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L series lenses are supposed to have a better build quality and i think better image qulity too.
I've got the ef-s 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS, and although it is not of the highest quality, i do like it a lot and it has a good range of focal lenghts. also it isn't overly expensive.
as for the prime lens, i've got the 50mm f1.4 and love it.
50 MM EF lens macro is awesome, been using it lately to do studio shooting, macro is amazing on it, and its got decent autofocus, from what ive used limitedly.