Mega-Amazing Discovery: 800 f/5.6 + 1.4X TC + Canon EOS-1DX « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Mega-Amazing Discovery: 800 f/5.6 + 1.4X TC + Canon EOS-1DX

This juvenile Least Sandpiper image was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, and the Canon EOS-1DX. Mongoose M3.6 with the Skimmer II Ground Pod.

ISO 400: Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/9. Why -1 stop??? The Canon system does not note the loss of one stop of light from the Kenko TC; I figured this out right from the start when my first few images were about a stop over-exposed….

AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Mega-Amazing Discovery: 800 f/5.6 + 1.4X TC + Canon EOS-1DX

As I readied my gear I was a bit concerned about trying to photograph small sandpipers with only the 800 and a full frame body…. Man, I would miss having a 1.4X TC to use with my new camera and my favorite super-telephoto lens…. By design, the 1DX focuses only to f/5.6….

I first purchased the the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter in hopes that it would autofocus with the 800mm f/5.6L IS and the EOS-5D Mark III. But that, as noted here, was a no-go. With the Kenko TC in place the aperture read 00.

I finally got my 1DX from Canon through the Explorers of Light program on Tuesday and promptly headed out to the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge that afternoon. As I was gathering my gear I noticed the the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag. I grabbed it and mounted it between the 800 and my new camera body. Based on my experience with the 5D III I assumed that the 1DX would not focus with the TC in place. Again, the 1DX, by design, focuses only to f/5.6. I raised the lens, pointed it at a sign in the parking lot, and pushed the star button which I use for rear focus. I was stunned. My new rig not only focused but it focused quickly. I was about half way to the turn onto Patterson Boulevard–there are few people in the world who know the name of that basalt-covered road–when I had another thought. I put my tripod down, raised the lens, pushed the grid button, pushed the M-Fn button and was again stunned; I was able to toggle through the various AF Area Selection Modes. Then I pressed the edge of the newly designed joystick; stunned times three. Not only did the 1DX focus with the the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, I was able to move the active AF sensor. I felt like the proverbial kid in the candy store.

Once I got down in the mud I discovered that AF with the the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter was fast and sure and accurate. I have been out every morning and afternoon since then and have totally fallen in love with the 1DX. That first afternoon I managed to get a huge gob of black, sticky, gooey much all over my brand new camera :). It was a proper baptism.

This adult Laughing Gull molting to winter plumage was photographed with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, and the Canon EOS-1DX. Mongoose M3.6 with the Skimmer II Ground Pod.

ISO 800: Evaluative metering -1 1/3 stops: 1/1250 sec. at f/9. Why -1 1/3 stops? The Canon system does not note the loss of one stop of light from the Kenko TC; I figured this out right from the start when my first few images were about a stop over-exposed….

AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

When I got back to my Mom’s and reviewed my images I was thrilled with the sharpness and the image quality. Thrilled!

This worn juvenile Killdeer was photographed from my car at a local state park with my rig resting on a folded up sweatshirt on the lowered driver’s side window; oh how I wish that I had brought my travel BLUBB to NY! With the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, and the Canon EOS-1DX.

ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/9. Why -1 stops???? The Canon system does not note the loss of one stop of light from the Kenko TC; I figured this out right from the start when my first few images were about a stop over-exposed….

AI Servo/Rear Focus AF and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Sharpness and Image Quality with the 800 f/5.6 + Kenko 1.4X TC + Canon EOS-1DX

Judge for yourself….

This juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper with an invertebrate prey item was photographed will sitting behind my lowered tripod at a local state park with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, and the Canon EOS-1DX.

ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/9. Why -1 stops???? The Canon system does not note the loss of one stop of light from the Kenko TC; I figured this out right from the start when my first few images were about a stop over-exposed….

AI Servo/Rear Focus AF and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

The 1DX: Changing My Photography

I have spent a lot of time lately teaching folks to make at least a few images in rapid succession when everything is perfect. Though I have never been a hold the hammer down guy and though I have been using the 1DX for less than two days, it has already changed the way I do photography. The 12 frames per second frame rate allows me to capture moments that I never knew existed. When everything is perfect I simply hold the shutter button down and let the 1DX do its thing. I have been amazed at the results. All sharp, with many of the images revealing things and capturing poses that I never even saw. As with breakfast in the image above….

This juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper image was created pretty much in the pre-dawn darkness with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, and the Canon EOS-1DX. Mongoose M3.6 with the Skimmer II Ground Pod.

ISO 10000: Evaluative metering at zero: 1/500 sec. at f/8 in Tv Mode.

AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

ISO 10000

The ISO setting for the image above is not a typo. I had heard great things about the high ISO performance of the 1DX and wanted to see for myself. Quite amazing.

This bathing adult Laughing Gull molting to winter plumage was photographed with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, and the Canon EOS-1DX. Mongoose M3.6 with the Skimmer II Ground Pod.

ISO 800: Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8. Why -1 stop? The Canon system does not note the loss of one stop of light from the Kenko TC; I figured this out right from the start when my first few images were about a stop over-exposed….

AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

ISO 800

As you can see in this image–be sure to click on the larger version, ISO 800 with the 1DX looks as good or better than ISO 400 on all previous Canon camera bodies.

When asked about the 1DX I always replied, “It will be a 5D III on steroids. I have no idea…. One thing that I forgot to mention is that I am 100% convinced that the 1DX will be superb for flight photography, the best ever by far. As I was photographing the bathing gulls and sandpipers I said to buddy Tom Pfiefer nearby, this camera is so good that the birds have no chance; I feel guilty.

Buying a 1DX?

