Nikon TC-14E III Announcement

Along with the 400mm f/2.8E VR lens, Nikon has also announced the TC-14E III 1.4x teleconverter. The older TC-14E II version has been out since 2001 and Nikon finally decided to update it, most likely to match the performance of the new generation super telephoto lenses like the new Nikon 400mm f/2.8E VR and Nikon 800mm f/5.6E VR. The now previous-generation TC-14E II has always been praised by our team at Photography Life, thanks to its superb performance and very little performance degradation that is almost unnoticeable to the eye when using with most super telephoto lenses (see our article on how teleconverters impact image quality). In fact, my copy of the TC-14E II stays glued to my wildlife travel companion, the Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S (see my in-depth review) and I only detach it when I need to use the teleconverter with the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR, 200-400mm f/4G VR or other telephoto lenses.

Nikon TC-14E III

So what does the new TC-14E III bring to the table? Similar to the new “E” lenses, the TC-14E III has been optically re-designed. It now features 7 elements in 4 groups, versus the 5 elements in 5 groups design of the TC-14E II, so there are more optical elements to maintain high image quality and reduce lens aberrations. Here is a comparison of lens construction of both TC-14E II (left) and TC-14E III (right):

Nikon TC-14E II Lens Construction Nikon TC-14E III Lens Construction

It is also a tad smaller and 10 grams lighter in comparison. Optically, it should be superb, making it a very attractive choice for those that want to extend the reach of their lenses. And if you factor in the fact that Nikon actually slightly reduced the selling price of the teleconverter, the TC-14E III will be a “no brainer” for many of us. Existing owners of the TC-14E II might not feel the need to upgrade, but those that have never owned one should take a serious look. I expect the new TC-14E III to couple well with all modern Nikkor “G” telephoto lenses, including the f/4 line of lenses like 70-200mm f/4G, 200-400mm f/4G, 500mm f/4G and 600mm f/4G. Unfortunately, looks like the older “D” lenses are not going to be compatible, including the 300mm f/4D AF-S – see this link for a full list of compatible lenses (thanks to Marty and Kambiz for correcting me on this).

Lastly, the lens is also coated with a new Nikon “fluorine” coating technology, as explained in detail in the following video:

At this time, there are only three lenses that come with this technology – the TC-14E III, the new Nikon 400mm f/2.8E and 800mm f/5.6E. I expect all future pro-grade lenses to come with fluorine coating.

The best way to see improvements would be to use both the TC-14E II and TC-14E III in a lab and measure the optical quality of the two, which is exactly what I am planning to do as soon as I get my hands on a sample.

Meanwhile, you can pre-order your copy of the TC-14E III at B&H Photo Video for $496.95.


Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) marty

    Nikon states that it is not compatible with the 300 f4 lens.

    • Marty, it is clearly a mistake on their website – it only shows two “E” lenses, which is not right. The TC-14E III does not seem to have different mounting that does not fit older lenses, so it should work well with any telephoto / super telephoto lens.

    • Marty, please see my response to Kambiz below – you are right, the TC-14E III won’t work with the 300mm f/4 :(

      • 52
        ) Pascal

        Nasim,

        I contacted Nikon support in Belgium and they assured me that the new TC-14E III is compatible with the AF-S 300mm f/4 lens. I’m confused now… has anyone actually tested this combination to confirm whether this works or not?

    • 35
      ) Paul

      Japanese Samurai culture may not allow Nikon to challenge the pride male Canon in the lucrative “affordable” 400 mm segment.

      • 36
        ) Patrick O'Connor

        Obviously Western culture allows ignorant comments…
        If you were joking, you should have added some kind of emoticon to indicate that, although it still wouldn’t have been funny.

        • 40
          ) Doug

          Well, you’ve certainly proven yourself on this blog to be the King of ignorant statements.

