I was planning to do some photography with wildlife and was planning to sell my Canon Mrk2 70-200mm lens. However after discussing this I've been told that it's actually a good lens for wildlife (or can be). Since the camera I'm using has an APS-C sensor, it suddenly becomes over 300mm in reach.

Is it worth buying a lens extender to increase my zoom? The type of photography would hopefully mean the animals aren't more than 5-10 meters away from me. I've been told that the Canon 2x extender is pretty bad, while the 1.4x is pretty good, and for those who have first-hand on experience, I'd be grateful for your input.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a misconception in your question. The focal length of a lens doesn't magically change because you're using a smaller sensor - the smaller sensor simply crops down on the image circle and we relay that information by saying it's as if you were zoomed in more. However, it's not really more reach. In cars, there's no replacement for displacement. In lenses, there's no fix for focal length. If you need more, you need more. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Corey That really depends on how much resolution you need for your intended usage. It all depends on the end goal. For more, please see this answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark in this event would you in your opinion recommend sticking with the canon 70-200mm with 1.4 (or without) vs moving to for example a 150-600mm? as these shots will be mostly "planned" and "forced" within wilderness hides i don't worry too much about distance but I do worry about getting enough detail of a small subject \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Matthew I've never directly compared the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II + EF 2X III to the Tamron/Sigma 150-600mm lenses because I don't have much use for a telephoto lens that slow. Most of the sports/action I shoot is indoors or outside under the lights at night. I would use the 70-200 "II" with a Canon "III" extender over cropping in better light, but I would not do the same with my Kenko 2X Teleplus Pro 300 DGX. The 3rd party TC only works better than cropping for me when doing astro work where AF performance and edge performance is not a factor. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


There aren't many Canon lenses I would recommend using with a teleconverter/extender for wildlife/action/sports. In fact, aside from Super Telephoto prime lenses, there is only one: The EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II.

When paired with the EF 1.4X III it still has image quality comparable to the EF 300mm f/4 and still performs autofocus fast enough and accurately enough to be usable for action/sports. In fact, even the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II + EF 2X III performs as well as the EF 400mm f/5.6, both optically and in terms of AF.

Comparing the pros and cons of lens + TC versus lens + cropping has so many variables that each specific combination and use case can come to different conclusions regarding which is the best way to go.

For several related questions and answers here at Photography.SE please see:
Does a full frame with a teleconverter perform better than an APS-C without a teleconverter?
Best lens for taking pictures of surfers
Comparing Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM and Canon 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS II USM with Kenko 1.4x MC4 DGX
Will the Canon 5D MK II with 100-400 1:4.5-5.6 work properly with Kenko 1.4 converter?
For greater telephoto range, should I use 70-200mm + teleconverter or a longer zoom lens?

You can see examples of images taken with the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 Sport (another lens I wouldn't hesitate to use with a high quality TC/Extender) and Canon EF 2X III at Flickr that show that when used properly image quality does not have to suffer terribly using high quality TCs/Extenders with high quality lenses. This Flickr user uses the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 Sport and undesignated 1.4X and 2X TC/Extenders to take some excellent shots.

Because there are so many images at Flickr taken with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, it is harder to find ones with that lens combined with a 1.4X or 2X Extender, but they are there.


  • \$\begingroup\$ I have both the canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II + Canon EF 2x extender, I use them but I do notice a slight sharpness loss on with the 2x extender attached when at 100% zoom in lightroom. Anything that gets printed to a 5x7 or less, you don't see the sharpness loss at all. I haven't tired for anything larger as I normally use them at my childrens' sporting events. \$\endgroup\$
    – thebtm
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 18:07

According to this article (which you should definitely read, by the way), there are several pros/cons to teleconverters (extenders). I think that you should be careful about the cons of them, and if you really cannot resist buying one, get the 1.4x.

An alternative could be getting a second-hand lens if you're on a budget.

As @corey mentioned, you can't get more focal length because of a particular sensor size, but with a teleconverter, you can add a bit of zoom onto it. You cannot get a 'larger' sensor with it.

Particularly for wildlife photography, I think the drawbacks of a teleconverter are just too great (focusing, blur, etc) to buy one - in my opinion.


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