Thanks to Vlad's D1x body turning up with a dead battery charger I've had a couple of days to play with his 50mm prime lens.
I spent a good two weeks trying to convince Vlad not to buy this lens... because when used on a APS-sized sensor there is a 1.5 multiplication factor... i.e. the lens is equivalent to a 35mm 75mm lens -- a great portrait lens, but not much good for anything else. Well, it seems I was wrong about that ;)
The best part of this lens is the maximum aperture -- f/1.8 is stupidly fast compared to the 3.5-4.5 of the D70 kit lens. This means you can either a) have fun well after you'd've put your slower lens away; b) have some fun with depth of field; or c) both. I'm glad to say that today I did both.
Here's a photo of the "Ghost Bike" that is kicking around near Tai Wu on Oxford Street. I think this would have been pretty boring, were it not for the interesting DoF. On that subject, the bokeh (the focus falloff, sort of) is generally pretty good, but I don't want to get spaffy and start talking about things that I'm really not "teched-up" enough to explain properly or really comment on. Suffice to say the bokeh is better than the kit lens.
Remembrance poppies by the tram station opposite the Midland Hotel on Oxford Street.
It seems pretty sharp to me, again more so than the kit lens, which is generally considered pretty good, although not perfect. I'm sure there is some proper review site somewhere that will have all sorts of funny technicaly methods of calculating sharpness.
Most of all this lens is good fun, really small and surprisingly cheap (compared to all of the other good lenses on the market). It's obviously an auto-focus lens, but has a regular camera-driven focus mechanism, isntead of the new fast/quiet AF-S motor. This didn't seem to be a problem, my D70 did a great job driving it and I know the more powerful motors in the D1 and D2 series will make lightwork of it. The only thing that does take a little getting used to is the focus ring physically turning when used in AF mode... you just have to get used to holding it a little closer to the body than normal.
I'd quite like to get my hands on a Nikkor 35mm f/2 prime and have a play before going ahead and saying "I want this lens", but there is a bit of a difference in price. Alternatively that rather amazing-looking f/1.4 28mm Nikkor... but at over £1,000 I suspect that is out of the question. Ah, well.