          • 42
            ) Patrick O'Connor

            King? I doubt it. Maybe Prince or, more likely, Court Jester. But just to be clear, there is a difference between stupidity and ignorance. While everyone is ignorant on various subjects, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, stupidity is often a willful acting upon of one’s ignorance. I have a much better claim to being the King of stupidity! ;-)

            • 46
              ) Paul

              My in-law in Japan does not expect something like ‘light and sharp 400mm F5.6′, that I once waited for over 10 years, from Nikon any time soon. He believes #2 often has to respect #1′s turf to protect their own yard according to their culture. I regret I showed my ignorance, but this is what I was told.

            • 47
              ) Patrick O'Connor

              I’m replying from a tablet :-(
              Also, I wish there were more levels of reply…
              Anyway, I’m sorry for taking your post in the wrong way. I see a lot of stupid comments regarding Japanese culture. The situation you describe is a traditional reaction, still respected to a degree, among older individuals but not so much these days and not at all among larger, competing companies.
              Having said that, I’m not an expert on these matters and can only rely on my experiences over the last 12 years and what I’ve heard from my Japanese wife, her family, and my friends and acquaintances, here (in Japan).

              Sorry, again, for my reaction.

  2. 2
    ) Kambiz

    Nasim – Actually from the Nikon website, it looks like this new TC will NOT work with some of the older lenses, including your beloved 300 f/4:
    http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/teleconverters/af-s_tc-14e_3/spec.htm

    It says: “Because the maximum aperture coupling ridge and minimum aperture signal post are eliminated with the AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14E III, “FEE” is displayed on the camera body when these lenses are used, disabling shooting.”

    • Ouch, just read that on Nikon Imaging. Not sure why their NikonUSA product page does not have this info! That sucks, what a bummer! Well, it is time to update the darn Nikon 300mm f/4 then :)

      Thanks for the link – will update the article accordingly.

      • 10
        ) Ian

        Doesn’t matter to me that the 14E III is not compatible with the 300 D f/4. I just pulled the trigger on the 300mm lens. I tried a rented copy (with the 14E II TC) and was hooked. It’s nice that there may soon be an update, and perhaps with VR, but this lens will be a great learning tool for me NOW. And well into the future, I suspect.

        Now I just need to hunt up a 14E II TC to pair with it.

        • 11
          ) Kambiz

          That is right. It is quite likely that Nikon will soon release a VR update for 300 f/4 which will certainly be compatible with the new 1.4x TC. But if Nikon pricing model with other similar lens updates in the past is any indication, the new 300 f/4G VR (or whatever it may be called) will likely be close to $2K, if not more. So the current 300 f/4 with its superb optical quality will likely remain a great bargain, IMHO.

        • 43
          ) Vladimir Naumoff

          The 1.4x II still works great with all prime 300mm lenses. No complains there. I had AF-S 300mm F2.8G VRII and with 1.4x II it was working lightening fast.

  3. 6
    ) Peter G

    Nasim,

    I belong to the Nikonians.org group on the net.

    There is a discussion going on there , and I quote :
    From the Nikon website:
    Lenses compatible with the TC-14E II, but incompatible with the AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14E III:
    AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED II
    AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED
    AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED
    AF-I Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED
    AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED II
    AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED
    AF-I Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED
    AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4D IF-ED II
    AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4D IF-ED
    AF-I Nikkor 500mm f/4D IF-ED
    AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4D IF-ED II
    AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4D IF-ED
    AF-I Nikkor 600mm f/4D IF-ED
    AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D IF-ED

    Because the maximum aperture coupling ridge and minimum aperture signal post are eliminated with the AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14E III, “FEE” is displayed on the camera body when these lenses are used, disabling shooting.

    Link: http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/teleconverters/af-s_tc-14e_3/spec.htm

    • 49
      ) Ford

      Yes, this list is quite disappointing!

      I paid AUD$13,000 for a Nikkor 600mm f/4D IF-ED II and this TC-14E III is not backwardly compatible with it?
      A fairly substandard offering by Nikon.

  4. 7
    ) Ken

    Hi Nasim, slightly off topic … from an optical perspective what do you think of the older TC-14EII combo’d w/300 F4 vs the newer AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens ?

    • Ken, my preference is the Nikon 300mm f/4 + TC-14E II.

  5. 8
    ) Myrna

    Is this compatible with the Nikon 28-300 ED.. I haven’t used a teleconverter before and would like to try.

