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Telephoto Conversion Lenses for the Panasonic DMC-FZ100, DMC-FZ45 (FZ40), DMC-FZ38, DMC-FZ28 & DMC-FZ18 Digital Cameras

Home > Wildlife & Safari Photography > Teleconverter Lenses > Olympus TCON-17 and Panasonic DMW-LT55 Telephoto Lenses

How to Turn your SuperZoom Camera into a MegaZoom Camera

Panasonic DMC-FZ28 With DMW-LT55 Telephoto Lens fittedContents

Why use a Tele Conversion Lens?

MegaZoom. You will effectively convert your 24x optical zoom on your Panasonic DMC-FZ100 or DMC-FZ45 (FZ40) into a massive 40.8x, equivalent to 1020mm on a 35mm camera using a 1.7x teleconverter or 52.8x (1320mm) with a Raynox 2.2x telephoto conversion lens.

Or the 18x zoom on the DMC-FZ38 (FZ35), DMC-FZ28 and DMC-FZ18 camera's becomes a 30.6x optical zoom on your camera as the telephoto conversion lens gives you zooming ability equivalent to 826mm on a 35mm camera with a 1.7x teleconverter.

Thus it turns your Panasonic DMC-FZ100, DMC-FZ38, DMC-FZ28 or DMC-FZ18 Superzoom Camera into a Panasonic MegaZoom Camera, bringing you closer to the action than ever before!


What Difference a 1.7x Telephoto Converter Lens Makes

For comparison, take a look at the two photos taken below, both were taken with the Panasonic DMC-FZ18, the first is at full zoom with the Olympus 1.7x Tele Conversion Lens (TCON-17), the second is at full zoom without a Tele Conversion Lens.

Kariba Elepahnts, taken with 1.7x Tele Converter Kariba Elepahnts, taken without Tele Converter

With Telephoto Lens
The Photo above was taken at full zoom with the Olympus TCON-17 1.7x Tele Conversion lens fitted to my Panasonic DMC FZ19. (Click image to see larger version)

Without Telephoto Lens
The Photo above was taken with my Panasonic DMC FZ19 shortly after the first at full zoom (18x) without a Telephoto Conversion lens fitted. (Click image to see larger version)


What Difference a 2.2 x Telephoto Converter Lens Makes

For comparison, take a look at the three photos taken below, all were taken with the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 from the same position, the first is just using the camera without a zoom, the second is using the cameras full zoom without the Tele Conversion Lens (18x) and the third is at full zoom using the Raynox DCR-2025PRO Super Telephoto Conversion Lens (39.6x):

Taken without any zoom to show the distance from the subject
Using the 18x zoom of the Panasonic FZ18 - so without any teleconverter attached
Using the Raynox DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 39.6x

Taken without any zoom to show the distance from the subject

Using the 18x zoom of the Panasonic FZ18 - so without any teleconverter attached

Using the Raynox DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 39.6x


African Fish Eagle, Kariba, Zimbabwe

Example Photographs

For an example of what you can expect, take a look at my gallery of photographs taken with the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 and the Olympus 1.7x Tele Conversion Lens (TCON-17). All the photos were taken in on a recent Houseboat Safari in Kariba, Zimbabwe that we went on.

>> Olympus TCON-17 Gallery



DMW-LT55 1.7 x Tele-conversion lensWhich Tele Conversion Lens?

If you already have, or are planning to get either the Panasonic DMC-FZ100, DMC-FZ45 (FZ40), DMC-FZ38 (FZ35), DMC-FZ28 or Panasonic DMC-FZ18, you have a few options of Teleconversion Lenses:

1.7x Teleconversion Lenses

Here the main choices are between Panasonic's own DMW-LT55 55mm 1.7x Telephoto Conversion Lens or the Olympus 1.7x Tele Conversion Lens (TCON-17)

In my opinion, but both will work equally well with your Panasonic Digital camera and I would just go with which one is cheaper at the time.

Note: The DMC-FZ100 and DMC-FZ45 (FZ40) requires the DMW-LA5 Lens Adaptor to fit the lens to the camera. Whilst the DMC-FZ38 (FZ35), DMC-FZ28 and DMC-FZ18 need the Panasonic DMW-LA3 E Lens Adaptor to fit the lens to the camera.

