Nikkor 43-86 Push pull zoom, worth keeping? What say U?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by harlequin, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. harlequin

    harlequin Member

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    Dear APUG Members,

    Upon the wife's insistence of doing some spring cleaning in the garage, I found in a drawer a clean 43-86 pushpull zoom NON ai for my Nikkormat FT2, I remember using it and found it un-inspiring as the 50mm 1.4 that I have on the camera is brighter, sharper and more contrasty......I think if I were going on a weekend trip, the 43-86 would have more versatility, but I defer to those with more experience on this....

    a) If I keep it are there any tips to get better sharpness, detail etc.
    b) if I sell it, it is not one of the Nikon crown jewels.
    c) As a second lens for it would most go for the 105. 2.5 or the 85mm?
    d) Seems like Nikon manufactured this lens for a good 15-20 years, if it wasn't that great, how come
    they kept it in their lineup?
    e) Any portraits taken with this lens I would love to see the images, as I find the primes better all round.

    What say You?


    Regards,

    Harlequin
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    There were two versions of the 43-86, the first one wasn't very good and the second one sucked a little less. The MIR site has some info on them.

    I dislike zooms and do not use them, primes are better in every way - max. aperture, distortion, size, weight, etc. etc..

    Which 105/2.5 are you considering, the Sonnar or the Double Gauss? Either is excellent ++, I prefer the Sonnar but that's just me. I like Sonnars in general.
     
  3. gorbas

    gorbas Subscriber

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    Second, Ai version was not bad at all. I did one walk with it and liked results but on the end decided to sell it. I have just to many other lenses to play with.
    https://flic.kr/s/aHsjRtWE8d
     
  4. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I guess I must have an exceptional 43-86 (2nd v) as it is decently sharp. I used it a lot with K64 and the slides were very sharp with great colour. When I shot B&W with it I always attached a yellow filter so contrast was good as well.

    The bottom line is you are not impressed with your copy and it's sat in a drawer for a very long time. It will probably continue to be ignored in the long run so you might as well pass it on to someone who will use it.
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Actually even the first version was fairly sharp in the midrange, it was more of a distortion/chromatic issue at the extremes. Probably no worse than the cheap plasticky kit zooms on cheap plasticky prosumer DSLRS, I've seen some pretty egregious examples lately with loads of chromatic aberration to boot.
     
  6. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I was out shooting with my Nikkor 28-85 all metal and glass AF lens the other day and while it was really sharp the CA was horrendous.
     
  7. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    I had an AI version of the 43-86 and found it only so-so. I sold it.
     
  8. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    I had both of the 43-86mm Nikkor zooms (the first and the second versions) and didn't care much for either. They weren't as bad as the internet would have your believe (and the second was marginally better), but they weren't worth keeping either. I would rather have a cheap, modern, "plastic fantastic", autofocus zoom and deal with it on a manual focus body. I sold the second version by itself, thinking it might fetch a bit of money. It bought me a fastfood lunch. The first version I sold with a Nikon N2000 camera body and got quite a hefty sum for both! I was surprised as neither of them would have fetched much on their own, but somehow together they seemed a lot more desirable.

    So my advice would be to keep it until you need to unload a compatible camera body but don't want to give up a good lens with it.
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I heard years ago that the 43-86 was popular with press photographers when they were working from press boxes, because they could frame a good shot without moving around, and the lens was relatively light and compact.

    That range is nice for times you may want to carry a minimal kit, but if you don't like the results you get, there isn't much reason to hang on to it. Though finding someone to buy it might be challenging.
     
  10. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    The Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 AI (serial number 958521) was my first zoom lens.

    It was the worst lens I have ever owned.

    It soured me to zoom lenses for decades.

    If yours is the first version (which mine was), get rid of it.
     
  11. Dennis-B

    Dennis-B Subscriber

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    I've owned one for a number of years. Mine is an Ai version, produced sometime in the late 70's. It's not the sharpest zoom I've ever used, but it's far from the worst. I use it for a lightweight 1:2 ratio zoom, and its maximum lens aperture is decent for ISO 400 film, and Photoshop does take care of some of the "sins".

    The Ai versions have the lens nomenclature on the outside of the filter threads. The older model, with the nomenclature on the inside, is horrible, with barrel distortion impossible to correct, even in Photoshop.
     
  12. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    My observations exactly. This is a terrible lens, easily the worst lens I ever owned.

    Jim B.
     