    • 14
      ) Patrick O'Connor

      The 28-300 isn’t compatible with any Nikon TC’s AFAIK, so I can’t imagine it would work with this one. Even if it did, you wouldn’t be happy with the results.

  6. 9
    ) Peter G

    A definite ” No “….. All Nikon Tele-convertors are designed to with the bigger ” Pro” lenses such as 300mm f2.8, 400mm f2.8,500mm f4, 600m f4 and 800mm f5.6.

    In fact, this TC will not work with my 1997 version of the 300mm f2.8 AF-S and 1995 version of the 500mm f4 AF-I. Designed to work with Nikon’s latest lenses from around 2010 or so. ( forget the exact date )

  7. 12
    ) David Jenkins

    I love my 300mm f/4. But that the converter doesn’t work with it encourages me that around the corner is the update of the lens with VR.
    So I’ll stick with the lens and 1.4 TC, but get the new one to go with the my other lenses, and then have it all ready to go with the ‘introduction of the new 300mm f/4 VR.

    Its been a long time from 2001.
    As the old TC 1.4 was a pretty solid performer across a wide range of pro lenses, the new one should make them sing and dance.

  8. 13
    ) MartinG

    David,
    I agree completely with you. My 300 F4 is great with the 1.4 . I am certain a new 300 F4 would be snapped up by many keen birding and wildlife photographers.
    I am also very curious about the new 1.4 TC. The current one is such a good converter.

  9. 15
    ) Anthony

    I re-read your nice post “How Teleconverters Affect Image Quality” from a year ago, and despite one comment on it to the contrary, I cannot help but wonder if cropping a huge D800 image file isn’t as good as a 1.4X and maybe better than a 1.7X or 2X teleconverter. I have not done a careful direct comparison (anybody out there in cyberspace done it?), but my anecdotal experience is that I’m blown away by how I can do an aggressive crop of a D800 image and get a nice, sharp print, albeit not huge.

    I realize that the multiplication factor (1.4X, 1.7X, 2X) is focal length not file size, but if a 2X teleconverter gives you roughly half the image area of no teleconverter, and you can get the same image area by cropping the image, you are still left with a 30 MB file: pretty darn good for small to medium size prints. Plus, your original image will be sharper than one with a teleconverter.

    Thoughts?

    • 19
      ) Patrick O'Connor

      I prefer to not plan on cropping. The ability to see your subject in greater detail allows you to catch subtle expressions and postures that you otherwise might not see, much less capture.

      • 25
        ) Anthony

        I’m thinking about shooting birds and mammals and various critters and extractions of scenics from hundreds of feet away…not a lot of subtle expressions.

        • 27
          ) Patrick O'Connor

          If you pay attention to the wildlife photos you like most, you’ll most likely see that they do, in fact, have specific details (postures, expressions, etc.) that make them more interesting. And, again, you’re more likely to miss these if the subject is small in your view finder. Even extractions of scenes will benefit from a closer “look”.
          If, on the other hand, you don’t care about such details, then go for it. I have no specific knowledge which option (Crop vs. TC) gives better IQ so you may be right.

    • 26
      ) Pierre

      Anthony, I’ve done that comparison with the 70-200 f/4 lens and the 1.4 teleconverter. As an educated guess, I’d say that you loose 20% image quality. So that’s 40% more reach, minus 20% quality, which leaves a 20% net gain. Here is a picture: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pierre_et_nelly/12814928504/. Now obviously the net gain should be better with primes.

      • 28
        ) Anthony

        Nice job! Nice car, too.
        That is exactly the same lens I use for most tele work, so your post is very helpful.
        Thanks.

        • 34
          ) Pierre

          Happy to have been of help. That 70-200 f/4 is a gem of a lens, isn’t it? I find it very complementary to its bigger brother. We loose a stop of light, but we gain a lot of portability, and image quality is on par.

  10. 16
    ) Guest

    Another gimmick from Nikon corporation to suck more $$$$ from gullible consumers. My current TC-14E II and super telephoto lenses work just fine and perform admirably as is. I’m passing on this charade and keeping my hard-earned $$$$. Thank you very much, though, Nikon.

