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Monday, April 15, 2013

Nikon 43-86mm f/3.5

March 2016 Update 
I am very surprised to see this article has gathered a lot of attention recently. Perhaps people are suddenly interested in this old lens (I assume for sentimental values rather than anything else). I must say, I seriously doubt it will ever be a properly classic "collector's item". I have a good suspicion as to why it has acquired its "worst Nikon lens" reputation, and let me underline once again: although it's not a very good lens, it's not a so-bad-it's-retro kind of lens. If that's what you're after (that is a lomo lens for Nikon), take a look at something like this

General
OK, I have to admit I've always wanted to review this lens. The reason being, it carries the reputation of being Nikon's worst lens! The results were...well, disappointing. Read on and you'll see why.

Pros/Cons
+ cheap
+ f/3.5 at 86mm. Not bad for a zoom.
+ arguably (very arguably) a collector's item

- useless zoom range, for FX or DX
- the worst lens? Hmm..No, not really.
- still, it's soft and the contrast is far from desirable



Artistically this is a lousy image, but it was the...worst I could pull of with the 43-86mm - in terms of showing weaknesses. It is soft at 86mm, wide open, and in close focus. The contrast is low. Bokeh is kinda nice, actually. Worst Nikon lens? No, I don't think so



Intended Users
Great for:
  • bundling it together with a film camera to increase the selling value.
  • paperweight
  • looks nice on the shelf

Not for:
  • anything really. It's pointless for photographic purposes...
  • ...especially with a modern digital camera...
  • ...and more so for an entry-level one. Manual focus, limited zoom range, no metering.

Final Verdict
It's cheap, it's cult (sort of), and it's useless. There's very little more to say (this review is not meant to be taken too seriously). Surely, you didn't come here to find out whether this is a lens worth using for your photography. You just wanted to know whether it truly is the worst lens Nikon ever made. That, it isn't. No, I can't say I have another candidate in mind. But I also don't see anything in particular with the 43-86 to convince me it's the worst.

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