Just bought a Nikon 3100.
I am strongly considering the Nikkor AF-S DX VR 55-300 f/4.5-5.6 6G ED VR because I want to get up much closer than the 18-55 lens it came with. I am quite new to digital photography. Many years ago I was an avid 35mm SLR hobiest and I used a Nikon N90S with a variety of lenses, including the AF Nikkor ED 80-200mm 1:2.8 D. I shot macros of flowers and my love was shooting light houses and scenic pictures--mostly ocean, sun rise and sunsets, and fall foliage. I lost interest when film photography dwindled in popularity but I still have all the 35mm equipment I had back then. I recently decided to get a decent SLR digital camera but I am retired and didn't aim for equipment of the quality of the old N90S. I don't have much interest in printing my pictures because I can so easily share them on line. I rarely photograph people but do shoot my dog and cats. Does anyone have any suggestions other than the 55 -300 lens mentioned above? Should I be able to hand hold the 55-300 with a reasonably fast shutter speed? Lastly, if anyone has had a good experience with mail order stores that sell at a discount, please share.