DSLR lenses for my Nikon confused! ?

Ok, I purchased my Nikon D40 a couple months back for my birthday. I love this d**n thing. I can't seem to put it down. I have come to a point where I feel like I would benefit a lot from a stronger zoom/lense. Looking at either a 70mm-300mm or a 55mm-200mm. I have been shopping around for a while now on the internet and completely confused. If someone could clarify somethings for me that would be great. 1) Is the Vibration Reduction (VR) feature worth paying 2x-3x more than a lense without? because the lens that came with my D40, the 18-55m seems to output extremely crisp photos w/o the VR feature, or maybe it's just my amateur eyes. 2) Besides the material (plastic vs metal) used, what's the main difference between Nikon, Sigma and Telephoto lenses? 3) Besides the material used and VR, why are there $150 and $4000 that have the same zoom strength of ie. 70mm-200mm lenses? What's the main difference/ picture quality. Finally, can someone suggest an all around, bang for your buck, lens for my D40 that doesn't break the bank but also allows me to take professional pictures, or as close to one as I can. Web links/sites/model #'s all greatly appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best answer gets best answer choice!

Asked By: itsmecasper - 12/10/2008
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
1) VR helps more and more as the focal length gets longer and longer... More
Answered By: greglovern - 12/12/2008
Additional Answers (6)
I'm not so sure about lenses overall, but I own a Nikon D60, It came with an 18-55mm VR Lense, the VR is exceptional, it actually works!
Answered By: xXx-Jaden-xXx - 12/10/2008
I own 3 Nikon lenses for my digital camera. A good all around lens is the 24-120 AF Nikkor. I don't what they cost now, but I paid about $500 for it. For my telephoto, I went VR and paid about $1700. It' worth it, I think, if you are going to do a lot hand hold photography. If you're going to use a tripod with the... More
Answered By: Alan G - 12/10/2008
The excellent 55-200 mm VR at just around $200 is an good investment. You can expect Nikon lenses to last for decades... More
Answered By: fhotoace - 12/10/2008
1) VR is worth it for the amateur user based on their ability to hold the camera steady. VR's worth increases as you shoot at longer focal lengths (which magnifies any shake your hands may have). VR's worth also increases when you are attempt to hand hold long exposures... More
Answered By: dragonwithin - 12/10/2008
Congratulations on your new camera, it certainly is a good choice... More
Answered By: Willy - 12/10/2008
I have the D40, among others. Here is my answer... More
Answered By: Nathan Grammatico - 12/10/2008
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