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Nikon's 6 worst lenses: corroborate or undermine. Post your images.
Old 05-24-2016   #1
bushwick1234
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Nikon's 6 worst lenses: corroborate or undermine. Post your images.

Rockwell lists the 6 worst Nikon lenses as follows:
"43-86mm f/3.5 F"
"18mm f/2.8 D AF"
"300mm f/4.5 P"
"24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR"
"35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 AI-s"
"45mm f/2.8 P"
Do you have images that support or undermine Rockwell's affirmation?
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/10-worst.htm
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Old 05-24-2016   #2
Ken Ford
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Rockwell. Click bait. Nuff said.
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Old 05-24-2016   #3
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A bit like Canon ... KR is effective but not very cool!

The worst lens I own is my plastic 35mm f2 AFD Nikkor ... the only good thing I can say about it is it was cheap.
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Old 05-24-2016   #4
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You see Keith, KR says that specific lens is 'superb.' Right, not cool.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
A bit like Canon ... KR is effective but not very cool!

The worst lens I own is my plastic 35mm f2 AFD Nikkor ... the only good thing I can say about it is it was cheap.
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Old 05-24-2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
A bit like Canon ... KR is effective but not very cool!
Cross-thread post bonus there Keith!
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Old 05-24-2016   #6
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Also KR needs to make some money. I want to see good shots with the 'bad' lenses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ford View Post
Rockwell. Click bait. Nuff said.
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Old 05-24-2016   #7
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The 45mm f2.8P is a Tessar lens. It should be very good.
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Old 05-24-2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
The worst lens I own is my plastic 35mm f2 AFD Nikkor ... the only good thing I can say about it is it was cheap.
Had the same lens Keith, and never liked it. Was just BLAH!

It got back at me though, it developed fungus and took out an old film body that was stored in the bag with it. Both ended up in the garbage. Miss the film body, not that lens.
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Old 05-24-2016   #10
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The article has been there for years yet it didn't help keeping the 45/2.8P's price down. Way to go KR!
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Old 05-25-2016   #12
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Who's Ken Rockwell and why should I value his opinion?
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Old 05-25-2016   #13
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The worst Nikkor I owned was the 50/1.4 AI-S that I had back in the mid-eighties. I expected something better after owning the 50/1.8 E-series, but it wasn't. It was shown on every brochure picture as though Nikon were really proud of it. Particularly wide-open, I thought it was useless! I was so disappointed.
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Old 05-25-2016   #14
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The AF-Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 is a very bad lens (heavy moustache distorsion, lots of vignetting) : this is something I've experienced myself. Actually this is the same lens as their Serie E 28mm f/2.8.

Strangely enough it isn't in Ken's list.

The Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 isn't good (sharp enough in the center but with below average corners and heavy vignetting).

Other than that, I can't quote any other Nikkors as "bad".

The Zoom-Nikkor 43~86mm f/3.5 gathers a worldwide reputation of being terrible actually, but I've never used it, nor seen photos taken with it.
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Old 05-25-2016   #15
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Had a 28-85mm AI-s that wasn't good/sharp and a bad (2nd hand)copy of a 50mm 1,4 AI-but traded it for another 50mm 1.4-which is quite sharp wide open...
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Old 05-25-2016   #16
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Yes the AF-Niikor 28mm was a stinker. The old H or H.C 28mm f/3.5 has a certain charm; I've never pursued the 'improved' version but the old one looks good filtered in bright light.
In complete opposite the New Improved version of the 43-86mm is a very good lens and the more pronounced distortion from pincushion to barrel as you zoom can be a very useful tool.
The oldest non mulitcoating has challenges....
Oh and lots of 50mm 1.4 are stinkers lots of sample variation as they say. Often a slight retorquing of the the element groups could improve a lens.
AF 35mm f/2 is a stinker especially the plastic ring one. Super annoying since the MF Ais version is a very good lens you'd think with the New Autofocus it would be as good but its not.
The 55mm f/2.8 Micro is a turd for sure. The very worst in poor design; overly large helicoids needing lots of grease that always migrated to the aperture blades. Eventually the lubricant would dry up and seize. i laughed in peoples faces when they asked if their lens can be repaired. You can but why? Go buy a 55 f/3.5 Ais Micro (or even the old F version) for pennies and use the 2.8 as a print flattener (you kids know what the fiber prints do after they dry right).
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Old 05-25-2016   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waus View Post
Had a 28-85mm AI-s that wasn't good/sharp and a bad (2nd hand)copy of a 50mm 1,4 AI-but traded it for another 50mm 1.4-which is quite sharp wide open...
Maybe Ken's samples which he "tested" for 5 minutes might have just been bad examples...
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Old 05-25-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noserider View Post
The 55mm f/2.8 Micro is a turd for sure. The very worst in poor design; overly large helicoids needing lots of grease that always migrated to the aperture blades. Eventually the lubricant would dry up and seize. i laughed in peoples faces when they asked if their lens can be repaired. You can but why? Go buy a 55 f/3.5 Ais Micro (or even the old F version) for pennies and use the 2.8 as a print flattener (you kids know what the fiber prints do after they dry right).
I have a Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 since 1987 and the helical grease has never migrated to the aperture blades. I've been lucky.
I have seen one like this, and I could fix it for the unfortunate friend (there is a tutorial online and this isn't very difficult, it takes roughly two hours with basic tools and solvents).