Many of you have been waiting for my evaluation of the 1DX. I will do something more formal soon. In the meantime, as pretty much all of you know I have been working my butt off to make the blog interesting, informative, beautiful, and educational. All free to you. Please, please, pretty please use our main B&H affiliate link in the side column when making your B&H purchases. If you are gonna order a 1DX, please use this link: Canon EOS-1DX. Click on the link and then complete your purchase to help us out. It’s that simple.

Own an 800 and a 1DX?

If you already own a Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS and a 1DX, you will want to click on the following link and get yourself a the Kenko 1.4X TC before B&H is out of stock: the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter. Good friend Patrick Sparkman ordered his 1DX and his Kenko 1.4X TC using our links last night and was thrilled that both were in stock. But that was yesterday :). Me? I am headed out to make some more great images.

173 comments to Mega-Amazing Discovery: 800 f/5.6 + 1.4X TC + Canon EOS-1DX

  • I got my Kenko tele-converter this afternoon works great with my 70-300 lens. I put my 800 on my 1DX it auto focuses perfectly but when I press the shutter it just hangs up processing the shot. The shutter count just keeps flashing. I finally have to pull out the battery to get the camera to work again. Tried numerous times with no luck. What do you think the problem would be. Any help would be appreciated. I will update my camera software today and see if that makes a difference.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The same problem is being reported with any firmware after 1.02… I am 99% sure that your software is already updated; that is the problem.

  • Just tried my EF400 5.6 on 1Dx with 1.4 canon MII tele taped and found that it definately autofocused at 5.6, slight hunting but accurate auto focus in both fairly low light and in bright sun. I’m thrilled since i’m used to using the combo on 1DsMIII. Haven’t tried it on the 100-400 yet. Shot nomenclature tag on outside oil tank to see the sharpness of the fonts.

  • Hallo Arthur,

    a really usefull and great report, thx for that.
    I did not read all the user comments, but my comment refers only to your report and I want to make a correction from my little experience with the 5D MKIII and a really properly working AF an f8.

    I`m often using the Canon 500/4 L IS with Kenko 2x DGX 300 (newest Version) at the new 5D.
    The Autofokus works very good, but you have to disabled the AF Fine Tuning before using and adapting the lens+converter at the body !

    Then you have a really good working Autfocus with all 61 Points, mostly the same like at 5.6 ! :-))

    Greetings from Germany

    PS: Please sorry for my non perfect english.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Eric D., Your English is much better than my German 🙂

      Thanks for your comments; there is no correction as I did not refer to the 5DIII/Kenko 2x DGX 300/500mm lens combo 🙂

      Please explain what you mean by AF fine-tuning.

      The big problem with the Kenko 2x DGX 300 and various lenses seems to be that that TC is simply not sharp at all. Let me know if you want the link to the BPN thread with that info.

      best, artie

  • avatar Clive Culverwell

    Hi Art…

    Awesome information here. I have the 1DX and 800mm. I tried taping the pins on the Canon 1.4TC mk3 and mk2 but like you found the chattering and inconsistent focus. So gave those up as a bad idea.

    So I went out and bought the Kenko 1.4TC. It works very well but I did notice some vignetting right in the corners of the photos. So I did some side by side physical comparisons of the Kenko to Canon converters and noticed that the diameter of the lens on the Kenko closest to the camera sensor is smaller than the Canon which may account for the vignetting right in the corners.

    So I am busy making a plan to do a transplant of the Kenko PCB (printed circuit board) linking the camera to lens into the Canon converter. I have stripped them and am busy machining a pocket into the canon mk2 converetr to fit the Kenko PCB. My theory is that if I can combine the Canon optics with the Kenko PCB that make the AF possible between the 1DX and 800mm lens then I will have a killer combo.

    I will keep you posted on the results that may be useful for others.

  • avatar Mike

    Artie; I would like to order a 600 II from B&H but cannot find the link for it. B&H site just say’s out of stock and gives no way to order.
    I have one pre-ordered form a local store (Roberts in Indianpolis) but feel its taking forever to get it and I am 3ed on the list. Any help would be great… Love your blog!!!! Thanks

    • avatar neuroanatomist

      Mike, I think you need to call them to order at this point. I was able to place a pre-order for the 600 II in person at the B&H Superstore a couple of weeks ago (their website was showing out of stock with no order link then, too). Artie – is there a way to associate such an order with BAA? Thanks!


      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        BAA affiliate orders can on be placed on line and must be placed with on of our links. If you order that way I can help to expedite delivery. Right now we have no orders in the queue.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Mike, Click here:

      Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Telephoto Lens

      Send me your B&H receipt via e-mail and I will do my very best to get the order expedited. Do not cancel your other order. If they come through, you can cancel your B&H order instantly. Thanks, artie

      • avatar neuroanatomist

        Artie, sorry, but your link just points to the page where an order cannot be placed online. The lens cannot be added to a cart, the only option is Notify When In Stock.

  • Authur –

    I’ve used the Kenko 1.4 and 2.0x teleconverters in combination with my 7D for quite some time and my 5D III recently. I’ve also used it primarily with two different lenses – 70-200 series that are designed to be used with teleconverters and my 85mm f/1.8 lens.

    Using the 85mm no exposure compensation is required – the camera exposes as you’d expect it to.
    Using lenses design for teleconverters I usually have to use EC. My theory has been that the camera sees the teleconverter twice rather than just once and I think this has to do with how the DGX series reports the true aperture to the camera. Although the EXIF data is correct (including max aperture) I believe that the DGX series must intentionally misreport the maximum aperture to the camera in order to preserve autofocus capability.

