0 out of 10 points and recommendedCheap and light, VERY sharp when stopped down, autofocus relatively fast&quietSlow max. aperture, bad build quality, low contrast at 18 mm f/3.5
photozone.de claims that "you may find the resolution figures of this lens astonishing and maybe hard to beleive". I didn't beleive that either... Until I've made some portraits at 55 mm, F/8. Had to soften the images in Photoshop a bit because this lens seems to be too sharp for portraits - it actually outresolves a 6 MP sensor of my D40. There's some barrel distortion at the wide end, but it's no big deal for me. CA is nothing to worry about, too (esp. compared to Canon S3 superzoom I previously had). AF does hunt sometimes in low light (especially at the telephoto end of the range), but this issue has been solved as soon as I bought an SB-600 with its dedicated AF assist.reviewed March 23rd, 2008
Yes, the buid quality is so-so, and this is not quite an AF-S lens (no AF override), but for the price, you'd get EITHER decent optics OR good build quality. Among Nikon lenses at this focal range, only AF-S 17-55 f/2.8 (which is pricey) can be considered as a significant improvement in terms of IQ. AF-S 18-70 doesn't seem to be much better in this regard.
I'd probably keep this lens and get a fast prime for low-light shooting (like the upcoming Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM).
9 out of 10 points and recommendedWell built, sharp, constant f/2.8, nice bokeh, no signs of distortion or corner shading, good range for portraitsPush-pull design seems a little awkward to me, the inner lens tube is wobbling a bit
I've got it used for my D40 as a portrait lens. I was aware of the autofocus issue but decided that I'd always get my money back by selling it anyway. After having used it for a couple of months, I decided to keep it.reviewed July 30th, 2008 (purchased for $400)
Build wise it feels very solid and heavy with its all-metal construction although its push-pull mechanism seemed a bit stiff to me, but it's okay now. Zoom ring is well calibrated and after a bit of practice I've rarely missed focus, even using a cropped viewfinder of a DSLR.
On a 1.5x crop DSLR, this lens provide a normal to moderate telephoto angle of view which is okay for portraits and even everyday shooting - if wide angle isn't necessary.
IQ wise it's about as sharp wide open as the kit lens at f/8 (35 mm). No signs of corner softness or vignetting. Bokeh is very nice indeed. In my opinion, it has some sort of "watercolor" look. It's a tad worse when stopped down though.
Actually, there's not much to complain on. The "dinosaur of the film era" performs surprisingly well, even on digital. Now we've got FX digital bodies from Nikon, and the demand for this lens will be high IMHO. Those babies are already out of stock at B&H.