The official Canon website is having a sale on refurbished products. Orders priced over $500 receive a discount of $125. You can also receive discounts at the $250 level ($50 off), $100 level ($10 off), and $50 level ($5 off). This sale is scheduled to last until June 28, 2014. Shipping is set at a flat rate of $5. Refurbished Canon products come with a 1 year warranty. The discount works as long as the pre-discount total for the refurbished items in your cart is over $500. In the sample screenshot below, I have an order of five 50mm lenses resulting in a price of $383.95 or $77 per lens. Refurbished products from Canon have a rock solid reputation. Everything I’ve ordered looks and behaves like a brand new product.
The Canon website is a bit annoying since it shows products even when they are out of stock. Obviously the discount is highest when you can get your order right around $500. You will still want to comparison show though. The 70-300mm lens on the Canon website is $399 after the $125. Abes of Maine is selling the brand new version of this same lens of five dollars less at $394.99 shipped.
I apologize in advance if the above Ables of Maine link doesn’t direct you to the correct 70-300 mm page. Their content management system seems to be one of the odder ones I’ve encountered.
It is worth noting that you can earn an extra 3% cashback from the Canon site if you go through Mr. Rebates.
A couple of the options I like is to buy the T3i kit with the 18-55mm lens and either throw in a 50 mm lens or 70 -300 mm lens. Alternatively, you could throw in the Speedlite 270EX II flash. What I like about doing this combination is you can get a great starter kit with either a solid lens or flash basically for free. Going with the 18-55 and the 70 – 300 to start would give you the most versatility in a highly affordable starter package since you could take both close up shows and telephoto images.