    The other interesting part is that the DGX converters do not disable autofocus – ever. I used a stacked combination (Canon 1.4x+Kenko 1.4x+Kenko 2x) with a Canon 300 f/4 as well as a Canon 2x + Kenko 2x with a Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 and neither time was the autofocus disabled. It didn’t work through the viewfinder but did work quite nicely using live view when trying to take pictures of the moon.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for sharing your info. artie

      ps: AF will always work with Live View as long as you use Live Mode AF 🙂

  • Hi Artie, I read this post when it came out an finally got a Kenko 1.4 pro 300 dgx. I put it on my 800, connected the 1dx, turned the camera on and got f00. I’m thinking MAYBE Canon nixed this with new firmware?? My firmware is 1.0.6. Is that newer than yours?


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Someone mentioned the possibility of that happening. I said, “No, they would never do that.” I have not updated the firmware. I will inquire and let you know.

  • avatar Carlos Garcia

    Confirmed from Spain the combination 800mm + kenko 1,4x works fine exatly like Artie explains. Thanks Artie for all your explanations to all of us. Amazing

  • Fantastics pictures!

    Are you using a polarizer for these shots?

  • Very informative and educative discussions here Artie as always.

    To keep it short, I have two precise questions –

    1. Unless you use 5D III and/or 1DX with 800mm F5.6 IS lens, you can use the Canon TC 1.4X II/III to have the AF like with 1D III, 1D IV etc, right? No need of Kenko one or is there still any advantage of Kenko over Canon TCs?

    2. If we talk only about the Optical Quality/Performance of Kenko forgetting the AF issue compared to Canon TC, how do you rate it – same, better, or less good than Canon one?

    Thanking you and all, Happy Photography.

  • avatar Werner

    Good Morning, would you think a Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 AF DGX 2x used with the EOS 5D M III + 500/f4 L IS II USM would work in AF mode?

  • avatar Geoff

    Hey again Artie,

    Just wanted to update you on the other guy with the 800L, the Kenko and the 5D3. He gave it a try without the tape and his reports f/8 to the 5D3 but he has no AF (the expected response for a reporting TC). However, his doesn’t show 00 and he can continue using the camera fine with MF or LiveView AF. His experience with the tape on the Kenko and the 800L and 5D3 has been very good. He gets no hunting or jerkiness and has been using this combo for a while now. He doesn’t have a 1DX to compare to your combo.

    I guess if you are interested you could try the Kenko with tape on the 5D3 and see how it compares to the tapeless Kenko on the 1DX.

    Are you getting the 600II soon? I’ve had one on order for a while but I’m still waiting and can’t wait to hear your opinion on it.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for the info Geoff. I will try it again when I run into someone with an 800…. I am, however, dubious about the tape the pins story. I tried it with the Canon TC and AF was slow and jerky. Very slow.

  • avatar Bas

    I’ve had autofocus this weekend on a 5D2 and 2 7D’s with a Canon 500mm and an old Soligor 2x TC. The thing is, the camera didn’t know it was attached. The image was just darker so we had to close the diafragm to correct the exposure…

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for the info. I think that you meant open the diaphragm…. If you close it the image would be darker still….

  • avatar Brian Price

    A bit of a puzzle – the description in the UK is different to the one on the B&H site – it says it will work with f5.6 lenses and mentions the 1 stop exposure factor.

    Autofocus is maintained when used with a lens with a maximum aperture of f5.6 or faster. This new DGX version records the equivalent focal length and aperture value of the combined lens and teleconverter in the EXIF information for accurate records. Exposure factor of 1 stop.

    Brian Price

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The exposure mention is vague at best. The AF with f/5.6 lenses is wrong unless you have a pro body prior to the 1DX….. In other words, it is wrong 🙂

  • Think the 1dx is nice, new and very good as every new camera could, and should, be. But is there for exemple a difference between the 1d4 800mm combo and the 1dx 800mm + kenko 1.4tc combo. Even with the 1,4 tc3 the images are nice but i’m loosing some speed and the image is always better without TC.
    Must say that for the moment i’m very happy with the mark4 800 mm combo,
    When I’m on the animal photography side I’m always dreaming to have more mm so leaving the 1,3 factor makes me a little afraid.
    Or is the image that I could make with the 1dx, cropped, of the same quality as the full image that i can have with the 1d4 ?
    Sorry for the language, but the ipad is not making things easy to write down….it has a life of its own…

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      If the birds or animals are close enough, the edge by a mile goes to the 1DX. If they are small and or distant, then the edge goes to the 1DIV. Where are you from?

  • avatar Ron Owen


    I’ve tried to find the answer to my question, but can’t so far. I’m about to order a 5DIII (1DX is out of my range), so I want to understand. What prompted you to go from the Canon III TC to the Kenko TC? Other than the F/8 vs. F/5.6 is there a problem with the Canon TC working on the 5DIII? Sorry if this has been answered, but I must admit confusion. Thanks for all you do for us.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ron, With what lens??? artie

      • avatar Ron Owen


        I’m still at the stage where I rent; can’t afford to buy. But usually a 600/4, or 500/4 (I also own a 70-200/II that I use with both Canon III TCs). I know of your love for the 800, but those two with a Canon 1.4/III TC give me more perceived flexibility. In either event, I’m can’t afford a 1DX, but am going to upgrade my 5DII to a III.

        Thanks again for all you do.


        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks Ron and YAW. The 5DII and 5DIII will AF just fine with either f/4 super-telephoto. When you upgrade to the 5DIII please e-mail me for our product specific link and consider our 5DII User’s Guide.

          • avatar Ron Owen

            Already have ordered the 5DIII UG; got the first portion, and eagerly awaiting the final, and will use your link for the 5DIII. TY.

