OK, so it seems like the vast majority of people here are "better
is always better" but I have both of these lenses right now and I can tell you for damn sure.. the f2.8 is definitely not magnitudes better than the cheap kit lens. I'm trying to decide whether to keep it or sell it (I got a deal on a D7000 with it, and I really just want the body) but I'd be really interested in someone giving me a specific scenario where I can take a photo with both lenses and have a Eureka! moment, that makes me shun the lens I bought for $50 used and keep the lens that I can easily get $650 for?
For sure in good light at the wide end, in terms of sharpness and color I have a VERY hard time telling the difference. 17mm @f2
.8 vs 18mm @3
.5 isn't a huge difference. At the top end in good light I feel the same way. In lower light at the top end I can get away with the same shutter speed on the kit lens thanks to VR as I'm afforded by the f2.8, and I like the results of both.
So. Seriously. Let's put aside the fact that the kit lens is cheaply made and doesn't have the same studly appearance.. the optics seem really good to me, so the challenge to all the "you have to buy great lenses" crew. What scenario should I setup to really highlight the differences between these two lenses.. and justify lugging around a lens that is 3 times the size and 4 times the weight?
What am I missing?