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Review Panasonic 1.4x converter

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If you buy a Panasonic Leica Elmarit 200mm F2.8 Power IOS, the 1.4x converter (DMW-TC14) is included in the price. With this included 1.4x teleconverter (DMW-TC14), the field of view can be increased to 560 mm equivalent (for a lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor), to bring a subject even closer. How good is this combination? Very good.

 1000684

Panasonic G9 + Panasonic Leica 200mm f/2.8 + Panasonic DMW TC14 @ ISO, f/, sec

Panasonic DMW-TC14: 1-ounce guardian angel

This Panasonic teleconverter is, like the 200mm Panasonic Leica telephoto lens and various Panasonic cameras (such as the GH5 or G9), robust, dust- and splash-proof and even frost-resistant to temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius. These combinations are therefore very suitable for professional use under extreme conditions. Because a teleconverter is the connection between the camera and a lens of more than a kilo, the quality of both of the teleconverter's mounts is of great importance. That has been handled perfectly with both the Panasonic 1.4x converter and the Olympus 1.4x converter (We previously reviewed the Olympus 1.4x converter): there is no play at all when the lens is attached to the camera with teleconverter.

PROFESSIONAL BUILD QUALITY

panasonicdmw tc14 1 4x teleconverter 1371572

Despite the compact dimensions (2cm long and 6cm diameter) and a weight of 120 grams, the lens design of Panasonic's 1.4 teleconverter consists of 6 elements in 4 groups. At first glance, the 1.4x converters from Panasonic and Olympus are similar, but according to the specifications, the Olympus is lighter (105 grams) and that lens design consists of 6 elements in 3 groups. 

Specifications
 

 

Autofocus SPEEd

Important points of attention for telephoto lenses are the AF speed and accuracy, especially in combination with a teleconverter. With a 1.4x teleconverter, you lose 1 stop of brightness: 200 mm f/2.8 becomes 320 mm f/4. The Panasonic Leica Elmarit focuses fast and accurately with sufficient light (without front or back focus, because the focus is on the sensor signal): also in combination with the 1.4x converter. From infinity to one and a half meters in less than 500ms is slower than the AF speed of the 200mm f/2.8 on a Panasonic G9, but still very fast for such a long focal length with the accompanying limited depth of field.

IMAGE QUALITY

 1022599

Panasonic G9 + Panasonic Leica 200mm f/2.8 + Panasonic DMW TC14 @ ISO, f/, sec

The distortion of the combination of the 200mm with 1.4x converter is slightly higher at 0.6% than for the lens alone, but still low, as you would expect from a high-end telephoto lens. This applies both for the in-camera jpg files and RAW files that you open in Lightroom or Photoshop (where more and more manufacturers have lens errors fixed before you see the image on your computer screen), as well as for unprocessed RAW files opened outside Lightroom or Photoshop. It is thus a good design of lens and converter, for which no/little lens correction is needed.
Vignetting is not visible in jpg files: it is less than a quarter of a stop at full aperture, and then decreases to 0.003% in 2 stops. Also in uncorrected RAW files, the vignetting is limited: 0.7 stops at full aperture and 0.3 stops after stopping down two stops. There is thus some correction of vignetting, but because it remains limited to (less than) 0.5 stops, this does not result in a noticeable increase of the noise in the corners. That is the case with full-frame lenses, where vignetting occurs more strongly.
At higher ISO values, you lose resolution due to noise reduction. If you are really faced with low-light situations, such as the example below of a bird at a bird house on the shortest day of the year in the north of Norway, you still get a somewhat successful shot thanks to a bright telephoto lens and 1.4x converter that you could not have gotten with almost any other micro-43 cameras and lenses under those extremely harsh conditions. In such extreme cases, a camera with a larger sensor and a much larger and heavier, bright telephoto giant is more effective.
The question is regularly asked of whether a lens with a teleconverter is just as good as another lens with a longer focal length (think in this case of the Olympus 300 mm f/4 PRO). And the answer is no. A good lens without a teleconverter is better than a lens with a teleconverter, if you compare them at the same focal length and brightness. We see that confirmed in all the tests that we have done so far with teleconverters. With a good converter, the differences in image quality are small, but still visible. See, for example, this video by Tony & Chelsea Northrup.

 

 1033176

Panasonic G9 + Panasonic Leica 200mm f/2.8 + Panasonic DMW TC14 @ ISO, f/, sec

CONCLUSION: REVIEW Panasonic 1.4x converter

Use the Lens Comparison or look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses. To compare the measurement results for this lens with the results of lenses on full-frame cameras or cameras with an APS-C sensor, we assumed an aspect ratio of 2:3 for the calculation of the score for the resolution. If we were to assume an aspect ratio of 4:3 and use the entire surface of the 20-megapixel sensor of the test camera (Panasonic G9), then the scores would be even higher.

WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".


Focal Length
mm @ FF
Total score
Resolution
lat. C.A.
Vignetting
Distortion
AF accur.
AF speed

 

 

Pure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you use lens correction profiles in Photoshop or Lightroom to convert RAW files, then the RAW scores for distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration are even better.


Focal Length
mm @ FF
Total score
Resolution
lat. C.A.
Vignetting
Distortion
AF accur.
AF speed

 

 

PROS

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Light and compact
  • "Free" with the purchase of a Panasonic Leica 20 mm f/2.8
  • Fast and accurate AF
  • Effective 5-axis ("Dual IS-2") image stabilization

CONS

  • Due to protruding lens element, not usable on Panasonic Leica 100-400mm (but usable on Olympus PRO telephoto lenses, such as the 40-150 f/2.8 or 300m f/4).
  • In extremely poor lighting conditions, the image quality is disappointing compared to what you are used to from this converter.

Panasonic DMW-TC 14 teleconverter is error-free: fast, sharp and accurate.

The Panasonic 1.4x converter belongs in the photo bag of every professional nature or sports photographer going hunting with the Panasonic Leica 200 mm f/2.8. For the moment when that photographer realizes that even a field of view of a 400mm lens is not enough to bring in the subject. Then the Panasonic 1.4x converter is at home between the Panasonic Leica 200mm f/2.8 and the camera body. With 1 stop loss of brightness, you can then shoot the most beautiful pictures, and that also applies for shots made at full aperture. If you make good use of the extremely effective image stabilization, you can keep the ISO values below 400 ISO for as long as possible, to minimize noise reduction and to maintain the highest possible resolution.
Is the DMW-TC14 not yet sufficient for bringing in a subject, but is there is plenty of light? Then consider the purchase of a Panasonic 2x converter, the review for which will be released soon, or the Panasonic 100-400 mm zoom.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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