      • avatar Paul Lubitz

        Mr Morris,

        What has been your findings using the Canon 1DX, Canon 800 mm, and the Canon III 1.4 TC? Does it work to the same degree as the Kenko? Thanks. Paul

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Paul, It seems as if you missed the original post :). The Canon 1.4X TC does not focus with either the 5D Mark III or the 1DX with the 800 f/5.6 or with any other f/5.6 lens unless you tape the pins. If you do that AF is interminably slow.

  • avatar Scott Grubb

    Hello. I can see a slight negative vignette in some of the shots. I was just wondering if this had been applied in post, or if it was an artifact of the lens/TC/camera combination?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Since I mostly work wide open or close to it I have 59 as the vignetting control. On images that I use a small aperture the corners can get a bit light and I obviously do not notice it all the time. Good eye.

  • Great stuff, Art! I’ve been following your blog since the end of 2011, but I’ve never posted before. I have to say, this blog was incredibly informative, and your shots are stunning! I’m really glad you grabbed the Kenko 1.4x TC and worked with it. I’m AMAZED to see the quality of the 1D X, and the fact that you were able to get AF to work with the 800 f/5.6 + Keno 1.4x has me very pleased. I recently purchased the same Kenko TC, the 1.4x Teleplus PRO 300 DGX for use on my Canon 7D and 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L lens. In great light, it actually AF’s at f/8 pretty well. Its too slow to do birds in flight, but it works well enough to capture shore waders and herons like the Snow Egret.

    I am by no means a professional photographer with your kind of skill, however I started bird photography at the beginning of 2012, and it has me COMPLETELY HOOKED. I’ve read your blog every chance I get, and I’ve absorbed every ounce of knowledge you’ve offered. I greatly appreciate all the time you take to educate us fledgeling bird photographers. I can’t really justify a 1D X right now, however after seeing what it can do, and seeing the stellar detail and noise performance of the 1D X right up to ISO 16000 on Andy Rouse’s blog (, I am seriously considering one. I had my first foray with a Canon Mark II telephoto…in this case the EF 300 f/2.8 L II, for the first time the last week or so via rental. I was really getting disheartened with my work, but with the 300/2.8 L and a 2x TC, my photos have completely changed, and I feel really good about them again. I *like* my photos a lot, and where I thought there was a brick wall blocking my progress, I feel a whole new world of bird photography has opened up in front of me again.

    Given how much you like the EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS, I may just have to pick one up, and at some point I may have to take the dive into 1D X territory as well. Thank you so much for all the great info, great insight, and endless inspiration! 🙂

    • I thought I would point out, I have the same exposure issues with the 1.4x TC on my lenses on a 7D as you have seemed to experience with the 800mm and 1D X. I’m curious why that occurs…does the camera meter not simply work with the light that makes its way down the lens and off the mirror? Why would the addition of a TC cause any kind of exposure issues, and require additional exposure compensation?

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Thanks Jon. I have no understanding as to why the over-exposure occurs. With the Canon TCs, everything comes out in the wash so to say. Please let us know exactly which Kenko 1.4TC you use, which lenses you use with it, and whether or not each combo autofocuses without the pins taped, and whether you ever use the tape the pins trick. Lots of questions but lots of folks would love to know. 😉

        • Hi Art. I can offer what I know about the Kenko TC’s. I don’t have nearly the kit many of the photographers around here do, but I’ll be renting most of the major lenses that I think many of you guys use. I started with the EF 300/2.8 L II, but I plan to rent the 600/4 L II and 800/5.6 L, and possibly some of the other superteles. I’ll be using the Kenko on all of them, and I intend to buy the Canon EF 2x TC III, so I might be able to try some stacking as well. As soon as a 1D X and 5D III is available to rent, I’ll give them a whirl too. Personally I have never tried to use the pin-taping trick, so my experience is solely with bare TCs.

          Currently, I own the Kenko 1.4x Teleplus PRO 300 DGX AF teleconverter. I believe that is the same Kenko 1.4x TC you own and have used on the 1D X. I own the Canon 7D body, and have used this TC on the 100-400mm L lens, as well as the EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS lens. I’ve also used the TC combined with the EF 300/2.8 L + EF 2x TC III for a total of 840mm. On the 7D, that combination does not autofocus unless you have absolutely superb light…as in full sunlight just before or just after midday, so you get really good light on subject.

          Some additional information. I have read on and off for about a year, and shortly after the 5D III was released, a few people on those forums tried out the 5D III with both the Kenko 1.4x DGX (not sure if it was an MC4 or PRO 300), a Kenko 2x DGX, and a combination of EF 2x TC III and Kenko 1.4x DGX…all three of which put maximum aperture at f/8. One of the forum participants who claimed 5D III AF support on a Kenko 1.4x DGX TC even produces a video that clearly demonstrated AF did indeed work, and even worked decently in moderately low light. I’ll see if I can dig up the links to those forum posts. Perhaps the experiences of these other individuals will help shed some light on the f/8 AF issues and capabilities of Canon’s new bodies.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ah, I missed this older one. Great to learn that the 1.4x Teleplus PRO 300 DGX does AF with the 100-400 and a 7D. Thanks for your kind words. I love that 300 II. Best of luck on getting your new gear.

  • avatar Gaurav Mittal

    Amazing shot guru 🙂

  • avatar Pete Sole

    Hi Artie,

    In April of this year I participated in your Morro Bay IPT. I learned a lot. Thanks.

    I thought I would add to the mix. I’m using (starting with the lens):
    Canon 500mm L IS (2005? model) + Canon 1.4 MK3 teleconverter + Tamrom 1.4x SPAF teleconverter + Canon 7d with version 2 firmware.
    I got autofocus, but its very very squirley. Atleast it tries with the combo above (no tape).

