My opinion is a bit different on these things. For file systems, don't worry about it. I'd go for ext3 or reiserfs because they've been around a long time, are stable, and are well supported in third-party tools (for example, Partition Commander, which can reliably resize all Windows file systems, ext2, ext3, and reiserfs Linux file systems). Few users would notice any speed differences no matter what Linux file system they use.
Light is great for both low-end computers and high-end computers. You can build a very customized system on Light. Standard is my favorite, but I have VL6 Light on two aged laptops and they run extremely well with Light. It's a bit harder to configure because you do it through easy-to-edit text files, whereas Standard has XFce's very nice graphical configuration tools. But Light comes with a njcely setup IceWM and you can use it right out of the box and can skip editing the text files unless you want to change or add things. I've never noticed that Light "requires much more caution when updating or adding packages," as sixforty stated. I've added all kinds of packages, both from the VectorLinux repo and third party stuff like Adobe Reader, RealPlayer, Picasa, and SoftMaker Office, and nothing bad has happened, nor was I exercising more caution.
With VectorLinux you really can't go wrong no matter what file system, desktop environment, or window manager you choose. As you've noticed, you have a lot more choices than you get with Windows. Another nice thing about VectorLinux is that it takes much less time to install or reinstall than Windows does. So if you decide you made a horrible mistake with your choices, you can just back up your personal data, reformat the partition and start over. Example: today I installed VL6 SOHO Final on my faster desktop.I started in the early afternoon and by 6 p.m. my system was complete, including the third-party programs I use and all my data restored. On Windows it would take me weeks to get everything installed or restored (not working steady on nothing but installing, but adding things as needed).