I am hearing that the D5200 is going to make an appearance sooner rather than later and that's the camera I've settled on. The D5100 packages are coming with an 18-55 and 55-300 lens for around $900. I expect the new camera outfits to be similar albeit a bit more expensive. That should be as much as this rank beginner will need for some time. My primary focus (ha - is that a pun?) will be birds, wildlife and flowers. As far as a budget, well, still hard to say until I understand the features better, but I think I'd be comfortable in the range of around $200 - $250 max for a tripod. Traveling with it, even overseas, is not out of the question, but most needs for the tripod will be close to home.