I've owned this lens a few years now and every time I attach it to my D300 I remember how great it is. Compared to the boring variable max aperture kit zooms, this lens has fantastic contrast, great (if slightly sluggish) auto focus and of course that super fast f/1.4 maximum aperture.
This lens is excellent for portraits on my (DX) D300 and can be used as a walkaround lens (especially for evening/low light use), although it's a little too long to take as the only lens on a holiday. For general use like travel I would always take the 35mm f/1.8, a 16-85mm, or the far heavier 17-55mm.
The build of this lens is very good, as good as any other primes I have used. The focus ring has a lovely smooth action and the body looks as good as new on my lens after two years of fairly regular use.
When using the lens at apertures below f/2 I find it to be a bit soft, but also you do have to be very accurate with focus at those shallow depth of fields. If you lean even very slightly forward or back after locking focus you will lose your focus point.
Overall, for the money, you can't go wrong. If you only get one DX prime it should probably be the 35mm f/1.8. For FX users and DX users getting a few primes for different uses however, this lens is almost essential. Remember - to pick up a modern (AF-S) Nikon f/1.4 lens at any other focal length costs well over £1000!!
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