    Camera reports F5.6 images at 700mm. Images are definetely overexposed. 1 to 1.5 stops of light reduction helps. I’m still fiddling around. IQ seems to suffer a fair bit. (Could be user error, since I’ve never tried to shoot at ~1000mm). If folks are interested I can report back once I do more testing.

    Pete Sole’
    Soquel, CA

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Pete, Good to hear from you. YAW 🙂 Thanks for the Tamron TC info. Please let us know if you are able to get images of higher quality. I tried yesterday with the 500 IS II, the Canon 1.4X TC on the lens, and the Kenko 1.4X behind it and was amazed to learn that that combo does not AF. I was virtually sure that it would….. best and love, artie

      • avatar Pete Sole

        Hi Artie,

        I did some more testing but the combo: old Canon 500 IS L + Canon 1.4 mk3 + Tamron 1.4 + Canon 7D is pretty hopeless on AF.I find that AF is very very inconsistent in all kinds of conditions. It hunts like crazy, then usually gives up out of focus. Occasionally, it just nails the focus, making me think, why/how did that work? Bottom line, I do NOT recommend the combo above for birds. It does seem to work better on the pure bark of a tree. 🙂

        Image quality also suffers, but having the extra reach is pretty nice on manual focus.



  • avatar Patrick Sparkman

    I did not test the Kenko Pro since Artie had already confirmed that the Pro DGX did not work with 5DIII. The Kenko 1.4X MC4 would cause the same error as the Pro DGX with the 5DIII/800 combo. However, the 2X would work and would even autofocus at f11 with the 5DIII. So I took the electronics out of the Kenko 2x MC4 and put it into the 1.4X MC4 and it auto-focused fine. The readout was wrong showing f11, but it worked and auto-focused fine. So this is a firmware issue, not an optical issue. The fact that autofocusing is harder for the auto-focus sensors with a teleconverter is an optical challenge. But the challenges we are seeing with the different converters are software related.

    The last three pins on the teleconverter tell the lens what TC is connected, and it allows the lens and the camera to adjust the autofocus gain settings. When you tape the pins, you trick the lens/camera into thinking that a teleconverter is not attached. Unfortunately, this also messes up the auto-focus gain settings and the camera hunts to try and find focus. It eventually locks in, but this would not work for moving subjects.

    Fortunately, the Kenko teleconverters (BTW the Tameron’s are identical to the Kenko’s) do keep the gain settings and work well when they work. Luckily as Artie found, the 1DX software is enough different that it works with the Kenko 1.4, when the 5DIII would not.

    Here is a quick summary of my testing with the 5DIII (the 1DX is on the way) and different teleconverters with the 800L;

    • avatar Charles Scheffold

      Nice research Patrick. So if this is a firmware limitation, there are some interesting possibilities… here are my questions/observations:

      1) Is it possible that Canon will eventually enable f/8 AF with their own TCs? Maybe they are still working out the bugs. If it works with the 3rd party TCs, it ought to work with theirs.

      2) I am betting that the reason Artie is seeing the underexposure issue is that the Kenko TC is tricking the camera into believing the lens is f/5.6 wide open and ignoring the exposure drop that the TC is causing. Otherwise the 1DX would most certainly disallow AF.

      3) How long before Canon updates the 1DX firmware to prevent these 3rd party TCs from working? 🙁


      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        1-Anything is possible but I doubt it.
        2-If you are correct why does it read f/8???
        3-Hope not.

        ps: Patrick is a lot smarter than I am when it comes to the technical stuff and is also a darned good photographer. And a nice guy. Like you Charles. 🙂

  • Has anyone tried the Version I canon 500 F4L with the latest Kenko 2X teleconverter on the 1D X ?

  • avatar Petrus

    Hi. Again.
    Tried to stack the both 1.4 extenders again just to make sure. The wether is poor, rainy, the light is low. Autofocus is very shaky. The reported F seems to be 7.1. Last time I tried was in bright sunshine. 🙁

  • avatar Petrus

    Hi, I have tested the 1Dx+500/4II+kenko2x TC. No autofocus. Sorry about this, I expected so much after Artie’s findings. However Canon 1.4x + Kenko 1.4x + 500/II + Dx focuses, but slowly, very slowly. Shows that Canon should give the users a possibility to at least try the F8 autofocusing. However my Kenkos are quite old, Teleplus Pro300 series.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Which 500 lens, the old one or the new one? Strange about slow AF with the Kenko 1.4X/1DX/500 combo…. You mention that they are “Teleplus Pro300 series.” I am not sure if they have been updated/upgraded…. Does anyone have a new one to try?

      • avatar Petrus

        the 500 is the NEW version II. Maybe I was a little fuzzy in my previous mail, here again:
        1DX + 500/ii + 1,4x III Canon + 1,4x Kenko (stacked extenders); very very slow autofocus, but in good light and high contrast only. In low light and low contrast, no success.
        1DX + 500/ii + 2x Kenko; no autofocus, not even trying.
        1DX + 500/ii + 1,4x Canon or Kenko, absolutely no problems. Blazing fast and accurate.
        I have also tried taping the 3 pins of the Kenko 2x extender, no autofocus success.

  • avatar Geoff

    Just as a reminder. Using the tape trick on the official Canon TCs works just as well and probably has arguably better optics than the Kenko one. I use the tape on my 1.4mkIII Canon TC with my 100-400 on my 5D3 and 7D and it works fine. It is not good enough for BIF but fine for static subjects. However, I’m sure this is down to the 100-400. I would assume that using the tape trick on the 1.4 Canon and using the 800L, that the 1DX would focus just as well as the Kenko does.

    Artie, have you tried taping an official Canon TC to see how well it works compared to the Kenko??