Some people claim the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 is a better lens : well, I cannot see how anything could be better than my f/2.8. It's just sharp as hell.

I agree that there is a large amount of sample variation factor within the Nikkors crowd.
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Old 05-25-2016   #19
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Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
Some people claim the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 is a better lens : well, I cannot see how anything could be better than my f/2.8. It's just sharp as hell.
I have both. The CRC on the f/2.8 makes it a less good choice on extension bellows and rings (to get into the sweet spot of the CRC with an extension inserted, you'd have to rack it out full, but that opens a gap between operation with and without). Apart from that, it is on a par, at 2/3 stop more speed.
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Old 05-25-2016   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick1234 View Post
Rockwell lists the 6 worst Nikon lenses as follows:
"43-86mm f/3.5 F"
"18mm f/2.8 D AF"
"300mm f/4.5 P"
"24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR"
"35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 AI-s"
"45mm f/2.8 P"
Do you have images that support or undermine Rockwell's affirmation?
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/10-worst.htm
I can not disagree more about the excellent 45 2.8 P.

I don't care about KR. If a photographer cannot make decent images with a lens, perhaps the photographer is the problem.

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Old 05-25-2016   #21
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All the lenses I ever let go, I did so on the basis of poor build quality, bizarre ergonomics or poor AF performance.i never came across a lens with such a bad picture quality that I had to sell it.
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Old 05-25-2016   #22
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The Nikkor 43-86mm f3.5 zoom was/is terrible; throughout its range poor fine detail and soft at the edges in varying degrees according to the aperture and focal length used; no matter what combination was used it never sharpened up. Around 60mm was the best focal length and anything between f5.6 –f11 was ‘okay’ but no great shakes – and I’m being polite.

At 43mm it is soft no matter what aperture; at 86mm almost as bad. It has chromatic aberration and pronounced vignetting… I could go on. Not Nikon’s finest hour by a long way.

But I loved it.

Not for professional stuff but my own; the 43-86 and a 28 f3.5 were all I really needed when out and about… but every time I looked at the negs I asked myself: “Why am I using this piece of cr#p?”

I still wonder.
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Old 05-25-2016   #23
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35mm f/2.8 AIS. Mine was so bad, it looked as if a soft focus filter was permanently attached to it.

That was sold and replaced with the 35mm f/2 AIS. This lens was actually extremely good. But, foolishly I read a lot of "truth" on the internet by Bjorn Rorslett and Ken Rockwell about how the 35mm f/1.4 AIS is the greatest of the 35mm Nikkors. So the f/2 lens was sold.

The 35mm f/1.4 AIS is an exceptionally sharp lens at f/2.8. At f/1.4 there is a lot of veiling flare. It has balls of barrel distortion. Women hated it (and me) because it made them look fat.

All have been sold and replaced with the Voigtlander 40mm f/2, which is a great lens from wide open.

As for the 45mm f/2.8 AI-P Rockwell hated its tiny size and high price. It is a sharp enough lens, being a Tessar. It has noticable vignetting until stopped down to f/5.6 in my own testing.

But, then Rockwell went on to go on a love-fest afterwards with Leica, so the man has no internal consistency.
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Old 05-25-2016   #24
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When I saw the title to this thread, I had to read it to make sure that the worst Nikon lens I have ever owned was on the list. I was not disappointed -- it was first on the list.

Back in the 1970s when I was working for a newspaper, I purchased the Nikon 43-86mm f/3.5 mid-range zoom lens for the times when I only wanted to carry one camera body and one lens. This lens was a big disappointment for me.

The lens 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 decades. This lens shattered my opinion of the "Nikon" and "Nikkor" brand which up to that time, I thought was a guarantee of excellence.
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Old 05-25-2016   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post

The lens 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 decades. This lens shattered my opinion of the "Nikon" and "Nikkor" brand which up to that time, I thought was a guarantee of excellence.
Well, it was only the second constant focus (varifocal lenses, where you had to refocus as you zoomed, had been around as early as 1910) normal zoom design for a photographic camera, after the Voigtländer/Zoomar 36-82. And while slower than the latter, it was not that much worse in image quality, and actually portable (while the Zoomar weighs upward of a kilogram).

