Well the TNT man dropped off a most welcome delivery this afternoon. I am at work at the moment so can't go into too much depth yet, but here are my inital impressions:
For those wondering, yes the lens appears to be majority composite / plastic as opposed to the usual metal of the 24-70, 70-200 etc. This doesn't bother me at all -I'm all for any weight saving properties. It still has quite a heft in the hand due to the amount of glass inside. It feels well balanced on my D700. The focus ring is buttery smooth and has a nice long throw - maybe not CZ buttery smooth, but akin to the rest of the Nikon pro line-up.
I will post some pictures later tonight, and will endeavour to do a more comprehensive review once I've had a chance to use this lens more out in the field. From my first half hour of snap shots I can make a few comments though:
AF speed is about on par with my 50mm f/1.4G -perhaps slightly faster. Which is to say, moderate AF speed. Definately not in the league of the 24-70, 70-200 AF speed.
There have been a lot of reports of this lens being cursed with inconsistent and widely variable AF accuracy. I am happy to report that so far I am getting a 95% hit rate on a variety of tested subjects, including low light / low contrast, backlight subjects, foliage.
So either I got lucky and scored a perfect copy of this lens - or the people complaining about these errors have been unlucky enough to get bad copies (or there expectations are too high). Anyway I'm not going to get into the whole debate about that - there is plenty of banter on the usual pixel peeping forums if one desires some entertainment.
Suffice to say I am more than happy with the AF accuracy of the 24mm f/1.4 - the AF speed I already knew was not going to be phenomnal and I can live with it.
Contrast, colour and bokeh rendition are sweet wide open. Being a wide angle lens, you won't be getting 85 1.4 or 200 f2 style bokeh, but it is the ebst bokeh I have seen on a WA lens.
CA appears very well controlled - tested shooting some branches against a bright blue sky.(from what I can see on the D700 LCD - will be able to better evaluate this tonight.
Anyway, stay tuned for some images tonight. I can already tell this lens is gonna pay for itself