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I have one of these that I need to restore. Oil on the aperture blades and nearly seized focus. The lens stayed in its box, unused, for literally decades. It's unfortunate that it was stored on its end in a very hot cabinet. From the look of it, it was used very little before it was stored. I have used it "as is" and you are quite right, surprising lens.
One with the 55 f2.8 AIS Micro on the D700. It is super sharp across the frame, a wonderful testament to lens designer skills before the days of computers. The fact that the lens is still "tight", and a tactile joy to use, is a testament to the manufacturing of the lenses.