What's the best Nikon lens? Everybody asks that question, but can you really afford it? Thom Hogan has written one of the best detailed explanations I've seen in his article Nikkor Lens Assessment. The only thing missing is the prices in his best pick list.
I've written about some of these lenses in Nikon Lens Best Values. Just read the Flickr Nikon D80 group and you'll see these lenses recommended time and time again. Save some bucks and lift some weights though, these pro class lenses are heavy and not light on the pocketbook either.
These lenses are extremely popular and you'll often find them out of stock, so if you want one, you better act soon. If you wanted a reason to get a D80, D200, D300 or D3 over a D40, many of these lenses are not compatible with the D40.
Most of these lenses hold their value over time. So if you buy one and are lucky, you might be able to sell it a few years down the road and you'll have had the use of a fine lens for less than the cost of a fine meal. More...