9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp at f/2.8 and up and at 200mm (link to some pictures below), build quality is great, tripod collar is solid, hood is sturdy, focus & zoom rings are well-damped, fast HSM focusing.No VR, slight front-focusing on mine (correctable with my D300), possibly a bit soft at it's minimum focusing distance.
I've only had this a day, but...reviewed July 6th, 2008 (purchased for $799)
IQ is great from f/2.8 and up, but its possible to misfocus at f/2.8 (mainly from user error when hand-holding). My copy also front-focuses a tiny bit, but I was able to compensate for that with my Nikon D300's "AF fine tune" feature.
I REALLY wish it had VR, but that is the most obvious sacrifice you make when choosing this lens over the Nikon version (or Canon's with IS). If Sigma implemented their OS into this lens, it would be pretty much perfect, and they'd be flying off the shelves. Since it doesn't have OS, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to cave in and get the Nikon version eventually.
Aside from VR, I can't ask for much more from this lens, especially at this price. Definitely recommended.
Some sample shots here.
More here, all at f/2.8.
Even more! First three at f/4, the rest at f/2.8.