>On ebay, if there was a seller you didn't >know, but had a 99.5 reputation selling over a 1,000 items, >would you consider making a purchase over $2,0000?
Personally I have never purchased anything on ebay and I don't think that will ever change. IMHO it is too much like the wild west. Too much risk for my blood.
>If a particular lens was advertised as "no returns", and >only had "Ebay Buyer Protection," would that be a >deal-breaker for you?
>A professional photographer on ebay is >selling his AF-S 300 2.8D (no VR) for $2,850 (current starting >price, no bids yet, expires in 2 days).
There are two versions of the 300mm f/2.8D ED IF AF-S The original and the Series II. The Series II is a little lighter than the series I. There is also the older 300mm f/2.8D ED IF AF-I that I recommend that you stay away from. The AF motors for All the AF-I lenses are no longer available so when they fail you will have to find a donor lens with a good AF motor, or use it as a MF lens or a boat anchor.
>Can I even use a >"D" lens, (which I believe is designed for F-mount >bodies), or do all of my considerations need to be for >"G" only with my D60?
All Nikon DSLR's use the Nikon "F" mount. D type lenses have distance encoding and an aperture ring. G type lenses have distance encoding and no aperture ring. The D60 does not have an AF motor built into the camera body so it requires lenses that have AF motors built into them for AF to work. Nikon or Nikkor lenses with the AF-I and AF-S designation have AF motors built into the lens and will AF on the D40/D40X/D60/D3000/D5000/D3100/D5100 bodies. With an D type AF-S lens you must set the aperture ring to the minimum aperture setting (highest f/#) f/22) and lock it.
>Finally, if I could find a >compatible 300 2.8 lens, is that lens going to be so heavy (at >6 lbs) that I would need a tripod for four hours of shooting, >and thus wouldn't absolutely require the VR feature?
You will need a monopod or tripod to shoot for any extended period of time. I made the mistake of leaving my monopod at home when I shot a football game with my Series II. Fortunatly it was an early afternoon game with bright sunlight. I was able to shoot the game by putting it down between plays and my arms were aching for the following few days. I won't make that mistake again.
>On to a new area: birding itself. Does the Nikonians website >encourage forum discussions on bird photography, or should I >go somewhere else for those particulars, e.g. where is a great >place to go in eastern Massachusetts for viewing and >photographing northern flickers?
Yes! Check the Wildlife forum. We have many talented members that shoot birds and birds in flight.
Check the Good Locations forum.
>Do Nikonians ever organize themselves into small-group (3-20) >photographic day-trips or longer, either local, in-state, or >out-of-state? If so, how do I plug into that?
Yes! There are some local Chapters that have get-togethers and organized activities. There doesn't seem to be a chapter in New England yet but there seems to be some interest in starting one. Check the Nikonians Chapters forum.
You are very welcome.
>P.S. You have no idea how valuable your advice has been to >me. I've known of no other source in my lifetime who has had >the patience to deal with my barrage of questions, who answere >a specific query succinctly, and who also gives just the right >amount of additional information so that I walk away a man who >has indeed been taught "how to fish."
Thank you for the kind words. Glad to help. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!