First off sorry for the long post! This is another one of those 'asking for advice' threads and I figure more information is better so forgive me if this is a lot to read. I recently purchased a Nikon D50 and I'm looking to get a lens with some reach to add to my setup. I'm pretty much a general hobbyist at this point so I'm in the market for flexible bang-for-buck type of lenses rather that super specialized top quality. I'd like to have a setup that will give good enough pictures for some decent sized blow-ups for display in my home though so I also don't want to get lenses that are poor quality. Hopefully that gives you all an idea where I'm coming from. I've been doing a lot of reading on these forums and a few other sites and it seems like the 80-200mm 2.8 Nikkor is one of the best quality telephoto lenses you can buy and the used price of $400-$500 puts it right about in budget for the most I would be able to spend on a single lens. But all of the reviews I have read make it sound like a serious piece of glass, very large and heavy. Some have gone so far as to say that you should never use this without a tripod mount as tripoding your DSLR with this attached could warp your camera body! Do those of you who own one of these find that it is cumbersome to carry and use? I'm really looking for something that could be taken on a day hiking type of trip with maybe 1-2 other lenses, used for casual shots along the way but good enough quality for some serious pictures if I happen across something really interesting. I'd hate to invest $500 in this lens if it's going to too inconvenient for me to use most of the time. Other lenses I'm considering would be: 18-300mm VR - seems like a great compromise between image quality and convenience. Would have to wait for price gouging to subside before I bought on of these. This is slightly above my budget but since it would be all I would need aside from a 50mm 1.8 for low light situations I could swing it. 70-300mm Sigma APO - I read mixed things about this from junk to pretty darn good. 70-300mm Nikkor VR - Seems like people give this higher quality than the other 70-300 lenses. If it really does have better sharpness and contrast than the other 70-300mm lenses vs. people just liking it for the VR this would be a strong contender. If anyone who has used the 80-200mm or maybe some of these other lenses could share some of their wisdom I'd really appreciate the help. Thanks!