Caleb Murdock wrote:
Tell me, if I never remove the lense, does that mean that no dust ever gets inside? I'm about to move up to a DSLR form a point-and-shoot camera, and I'm sure the kit lense will satisfy me for quite a while.
If you buy a zoom lens, dust can get in while the lens expands or retracts (when you actually do the "zooming").
You could buy a zoom lens that is protected against dust and humidity, but it would be more expensive and the body of the camera would have to be compatible with that feature. For example, if you were to buy a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
, that does have dust and humidity protection, you would have to mount it on a Canon 1D for that protection to be effective. A Canon 400D
, for example, would not be compatible with the lens' dust protection feature - however, the sensor of the 400D itself would have dust protection (it vibrates to shake it off).
One camera that does have both image stabilisation and anti-dust built into the body is the Sony A100
, that would fall more or less within you price range.
Bear in mind, however, that no anti-dust system is perfect.
All that having been said, a good camera to start with is indeed the Nikon D40
. It's relatively affordable and its kit lens is slightly better than the competition
. Getting the also relatively affordable Nikkor AF-S DX VR 55-200mm F/4-5.6 G IF-ED, which has image stabilisation, would probably be enough for your wildlife fotos. Neither camera nor lens have dust protection, however.