I'd like to thank you all, once again, for the great advice you've given. The time and effort you've put in is GREATLY APPRECIATED!
I believe I've narrowed down the focal length to ~28mm for a prime. I was fairly set on getting the 28mm f1.8 lens from Canon, but since this thread was started and ran it's course, I've seen that the 28mm f2.8 IS should be available prior to my little girl (just had the ultrasound this past Friday to find out that it's a girl and I'm ecstatic!) being born in August.
I have three questions I was hoping to get some help for
1. Would the greater than 1 stop decrease in light gathering be well-compensated for by the IS in the lens?
2. What is the depth of the area in focus when shooting at 1.8 or 2 from 5 feet away? 10 feet? (I know there's a formula to figure this out, I just don't know what it is)
If you couldn't tell from the nature of the two questions, I'm basically wondering if f1.8-f2.8 is truly a useful depth of field for this application and if it's usefulness outweighs the benefits of IS - especially in light of the fact that the technology (IS aside) in the f2.8 model is 17 years newer (my research has told me the f1.8 was released in '95).
I'm really leaning towards the 28mm f2.8 IS but I greatly respect y'alls opinions and would certainly be happy to save ~$300 by going with the f1.8.
Of course, the price is high but based on the press release, the build quality should be quite high as well. And, we'd expect the image quality to be fantastic. The final lingering question I have is
3. If the 28mm f2.8 IS is the way to go, should I forgo it, sell the 15-85 (which I LOVE dearly) and get the 17-55?
Still in quite a nasty conundrum!!
FYI, I have no intentions of going FF any time in the future. Not saying it won't happen, but it's not in the cards at all.
Thanks for any insight you can provide!