I need to start saving my pennies for a new lens, which will be an upgrade over the kit lens I currently have (and only lens, btw). My camera is the Canon SL1, which is a 1.6 crop. I have had it since Christmas 2013. so about 6 months. Came from various point and shoots prior to this camera (bought my first digital camera in 2001) but my only experience with the DSLR is about 6 months. I am interested in furthering this hobby, and don't see it as a passing fad for me. The lens I currently have is the 18-55 3.5-5.6 that came with it. I would like to invest in a better lens with a longer reach and am thinking about this lens: EF 70-200mm f/4L USM It doesn't have image stabilization, which may be important at longer zoom range? I don't particularly care for zoom lenses where the front glass extends way out (where you twist to zoom) - I think it looks silly. It is my understanding that the L series slide to zoom. How important is this? No big deal? I find myself shooting the family birthday parties quite a bit (we have one about once a month in my family) and would like to be able to zoom in on the birthday person without getting in their face. the 55 mm (88 crop) just doesn't get me close enough. I realize I won't use all that zoom indoors but nice to have outside. I was thinking the 70 would probably be fine indoors and the aperture would be better than 5.6 I'm currently stuck at when zoomed in at 55 mm. Can someone direct me toward lenses I should consider or things I should look for? I tend to lean toward the belief that the poor man pays twice, so I don't want to cheap out and regret it. At the same time, I'm not a professional so don't want to break the bank. I'm not opposed to Sigma, Tamron, etc, just not familiar with their lineup. Any thoughts?