Friends keep asking me what lens to get after they get their First DSLR Cameras. Most beginners gets the kit lens which comes with the first DSLR they buy. And some of them may not be happy with the image results from the kit lens, because they wont see any difference from normal point and shoot cameras. Kit lens is usually a zoom lens and is being made by lower quality optics. With the more zoom power you get from the lens, you get more optics between you camera and the object. Which will result in reduction of image quality.
Picture reference of Lens Optics
In order to enjoy the fun of photography without spending too much money on the professional Lens, I suggest the followings prime lens with costs usually less then $200.00.
For Canon User,
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
For Nikon User,
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
Why Prime Lens
A prime lens is a lens that has only one focal length. Usually it has less optics and will be able to help with getting clean, crisp and precise shots. In general, prime lenses are faster (in terms of aperture) than zoom lenses which allows you to shoot in lower light without the need of flash.
One downside with using zoom lenses is that they make the photographer lazy. Instead of having to move around to find the best angle for the focal length, they allow the photographer to stay in the one place and just zoom in and out. Some believe this sucks the creativity out of the process and I enjoy the challenge of using a prime lens (it definitely does mean you have to work harder and think about your shots a little more).