  13. darkroommike

    darkroommike Subscriber

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    The 43-86 is not a bad lens, it's just a bad replacement for a normal focal length prime lens, it was one of the first normal zooms and was constantly evaluated against primes not other zooms. I also prefer primes but keep a AI version around just for comparisons.
     
  14. mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    They sold zillions of these. If you are outside in bright light they work. I have one never use it. I shoot fast primes, zooms are slow and heavy
     
  15. elmartinj

    elmartinj Member

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    My two cents is I really hate this lens, but never knew what version I handled. Results were just awful, and I don't consider myself picky.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    harlequin

    harlequin Member

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    Thanks for your input and responses.

    I have summoned the wife to add it to our next garage sale ($20 or less table)

    Will get a 105 2.5 and really take it to the next level.


    Harlequin
     
  17. CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

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    I sold A Bunch of Nikon Lens that i did not use.....9-10-11 maybe. Sold them All Together as one sale. Included were two of those 43-86 Zooms.
    A few different people on Craigslist asked me how much i would sell the lens for without the Two 43-86.
    My response was that the price would be the same, with or without them.
    The guy that DID buy them said of the 43-86.......
    1. They are not as bad as "everybody" says they are.
    2. He was simply going to screw them onto a few F2 bodies that he was selling, just to make the bodies more "appealing" to a potential buyer.

    BTW.....i do know the name Ken Rockwell, but i had NO Idea of the following he has. Several people mentioned his name...during the Craigslist correspondence... saying that "Ken Rockwell said these are the worst lens he has ever tested".
    I am not questioning peoples opinion of the lens, just really surprised at the number of people that did not want to buy the bunch because, "Ken Rockwell said"....... :wondering:
     
  18. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Back in the early 1970s, Ken Rockwell was in elementary school and I was working for a newspaper. During that time, I purchased the Nikon 43-86mm f/3.5 mid-range zoom lens for the times when I needed focal length flexibility and for the times when I wanted to carry only one camera body and one lens instead of one camera body and two lenses (Nikon F2, Nikkor 35mm f/2, Nikkor 85mm f/1.8).

    The zoom was a big disappointment for me. It was too slow, its images were not sharp, and there were many times when 43mm was just not wide enough for my shooting style. In fact, the optical performance of this lens was so bad that it soured me to zoom lenses for decades and shattered my opinion of the "Nikon" and "Nikkor" brands which up to that time, I thought was a guarantee of excellence.

    After I dumped my 43-86, I did not purchase another Nikkor zoom until October, 2005.
     
  19. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    You should have looked up what Ken Rockwell said about your other lenses for sale. An astonishingly large number of his reviews say "This lens is great! Half of the shots on my website were taken with this lens". I only have an associates degree in mathematics, so my understanding of how many halves can fit into a whole may be incomplete. But in any case, it may have helped you negotiate with some of those buyers.
     
  20. George Mann

    George Mann Member

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    Rockwell seems to exaggerate a lot.
     
  21. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    No, bad plan.What you need to do is tinker with the piece of crap until you can get one good photo out of it, then use that pic to sell it on craigs list or some other septic tank of sales, etsy comes to mind...
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Rockwell is a shill.
     
  23. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    I have both ver 1 and 2 of the lens.
    The ver 1 was not multi-coated and will flare badly. But IF you want that effect, which I sometimes did, it was great.
    I shot a LOT of slide film, so there was no darkroom cropping. What I shot was what I projected. For that the 43-86 was great.
    Image quality was good enough for me.
    But as was said, f/3.5 in the old film days was S-L-O-W. It really hurt when "trying" to shoot basketball in the gym. Tri-X pushed to ASA 1200 was as high as we could go. And the f/3.5 just did not cut it in the gym for basketball.
    But outdoors in the sun, f/3.5 was not a problem.

    As for the zoom range, yes it was just a bit short. 43mm was not wide enough to be wide, and 86 was a bit short on the tele end.
    When I got a 35-105, it replaced the 43-86 on my camera. The 35-105 was just wide and long enough to be a good GP lens. I just wish the 35-105 had a constant aperture, like the 43-86 did.
     
  24. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    the43-86 has an amazingly perfect zoom range and it a great companion to the 50mm normal.Unfortunately it wasNikon's dog and gave all zooms a bad reputation.It's only good for collectors; the 85mm versions, on the other hand, are beautiful portrait lenses; sometimes a bit too sharp. It prefers a sitter with perfect skin.
     
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