Any Nikon 43-86mm users?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by agnosticnikon, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yeah I know, this wasn't one of Nikons great lenses, but I've always seemed to have one or two around. It's a weird focal length, based on 43mm being the perfect normal lens for 35mm cameras I guess. I picked up an original model off my shelf, and got to thinking, should I try to shoot this again? It's been years since I've used this, as I use the newer designed ai lens if I decide to use one. Zoom lenses have changed a lot since then, but this was a nicely built lens, fairly small, push-pull zoom-focus in one ring, and a constant 3.5 aperture.
    I actually compared the two lenses years ago when I picked up the newer model, and was surprised at the difference! The older lens was much softer around the edges, even when stopped down a couple of stops. But I do remember using this to an advantage when taking portraits wide open at 86mm. The newer design is a much better lens, but I think the damage to the lenses reputation was already done, as nobody ever seems to have anything good to say about either of them.

    Does anybody still use this lens, and if so what do you think about it?
     
  2. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,149
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I received the newer, non-AI version of this lens for Christmas. I've shot one roll with it as the exclusive lens and I think it's ok... not exceptional, but certainly worth using. I may fool around with it some more on my D3000 before passing final judgement though.
     
  3. ArtO

    ArtO Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an AI version of this lens and use it once in a while. I find the results to be quite good. I usually shot more in the f8 - f5.6 range.
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I used to have one about twenty five years ago when it was the only lens I had for a Nikon FG.

    This was back when I only owned one camera (hard to imagine now!).

    I still have the FG but not the lens.


    Steve.
     
  5. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

    Messages:
    816
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    The newer Ai version is much better than the older one, but the older one has its charm especially with the older ladies. Clinically sharp is not always welcome.
    Also remember that Bob Guccione used one extensively in his "coverage" as his main lens in the 1970's magazine Penthouse.
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,414
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NE U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Years ago, when there weren't any other wide to normal or wide to tele zooms, I heard that it was a popular lens with photojournalists because you tweak your framing without "zooming with your feet", which isn't always feasible.
     
  7. rthomas

    rthomas Member

    Messages:
    1,182
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The original 43-86mm was the first lens I used extensively while learning photography as a teenager in the late 80s (it was the only lens in my Dad's Nikon F kit that he would usually let me use). I got my own Nikon F in 1992, when I was in college, and it came with a 50mm f/2 Nikkor, which frankly blows the socks off the zoom. But I did like the 43-86 and made some fairly nice pictures with it. We still have it, and that particular example flares easily, is not sharp, and has some noticeable distortion of straight lines, especially at close distances (or maybe it's just more noticeable then). Now I prefer the 35-105mm Nikkor for a general-purpose zoom, and that's the only lens I have for my F3.

    There are a few older threads on APUG discussing this lens; just search 43-86 and you should find more info.
     
  8. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,959
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yeah lots of discussion on this lens here earlier.

    Bottom line is if you're going to shoot test charts and use a tripod and enlarge to full size and sharpness is your most important aspect then consider a different lens. If you'll use it mostly for shooting and taking nice photos then its not a bad lens at all:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

    Messages:
    406
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I had one of the older versions, and funnily enough it was used on an F that I had in the late 80's/early 90's. I thought the image quality was very poor. I didn't have much spare cash at the time, but thought that investing in a Nikon branded lens was the best option. I persevered with it for a while, but the poor image quality was very frustrating. I now have various other Nikon lenses, most of which are excellent. (although I still don't have a lot of spare cash!).
     
  10. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,213
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i've never seen older ladies in a penthouse magazine. anyway, i replaced mine with a nikkor 35-70f/3.3-4.5, which s terrible at any fstopeven oon my d800.
     
