I just got it last week and shot a few with it. All I can say is "wow"!
I was able to get shots of small stuff like RJ’s and 737’s at 400mm hand-held that are so sharp you can see wheel spokes, etc. Considering that I drink *way* too much coffee, that’s not bad!
To answer your specific questions:
- AF speed is ok with the Nikon F100. Nothing to write home about but unless you have an F-16 heading straight for you at mach 1.2 you should be ok.
- Resolution with Provia 100F is outstanding. I could easily read the ship name on BA 747s and Austrian A330’s on full frame shots.
- Contrast is very good. IMHO, better then any lens I have except the 300 F4 ED.
- VR really works (see sample below). It has two modes. One lets you see the VR working in the viewfinder with a slight press of the shutter release. This mode is hard to get used to so they also have a mode that only activates the VR during the exposure. In this mode it is my unqualified guess that your fps is reduced.
My only complaint is that the zoom ring is very stiff. Also, I haven’t gotten used to the rotary type zoom as all of my older lenses are push-pull zooms… but I guess that will take time.
Even though the scan can’t do the original image justice, here is a sample:
It was shot at 400mm on Provia 100F. This is not the best shot I have with the lens but I wanted to use it for illustration purposes. The a/c only filled about 50% of the frame
but you can still see all the details. I use the Minolta Scan Dual II… with a better scanner you would really be able to see what this lens is capable of.
Here is another sample shot at about 300mm:
Good luck getting the lens. I have waited over six months and only got it through the generosity of someone I know.