Additional Information on
Nikon AF Tele-Converter TC-16A

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Nikon TC-16A.jpg
The early stages of autofocus development in Nikon camera/lenses was very slow and sluggish in technological breakthrough. I remembered three was not even a AF lens below 24mm focal length when the F501 was introduced; the prime lenses were only limiting to a 24, 35mm each; three lenses at 50-55mm range with a f/1.4, f/1.8 standard lens and a AF Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8; a AF 180mm f/2.8 ED and lastly, a super telephoto lens AF 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF, that is all.

But somehow, Nikon managed to buy sometime to drag through the early years despite with Canon introduced a new series of threatening EF range of lenses with USM (Ultra-Sonic Motor) technology. Probably Nikon thought they had the new playing field in total command amidst all these drastic changes at the competitor's ground despite it was the Minolta which actually had kicked started the autofocus revolution.

So, while they took all the time in the world to determine the next phase of strategies, they designed a cleverly timed device via teleconverter to enable many of the manual focus Nikkor lenses to perform autofocusing with some of the selective AF SLR camera models. This has, actually worked on psychologically for many Nikon faithful as everyone knew it was not a good timing to invest into one of these AF bodies yet as long as they were actually more concerned whether Nikon will still honored their word by supporting the F-mount.

The TC-16A was introduced in 1986, although it could not perform to total satisfactory level that rivals performance of top rated AF SLR models; but it was still adequate for many who doesn't put AF speed on priority and the concept sounds too tempting even for an average user like me; unfortunately, many subsequent Nikon SLR models do not support the teleconverter operation anymore which was obviously a commercial decision.

Nikon F3AF.jpg
But whatever it is, generally, it wasn't a great success much owing to demand users were started looking for better performing AF rather than resorting to solution providing equation. The theory of the AF-Converter was replicated from the AF TC-16 lens Converter designed specifically for the Nikon F3AF SLR camera in 1983.

Credit: All images of Nikon F3AF, lenses and TC-16 appeared in this site courtesy of Edward Ngoh and Mr. MCLau.


This Autofocus Converter TC-16A cannot be used with any camera other than the Nikon F-501/N2020
Note: The Nikon N2020 and N2000 are sold exclusively in the U.S.A. and Canadian markets.

WARNING: Only the AI-type (excluding AI-modified) lenses listed below can be used with the TC-16A, use of other lenses may damage the TC-16A. Also note that the TC-16A/lens assembly CANNOT be attached to another teleconverter.

tc16illus.jpg (12k) Loading....


The optical construction of the Tele Converter

Nikkor/Series E Lens/TC-16A Compatibility Chart: (Published as Nikon Instruction Manual of AF TC-16A indicated)

AF: AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8; AF Nikkor 80mm f/2.8 (could be more AF lenses in this category)
Fisheye Nikkor: Nikkor 6mm f/2.8; Nikkor 8mm f/2.8; Nikkor 16mm f/2.8
Wideangles: Nikkor 24mm f/2; Nikkor 24mm f/2.8; Nikkor 28mm f/2 (No. 540021 or above); Nikkor 28mm f/2.8(No. 500001 or above); Nikkor 35mm fl.4 (Use Ai-S type lens only
*); Nikkor 35mm f/2 (No. 931001 or above); Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 (No. 880001 or above);
Normal: Nikkor 50mm f/1.2; Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 (No. 3980001 or above); Nikkor 50mm f/1.8; Nikkor 50mm f/1.8(N); Nikkor 50mm f/2 (No. 3640001 or above); Nikkor 55mm f/1.2
Telephoto: Nikkor 85mm f/1.4; Nikkor 85mm f/2; Nikkor 105mm f/1.8; Nikkor 105mm f/2.5; Nikkor 135mm f/2; Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 [Only infinity (OO) to 1.7m (5.58 ft)]
**; Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED [Only infinity (oo) to 2.5m**; Nikkor 80mm f/2.8 (Only infinity (OO) to 2.5m (8.2 ft)]**; Nikkor 200mm f/2 IF-ED; Nikkor 300mm f/2 IF-ED ***; Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 IF-ED***; Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED
Special: Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2; Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8; Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 [Only infinity (OO) to 0.55m (1.8 ft)]

Series E: 28mm f/2.8; 35mm f/2 5; 50mm f/1.8; 100mm f/2.8; 135mm f/2.8 [Only infinity (OO) to 1.7m (5.58 ft)]**

* Ai-S type lenses can be distinguished by the orange minimum aperture indication on the aperture-direct-readout scale.
** For an in-focus image set the lens focus ring to a acting within the specified distance range.
*** Use smallest possible aperture (largest f-number).

Mounting the Lens on a TC-16A

Position the lens in the TC-16A's bayonet mount lining up the aperture index on the lens with the lens mounting index on the TC-16A. Twist lens counterclockwise until it clicks into place.

To mount telephoto lenses having a tripod collar twist the TC-16A clockwise until it click stops.

To remove: Press the lens release button on the TC16A and turn the lens clockwise until it comes off. With telephoto lenses having a tripod collar turn the TC-16A counterclockwise instead.


Position the assembly in the cameras bayonet mount, lining up the camera mounting index on the TC-16A with the lens mounting index on the camera body.

Twist the assembly counterclockwise until it clicks into place. With telephoto lenses having a tripod collar, twist the camera clockwise until it click stops.

