The lens also claims a world's first: a claimed 5-stop image stabilization. This is not replacing the current VRII, but rather a new range, which I imagine will apply to all lenses released from here forward. Oddly enough, the tripod collar is listed as optional, a Nikon first, for a cool $225.00 The lens weighs in at 850g, a full 690g (1.5 lbs) lighter than the 2.8 version.
Nikon photographers have long been requesting (myself included) that Nikon release this lens; its smaller size and lighter weight will make it a welcome addition for travel and documentary photographers who may not require the larger f/2.8 aperture. With it's 67mm filter size, it will be harder to pair with an equivalent quality normal zoom, as anything in this price and quality range all come in with a standard 77mm filter size. Filter size aside, it's a very welcome addition to their already healthy lens lineup.
The lens will be available late November for a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of CDN $1449.95.