    • 18
      ) Patrick O'Connor

      People buy things for lots of reasons. If some buy a product out of gullibility, that’s their problem and they’ll do so from someone else if not from Nikon. I’m wondering, though, if you really mean to say that anyone who buys this TC is gullible!?

    • 21
      ) MartinG

      Are you saying that you have not noticed how many of us have been wishing for lighter, sharper lenses and the level of interest in which TC might work best for things like BIF and wildlife? Surely Nikon is just responding to competitive pressure here. I tend to think that very few camera gear buyers who buy Nikon super telephotos and telephotos are gullible. The popularity of this site is ample evidence of that.
      I agree that the current 1.4 is perfectly fine but I am willing to wait and see what improvements they have made to it in the new iteration. If it does not represent value for money, few will buy it. I have no objection to Nikon producing new products with improved technology built in for those who don’t yet have a good TC.
      Personally I have no plan to upgrade anything until a new 300 F4 comes out. If the new version requires a new 1.4 TC , that would be very disappointing. It would mean I will have to sell my current 1.4 TC as well as my current (second hand) 300 F4.

  11. 17
    ) Peter G

    In reply to Guest (16)

    Tell me, how many other manufacturers who do upgrades that aren’t ” backwards compatible “. I have a 300mm f2.8 AF-S and 500mm F4 AF-I, but, I’m not having a ” dummy spit ” about the fact that the new model isn’t …. ” backwards compatible”.

    Its probably a good thing, as I just saved some money.

    I have a TC14E, TC17E and TC20E as well.

    Look how many products that Nikon have produced that are backwards compatible.

    I don’t work for Nikon BTW.

    • 29
      ) Tom

      I also own two super teles and the current TCs. I, too, have no intention of shelling out for the new TC. Having said that, I don’t get your post, Peter G. Dummy split?

  12. 20
    ) Keith C

    I wonder if it will work better with the new AF-S 80-400 f5.6 than the current teleconverter and make that lense sing at 560mm f8?

    As Nasim has pointed out, the new AF-S 80-400 f5.6 performs a little lackluster with the current TC1.4 II.

    Any thoughts?

    • 22
      ) Peter G

      Keith C,
      Please see this ( from http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/teleconverters/af-s_tc-14e_3/spec.htm )

      Lenses compatible with the TC-14E II, but incompatible with the AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14E III:

      •AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED II
      •AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED
      •AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED
      •AF-I Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED
      •AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED II
      •AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED
      •AF-I Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED
      •AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4D IF-ED II
      •AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4D IF-ED
      •AF-I Nikkor 500mm f/4D IF-ED
      •AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4D IF-ED II
      •AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4D IF-ED
      •AF-I Nikkor 600mm f/4D IF-ED
      •AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D IF-ED

    • 23
      ) MartinG

      Keith,
      I think Teleconverters and Zoom lenses are always less likely to work well than a TC plus a prime. Much as I hate say it, I think a DX body plus a zoom is better than a zoom plus a 1.4 TC. I f you are using a TC it means you are after reach and probably shooting wide open at the maximum length. I am yet to find a zoom which is optimised for that.
      I do have a 70-200 MkII plus a TC20EIII. When I am picking which lenses to take, I much prefer the 300 F4 and the 1.4.
      I don’t think they have made an autofocus system which works well with anything at F8 yet.

      I have however, seen some amazingly clean images of horses doing pre-dawn training shot with a D4S and a super -telephoto. (No TC). The D4S does seem to focus very well in almost complete darkness and provide very clean images at amazingly high ISO levels.

    • 31
      ) Peter G

      Tom,

      I not ” having a dummy spit ” :-) ( Its dummy spit …not split BTW :-) )

      All I was doing was pointing out that the latest Nikon TC will only work with a few Nikon lenses…. Nikon have it all listed on their website.