  11. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is an interesting comment. I've used the Nikon 35-70mm 3.3-4.5 lens mentioned, and have had very good results with it. In fact I've had other photographers ask what lens I used to take the photos they've seen me show them, because they thought they were very sharp. I've seen good comments on it and bad comments on it. Moose Peterson thinks its a sleeper lens giving very sharp results, while Ken Rockwell thinks it's a piece of crap. Given my experience with it, I can only assume that there must be a lot of manufacturing variance between lenses.
    Never heard about the Penthouse magazine connection with the 43-86 lens. Thought it was mostly vaseline on the filter. (to cover the old ladies wrinkles)
     
  12. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree, very nice shot by the way!
     
  13. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

    Messages:
    791
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Many years ago when I was shooting for a newspaper, I thought a mid-range zoom lens might be useful for the times when I only wanted to carry one camera body and one lens. Up to that time, I had only used prime lenses. The 43-86mm f/3.5 Nikon lens was my first zoom lens.

    However, it was a big disappointment because it was too slow, its images were not sharp, and there were many times when 43mm was just not wide enough. In fact, the optical performance of this lens was so bad that it soured me to zoom lenses for decades.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    1,638
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
  16. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

    Messages:
    816
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Well, in the back of many 1970 issues there is a small blip on photo details, he shot with Nikon F2 43-86mm lens (specifically mentioned lol) and tiffen filters.
    As the Nikon One Thousand and One Nights article about this lens, around 60mm focal length works very well. I use mine for bikini work LOL, see one shot at
    http://four-silver-atoms.com/2012/10/27/another-nikon-d600-bikini-post/
     
  17. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

    Messages:
    816
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
  18. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I purchased a 43-86mm f/3.5 AI for something like $22 simply to twist people's noses a bit on other forums. Those people were talking about how the D800 "required" certain lenses and I wanted to demonstrate otherwise.

    In one notable thread, a troll accused me of lying about a 43-86mm shot. He claimed it clearly had to come from a prime lens because it was so much sharper than his shot with a 24-70mm f/2.8. In reality, all that the shot really showed was that the 43-86mm didn't have much field curvature near minimum focus; my shot had more resolving power at the edges but overall contrast was noticeably lower.

    Distortion is another matter. Don't ever take a brick wall shot with lens at either of the extremes -- you'll wince at the results. In all, I doubt I'll shoot any film with the 43-86mm. Instead, when the Nikon FA comes out to play, so will the 35-105mm f/3.5~4.5 that I've been using for 25+ years.
     
  19. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Utah Valley
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well, there's no such thing as posting too many bikini photos.

    I don't have the 43-86mm but it's on my list. I want a first gen; it's an important part of history for Nikon users.
     
  20. Jim Rice

    Jim Rice Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Jackson. MS,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wasn't the first gen the only lens that Nikon publicly apologized for?
     
  21. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,213
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    why?it started a popular trend of short range zooms. the zoom range was ideal!for general use.
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I like the way you think!!!

    Until this thread appeared, I didn't want one - now I do!. I would like one to put my Nikon FG back to the way I first had it twenty five years ago.


    Steve.
     
  23. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,918
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    Duvall, WA,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Michael,

    A friend of mine who works at one of the local Seattle-area camera pushers popped one of the original 43-86's on his D800E. It was sharp, but very flat, contrast-wise. My own experience was with the C version. Ok lens, but, not great. Part of the reason may've been due to the 1st generation Velvia I was using. Had been frozen for many years, but that may not've been enough to prevent things from going bad.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, a shot of waterlillies in Lake Washington at Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland, WA. Taken with said 43-86, mounted to my F FTn body.

    -J
     
  24. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

    Messages:
    560
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Location:
    Chattanooga
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have an AI version and a non AI version. They are actually among my favorite lenses. I use the non-AI on my older Nikkormats and the AI on newer bodies. The attached shot used the AI version.
     

    Attached Files:

  25. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I found my "brick wall" shots, for anyone who's interested:

    43mm.jpg 86mm.jpg
     
  26. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pretty sad that I can see the distortion on the thumbnails. :smile:

    My short-ratio Nikkor is my 35-80/4-5.6D (first gen). It's a really nice lens, if you don't mind it being so slow. It sure is sharp.