I have an early model Nikkor 43-86mm f3.5 - 4.5 zoom (non-AI) (serial no. 575194). I have read various reports trashing this lens saying it is the worst Nikon ever made, gave zooms in general a bad name, etc. The odd thing is .... it is one of my favorite lenses. I have used it mainly for portraits, and it seems to give a sharp image but with a kind of softer contrast - not soft in the sense of being unsharp, but just a pleasing tone that works well with portraits. I wonder if others have experiences with this lens that they would like to share, either good or bad. I just find it hard, based on my own experience, to write this lens off as being as appalling as some others have suggested it to be, and it definitely has a niche as far as I am concerned.