Ok, when i first starting retouching professionally, i was still using a mouse. After a year the mouse broke, so i decided to give a tablet a try...i purchased the lower end wacom tablet. It took about a day to get used to it, but once I did, I loved it. It made everything in retouching so much easier. after a year, the tablet broke..hahah.
So i caved and moved up to the wacom intous tablet, which is a bit more expensive, but i need to tell you, this thing is better built and much more comfortable. It works about the same, but the build quality is better, the pen is more comfortable.
So, i would suggest buy the lower end wacom, try it out....if you like it, which you will, return it and get the higher end wacom....you wont be sorry.