I got the slightly older non-macro version of this lens today. I feel that for $500 shipped I got a nice deal, but with some caveats: Wide open at 70mm-150mm is very sharp. Definitely a winner here. From about 150-200mm, the sharpness is still there, but it slowly (out to the end of the lens) starts to get a little soft with a mild halo effect. This was to be expected from others who already had the lens. Wide open, 200mm @ Infinity is sharp. No soft halos. Hmmm? The closer to infinity, the sharper it gets. F5.6 at 200mm is nice and sharp. This is generally where i'm at while shooting mountain bikes and BMX. I haven't experienced any of the focusing problems that require "rechipping" of this lens yet. I don't have much to photograph here at work, but once I get back home, I'm going to give it a real run through. I'm slowly counting down the paychecks until I can go downtown and purchase the 70-200 VR. This lens is a nice filler in the meantime. The HSM focusing is wildly fast. Definitely makes this lens worth it. I tried a 80-200 F2.8 push/pull and this is definitely a whole lot faster. For $500 I wouldn't have been able to get an AF-D or AF-S 80-200 two-ring.