Warning: if you enter "Olympus TCON-17" into some shopping comparison sites, or search engines a listing of vendors for the similarly named Olympus TCON-17f tele-converter will appear. This is a different (and less expensive) tele-converter that does not work with the FZ cameras (unless you use a different adapter). So make sure you just get the standard Olympus TCON-17. ( no letters after it's name)

2.2x Teleconversion Lens

Panasonic FZ18 and the Raynox DCR-2025PRO Telephoto Conversion LensFor even more reach you may consider getting the Raynox DCR-2025Pro 2.2x Super Telephoto Conversion Lens.

The Raynox 2025 Pro comes with a a LS-082 lens shade and has a 62mm thread and the kit comes with 43, 52, 55 and 58mm step up rings. But you will still need a Panasonic lens adapter as well (The DMC-FZ100 and DMC-FZ45 (FZ40) requires the DMW-LA5 Lens Adaptor to fit the lens to the camera. Whilst the DMC-FZ38 (FZ35), DMC-FZ28 and DMC-FZ18 need the Panasonic DMW-LA3 E Lens Adaptor to fit the lens to the camera.)

The Raynox Pro is a little more expensive than the 1.7x teleconverters above, but you are getting a high quality, high definition lens which according to the manufacturer will not reduce the light value (F.Number) when this conversion lens is attached on the camera's lens.

You could also get the DCR-2020PRO which is exactly the same quality as the 2025Pro but only comes with 2-adapter rings for 52mm and 58mm filter sizes and without the lens shade. For more read my full review of the Raynox DCR-2025PRO Lens.

Difference between 1.7x and 2.2x teleconverters

Below is the comparison between using a camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ18) with the Olympus 1.7x Tele Conversion Lens (TCON-17) attached and then with the Raynox 2025PRO attached:

Taken without any zoom to show the distance from the subject
Using the 18x zoom of the Panasonic FZ18 - so without any teleconverter attached
Using the Raynox DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 39.6x

Taken without any zoom to show the distance from the subject

Olympus 1.7x Tele Conversion Lens (TCON-17) - 30.6x

Using the Raynox DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 39.6x


Advantages of using a Tele Conversion Lens

There is no question that using a telephoto-conversion lens with you camera will bring you closer to the action. This has many advantages in photography, but if we talk in terms of taking photographs on safari, the advantages of being able to take excellent photos of wildlife from a distance are:

  • Keeps you at a safe distance from potentially dangerous animals
  • Don't disturb their natural behaviour as you don't move into their comfort zone, so get more natural photographs.
  • Often get photos that others don't, especially birds that will probably flee at a closer distance
  • Take detailed photos of parts of large mammals, the eye of an elephant for example – can make for a more interesting photograph


Visit The Africa Guide for desert, dune, wildlife, people and culture photography


Disadvantages of using a Telephoto Lens

  • Increased Size. One of my main reasons for buying and using a SuperZoom camera, rather than a Digital SLR camera, is size (See why I recommend the Panasonic as one of the best cameras for safaris). Without the Telephoto Lens, the Panasonic DMC-FZ100 and DMC-FZ45 (FZ40) have a 35mm equivalent zoom of 600mm and the DMC-FZ38, 35 & DMC-FZ18 cameras still have a 35mm equivalent zoom of over 500mm and they are very compact especially when compared to an SLR camera. The addition ot the Telephoto lens does increase the size of the camera, but it must be said this is still much smaller and lighter than if you had the equivalent SLR camera with a Telephoto Lens.
  • Fiddly. If you are out in the field and need to swap back to using your camera, removing the telephoto lens, whilst easy, can be a little fiddly, however the same can be said for SLR cameras.
  • Increased Camera Shake. The added power of the zoom means that there is much more chance of camera shake which your digital stabiliser may not be able to handle. All the photos in the examples on this page were taken without a tripod, however for the very best results I would recommend using a tripod.

