
|ISO 200, 161mm, f5.6, 1/2900s|
|ISO 200, 70mm, f4.5, 1/2500s|
|ISO 400, 196mm, f4, 1/1250s|
POST-PUBLICATION (29 NOV 2015): Initially (AUG 2015) I tested an early pre-production copy of the TC with the 1.0 firmware which turned out to be not as good as the production firmware and TC. Today with a production copy and the 1.10 lens firmware, the image quality of the 50-140 with the TC, clearly exceeds that of the 55-200 lens!
I therefore will be investing in a XF1.4X TC W R which might replace my 55-200 lens. The only advantage of keeping the 55-200 is the smaller form factor and weight compared to the 50-140 + TC.
I can't wait to see the results of the TC mounted on the yet to be released 100-400mm lens; making it effectively a 140-560mm lens! Some serious telephoto range for you wildlife and sport photographers!
A second part of the 1.4X TC review with some more images, can be found here.
While my review of the XF 35mm f2 lens that was also released today, click here.