Well, after reading reviews and talking to other photographers, I made my decision. On Saturday Chris and I went to three different camera shops to try out different lenses and talk with the salesmen to see if what my online research said was in fact true when I held the lens in my own hands. It was!
I needed one more day to make my final decision . . . to spending money on myself. And today I bought it! It's a 50mm 1.4 lens which means I can take some pretty sharp portrait-style photos. It's also much smaller than my previous lens so my camera looks a little smaller and is much lighter to carry! Check out some of the shots Chris and I took in Japantown this afternoon: