I've been mostly sold on the awesomeness of a 50mm lens, but
it is my understanding that the current generation of 50mm
lenses from nikon will not autofocus with the d3000 (unless I
spend a gob of cash, I'm thinking of the ~$130 50mm lens).
I'm happy to shop for good used lenses, and I have a d3000.
Is there a 50mm that I should be looking for that won't have
the (wasted feature) autofocus on it?
"Autofocus is supported with only AF-S and AF-I lenses, which are equipped with autofocus motors."
So for every lens you want auto-focus for has to have a focusing motor, with the appropriate material cost, in the lens, unlike some more expensive camera bodies that include an auto focus motor within the body.
You can buy a AF Nikor 50mm f/1.8D new for about $125.00, it will not autofocus on the D3000 since it has the focusing pin that interlocks with Nikon cameras that have an internal focusing motor.
Welcome to Nikonians! The Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G AF-S and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM are your only choices that will AF when mounted on your D3000. The problem is both of theses lenses are well over $400.00. If you can live with a 35mm prime, the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S ($199.95) will AF on a D3000 body. It is a little wider, but a lot cheaper alternative. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
Looks like the 35mm f/1.8 AF-S goes for about $200, while the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S goes for around $500.
Sadly, I'm on a pretty limited budget. I'm trying to get a good general lens - should I go ahead and grab the 35mm and be happy with it, or is the 50mm so much better than the 35mm that I should wait and save up?
On you D3000, a 35mm lens has the same Field of View (FOV) as a 50mm lens has on a film of FX body. Back in the 1970's and 1980's most cameras came with a 50mm lens as zooms were uncommon and expensive at the time. The 35mm lens is considered a normal lens on a DX body. To see for yourself, set the zoom ring on your kit lens to 35mm and keep it there for a while and shoot. Then set it to 50mm and keep it there for a while and shoot. Which focal length works better for you? The 50mm f/1.4 is 2/3rds of a stop faster than the 35mm f/1.8.