Background: I am a 'serious amateur'! Most of my pictures are scenery, landscapes, buildings, construction sites, agriculture/farming, sunsets, and events. Also, sometimes indoor (holiday events, sports, etc) too.
Currently I have no applicable equipment, essentially starting from ground one. I have an older film SLR which I won't consider trying to use any of those lenses and an older Minolta DiMage 7i ... doing a major, overdue upgrade to further pursue my hobby!
Budget around $1500 (give or take a little, say $200 or so).
I am looking to have solid zoom capabilities and also wide angle which can be especially useful to capture construction sites (from one side to another at closer range). Image Stabilization would also be a bonus, but not huge based on my subjects.
1) Would you recommend buyng the BODY only and then going with 2 other lenses OR the camera with 18-55? I would gladly save the $100 and apply this to another lens if this is a good idea. Is this 18-55 lens useful for anything? Or would I be changing lens frequently with a wide angle and say a 70-200?
2) What would be my good every day lens, lens with good zoom, and wide angle? Do you have recommendations, preferences, suggestions?
How can I maximize my money while getting decent equipment? Is $1500 reasonable for this or will this be a little higher to get what I need? While I want good quality, I also want to try and get the most 'bang' for my buck and would likely start with 2 lenses, if possible (based on price range).
I have looked at some aftermarket lenses (Tamron 18-200) but it seems like these aren't the best investment for quality. I would rather buy better and build a better investment.
Any recommendation, suggestions, or resources to check out would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you!
My speciality isn't lenses and I want to make sure I start right and make the best investment from day one. I would be glad to provide further detail - again, I am quite grateful to your time and responses.