I've become my family's un-official photographer, pretty much, and found myself in need of a better camera. (We have a large local close young family, so 20+ running around the house occasionally — cousins, grandparents, nephews, etc.) I've recently purchased a Nikon D3100 with the kit lens. It's pretty obvious that the kit lens isn't going to cover the variety of situations I'm going to need to shoot.
Situations mainly fall into three categories, like most families:
- Around the house when we're all just hanging out.
- Trips (mostly local — zoos, pumpkin farms, etc. — not exotic)
I feel like the kit lens will probably suffice for the first one, so its the second and third that I'm really after.
Research leads me to believe the Nikon 50mm f/1.8d AF is probably a good choice for the portrait lens. I know the D3100 requires AF-S to autofocus, but the AF-S version is probably out of my price range for the moment (another $300 or so) considering I need another lens as well. Since they would be staged portraits mainly, I feel like manually focusing, wouldn't be a big deal. Does this sound correct?
For the "trips" lens, I really would like something with a little reach to it since we're often spread out. These would be mainly outdoors, catching the moments when they don't know I'm shooting. I feel like the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX would be good choice, but I'm not sure if I really need the VR shooting those kinds of scenes. The 55-200mm version is much more in my price range, but experience with my P&S tells me I probably need a bit more range. If I don't need VR, the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SLD DG looks good, but with the crop factor, the 70mm seems a bit far on that end.
I'm in semi-rural area and renting lens isn't really a great option.
Any advice? Is there a reasonably price lens I'm overlooking that better covers both situations?
UPDATE: My concern on the range for the "trip" lens is based on my P&S experience, but I looked at the EXIF data from a fully zoomed picture on my P&S and it lists it as "200mm (35 mm)". At the 1.5 crop factor of the D3100, should I expect approximately the same distance from a 200mm lens like the Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR ? If so, I'm probably leaning towards that and the 35mm 1.8.