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Geoff, Don’t take it personally but you are totally in error. Did you not read what I said? “AF with the Kenko 1.4X TC is lightning fast and accurate. And I was able to use all the sensors and all the AF Selection Modes. When I taped the pins in the Canon 1.4X III TC AF was super-slow and chattery and it could not be used for moving subjects. Your definition of “wrokign fine” and mine are quite different.

      You wrote, “I would assume that using the tape trick on the 1.4 Canon and using the 800L, that the 1DX would focus just as well as the Kenko does.” Best not to assume something that you know nothing about. 🙂

      • avatar Geoff

        Sorry, about the assumption, that is why I asked if you had tried it. So the taped 1.4III gives chattery results on the 1DX with the 800L, that is good to know. Those are the same results I get on the 5D3 and the 100-400 as I mentioned. However, I had presumed it may be better on one of the supertelephoto primes. Now I know.

        I have read other reports of the Kenko working with the 5D3 and 800L. It doesn’t make any sense that it shouldn’t work on the 5D3. Especially should not report a 00 aperture, if it reports it should go f/8 and up but if it doesn’t report then it should be like it is on the 1DX. I wonder why it didn’t work on your 5D3??

        • avatar Geoff

          Just to clarify, I’m still waiting for confirmation if the Kenko that others say works on the 5D3 is the high-end one you are using or the traditional non-reporting one. Maybe that is the difference between the two different experiences I’ve read about??

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks for having a thick skin :). Send me a link to those “reports.” 00 does not make sense to me either that’s why I asked folks to confirm that result in my original BPN post. So far no comments either way.

          • avatar Geoff

            So I got a reply about the Kenko. He is using the new DGX model that you are using on the 5D3 with the 800L….HOWEVER….he is taping the 3 pins like you would on the Canon. I’ve asked him to try without tape to see if he gets the same error and “00” aperture.

            There is a reason he is taping the pins :). Ask him how slow the AF is….

      • avatar Charles Scheffold

        Artie – that’s very interesting. So there must be some difference in the optics between the Kenko and the Canon TC that is allowing f/8 AF to work on the 1DX. I think that’s the missing piece of the puzzle for me.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Hey Charles, I am pretty sure that the optics has nothing to do with it…. It is likely some code in some chip somewhere….

          • avatar Charles Scheffold

            I suspect a bit of both – when you use the Kenko converter, does the EXIF data from the image show the TC+lens focal length or the native lens focal length? (1120 vs. 800)

            I am guessing the latter, because the camera is likely unaware that the TC is there. Taping the pins on the Canon converter should provide similar results, but since it doesn’t, my suspicion is that the optical design of the 3rd party TC is allowing AF sensor to “see” the image and focus properly.

            It shows 1120 at f/8. Go figure. I still disagree on the optics having anything to do with it. Patrick Sparkman, are you there??? The strangest thing about using the Kenko 1.K TC with the 800/1DX is that the metering is screwed up. The exposure does not “come out in the wash” as it usually does. If you shoot with your usual compensation the images will be about one stop too dark. However, the advantages are so huge that it is worth figuring out the right exposure even if you need to check your histogram which you should be doing anyway 🙂artie

        • avatar Charles Scheffold

          This could also explain why Canon has not allowed us to use their TCs even via a custom function. I’ll probably be getting a 1DX before Bosque this year, so I’ll have to try this with my Tamron SP Pro TCs to see if they work as well. They are very similar to the Kenko in design. Will let you know…

          • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

            Do let us know what you find out 🙂

          • avatar Lars Siebold

            While the reading on the camera shows f8, don’t you think it’s possible that the converter tells the camera that the max aperture is f5.6. Because that’s the limiting factor, max aperture, not current aperture. You can easily af with any lens set at f8 that has a max aperture bigger than f8, because the final aperture is only set during the exposure, everything else happens at max aperture. So that would also explain why exposure ist one stop too dark, as the camera thinks it meters at f5.6, while it is actually at f8.

          • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

            Thanks for stopping by Lars. I am a bit confused by what you wrote 🙂 No matter. With the Kenko 1.4X in place the exposures are actually one stop too light….

  • avatar Bob Allen

    Hi, Artie. I just placed an order for the Kenko TC you recommended. I’ve been using an older Kenko Pro TC on my Canon macro lenses for years now. Odd that Canon’s TC’s don’t fit Canon’s macro lenses either. Thank you for the recommendations and of course the killer blog posts! -BugBob

  • Artie
    Would you provide a B+H link for the Kenko Teleplus 300 DGX 2X.

  • On the 7D it would AF on most points EXCEPT the centre one (do not ask me why!)
    That is the problem – up to the 30D even taping the pins worked well but after that on the 40D,50D and 7D it would work on the outer AF points but not the centre one. Something to do with the centre point being enhanced for f2.8 lenses I believe although I do not know the tech details. My 400/5.6 worked great with the 40D and 7D with a taped converter but only on the outer points.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Well that is quite interesting but makes no sense to me 🙂 Can anyone verify? Again, I would doubt very highly if AF worked great” by my standards with the pins taped with any camera…

  • avatar Rick Massie

    So….If a 1dMKIV will autofocus with outer points with a 1.4x (at F/8), does that mean it will also autofocus with the centre point with a 2x at F/11? If anyone can try this out, please let me know. I’ll check my very small local camera shop to see if they have a 2x in stock.

    Great find, and great images!

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    I ordered my 600mm through B&H a few days ago and sent you the order number but forgot about any special link. Did I omit a necessary step?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Unless you used our generic B&H link, the one on the side of the blog near the top, or used one of our product specific links, then you did not make a BAA affiliate order. And I cannot find out if you did either until the product is shipped.

      Let me know if you used one of our links.

