Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 non-AI

Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 non-AI (classic non-AI '63-'74, multicoated non-AI '74-'76)
My Nippon Kogaku marked sample circa '71, Nikon marked sample circa '72.

Filter size: 52mm
Close focus: 4 feet/1.2 meters (marked)
Aperture range: f/3.5 - f/22
Aperture blades: 6
Depth of field scale for f/3.5, f/8 - f/22, IR index.
Design: 9 elements in 7 groups

This is Nikon's third zoom lens, after the 20-60cm f/9.5-10.5 and the 8.5-25cm f/4-4.5.

I was surprised at how much I like this lens.  Ken Rockwell calls this Nikon's worst lens and there certainly are some reasons to label it as such.  It is not especially sharp, it likes to bend straight lines, and it barely replaces two primes with its short zoom range.  The close focus, or more accurately the least-far-focus, is a problem for me.  On the positive side, the fixed f/3.5 aperture is pretty fast and makes meterless exposure easier than variable zooms.  I actually like the heavy flare and ghosts.  Note that this is different than the later 43-86mm f/3.5 K/AI/AI-S lens with 11 elements in 9 groups which is mediocre.

These lenses have a lot of engraving changes. Some have "43-86mm", some have "43~86mm", and a lot have an extra "1" in the serial number.

The Nippon Kogaku, Nikon, and C versions are all pretty common.

The C version has a black front ring:


Here's a comparison of the single and multicoated samples:

The sample #454536 is one of the earliest known with 5 screws in the lens mount.

Here is a comparison with the later K and AI 43-86mm:

More info:
Nikon Thousand and One Nights
Ken Rockwell
Amateur Nikon

Sample photographs:

More photos from this lens

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