To remove: Press the lens release button on the camera and turn the assembly clockwise until it comes off. With telephoto lenses having a tripod collar, turn the camera counterclockwise instead.


1. Set the lens focus ring to the infinity (
OO) position.
2. Set the F-501/N2020 cameras focus mode selector to S for Single Servo Autofocus, or C for Continuous Servo Autofocus.
3. Lightly press the cameras shutter release button to start autofocus detection. At the same time, the focus indicator LED lights up inside the cameras viewfinder.
4. Confirm whether green in-focus indicator LED lights up, then fully depress
the shutter release button to take picture (s).

For details about focus indicator LEDs, see the F-501/N2020 camera instruction manual.

Focus detection range with lens at infinity (

Lens focal length  Focus detection range (approx.)

300mm - OO to 35m (114.8 ft)
200mm - OO to 16m (52.5 ft)
180mm - OO to 13m (42.7 ft)
135mm - oo to 7.2m (23.6 ft)
105mm - oo to 4.4m (14.4 ft)
100mm - OO to 4m (13.1 ft)
85mm - OO to 2.9m (9.5 ft)
80mm - OO to 2.7m (8.9 ft)
58mm - OO to 1.4m (4.6 ft)
55mm - OO to 1.3m (4.3 ft)
50mm - OO to 1.2m (3.9 ft)
35mm - OO to 0.61m (2 ft)
28mm - OO to 0.42m (1.4 ft)
24mm - OO to 0.33m (1.1 ft)
16mm - OO to 0.21m (0.69 ft)
8mm - OO to 0.19m (0.62 ft)
6mm - OO to 0.2m (0.66 ft)
With a subject outside the focus detection range, the focus-not-possible warning (x) or focus-to-left indicator (<) remains lit inside the viewfinder. In this case turn the lens focus ring to the left. The distance set on the lens becomes the maximum shooting distance of the focus detection range, so its focus detection range - from maximum to minimum - is correspondingly shifted. For example, with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens, the focus detection range shifts as shown in the diagram.

Note: With the lens set at or near its closest focus distance, it is possible to focus a subject at a distance closer than the lens closest focus distance. Note, however, that picture quality may be somewhat impaired.

When a wide autofocus operation range is required:

1. Remove the TC-16A and lens from the camera and reattach the lens (only) to the camera
2 To set the desired maximum distance on the lens, focus manually
3. Reattach the TC-16A between the camera body and lens without moving the lens focus ring.
4. Center the camera's focus brackets on a subject at the desired minimum distance and lightly press the shutter release button to start the autofocus function.

If the in-focus indicator LED lights up, you can perform autofocus operation within the desired distance range determined by the lens focus ring setting. If the in-focus indicator LED does not appear and the focus-not-possible warning^ or focus-to-left arrow remains lit, the focus detection range determined by the lens focus ring setting is not appropriate for your desired shooting range. Turn the lens focus ring to the left or right during autofocus operation depending on the subject distance.

Focus-not-possible warning also remains lit with an improper subject for autofocus. For details, see the camera's instruction manual.

Note for Exposure Determination

With the TC-16A attached, the lens' effective aperture decreases by 1-1/3 f/stops. To prevent incorrect exposure, set aperture to f/1.8 or smaller (larger f-number). In M mode only, refer to the table below, then compensate exposure.
In A mode, make sure the shutter speed in the viewfinder is slower than 1/500sec.

Lens maximum aperture

Compensation amount


- 2/3 stop


- 1/3 stop

TC-16A Maintenance

Always keep AF contacts clean.
Do not shock or jolt the TC-16A.
If condensation forms on the TC 16A body, wipe with a dry soft cloth.
To clean glass surfaces, use a blower brush. To remove condensation or fingerprints from glass surfaces, wipe with a soft, clean cotton cloth moistened with absolute alcohol. Use a spiral motion from center to periphery, making sure you leave no wiping traces. If you use ether in cleaning the glass surfaces, smudges may appear on the surfaces. If this happens, wipe smudges with a cotton cloth moistened with absolute alcohol.
Attach both front and rear caps when the TC-16A is stored separately
Avoid storing TC-16A in high-temperature, high-humidity places


For TC.16A only

Lens construction
: 5 elements in 5 groups
Diaphragm: Automatic
Exposure measurement: via full aperture method
Autofocus Function: Via Nikon F-501/N2020's built-in motor
Mount: Nikon bayonet mount

Dimensions: Approx. 67mm width x 71mm height x 21mm extension from the camera's lens mounting flange; approx. 30mm overall length
Weight: approx. 150g
With lens Focal length: 1.6 x that of lens in use (with focus at infinity)
Usable lens apertures: f/1.8 to f/32

Effective apertures: f/2.9 to f/51
Reproduction ratio: 1.6 x that of lens in use (with focus at infinity)
Depth of field: 1/1.6 x that of lens in use (with focus at infinity)
Accessory: Front cap BF-1A; Soft case No. 61; Rear Cap LF-1

Manual Focus Nikkor Lenses at 85mm focal length :
1959- mid-1970 | Late 1970 | Early 1980 - present: 85mm f/1.4; 85mm f/2.0 | AF-Nikkor 80mm f/2.8/AF 200mm f/3.5 ED-IF for F3AF | AF-TC16A

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Nikkor Link.jpg   Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm

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Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E

Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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Credit: To all the good people who has contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough granting us permission to use their images appeared in this site Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Nikon over the years and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.