See update in my previous Nikkor Zoom 43 to 86 post.
I have been doing a bit of research about the history of this lens and in an article (Linked) Nikon do acknowledge the limitations of this lens.
One of the really good things this lens has, is a very usable ‘Depth of Field‘ scale not seen on a lot of lenses today: In fact gone never to be seen again on the ‘G’ type….. !
Hummm…. Distortion is as bad as people say ! but for general use it’s probably ok – just no architectural images: I don’t want to hear it can be corrected in Lightroom !!! this is a film camera lens. Distortion like this is almost impossible to correct in the darkroom.
This is one of the last made, with a Sno: 1037665 which is an improved version. I wonder why Nikon thought it was ok, although the construction is of a very high standard which is missed with most of the AF lenses foisted on us these days.
Further reading about this lens.
In the Nikon article below, the operative word is “skilfully”
Nikon in their Nikkor – The Thousand and One Nights series (very interesting for those who use Nikon) do acknowledge its limitations : http://www.nikkor.com/story/0004/
“While there is no denying that its performance does not match that of its contemporary fixed focal length lenses or the latest zoom lenses, the 43-86mm instigated the development of the whole standard zoom lens genre, and deserves our esteem as the lens which more than any other popularised the use of zoom lenses by allowing the man on the street to experience the convenience and joys of zoom photography. It is still an eminently usable lens which if used skilfully can provide a unique and evocative quality unattainable with today’s lenses.
This lens, with its trademark array of coloured, engraved lines indicating depth of field over the zoom range decorating the lens barrel, is definitely one of the great lens to bear the Nikkor name”.