  • Have used the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter with our 400 f5.6 on the 7d, it hunts a lot when single af points are used but af improves once zone area is selected and we could shoot slow moving birds like herons and eagles with the combo.
    Which type of af points and modes work best in your experience?

  • Artie,

    See if both the Canon and Kenko converter rear pin configuration are the same or different.

    Chas in Kenya

  • avatar Robert Royse

    Hi Artie,

    Great shots as always. Great news too. The 1DX wasn’t anywhere on my wish list (or budget for this year!), but now it at least is something I might think about for next year.

    In the meanwhile, I am curious if you have tried this Kenko 1.4x + 800 on the 1DIV. Will more than the central focus point work? If so how accurate are they? Also – on any camera can you do a separate focusing microadjustment when the Kenko 1.4x is added?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Robert. Good to see you here :).

      And great question: I never thought to try until you asked. The answer, amazingly, is yes. I have not used that combo yet but I assume the AF performance with the outer sensors would be comparable to proportionally similar to AF performance of the outer sensors without the TC, that is, a bit slower and a bit less sure than AF with the central sensor alone.

      Let me know if that makes sense. And please order yours with our B&H link. One last request, please send me your B&H receipt via e-mail 🙂

  • Thanks a lot Artie – I had convinced myself that the 1dX wasn’t for me because of the f8 and now I have to start thinking about how I can pay for one! This is pretty amazing news, seriously thank you, even though I won’t be able to buy one of these guys for a while.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Sallie Jo, If you save up, please remember to use our link. 🙂 Did you ever get the image of you in the sunflower field that I sent you via e-mail? artie

      ps: Nickerson was beyond mega last night.

      • Love the sunflower field picture! Thank you. I have to go to Oceanside for a bbq on Sunday (about 20 minutes from Nickerson) so may see if I can bring my gear and head out there in the late afternoon. I ended up with some good blurs that Friday I was with you, but could use some more flight shots. Best, Sallie Jo

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    This kind of news makes me even more disappointed in Canon. After investing tens of thousands of dollars in their camera system, I have to buy a 3rd party TC to enable functionality that USED to be available with the stuff I already own?

    I still don’t understand why they can’t just enable it with their TCs and say “use at your own risk YMMV” or something like that.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Sounds like a reasonable option to me :).

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        ps: it is actually worse than that 🙂 Why? Because when we do have AF beyond f/5.6 we have only the central sensor. Think about that and what it seems to mean….

    • avatar Geoff

      Exactly! Why it can’t be a CF that we turn on is irritating. Nikon always allowed one to at least try to AF at f/8 even though they officially said NO. Now Nikon has 11 functioning f/8 points on the D800 and D4. How the tables have turned!

  • avatar Chris Cooke

    The order is lens (500 f/4 L IS), Canon 1.4XII TC, then the Kenko 2X Teleplus Pro 300 with either the EOS-5D MKIII or the EOS-1D MKIII. Tomorrow I will try the 7D and 5D MKII and let you know. I would assume that the 1D MKIV (which I do not use) will also work.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Chris. If you run into someone with any of the following lenses try the Kenko 2X Teleplus Pro 300 alone with either the 5DIII or the 1DX (if they have one) :):

      Canon 500 f/4L IS II
      Canon 600mm f/4L IS II
      Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS

      Also, are the images that you are making now reasonably sharp?

      • avatar Chris Cooke

        I will certainly have a try to find anyone with the new Long Whites downunder but we were allocated very few and unfortunately no one here will buy them from the USA as Canon Australia now refuses to honor the Waranty if any Canon lenses cameras and Speedlights are purchased from overseas, originally they would honor any “L” lenses and all flashes but not Cameras, now nothing.

        I will give it a try and get back to you.

        • avatar Chris Cooke

          The 5DMKIII will not autofocus with just the Kenko 300 Teleplus on the 500 f/4 but focuses well when attached to the Canon 1.4X-500 including Zone focus the 1D MKIII focuses even better with these two with center point only but is quick to focus even in the low light of dawn. I suspect that very usable images can be obtained (I have a lot of practicing yet to do and no where near the ability in PP as most of your other devotees) It would be interesting to substitute the 1.4 X Canon for the 2X Canon. I look forward to seeing how this develops and I shall continue my search for owners of the New 500/600s.

          All the best.

  • avatar Chris Cooke

    Artie I have been using my 500 f/4 with a 1.4 Canon TC then adding a Kenko 2X Con. and autofocusing accurately and quickly at 1400mm on my 5DMKIII and 1820mm my 1DMKIII for months now with no problems.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I’ve know about that one. Which Kenko 2X? Which goes on the lens. The big questions are whether the high end Kenko 2X will AF with the 1DX on a series II f/4 super-telephoto lens and if yes, how sharp will they be.

  • Great Shooting Art –

  • avatar Ron

    Art, I am glad to hear that you are thrilled with your new 1D X – great images as ususal. I have had my 1D X for about two months now and I am overjoyed with it and still learning. I can shoot at ISO 800 things that I used to shoot with my 5D at ISO 400. It is just fantastic when it comes to BIFs. I am going to Kenya in about a week and am looking forward to the 12fps for action shots with the large animals and BIFs. I have one of the new Canon 600mm f/4L IS Mk. II on order and I hope that the Canon 1.4X III (and 2X III) converter(s) will work with it just as well as the Kenko did with your 800mm – time will tell.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Did you use our link for your 600? We have fulfilled all of our orders :). The 2X TC will NOT AF with the 600.

      • avatar neuroanatomist

        Thanks for the great information!!

        RE: “The 2X TC will NOT AF with the 600.” Just to confirm, are saying the 600/4 MkII will not AF with the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 2x AF TC on a 1D X? Or, are you referring only to the Canon 2x TC?

