5 out of 10 points and recommendedLight, well built, and dirty cheap.Not sharp at all, lots of CA, slow aperture and slow focus.
I bought this lens over a year, as a first long focal trial lens for my D70, and i must say i have mixed feelings towards it. On one hand, it has a nice focal range and unlike other zooms in this range (dirty cheap zooms range, i mean) it can focus quit near (0.95m!) although i wouldn't call it macro.reviewed December 12th, 2006 (purchased for $80)
Images are definitely lacking sharpness, but that's not at all a bad feature: you can get the most beautifull, creamy portraits out of it. I know i have! It really has the most beautifull bokeh... You can forget photos of distante objects/people/birds... There just isn't enough resolution in it to achieve this task. And though one needs a clear bright day to make the most out of this lens (stoping it down to f/8 - f/11 really helps, but that leeds to slow shutter speeds, high ISO settings, tripods, etc...), then CA strikes hard: and this lens can deliver CA like no other i've ever seen! I really don't know what's that LD glass doing in there...
On the other hand it's a light, inexpensive, quite well built lens, that seconds to none of the Nikon/Nikkor 70-300 zooms (yes, i do mean that neither the G nor the ED Nikkor 70-300 zoom performs any better than this lens, in any way, and that's a fact: a cheap zoom is nothing but a cheap zoom, whatever the brand. Actually rumors are that both Nikon zooms are made by Tamron!!!). Any significant step beyond will make you, or i, spend over $600... used. Do i want better lens(es) in this range? You bet i do... Will i get rid of it? I think not, not yet... Like any other tool, you just have to know where it works the best... and use it there. Did i say it cost me only 100EUR ($80) brand new, lens shade, front and back caps, and warranty included?!
7 out of 10 points and recommended
I like to think of this lens as the semi-pro f/4 L - Canon like - standard zoom lens for Nikon DX format. It's that good...reviewed January 15th, 2007
And there really isn't any other lens to fill this gap: you have either the 18-55DX f/3.5-5.6 in the lower DX end, or the much more expensive and much heavier 17-55DX f/2.8 in the uper DX end.
If you think you need this lens, and didn't get it as a kit lens when you first bought your DSLR, just get it now and don't worry about it for some years.
As for it's strengths and weaknesses I think that's pretty much covered on the other reviewers... reviews!