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Archive 2013 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)
  
 
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Show me your worst!

There are many old manual-focus lenses available for a pittance that are gems of optical excellence. However, not every lens ever made is optically spectacular. Some, perhaps, even transcend mediocrity into the realm of sheer imaging horror. Have you got any in your lens drawers? Perhaps some guilty pleasure that you hastily bury under a pile of Zeiss whenever company is coming over? Here's a thread for you to post your (least) favorite so-bad-that-it's-good (at being bad) lens.



I'll start off with a lens I just acquired, based on the reputation that preceded it ("Nikon's worst lens, ever."): the Zoom-Nikkor 43-86/3.5, in the original 9-element optical formula (before it was later revised to a merely poor lens with 11 elements). I did go for a multicoated Nikkor-C version, because I'm not a complete barbarian. Picture of the lens in the recent lens purchases thread.

The lens itself is a solidly-built one-touch zoom, compact with easy handling and smooth mechanics despite being almost four decades old. On the outside, actually quite nice --- attach it to a camera (Canon 5D) to see what lurks within. Through the viewfinder, you can see the distortion bowing from serious barrel to pincushion as you zoom; towards the long end, a "soft focus" haze is visible even in the viewfinder. Take a few shots, and you'll see the strong abrupt vignetting in the corners (that doesn't really go away with stopping down). You might be able to get one tiny spot, right at the center, in acceptably sharp focus, surrounded by a smearing vignette. Wonky focal plane curvature (I'm not exactly sure where it goes, and I bet it changes a lot with zoom) makes it somewhat unpredictable what else in the image will be in focus. Surprisingly, there's little lateral CA, and veiling flare / contrast is well controlled.

Pictures:

http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4098.jpg
http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4100.jpg
http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4102.jpg
http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4104.jpg
http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4115.jpg
http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4116.jpg
http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4114.jpg
http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4122.jpg
http://praetoriusphoto.images.s3.amazonaws.com/fmforums/2013/06/21_nikkor_43-86/img_4118.jpg



Jun 22, 2013 at 02:35 AM
PhotoMaximum
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


This might be a great thread!

I don't have any samples ready at hand but I hated the EF 35/2 even though I owned this lens longer than I should have...



Jun 22, 2013 at 05:45 AM
PhotoMaximum
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Another crummy lens I used was the Sigma 14/3.5. IQ was horrible and it caught wicked flare in just about every situation...


Jun 22, 2013 at 05:47 AM
perost
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


I have a Yashica ML 50/1.9, which is actually a very decent lens. It flares very easily and spectacularly though:



Jun 22, 2013 at 10:02 AM
SKumar25
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Wow, the Eye of Sauron flare!!


Jun 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM
RCicala
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


What a great idea! Going of to dig through old hard drives . . .


Jun 22, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Lee Saxon
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


I don't have a sample photo because I never took anything worth keeping, but my lord the Nikon 50/1.4 AF-D, lots of veiling haze and absurd amounts of chromatic aberration. Became decent around f/2.8. Makes you wonder how affordable and light a 50/2.8 could've been...


Jun 22, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Brody LeBlanc
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


a lens is only as bad as the person using it. but at the same time, theres a weird attraction to using flawed designs that i totally get. i was shooting with a pen f 42/1.2 for a while and while it was loaded with issues, sometimes it made pictures way awesome.

Kurtis - X-E1 w/ Olympus 42/1.2 by brodyl.91, on Flickr



Jun 22, 2013 at 02:18 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Brody LeBlanc wrote:
a lens is only as bad as the person using it. but at the same time, theres a weird attraction to using flawed designs that i totally get. i was shooting with a pen f 42/1.2 for a while and while it was loaded with issues, sometimes it made pictures way awesome.



Yeah hate the spoil the party but so far I like these thread shots Like Roger I'll have to dig through my hard drive to see what I've got (that I didn't trash already).

Nice thread theme.



Jun 22, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Mescalamba
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Kinda like that Nikkor zoom (isnt is first zoom they made)?

Might be interesting to see first of Zeiss or even that old Voigtlaender.



Jun 22, 2013 at 09:02 PM
 

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mpmendenhall
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Mescalamba wrote:
Kinda like that Nikkor zoom (isnt is first zoom they made)?


Nope; it's the third. There's lots of great historical information available on the mir.com.my Nikkor pages. The 43-86 came after the 85-250/4-4.5 and the 200-600/9.5-10.5.



Jun 22, 2013 at 09:42 PM
JohnJ
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Ironic. I don't think of lenses with lots of aberrations (poor sharpness aside) as being bad. They're the lenses I look for and use when appropriate. They can make for interesting images as long as you work with them rather than expect something they can't deliver.


Jun 22, 2013 at 10:56 PM
ISO1600
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Michael, I'm glad you didn't start this thread based on the Tamron 500 I sold you!

I've owned a LOT of lenses, and i really can't think of any that stuck out as dogs.
One of Ken Rockwell's "top 10 Nikon worst", the 18mm f2.8D, was one of my favorite lenses of all time.



Jun 23, 2013 at 12:32 AM
telyt
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


My worst lens ever was the 400mm f/5.6 T-Noflexar before I figured out that its rear element had been installed backwards. It was so bad I couldn't focus it. It's still my worst lens after turning the rear element around but then my other lenses were made in either Wetzlar, Solms or Midland.


Jun 23, 2013 at 01:26 AM
teraflame
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


I've got an extremely scratched up old non ai 24mm nikkor. The bloom is nice sometimes.




Jun 23, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Mescalamba
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Seems no one is shooting Diana and similar Lomo things.


Jun 23, 2013 at 09:44 AM
anscochrome
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


From a 135mm F 2.8 Vivitar-the lens is a hunk of crap wide open, but serviceable stopped down:




Jun 23, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Cadaver
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


So far this is a great thread. Those shots from the Nikkor 43-86/3.5 are incredibly bad for a Nikon.

I don't have any examples, but the worst lens I ever used was a Canon 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5. I can't believe every copy performed that poorly, maybe I just had the worst one.



Jun 23, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Mescalamba
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Some time ago, Canon wide-angle zooms werent exactly top notch. Tho they are not even today if Im correct..


Jun 24, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Show me your worst! (Bad Lenses thread)


Michael -- Great idea for a thread!

Great shots so far.



Jun 24, 2013 at 02:45 PM
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