D200 low milege or D300
i do like the 12-24 but as you say the price of the Nikon lens places it out of my reach. i will look at the Tokina i could then possibly supplement that with a 35mm then a 55-200 i think this is probably simmilar to ken Rockwells "dreamteam"?
Well, I don't think that it matters what Mr. Rockwell prefers; what matters is the kind of photography that you will be doing.
You don't need to buy a number of lenses right away. Get one lens that does what you need now. Buy the best lens that you can reasonably afford. Save money for a desired lens that isn't within your current budget. You will likely discover that a lens you thought you would use isn't so necessary after all.
And keep in mind that the more focal length range a lens has, the more compromises it will have e.g variable aperture, slow maximum aperture at its longest focal length and less than stellar optics. You generally get what you pay for...
A 50mm lens on a DX Nikon is the full-frame equivalent of 75mm. That is just barely in the short telephoto range. Portrait lenses usually range between 85mm and 135mm (full-frame). If you have a burning need for a fast portrait lens then an 85mm 1.8 is a better choice.
I have lenses that offer me full-frame equivalents of between 18 and 400mm. But the vast majority of my images are made with focal lengths covered by the 12-24 and 35-70 zooms that I mentioned previously. The late and great photographer Galen Rowell once wrote that he could shoot 90% of his images using only two lenses: a 24mm and 85mm (Galen shot film).
Fast lenses are nice to have but in reality it is isn't very often that you will be shooting at anything faster than f2.8... Being able to easily adjust the DSLR ISO to a higher sensitivity means fast lenses are less of a necessity than they once were. Of course, it always comes down to what you plan on doing with a lens that determines whether it should be a part of your kit.
So I say slow down, make your purchases one at a time and find out what you really need vs. what other people say you will need. Consider buying used lenses; manual Nikkor lenses can be had for a song and they work just fine with a D200 albeit lacking auto focus. Used auto focus lenses are also readily available. And don't regret selling a lens you thought you would use a lot but have discovered isn't getting out of your bag as often as you anticipated.
I can use it as a buffer to sell off D300 while I wait for my D300.. or just keep it.
it did feel a lil clunky especially while zoomin in during review..
I believe I'd go for the D300. I have a D200 and it's only weakness (besides it's operator) is high ISO performance.
While the D200 is a still competent body, I can't see spending money on technology 3 generations old. I'm fairly open to buying in the prior generation but 3rd gen is to far back IMO. I think a D300s will remain useful for another 3-5 years.
There is visible noise at base ISO in the D300, which I found shocking so I got rid of it.
No more than the D200 at the same EV. What is overlooked by many is that when you expose using ISO 200 on the D300 you have about 2/3 of a stop of headroom, so if you utilize that headroom then you are effectively shooting at ISO 125 instead of ISO 200, and much of the base ISO noise that many complain about becomes a non-issue.