      Perhaps if you read my post correctly, you would see that I was trying to point out that fact to one of the other posters. It may help him save some $$$

  13. 24
    ) Peter G

    Probably one reason why I prefer to use my 500mm f4 AF-I, rather than my 300mm f2.8 AF-S and a TC17E :-)

  14. 30
    ) Kenneth

    Is this a Nikon-only blog, or is Canon gear also discussed and reviewed here? The world does not revolve around Nikon. Canon also has a superb equivalent of this TC as well as a state-of-the art 300mm f/4L IS USM that Nikon does not, cannot, even touch – but you would never know that by reading this blog.

    • 32
      ) Patrick O'Connor

      This blog, like a lot of them, discusses gear the authors are familiar with or are interested in. The primary principals use Nikon and Fuji gear and so that makes up the lion’s share of the posts. Canon does, in fact, make excellent cameras, lenses, etc. and everyone knows that. There are several general photography blogs, which feature Canon gear. I only shoot Nikon but I read several of them for the information they contain which applies to all photography. If you’re having trouble finding them, I’ll be happy to recommend a few.

      • 37
        ) Kenneth

        Then why not call this blog Nikon Photography Life?

        • 38
          ) Peter G

          It’s Nasims’ blog, so, he can call it what he likes . :-)

          • 39
            ) Kenneth

            You didn’t answer the question.

        • 41
          ) Patrick O'Connor

          Well, just looking at the “Featured Articles and Reviews”:
          - “Ghosting and Flare” isn’t specific to any system
          - the Arca-Swiss C1 Cube has nothing to do with Nikon
          - Wildlife Photography Tips aren’t specific to any system, even though the author uses Nikon gear
          - The Profoto B1 500 Air isn’t made by Nikon
          - Photographing the Milky Way can be done with any system
          - the Leica M7 is actually a competing system

          I dunno. Why do you think it SHOULD be called “Nikon Photography Life”?

        • Ken, we will be adding a lot more Canon content very soon! In fact, I am currently shooting with the Canon 6D + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 combo and loving it.

          Why more Nikon than Canon? Because most of our contributors here at PL shoot with Nikon gear. Nothing against Canon, just personal preference. Once I finish reviewing all Nikon lenses, I am planning to cover all Canon lenses. Just need more time – we will certainly get there!

    • 33
      ) Roger

      The canon equivalent for the Nikkor 300 F/4 is just an equivalent nothing more nothing less
      Yes it has IS which may be extend possibilities somewhat in lesser light but since I allmost allways use a tripod it’s not that important and it certainly does not outshine the Nikkor (from a side by side comparison with my friend not from hearsay…)
      I still shoot with my scnd gen 500mm no AFS no VR and first gen 1 4 and it works like a charm
      Regarding the new TC I can’t imagine a reason to buy it.(nor do I own a lens compatible
      with it, so that’s an easy one lol)

  15. 48
    ) John

    Hi Nasim,
    Looking forward to your test of this TC (and the 500mm f/4 BTW) but in the mean time I cannot find the MTF charts for the old Mk 2 version, can you by any chance point me in the right direction?

  16. 50
    ) toni de baja
  17. 51
    ) Richard K

    G’day Nasim
    If you wouldn’t mind offering your opinion please.
    I have the brilliant 70-200 1:2.8GII ED and in the market for a TC.
    Is the new TC-14E III worth getting or the II version still the best?
    Richard
    Perth, Australia

  18. 53
    ) Peter G

    Richard ,

    Why don’t you contact Nikon Australia and ask them ?

    http://www.nikon.com.au/en_AU/about/contact_us.page?

    • 56
      ) Richard K

      Peter, I have been in contact with Nikon Oz and they have confirmd that the new TC III will be fine with my 70-200. But, they wont be available until around August, maybe later – as someone here has already mentioned.

  19. 54
    ) Peter G
    • 55
      ) Richard Kreider

      Cheers Peter, I’ll speak to Nikon Aus as suggested.

      • 57
        ) Peter G

        Richard,
        Looking at Yodobashi.com website.

        The Old TC14E II sells for Yen 43,100
        New TC14E III will be Yen 55,980
        販売開始日:
        2014年8月発売

        My $$ are staying firmly in my pocket :-)

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