 

Panasonic DMW-LA3 - Lens AdapterWhat Else is Needed

As well as the Telephoto Conversion lens, you will also need to get the Panasonic Lens Adapter so that you can fit the Telephoto lens onto the end of your camera.

The right one to get depends on which camera you have:

Panasonic DMC-FZ100 and DMC-FZ45 (FZ40) Cameras
You need to get the (DMW-LA5) Lens Adaptor

Panasonic DMC-FZ38 (FZ35), DMC-FZ38 or DMC-FZ28 Cameras
Get the (DMW-LA3) Lens Adaptor

Please note: you will also need the adapter if you use the Panasonic's DMW-LT55 telephoto conversion lens, the Olympus TCON-17 lens or the Raynox DCR-2025Pro.




Cost & Where to Buy

As mentioned before, the Raynox was the most expensive, with the Panasonic Telephoto lens is more expensive than the Olympus one.

I bought both my lenses (Olympus and the Raynox Lens) on Amazon as it is a trusted source and was the cheapest that I could find here in the UK.

Shop in the UKUK: Buy from Amazon.co.uk

In the UK, the Panasonic DMW-LT55 55mm 1.7x Telephoto Conversion Lens retails for around £110, the Olympus TCON 17 Converter costs around £100 and the Raynox DCR-2025 PRO costs about £140. The DMW-LA3 and DMW LA4 Lens Adaptors are about £25, to check current prices, click on the links below:

 

Shop in the USAUSA: Buy from Amazon.com

In the USA, the Panasonic DMW-LT55 55mm 1.7x Telephoto Conversion Lens retails for around $200, the Olympus TCON 17 Converter costs around $95 and the Raynox 2025 PRO Lens costs about $140. The DMW-LA3 and LA4 Lens Adaptors costs about $20. To check current prices, click on the links below:




How to Use the Tele on your Panasonic

Fitting and using the telephoto lens on your Panasonic DMC-FZ100, DMC-FZ45 (FZ40), DMC-FZ18, DMC-FZ38 or DMC-FZ28 is very simple.

Fitting the Lens:

  • First screw on the the Panasonic Lens Adapter (DMW-LA3 or DMW-LA5 depending on the camera) to the camera
  • Screw your Telephoto Lens onto the Adapter.

Using The Telephoto Lens:

  • Turn your camera on as normal
  • In any mode other Intelligent-Auto (iA), press the menu button on the back of your camera and scroll down to the 'Conversion' option, change it from off to 'T' for telephoto. Please note that this step is not vital, I think it only ensures that you don't take photos that will show the inside of the camera barrel – If you don't change the setting, just zoom in on your chosen subject.
  • Take photos as normal!



Further Reading


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100

With a super powerful 24x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent 600mm), much higher 14.1 MP image resolution, rotating LCD screen, movie recording in full HD and a 25mm ultra wide angle lens, this is the best superzoom compact digital camera on the market and an ideal safari holiday companion.

>> Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 Digital Camera


  • For my advice on the best alround digital cameras, to take with you on safari and traveling around Africa: Best Digital Camera for Safari and Travel

  • For more of the best super-zoom cameras for safaris, wildlife and travelling, including which camera has the largest zoom and the highest image resolution, take a look at this page on the Safari Holiday Blog: Best Cameras for Safari: Super-Zooms

 


What to Take on Safari

This page is part of a series of posts on what to take on safari, for further reading try:

Search the Safari Holiday Guide

Best Cameras for Safari Digital Cameras for Safari

My guide to the best digital cameras for travel and wildlife photography. Including the best camera to take on Safari, bird photography and where you can buy cheap digital cameras >> more


African Safari & Wildlife Photography Tips

Wildlife Photography TipsA guide to getting the best possible photographs whilst on safari holiday, including things like where is best to sit in a safari vehicle to take wildlife photographs. >> more




Shop in the UKUK: Buy from Amazon.co.uk



Shop in the USAUSA: Buy from Amazon.com


Telephoto Lens


Steiner Safari BinocularsAfter your camera, a good pair of binoculars is crucial in getting the most out of your Safari Holiday. So what is a good pair of binoculars? Here is my binocular guide and recommendations >> Binocular Reviews

 

 

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