This week my M.Zuiko MC-20 Teleconverter arrived from Olympus Americas. This short article provides some initial impressions on this piece of gear. Also included is a selection of images captured using this teleconverter. The M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter weighs 150 grams (~5.3 oz). It measures 59.8 mm in diameter (~2.4 inches) x 25.9 mm in length (~1.0 inch).
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
The first thing that is immediately apparent when you pick up the M.Zuiko MC-20 2X teleconverter is the build quality. It feels very well crafted. As you can see in the image above the MC-20 teleconverter has a protrusion. This is also the case with the MC-14.
This protrusion fits inside the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and PRO 300 mm f/4 lenses. This means that other M.Zuiko lenses cannot be used with these teleconverters.
When connecting the MC-20 teleconverter to my Olympus OM-D E-M1X it was noticeably snug and tight. As was the connection with my M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom lens. There is no doubt in my mind that the MC-20 teleconverter will maintain the weather sealing of the system.
Once installed the MC-20 teleconverter feels like it is a part of the lens. There is no play whatsoever. Everything feels rock solid.
I didn’t notice any issues with auto-focus speed. It’s still fast and accurate. At Hendrie Valley I met another photographer with an E-M1X fitted with the M.Zuiko 300 mm f/4. He asked if he could try a few shots using my MC-20 teleconverter on his gear.
After taking a few images, his impression was that the MC-20 was quicker focusing than the MC-14 teleconverter. Since I don’t own the M.Zuiko PRO 300 mm f/4 or the MC-14… I’ll have to trust his assessment.
In terms of image sharpness, it is unrealistic to expect that adding a teleconverter would not impact image quality to at least a minimal degree. When assessing a teleconverter I don’t bother comparing images captured with it, versus images shot without it and cropped. A cropped image doesn’t have the same flexibility of use that a full image has. So… all that’s important to me is seeing if the overall quality of the image created with a teleconverter meets my needs.
All of the photographs in this article are displayed as 100% captures without any cropping. If you check out the EXIF data you’ll notice that I captured all of these images with my M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom lens fully extended. I did this purposely since zoom lenses are typically softest when fully extended.
When testing my gear… I like to push it. I think pushing my gear is important for my readers as well… as you get to see what happened. Based on my initial field test results, I have no hesitation using the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter from an image quality standpoint.
When using the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter it is important to remember that you will lose 1 stop of image stabilization performance with your camera’s IBIS system.
You will also lose 2 stops of light (aperture value reduced by 2 EV steps) when using the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter. This means the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm zoom lens will shoot at a minimum of f/5.6. The M.Zuiko PRO 300 mm prime will shoot at a minimum of f/8.
While many of us focus our use of a teleconverter on distant subjects, it is important to remember that they can also be used for close-up photography. I prefer testing teleconverters with close-up subjects as I find it is a better way for me to assess image sharpness.
The M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter is a quality piece of kit. It contains 9 lenses in 4 groups, including an HR lens which suppresses chromatic aberration. Ghosts and flare are kept to a minimum with Olympus ZERO coating.
Before using the M.Zuiko MC-20 it is important that you update the firmware on your camera. Next, attach the M.Zuiko PRO lens you will be using it with, to your camera. Then update the firmware for the PRO lens. If you don’t update camera and lens firmware before attaching the MC-20, you can get an incomplete firmware download and the teleconverter will not work.
The M.Zuiko MC-20 2X teleconverter is a great addition to my Olympus kit. I expect that I will be using it on a very regular basis. More articles that feature images captured with the M.Zuiko MC-20 2X teleconverter will be forthcoming.
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.
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