Click On The Icons To See Our Pages

Get Updates Straight To Your EMail!


LENS PORN: Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 (Version 2.0) "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"


Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5
Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 



First published: April 2016
Revised: November 22, 2016
Updated: May 19, 2017



According to Nikon, the Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 was their most popular zoom lens EVER. It first appeared as a lens that was fixed to the Nikkorex camera, but later made it to the market as a stand-alone lens for Nikon F SLRs.

However, according to what people say, this lens has a reputation as one of Nikon's worst lenses. Probably because the first version was soft wide open and had soft contrast. When I read forums, a context was growing inside my head -- when this first version was released in the 1960s, people back then commonly used black and white film with STRONG contrast. Which was why the early version was fine back then. Then companies started to change their film formulas, resulting in a different output. Nikon had to update the optics of their lenses from the 1970s.

The version I'm featuring here is the later version with improved optics and better image quality. It is identified by a black name ring at the front of the lens (the early version was chrome). My copy came with fungus and needed cleaning. This was one of the first few lenses that I started cleaning myself and was sort of an anatomical study for me.



Specs

Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

Years of Production:
1963 - 1981

Focal Range:
Used on FX = 43mm - 86 mm
Used on DX = 64.5mm - 129 mm

Max-Min. Aperture:
f/3.5 - f/22 (7 blades)

Minimum Focusing Distance:
1.2 m / 4 ft

Filter thread size:
52 mm

Serial#: 875885
(Made Around 1977)

Made in Japan







 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5


========================================



IMAGE QUALITY

I don't know how bad the early version is, but I can definitely tell you from my experience that this later version is an excellent lens! I love how it renders the colors and contrast -- strong and with presence, yet it still has a film-like softness to the contrast that I find very pleasing. Its image quality is like my Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens in terms of clarity, but I hated that kit lens because it was always too sharp and too much contrast, every dark area seems too dark.

Flare? I haven't noticed it. Probably thanks to the updated optics of this second version. Even at f/3.5, I always like how sharp the images are from center to the periphery (at least on my crop sensor DX camera).

Its constant maximum aperture of f/3.5 is capable of some blurry background. I said 'some' -- not like the unrecognizable blurred backgrounds you get with an f/1.4, but still a pleasing blur that gives the scene a 3D look. I like the bokeh at f/3.5 anyway.

Color rendering of this lens is very pleasing and neutral. No warm yellowish hue or cool blue tones like many old lenses.



HANDLING/BUILD QUALITY

Nikon's manual zoom lenses were always called 'Zoom-Nikkor', just to differentiate from the AF versions. I like the build quality and look of the lens (at least the later version)... it looks simple yet has some sexiness to it that modern plastic lenses don't have.

Operation of this push-pull design has always been a pleasure. I like this style over those silly two-ring designs that separate the focusing and zooming. And oh... I haven't noticed any zoom creep with this lens.

The lens has 7 aperture blades. It produces heptagonal shaped bokeh balls when stopping down the aperture, but certainly more pleasing than those lenses with only 6 or even 5 blades. I would love if it was 8 or 9 blades at least.

The only feature in this lens that I find limiting my use of it is the minimum focusing distance of 1.2 meters. I love to shoot closeup, usually about 0.5 meters. Good thing it uses a popular 52mm filter thread size, and I already have some macro filters that will let me focus closer.

The focal range makes an excellent constant aperture zoom lens for shooting portrait. On DX, the focal range becomes 65-130mm. An even better range for portraiture.

I highly recommend that you play around with a fisheye adapter at 43mm. The results look really great. It makes the lens look wider with a bit of distortion, and still not too much of a fisheye effect.

When I turn on the focus ring at any focal range, I noticed that the scene tens to look wider or narrower. That's what they call 'focus breathing'. It is not nice because it affects your composition.

 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5
43mm, nearest focus



 Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5
43mm, infinity focus... I guess this is now 35mm! lol




CONCLUSION

Overall, this is a great lens, this later version of the Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5. Handling, build quality and images have always been a pleasure. It is great for street photography and especially for portraiture in studio setting or events. Can be used with moderately (not hardcore) low light scenes.

On my DX camera, 43mm is not wide enough (I'm thinking shooting inside a small room), 86mm is not long enough for distant objects (I'm thinking 10 meters away). The focal range does look nice on DX for portraiture though. A good way is to just think of this lens as a 50mm prime lens that allows you more flexibility when composing, by allowing you to go a bit wider or a little longer. Sounds better?

Again, the one big thing I don't like is the MFD of 1.2 meters. That is the only factor that really limits my use of this lens.

I have already sold this copy long ago, but I'm still thinking of getting one again if I have the chance. 





========================================


Samples


Nikon D5200

Zoom-Nikkor
43-86mm f/3.5 AI


For the full resolution samples:


Some of the photos were shot in the dark.
I used handheld slow shutter speed so some may show blur.



Bokeh

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"


Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"



Food

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"


Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"
43mm

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"
86mm

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"



Landscape / Street Photography

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"


Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"



With fisheye adapter

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"



Low Light Scenes

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"
Sorry, the ghost there was caused by my cheap clear filter!

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"
43mm

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"
86mm



Portrait

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 "Nikon's Most Popular Zoom Lens"
Evening outdoor portrait with environmental light, no flash


# # # E N D # # #

0 comments :

Post a Comment

 

About me

The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

Kindly hit on the blue CONTACT button at the lower right corner of this page to get in touch for collaboration.


Google+ Followers

FB Feed

Blog Archive

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *