>Besides 14-24N and af-s 17-35, what would be a good >inexpensive wide angle lens, including 3rd party lenses?
Inexpensive? I really like the Sigma 12-24 D f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM EX wide angle zoom. It's clean, well made, stainless steel mount and it's a full frame design. It's not quite as fast as I'd like, but it's sharp and when used on the D700 you can more than offset the lack of aperture by bumping ISO to compensate. Note that the front element protrudes enough to prevent the use of filters. Nice lens. You can find them for between $775 and $825, new, in the U.S. and Canada. I own one. I like it.
The Tamron 17-35 f/2.8-4 SP IF Di isn't quite as wide as the Sigma above, but it takes filters and is upsettingly sharp. I say "upsettingly sharp" because the lens only costs about $300. If you're near a dealer who sells Tamron glass, go in and try one. Shoot some stuff carefully, then compare it to the sharpest stuff in your current collection. You may be pleasantly surprised at the performance of the Tamron. It is not built as well as the Sigma and nowhere near as well as the 17-35 f/2.8 Nikkor, but it's sharp and for $300 you can be a bit more careful when using it. I do not own one, but I used and tested one for 5 days last winter. It's a perfectly good lens. If you don't tell anybody what you use to get excellent shots, they'll never know.
Although I don't yet own a D700 I shoot full frame with my F100 and scan with my CoolScan V ED and I've been very, very happy with my Sigma 15-30/3.5-4.5 EX DG and 17-35/2.8-4 EX DG HSM lenses. The 15-30 is so sharp that when I use it with my D1x I seldom have to use the usm and the 17-35 focuses very fast and is very sharp at mid aperture but does need the use of usm on occasion. Both lenses were purchased new from Amazon for less than $250 each during the past 3 -4 months. As I write this, I'm about to purchase a Sigma 28/1.8 EX DG once again from Amazon/Adorama. I hope to get the same results as with the F100 once I take the plunge and get the D700. Mark
I can vouch for the outstanding performance of the Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8, which can be purchased through Cameta Camera's online store for about $200. I was pleasantly surprised at just how "wide" a lens is when shooting at 24mm on a D700. Here's a link to high ISO photos shot with a D700 & the Sigman 24-60mm f/2.8. I intentionally shot all pix at 2.8 just to see how the performance of the lens would be wide open, which was better than I had expected. Stop down to 3.5 and below and the sharpness gets very crisp.
I use the Nikon 18-35 lens on my D700 and I'm very happy with the results. This lens has been sitting on a shelf in it's box collecting dust along with my F100 as it was not wide enough on my D100 or D200. Now I have the FX body my old lenses are back in use. Not a fast lens but if you do not require expensive glass then I can recommend this lens.
When i want to go wider than my 24-70 allows or lighter i use the excellent 20mm f/2.8 D. Its tack sharp, really compact and light too. I love that the D700 has given me back use of primes, not that you couldnt use them on the D700, but theres no 13mm prime for DX(Equilivent of 20mm on FX)