I am finally about to pull the trigger on my first camera purchase. I was almost completely sold on the 40d, but since then, the xsi has come out which also has spot metering, but is a step behind the 40d in many other areas. I plan to use this camera on my summer trips to Italy and France, the Grand Cayman islands, and several other day/weekend trips up and down the east coast to document the areas I visit. I will also be taking sports photography, some portraits, and macro work. This upcoming school year I will be attending a film school, and to compliment my videos, I would like to be able to take artistic pictures to display at local art shows where I also display my paintings (hopefully I will even sell a few to help offset the costs). Therefore, the larger that I can print the better. I am a beginner when it comes to photography, but learn fast and am very artistically inclined which provides a solid foundation in lighting and composition. I am also signed up to take a b&w film photography course at my school next year. I plan to take about 10,000 pictures this upcoming summer, just for a volume reference. Is the extra cost of the 40d worth the features for my use? My budget does not allow me to purchase all the lenses I want right away. So, what focal lengths can I live without? For my Europe trip, I defidently want a wide angle and since I cannot afford a full frame sensor this year, I think that the Canon 10-20mm EF-S (or Sigma equivalent?) is the only lens that really would provide a wide angle. I will also like a telephoto zoom in the 70-300mm range. I was thinking the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. Then for the middle range i was thinking either the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM or EF-S 17-85MM f4-5.6 IS USM, but since I will probably buy a full frame sensor within 2-2.5 years, I do not want to invest too heavily in EF-S lenses. The EF-S would give me a continuous spectrum of focal lengths from 16-480mm, but the EF lens would last longer. The gap of 32-44mm seems like it may be an important one, but I dont know how many steps back I would have to take to make a 44mm equivalent to a 35mm. Any suggestions? I would like to cut costs as much as possible while retaining as many options and as much IQ as possible...after all, who doesn't. I am willing to buy used or go Sigma or another brand if the quality is there in order to save a few hundred. My budget for this camera purchase is a maximum of $3000 which will include everything: body, lenses, batteries, memory cards, tripod, flash (is this necessary up front?), etc. Eventually, as in the next few purchases, I will be purchasing a macro lens (probably in the 100mm range) and a 50mm 1.4, maybe some extension tubes. This will probably be in about 6-12months. Thanks for the direction. I think that I have read too much. I started just wanting a few items, but the list keeps increasing the more I read.