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  1. #1

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    Please re-hash the Nikkor 43-86

    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. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by jolefler View Post
    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.
    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. #3

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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. #4

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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.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  5. #5
    naturephoto1's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, as Roger indicates, the lens had a notoriously bad reputation.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  6. #6
    DBP
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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. #7
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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. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBP View Post
    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?

    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. #9

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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. #10

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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.

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