Jim: Thanks for the informative reply--I was kind of surprised by the salesman's remark as well. I'll check out the Tamron. I mostly shoot landscapes and architecture; very little in the way of portraits or "action," such as sporting events--always daytime. I do shoot some close up nature shots though. Still trying to determine what will best suit my needs. I'd rather have something I can leave on the camera that will be suitable in most situations--don't want to carry a bag around if I can avoid it.
p.s.: Sorry for the duplicate posts--I emailed a moderator and requested that it be removed, if possible.