Nikon eventually brought the 43-86 image quality to contemporary standards in the AI version - but by that time was too late to grow a better reputation, and its range was still too odd to be attractive, the more so as Nikon also had a 35-70.
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And yet
Old 05-25-2016   #27
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And yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by kymar View Post
Maybe Ken's samples which he "tested" for 5 minutes might have just been bad examples...
And yet... a few minutes ago, you didn't know who he was. Do you have your skivvies on backward?

KR has saved me a lot of money by avoiding and or choosing to buy many of his recommendations. I particularly like his approach and sense of humor.

Sometimes it only takes five minutes to make a judgement!
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Old 05-25-2016   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
...
The Zoom-Nikkor 43~86mm f/3.5 gathers a worldwide reputation of being terrible actually, but I've never used it, nor seen photos taken with it.
There are two radically different 43-86 f/3.5 lenses, 2-1/2 if you count the second optical version's IC version as being a semi-separate variant. Anyone who lumps the two major variants together as a single lens is simply exposing their ignorance of the lenses.

The original 43-86, distinguished by the engravings being on the outside of the front barrel and the front element filling the 52mm opening, is rather marginal. Given that it was the 2nd Japanese zoom for a 35mm camera, it is somewhat excusable.

The second version, which had a smaller front element and the normal "beauty ring" with the engravings inside of the 52mm filter thread, is actually a rather decent performer, far better than the original. It does exhibit some significant rectilinear distortion (barrel at 43 and pincushion at 86). The last minor tweak was to give the Nikon's IC multicoating which improved contrast, thus improving the perceived sharpness.
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Old 05-25-2016   #30
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Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
The 45mm f2.8P is a Tessar lens. It should be very good.
and it is...
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Old 05-25-2016   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post
When I saw the title to this thread, I had to read it to make sure that the worst Nikon lens I have ever owned was on the list. I was not disappointed -- it was first on the list.

Back in the 1970s when I was working for a newspaper, I purchased the Nikon 43-86mm f/3.5 mid-range zoom lens for the times when I only wanted to carry one camera body and one lens. This lens was a big disappointment for me.

The lens 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 decades. This lens shattered my opinion of the "Nikon" and "Nikkor" brand which up to that time, I thought was a guarantee of excellence.
Interesting - I used my 43-86 a lot when I was a working PJ in the late 70s and early 80s. Whatever faults it had were totally obscured once you laid a halftone screen over the print!
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Old 05-25-2016   #33
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In 1981 I bought a new Zoom-Nikkor 35~70mm f/3.5 Ai. It was an exceptional lens. I sold it eventually in the mid 2000s because I wasn't using it any longer, not being a zoom person (I have a Nikkor 35mm f/2 Ai-S and a Nikkor-O 35mm f/2, several 50s and two 85mm lenses). Sometimes I regret it somehow. Yet, it was very big and very heavy. So I probably wouldn't find myself using it now anyway. I do hope that the Englishman I sold it to put that outstanding zoom at good use.
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Old 05-25-2016   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ford View Post
Interesting - I used my 43-86 a lot when I was a working PJ in the late 70s and early 80s. Whatever faults it had were totally obscured once you laid a halftone screen over the print!
Your 43-86 may have had one of the later versions. I have been told that the later versions were better.

Also, we did not lay a halftone screen over our prints. Our prints were put on a rotating drum and scanned to convert the image to a halftone plate.
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Old 05-25-2016   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
... by that time was too late to grow a better reputation, and its range was still too odd to be attractive, the more so as Nikon also had a 35-70.
Thirty plus years after I dumped my first zoom, the 43-86 Nikon f/3.5, I purchased my second zoom, a used Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8, in October, 2005. I still use the 35-70.


Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8 by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 05-25-2016   #36
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This one is great - it's either "Dad, please stop" or "Get away from us, creepy photographer"

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamin-b View Post
A few with the 45mm "pancake":

Aug15_Portra160_FM3A_45mm_36 by Ben Sandler, on Flickr
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Old 05-25-2016   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
And yet... a few minutes ago, you didn't know who he was. Do you have your skivvies on backward?

KR has saved me a lot of money by avoiding and or choosing to buy many of his recommendations. I particularly like his approach and sense of humor.

Sometimes it only takes five minutes to make a judgement!
I do actually know who he is. He's just another guy on the internet whose opinions people hold in very high regard for some reason. I used to laugh when people would come into my shop hunting down a particular camera or lens because "Ken Rockwell says its really good". Umm. OK.
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Nikkors
Old 05-30-2016   #39
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Nikkors

If I remember correctly
The only nikkor nikon has publicly apologized for
Is the 43-86 zoom .
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Old 06-10-2016   #40
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Come on people, who are you foolin?

There are no bad Nikkors, period!
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