There are a lot of reports of this lens having a problem with sticky aperture blades due to a change in the lubricant used. Some production runs of various Nikkor lenses between 1999 and 2000 used this faulty oil. I haven’t had this problem with this particular lens, but any authorized Nikon repair center can clean the blades and replace the lubricant. (Update 27/01/2011: My 35mm after a long time of storage is now showing signs of oil on the blades and is sticky resulting in overexposed images!)
Angle of view: 62degrees
Maximum aperture: f/2
Minimum aperture: f/22
Construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
Diaphragm: 7 straight blades
Minimum focusing distance: 0,25m
Maximum magnification: 1:4.2
Dimensions: 65mm x 45mm
Diameter of filter: 52mm (Non rotating)
Chromatic aberrations: No CA’s to worry about, though most evident wide open.
Sharpness: As already mentioned, between f/5.6 and f/8 this lens can produce some stunning images, but then again most modern cheap zooms can do the same. Wide open results are a bit soft, though quite acceptable. One click to f/2.2 improves sharpness and from f/2.8 results are much better.
Distortion: You don't need to worry about distortion with this lens since its non detectable unless you shoot a brick wall. In such a case you may notice some slight barrel distortion that in most cases will go unnoticed. On the DX format cameras distortion becomes even less noticeable.
Vignetting: On the FX format cameras there is heavy light fall off when shooting wide open but it improves as you close down and isn't a problem once at f/4. On the DX format cameras, the darkening is noticeable wide open. It mostly goes unnoticed so I wouldn’t worry about it. From f/2.8 onwards it’s totally gone.
Alternatives & Last words
If you are mainly into shooting landscapes then you are probably better off looking for a modern zoom. Even though it costs a couple hundred euro more, the AF 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D produces much better results (not considering the distortion). Overall, most modern Nikkor zooms that cover the 35mm focal length perform just as good if not better. Personally, I have replaced this old favorrite landscaping lens, first with the AFS 17-35mm f/2.8D and more recently with the AFS 16-35mm f/4 zoom. As you probably have figured out by now, this once lovely lens has aged gracefully and retired!