I've had mine 4 months now and have taken the best pictures ever with this lens. The depth of field / blur you can create is great and it allows you to shoot in lower light than the kit lens (assuming yours starts at f3.5 like mine). Since using it I've moved away from opening it right up at f1.8 (as others have mentioned) because it can be a bit soft but some of the pictures I've taken have got great praise in online forums and my Flickr pages. I think every photographer needs a 50mm prime in their case. If I had the money, maybe I may have bought the f1.4 but I don't think you really need to. The auto-focus seems fast enough, not noticed it being noisy and because it's smaller than a zoom, you can get away with taking pictures in public without sticking out like a sore thumb. I haven't noticed that the build quality feels cheap - just like any of your kit, be careful with it and it will last. I've only taken it off the camera twice this year and put it back on within 10 minutes because it's so much better than my kit lens. Only problem is, once you try a faster lens, you'll want to spend even more on a large aperture zoom and that could hurt your wallet !