I did mention earlier this year on Flickr that I couldn't wait to try the f4 version of this focal length. Whoa! This lens is sharp at f/4...which is wide-open for this lens...I am very impressed. I'm definitely selling my AI converted 80-200 f4.5 (and probably at a bargain price). Man, this new lens just baffles me...it's sharp, sharp, sharp, even on a D700. On my D40x it's a bit nose heavy, but man is it insanely sharp! I can't wait to head outside to shoot with it...it's overcast today, and I want to shoot with nicer light, specially at dusk.
My lens buying is done for the summer...I don't need or want any more lenses, even if you offered me a free 17-35 f2.8, I would only take it on the condition that I would sell it and use the money to buy some lights. I'm a manual focus type of guy, and not because I hate AF, it's just not my thing. I've always enjoyed taking my time to "capture the moment", and capturing moving subjects isn't that hard with MF as some would have you believe. Besides, this way I get the top-glass of yesteryear for peanuts compared to the current AF offerings. I'm not exactly cheap, but I'm also not gullible enough to believe that nano-coatings, MTF charts, and super fast f-stops are always necessary to get great pictures. Gear is only part of the equation when it comes to getting great photographs.