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Dr. Brain. I do not think that I ever said, The 2X TC will NOT AF with the 600.” Where is that from and who are you quoting? artie

          • avatar neuroanatomist

            Sorry, Artie…in the (default) threaded view, your comment is right above my query.

            Ron stated, “Art, I am glad to hear that you are thrilled with your new 1D X – great images as ususal. I have had my 1D X for about two months now and I am overjoyed with it and still learning. I can shoot at ISO 800 things that I used to shoot with my 5D at ISO 400. It is just fantastic when it comes to BIFs. I am going to Kenya in about a week and am looking forward to the 12fps for action shots with the large animals and BIFs. I have one of the new Canon 600mm f/4L IS Mk. II on order and I hope that the Canon 1.4X III (and 2X III) converter(s) will work with it just as well as the Kenko did with your 800mm – time will tell.”

            Arthur Morris replied, “Did you use our link for your 600? We have fulfilled all of our orders. The 2X TC will NOT AF with the 600.”

            In retrospect, I’m sure you meant the Canon 2x, as you’ve more recently posted that you intend to try to get your hands on a 500/4 II and try with a Kenko 2x TC. That’s really my quetion (close enough) – will the 1D X AF with the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 2x AF TC and a 600 II (or 500 II, I suppose, but I’ve already ordered the 600 II, and have a 1D X).

            Thanks again!

  • avatar Allan Warner

    The TC doscovery reminds me of the old ” Fred Miranda Trick”—taping over the first three contacts on Canon TCs so camera would think f 8 was f 5.6. Focused, albeit slowly and sometimes not too accurately, but many of us used this for years.

  • Artie, will the Kenko 2X Teleconverter work with a 500 F4 and a 1D X?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I do not know but I am going to try to get my hands on one.

      • That would be some great info. I shoot primarily with a MkIII, 500 f/4 and a 1.4x. If I were to make the jump to a 1DX there is NO WAY new glass would come along with it. 🙂 The ability to use a 2x, when needed, to regain some lost reach would be nice.

  • I’ve been awaiting reports of the noise at “moderate” ISOs on this camera (800-3200). Sounds like a 1-stop improvement over the 5D II and 5D III (which I find to be identical). The AF discovery is truly a wonderful thing, but if it does that by merely ignoring certain information about the TC, couldn’t AF also be obtained at f/8 with the Canon III series TC, by a firmware fix? Key point — how critically sharp is the Kenko compared to the Canon “III” (Including chromatic aberration)?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      On the firmware fix question: surely yes. On the sharpness question: no idea–I do not use a microscope nor do I look at my images at 10,000%…. Both sharpness and image quality look spectacular to me.

      • Sharpness can be seen most accurately at 100% (1:1) magnification. Above that, things show as pixelated because no upsizing interpolation is done, as it would be if actually enlarging while holding resolution in Photoshop. I do believe you, and I’d be delighted to be able to get this result if I could talk myself into this camera and lens.

        Is there an analogous result with the 500mm or 600mm f/4 and a Kenko 2X (if there is such)? (Or a Canon 2X III with some contacts taped over?

  • avatar Mike

    Artie, Why do you think it will AF with the 1DX and not the 5DIII? Why is the Kenko 1.4x different than the Canon 1.4xIII? Very nice images as always…

  • avatar Richard Pouchert

    Artie, Agree with Bill Foxworthy. I purchased my 1X from my dealer in Omaha. It is such a marvelous camera. I have been using it on the birds of Colorado. Wow does it lock on the Hummers. Look forward to your ideas on settings for the camera.
    Good shooting!!!

  • As I read one of your posts and get audibly giddy, my wife gets nervous. 🙂

  • avatar Brooke

    Just a quick note – your link to the Kenko teleconverter at B&H goes to the Nikon-compatible one, not the Canon-compatible one. You need to update that!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks a stack Brooke; they should all be repaired. I was in a rush to get out to Nickerson :(. Had probably my best ever afternoon there 🙂

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Thanks Artie,

    for your first evaluation of the 1DX and your amazing discovery. Waiting patiently for more.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Just got back from probably my best-ever afternoon at Nickerson almost all with the 800/1DX combo….

  • avatar Bill Foxworthy

    HI Artie, I have been using a Canon 1D X for about a month now. This camera is awesome and if people made a wish list for all the things they needed/wanted in a camera, this would be it. Birds have been in short supply where I live and photograph but I have finally been able to give it a good workout. It has focused in the lowest light possible and taken images at around sunrise that I would never been able to capture before. The focus is super fast and locks on and tracks like no other camera I have ever used. I was at a Rodeo last weekend and got images of Bull Riders coming out of a gate that were sharp and perfect. It is such a joy to start viewing images taken and just keep clicking the next image as they are all in focus. I am still learning the camera and hope I learn everything about it so I can be even happier. I was beginning to think that you were not going to get one, but I am glad to read that now you have. I have been telling every one I know about this great camera and I am glad that now there is someone famous that likes it also. Keep up the good words and THANKS Canon for a great camera.

  • avatar Martin

    So the 1DX will focus just fine with an f/8 lens So why did Canon cripple the design to stop it working with their own converters? It’s a mystery.

  • avatar James Saxon

    I am happy the 1dx will focus with the tele-converter. My question is if you need additional reach is there a custom function to set the full frame camera to a cropped mode? I am a Nikon shooter and we can move from FX to DX in the custom function menu. I realize there are situations where you don’t want to “throw away” pixels but the new cameras have such good resolution this should be an option to consider? Thanks for all the time and energy on your website and the blog. I have learned so much just reading and practicing what is presented here.