This may be a very annoying thing I'm about to do but did you know that Canon has announced the new Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lens for an October release and that this lens may be in budget
Obviously there are no reviews yet but that IS in the model number means Image Stabilisation. The lens doesn't seem to be on any of the English Canon web-sites yet but here is the press release text:
EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
Compact and lightweight, the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS offers the longest zoom range in the EF-S series to date. The 88-400mm equivalent focal length opens up new framing possibilities for owners of EF-S mount cameras shooting wildlife, sports and travel photography. Optical quality is assured through a UD element, which minimises chromatic aberrations that could otherwise cause reduced contrast and colour fringing.
The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS will be available from October 2007, priced at £239.99 / €359.99 RRP inc VAT.
Note that the prices are RRP. This lens is already available for pre-order from Warehouse Express at that price.
Before you scream "Budget" note that one of your choices, the EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM, has a Canon RRP of £240 (same as the new lens) but currently sells at Warehouse Express for £149.
Even though the new EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS may not initially sell for such a big discount I think you will kick yourself if you don't at least wait until this lens is released and you have had a chance to check it out. Image Stabilisation at 200mm plus on a cropped frame camera is very valuable unless you plan to use a tripod.
EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS - click on the picture for more information.