The Bottom Line: If you are nothing more than an absolute beginner and "would not need the uniform exposure of the lens.", fine. All others stay away!
I'm taking off for some extended travel and thought I'd delve into the Nikon D50 package because it's so light weight and I wouldn't have to worry about film.
I did an exposure test on this lens with an evenly lit (.1 stop variation) test grid. Basically just black lines on a white background. The lens is absolutely horrible! There's a huge hot spot in the center of the lens with fall off towards the outside and the corners. At the same time I tested the 18-55 that came with the D50 package and also tested two other old lenses - a 300 Nikkor-H and a Nikkor 35-105. Every one did great except the 55-200. I contacted Nikon support because I thought I received a lemon but the tech support came back, after I sent him some jpegs, and told me that he did some tests with theirs and it looks basically the same!
I just received an email back from him stating:
(Quote) Dear Robert,
Through the testing that I have done with the exception of the distortion the exposure appears to be normal. The audience the lens is intended for is for entry level amateur photographers that are just starting in photography and cannot afford or are not sure they want to invest in higher quality Nikkor lenses. And with the use of the lens an entry level amateur would not need the uniform exposure of the lens. The only thing that we can do to correct the distortion is to service the lens. I apologize for the inconvenience. (End Quote)
"would not need the uniform exposure of the lens."!!!!!