Please re-hash the Nikkor 43-86

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by jolefler, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    I really did my homework with a couple Forum searches, but didn't find too much about specific dislikes and (possibly) good points.

    After moving to LF and keeping a single Nikon body with this zoom and a couple primes, naturally, I find myself faced with a project that 35mm would do faster & easier, and probably better.

    Would you mind jotting a few thoughts about what to expect in 8X10-11X14 enlargements from faster color neg film? Anywhere near the performance of my former selection of Nikkor primes?

    I have an AI'd version (unless someone changed the pin coupler), from what I've read there were improvements.
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I've tried two or three, but not for decades. In all its variants (there were three, I seem to recall) it was low in resolution and contrast, and as I recall, distortion wasn't too brilliant either. It was widely regarded at the time as one of the worst Nikkors ever made, and I've never seen anyone seriously challenge that. The Vivitar Series 1 34-85/2.8 Varifocal (NOT zoom -- it had to be refocused at every setting) was a vastly superior lens if you can find one.

    Sorry to be so negative!

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  3. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    That's what I expected to hear, to be frank. Maybe I should stumble around with a Speed Gr./Symmar & take one shot for every dozen I would have with a 35.
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    For it's time it was a pretty good lens. Gotta realize it's contempoary was the 85-250 you'd need a pygmy pony to carry.
    In comparison to newer lenses it's a roach. Barrel and pincushion distortion depending on focal length & not considered an especially sharp lens.
    Don't get anything straight near the edges and you'll be fine.
     
  5. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Unfortunately, as Roger indicates, the lens had a notoriously bad reputation.

    Rich
     
  6. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I've never heard anything good about it, and even the Nikon Compendium describes the first version as "rather mediocre". The second version was a complete redesign. Personally, I've never had much use for zoom lenses that have a 2x focal length with 50mm in the middle. I'd rather use a 50mm, as it isn't that hard to take a few steps. So the only times I really use zooms are when I can't move to compose, as when on a boat or in a car, or otherwise confined to a particular spot. And then I use something with a wider range, like a 28-90 or 35-135.

    Roger, how would you compare the 43-86 to the ubiquitous 35-70 3.5-4.8 that seems to have displaced the 50 as the standard lens on entry level SLRs?
     
  7. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    The 43-86mm f/3.5 Nikkor zoom was the first zoom I had ever tried. I was very dissatisfied with it 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 a long period of time.

    Even though I still have a personal preference for prime lenses, the 35-70mm f/2.8 Auto Focus Nikkor D that I use now is my favorite zoom lens. It is small enough, light enough, sharp enough, and fast enough for the times when I need to travel with only one body and one lens.
     
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Well, I'm amazed at how good even the cheap ones are -- such as the 18-70 on my Nikon D70 digi, for example. MUCH better than the cheap zooms of 30+ years ago.

    But that's a long way from saying they're actually in the same class as the better zooms, let alone good primes used on real film. To tell the truth, I use zooms very seldom, and cheep zooms even less often, but the few modern cheap zooms I have used are nothing like as bad as they used to be.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  9. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    The Nikon 43-86 lens was used with the Nikon FTN in the U.S. Air Force photolabs from 1971 until at least 1975, for making 35mm slides on E-3 Ektachrome. No one liked it very much! Images from a Argus C-3 look much nicer as I recall.

    Sam H.
     
  10. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    I recently found a near mint example of a very late model 43-86. It had a bit of easily cleaned fungus which cleaned up well. Unfortunately I had a little accident while it was apart, and I put a couple of tiny nicks in the front element, such a bummer, it would have been virtually new if I didn't do that. But oh well, I tested it and it actually was kinda decent, much better contrast and sharpness than I expected, I think Nikon made a good amount of improvements in optics and coatings in the last models. I think it might be useful as a good people lens.
     
  11. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I too have very unhappy memories of the 43-86, the later zooms are really much better, even the entry level 35-70 of the early 80s was an improvement. If you need to use 35mm use your primes or buy a more recent lens, even a Sigma or Tamon will beat the 43-86.
     
  12. Tom Hicks

    Tom Hicks Member

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  13. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Oh well, guess I won't be selling the two I have in the "Classifieds". :sad: :wink:
     
  14. fpjohn

    fpjohn Member

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    Hello: I have one and it is my least used lens. It will not offend a spouse or girlfriend when used for portraiture.

    yours
    Frank
     
  15. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I too am not overly fond of zoom lenses, much better of with a prime, especially when the range is so short.
    I have an older 35-105 which performs well and has a useful range at least, but there is still the problem of that slow maximum aperture.
    I also have one of those 43-86's and certainly won't be able to sell it now. Paper weight anyone?
     
  16. mayokevin

    mayokevin Member

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    It was very popular because of the focal length and size, It doesn't have a good reputation though the later ones are supposed to be better. I think you would be better served by some of the suggestions already made.
    Kevin
     
  17. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Interesting... I don't recall any of these in the A.F. labs I worked in during that era.

    In any case, as lots of folks have already stated, this lens never had a stellar reputation. Instead you may want to consider the 35 - 105 which was more or less its replacement. Though, the last time I checked the prices were far dearer than the 43-86 (for good reason).
    The 35 - 105 is still reasonably compact, and the later ones (max f 2.8 I believe) are reasonably fast. I have 3.5 version and of all my Nikors it spends the most time on the camera.

    Barry
     
  18. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    Shaw Air Force Base near Sumter South Carolina was one of the labs that used the 43-86 lens. Were you a 236x1 or a 233x1 AFSC in the 1970s? Where were you stationed / or "Worked in during that era"?

    Sam H.
     
  19. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    If you want a cheap but good lens, buy a Tamron Adaptall 2 lens plus a Nikon mount. Great quality, very cheap on e-bay since apparently no one wants them (probably because they haven't heard of them!).

    Regards,

    David
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Please Nippon Kagaku don't rehash the 43-86 zoom, because at the time they were current I worked in a camera store and for every five we sold, the customers seemed to bring seven back !
     
  21. marsbars

    marsbars Member

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    I have one that I use with my F2 and for most pictures it works. I have not made any very large prints from the negatives or chromes but it does take nice pictures. For me it is a good snap shot lens. I use my primes for the serious pictures but if I am just goofing around and only want a single lens I use it.