9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharpness and contrast, construction quality, focal range, speedEdge sharpness wide open, no AF-S
This lens was purchased to complement a 17-55 or 28-70 Nikkor zoom for a D200. I am very happy with this lens overall, considering the price was about 1/2 of the Nikkor 12-24. Prior to purchasing this lens, I looked at many reviews and found that this lens could rival the Nikkor in terms of resolving power, especially in the centre, but suffered from higher CA. My experience is consistent with the reviews.reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $600)
The lens focusses quickly, and has excellent colour and contrast. I like the feel of both the zoom and manual focus controls, which have adequate drag (like many of the the F2.8 Nikkor zooms) for quick and precise control.
I have found that stopping down 1 to 1/2 stops is sufficient to achieve very good IQ from this lens. As others have noted, the lens will produce noticeable flare when shot with the sun within the frame, but otherwise does not suffer an overall contrast degradation uder such conditions (as does the Nikkor 70-200 2.8 AF-S).
I may consider upgrading to the Nikkor 12-24 AF-S in the future, but primary for its compatibility with the new Nikon D40 camera without the old AF lense motor, and only partially for differnces in IQ.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedImage quality, low distortion, build qualityNot as sharp as 17-55 F2.8 wide open, narrower zoom range, weight/size
This lens is large and heavy, but it has amazing image quality when stopped down by 1-2 stops, for both in the in-focus and out-of-focus areas.reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $1,200)
The sharpness, contrast and color saturation from this lens is impressive. When I show photos taken with this lens, I always get compliments.
I have used this lens as my main short zoom lens on my D200 for both indoor and outdoor photography, including portraiture, and I continue to be rewarded with great results. It has been on my camera at least 75% of the time since I purhcased it, even though I have a number of other lenses, such as the 12-24 and 70-200 zooms and some primes.
Even though the zoom range seems a little long for digital APS sensor bodies, I find I use the extra reach of the 70 mm long end quite often. I find that I only miss the wider angle range of 17-55 when I am shooting indoors.
The lens is very sharp from F5.6 to about F11, whereupon diffraction begins to degrade the sharpness. The lense is somewhat softer at the edges, moreso at 28 mm than at 70mm, but improves as the lens is stopped-down.
Now that I also have the 17-55, I found that the 28-70 is a better lens to have when I am outdoors, have more light, or am in a larger venue, but the 17-55 is a winner when light is low (hence, need for shooting at F2.8 to F4.0, or space is tight).
The main downside is the large size and weight
A Nikon classic.