Thanks for all the great info guys. I guess I'll start with cheap color negatives and mini-lab processing to get the ball rolling.
I had forgotten about a lens hood so cheers for bringing that up. I'll get a lens cleaning kit too. I'll leave the night shooting stuff for when I have more experience (and money).
Anything wrong with this lens hood and cleaning kit price or quality wise?
Point taken on minilab processing. I do have one close by in a chain department store but I don't know about the quality. A thread here suggests it's not the best and that it may not be around for much longer:
I'll check them out over the weekend.
Thanks for the film recommendations. I'll check out the 200 ISO Superia. Definitely interested in shooting and developing b&w in the future.
I personally do not like rubber hoods, I prefer the metal hoods, but they will work.
On the cleaning kit, I would NOT use the anti-fog cloth on the lens. I want stuff OFF the lens, not on it. You can use it on the viewfinder.
I'm old fashioned, and have not been convinced of lens pens. But they appear to work well.
The HN-2 is cool (if a little over-priced). It has metal threads and will actually accept filters, although Nikon warns against it for some reason.
I can recommend Nikon's polarizer; the rotating action is wonderfully damped like a manual focus lens, meaning it won't rotate on its own. It's a little expensive though. One word of warning, polarizers are really fun to play with and it's easy to get carried away making the sky too dark. It can make outdoor color photos look somehow "artificial", and too contrasty. One man's opinion.
Clear protective filters are a religious issue. I am a clear filter atheist (I don't use them). Nikkor coatings are very tough. But if using a clear filter will make you feel better by all means go for it. It's probably a good idea to get a multicoated one if you go that route. You don't need to sweat about keeping your lens elements completely spotless, some beginners actually mess up their glass from rubbing compulsively (trust me, I know this; the same goes for mirrors and focusing screens). I only clean my lens when there's something really nasty on the glass, like a big fat fingerprint. I use the highest-proof isopropyl alcohol I can get at the drug store, and a Q-tip. Finally, I use a microfiber cloth to get the last bits of cotton off. Make sure the cloth is perfectly clean (they are machine washable, but avoid drying with a lint sheet as this might leave residue).
One last thing, you can still buy brand new eyepieces, eyecups, and focusing screens for your camera. The focusing screens come with a nifty case and a special tool for changing the screen. You have to test your meter before and after installation, though. Oh, you can also get a back door with a film window. But I'm getting carried away. I just get excited talking about cameras.
To me, the film choice depends heavily on what processing you have access to. Slide film is incredibly hard and expensive to get processed in a lot of places these days, and your success rate is going to be low until you get very good at judging exposure. Print film is cheaper, easier to get processed, and a lot more forgiving. Getting the film developed + scanned at Costco or wherever is an option. Urban landscapes I'd be tempted to try a cheap medium speed film (e.g., Fuji Superia 100 from Wal-Mart) to get finer grain. You also mentioned you want to do street photography, so for that I'd recommend the fastest film that you find acceptable (e.g., Superia 800 or maybe 400); you're depending on fast shutter speeds, and probably, small apertures for successful shots.
They all look a bit different, so you'll just have to experiment. I wouldn't get super snobby about the exact differences between films until you figure out what you like.
Rubber lens hoods are good because you can use them to snug up to windows, they fold back easily, and you can take them off and shove them in your bag without getting worried about bending them out of shape. The fancy Nikon rubber lens hood is nice. You can also do what I did, and get a $5 generic one from the parts bin. Metal lens hoods are good if you don't like the "floppy" thing, but for the size of hood you need for a 50 mm lens, I find a fixed metal hood annoying.
I use a clear filter by default because I'm often near salt water spray. I take it off to avoid extra reflections when I'm shooting sunsets and other highly backlit stuff (it seems to make a big difference). If you aren't in nasty environments, you probably don't need the filter, especially with a lens hood attached. You can just use the lens cap and put it back on between shots if you're worried.
C-41 process B&W is fine if you want to try B&W.