« on: August 23, 2014, 11:27:58 PM »
Nowadays, that a crop DSLR kit is way more than sufficient for those initial steps, and an FF DSLR kit is expected to come with a quality lens in it. I have some doubts whether a non-L lens would do.
Non-L doesn't have to mean crap. Look at the EF-S 10–22, which (in relative terms on crop vs. full-frame) outperforms the 10–22 L II at corner sharpness (though not quite as sharp in the center). In my mind, the distinction between L and non-L is more materials (metal versus plastic), build tolerances, and aperture. So the non-L version might be f/4–f/5.6 instead of a constant f/4, it might have more plastic in its construction, and the barrel might wiggle a little more.
I had the EF-S 10-22mm lens and at that time it was my third lens after the 18-55 kit and nifty fifty and yeah when I got it I was like "this thing is solid!". It worked well and I loved it (kinda miss it a little). Then I replaced it with the 17-40L and for a brief time I had both lenses. First thing I noticed about the 17-40L was that it was built like a tank. What i previously thought about "solid build quality" regarding the 10-22 went out the window! Damn that thing is tight!
Regardless of optical performance (I think the 17-40L is quite good but others disagree) I no longer worry about my lenses when traveling and moving around. The lenses are built to take punishment and keep on working in adverse conditions. That part is worth the L designation in itself.
It's amusing when you see people baby their plastic kit lenses with (cheap) filters plus a lens cap on top of that filter like some catastrophe is about to befall them at any moment.