We won the Denali lottery and are headed in next week for that trip. I currently have a Canon Digital Rebel XT which I love. I am still shooting the package 18-55 lens with it though and would like to get something with more range - probably up to 300 - for this trip. I am planning on taking a trip over to Kitz camera or another camera store in town, but figured I'd get some opinions from folks here who are not actually trying to sell me the more expensive lens.
Does anyone have any experience with the Quanta Ray lenses for these? I think there is one that will get out to 300 for about $150, whereas the Canon model is about $279. Is Canon's name lens that much better? I imagine I'll get answers of "buy the best you can afford" - which makes sense, but is the Canon lens really any better? Are there other options out there? I did notice on the Ritz website there is a Canon lens that appears to be identical, except one is "USM" and one is "EF" - with about a $80 difference. I don't know what these even mean, but am curious to know your thoughts. (Note - I think the Quanta Ray lens that was $150 is also an "EF" version, not a "USM".)
Thanks in advance.