Close to a year ago, I bought myself my first DSLR camera. I didn't have the money to go high tech with it, and didn't want to make a huge investment and then find out I didn't like the size of the camera, the hassle of changing lenses, or any thing else like that. (I'll say now, I needn't have worried!) To save some money, I chose to go through a wonderful local store that sells new and used camera equipment, Focal Point Photography in Dallas, Oregon. I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone in the Willamette Valley area looking for a new camera or equipment.
The camera I bought was very basic, a Canon EOS Rebel XT. This camera is old enough to still use a CF card instead of SD. It has a very basic 8 megapixels and its maximum ISO is a very grainy 1600, making low light photography a bit difficult. It has been a great camera to learn on though.
I bought the camera with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. This fixed was the lens recommended to me after I described what I wanted to use the camera for most. To this day, the 50mm is my favorite lens. I use it way more than any other. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to take pictures of pets or of dog sports in low light areas like barns if you can't afford to drop a few thousand dollars on a really nice lens. At a price point between 80 and 150 dollars for this lens, it is one of the cheapest you can buy. Both of these factors make it a must have in my book.
The other lens I use the most often is my 70-300mm zoom lens. I had an older version of this lens for a long time, but decided to upgrade recently to the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD. The most obvious difference between this lens and my old tamron zoom is that this one has vibration control (also known as image stabilization). It is also a much nicer lens with better glass. I am still getting used to using it, though, and expect that by next summer's dock diving and lure coursing season, I will be ready to grab some amazing pictures with it.
The 70-300 is a great range for taking pictures at a large park or of outdoor or well lit dog sports like lure coursing or dock diving. Being able to zoom in and out while staying in one place is really helpful in these situations, as with the 50, I have to move myself to zoom in or out. I think a longer range would be useful in lure coursing, but the price starts increasing a lot over 300mm, so it'll be a while before I get a chance to upgrade.
The one other lens I own is not one I use very much. I decided over the summer that I wanted a wide angle lens for some tight situations where the 50 simply requires me to be too far away from the subject. I ended up going with what would have been the kit lens for the Rebel XT, the Canon 18-55. I don't use it very often, but it is a relatively cheap lens and can certainly be useful to fill those spaces left on the wide angle side of the lens range.
If you are ever interested in exactly what lenses and settings were used for the pictures I take, you are welcome to click on the picture. It will take you to Flickr, where you will have the option in the "Actions" drop down menu to select "View EXIF info". If you click that, it will take you to a page that gives a lot of information about the photo, such as the camera, lens, focal length, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture.