Now that I've got all of your attentions I figured I would give my opinion on lens purchasing, which is a pretty hotly debated (and flamed) topic on this board. I've been shooting (on all budget lenses) for a couple of years now, and I think I might be able to lend some help to the newer people. Step 1 - The kit lens - I started out with canon's 18-55mm kit lens. No IS. It's like, the cheapest of the cheap. I still use it today. It's probably the most useful focal length on a crop sensor camera. great usability, not that great image quality. You can become a better photographer by learning how to make this relatively awful lens work for you. Step 2 - The telephoto lens - The next lens I purchased was the 55-250mm IS variable aperture zoom lens from canon. This lens can easily be found for under $200. For the price, this lens can not be beat. Sure, it doesn't go to a 2.8 aperture, and the image quality leaves something to be desired in the corners, but for $200, you will have an amazing lens with canon's image stabilization. Step 3 - The portrait/low light lens - The last lens that I purchased was canon's 50mm f/1.8 II lens. This lens can easily be found for under $100. Now, you have a lens that works fantastically well as a portrait lens, or under low light situations. So now you've got 3 lenses for $300 that all do different things. They're not fantastic lenses, by any means, but they do allow you to learn and experiment. You can figure out if you use wider or zoom focal lengths, or how important to you a nice bokeh is, or if you find yourself shooting in low light often. Now, when you save your pennies for a nicer USM or even an L lens, you will have a much better idea of what you want. Also, you will still have all those other focal lengths and applications covered. My parting word is this: buy your lenses used. Unless you're making a business case for new lenses, it really doesn't make any sense to buy them. I hope this helps at least 1 person!