Nikkor 70-200 VR AFS + TC17EII Sharpness Tests on Nikon D70

I have noticed ghosting and softness when using the 70-200 VR with the TC17EII on a D70 with the lens wide open at F/4.8 and zoomed all the way in. These are common settings for sports shooters and probably birders as well, both of whom try to milk as much focal length and light out of this lens combo.

I observe that this softness and ghosting only happens at the very far end of the zoom. I have heard that stopping down the lens might make it perform better. I also noticed that when zoomed out this was not a problem. People advised that my problem might have been motion blur, or a VR problem. I wasn't convinced; I was pretty sure it was just the TC+lens combo. I sent back my first and ordered another TC17EII, and the results were the same.

So, I set out to find if I could solve this problem by either stopping down the lens, or zooming out a little. I have found that both of these are solutions.

All photos were taken on a tripod within seconds of each other, with the same camera settings and VR off.


These methods should yield ghost-free, sharp images.




ps. I first noticed this problem in my ultimate frisbee photography, see below:

Light ghosting/bleed to the left of the player's shirt. 70-200VR+TC17EII with the lens wide open and at full zoom.

Here again, wide open and at full zoom with the TC1.7, pretty soft and ghosted image. Around the disc especially and on his hat the white areas bleed and overall the image just doesn't POP as it should with this high-quality lens combination.