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Discussion Starter #1
Last weekend, I rented the Canon 135mm F2.0 (paired with my Canon T1i) to use for a couple of shows which took place at Jackson-Triggs winery at Niagara-on-the-lake. Chantal Kreviazuk was the performer, along with her husband, Raine Maida. This has quickly become one of my favourite venues, due to the picturesque setting, intimate atmosphere, liberal camera policy, and of course, the wine doesn't hurt either.

My budget is rather modest, which very sadly conflicts with the requirements of the ideal equipment needed for what really interests me: concert photography. So for the most part, I've had to compromise to varying degrees on which lenses I buy i.e. finding ones which give good value for the money: I currently have a the 50mm 1.8 mkII, 100mm F2.0 (recently bought), and the Tamron 28-75mm F2.8.

Being able to rent lenses short-term seems like a pretty good alternative for those occasions when I want to 'step-up'.

Anyway, on to the results - the 135L performed exceptionally well! Better than I had expected. On the shots where the focus was right on, the detail and sharpness down to the pixel level was quite amazing, even when shooting wide open. I had thought that 15MP for an APS-sized sensor was a bit over the top. Apparently, you just need to use quality glass.

Images shot @ ISO800, F2.0 (resized, cropped, and a tad bit of sharpening applied. No other post-processing performed.)







Ignorance WAS bliss. But now I know I'll have to get myself one of these.
 

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Great photos of Chantal

I thought you were going to let me know when Chantal was in or near town. :D

Great photos of her. Chantal eyes are nice and sharp.

I was thinking of the same 135mm as the bokeh is creamy smooth. This lens is designed to be sharp wide open @F2.

When I was thinking of getting one I tested my zooms at 135mm and walked around and I found it hard to shoot people at normal distances I would have to stand way back.

I figure the 70-200 F2.8 IS II would be better suited for me.

Plus my hands are not so steady as my younger days and need IS. :)

For someone who enjoy shooting concert photography or does lots of people photography it's a great lens.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yaamon, both shows were already sold out some time ago. Otherwise, I definitely would've let you know :) there's a good chance she'll be playing the same venue next year, I think.

I was also a little worried I wouldn't be able to hand-hold the lens at the shutter speeds I needed without I/S myself. Fortunately, this didn't turn out to be the case, although I do agree I/S with this lens would be nice to have as well. I was able to get good exposure shooting at 1/320s for the most part. What may not seem obvious to people who don't typically shoot live performances is that as long as there's decent stage lighting and you're exposing for skin tones, there's actually quite a bit of 'light' to play with.

I did in fact mull over renting the 70-200 2.8 IS instead, but that thing is just a little too big for my taste - not to mention I would look rather conspicuous holding something like that on the front row. The 135L was a nice compromise between having enough reach to achieve tighter, portrait-style framing, without looking like I was a member of the papparazzi.
 

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I agree

The 135mm L does looks like a regular lens compared to the 70-200 F2.8 the huge white lens.

The few times that I have used the 70-200 F2.8 I have gotten the comment that's a huge lens. The 70-200 F2.8 does draw attention.

I have gotten used to the size and to me it does not really look that big anymore. :D But when I do take it out and the family with me they said are you taking that big lens. :eek:

Tezster, how much was the ticket and how did you manage to get front row seats?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Tezster, how much was the ticket and how did you manage to get front row seats?
Tickets were $61 - it's general admission seating, so you show up early to get first dibs :) Apart from the photography, I think the venue offers an experience that both Mr. and Mrs. Yaamon would enjoy.

If you do make it to one of the shows (whether it's Chantal or someone else), I would suggest not bringing a 'big while lens' :p
 

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Ah yes,

The beautiful Chantal - I first met her when she was working as the receptionist at Manta Sound in the late 80's in Toronto. She was still performing in local clubs and hadn't yet broken out. I went to see here at a small venue (I think it was the Hotel Isabella - "Get Dizzy at the Izzy").

The 135 f/2 is my next purchase. Though I love the 70-200 f/2.8IS I still want more bokeh for head and shoulder shots and though the 70-200 racked out to 200mm does provide impressive background blur that extra stop up to f/2 is even better. Photozone gives it a highly recommended on both full frame and cropped sensors and the lens is a favorite of many fashion photographers as it is razor sharp a medium apertures (f/5.6 - f/6.3). I'll probably have to wait until next year to get one.

Who did you rent the lens from and were you happy with their service? I'm in Ottawa and the rentals are limited to Jones house (through Henry's) & Vistek)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
gordonb - I'm not sure if we're talking about the same Chantal? She only signed a record deal in '95-'96, and she would've been 15 years old in 1989 ;)

In any case, I would *LOVE* to get the 135 f/2 myself. Next year, maybe... as a general rule, I like to travel light. It's only with the realization that big glass = better lens that I've grudgingly gravitated towards larger lenses.

I used Headshots lens rentals, which is also affiliated with Henry's. I find the prices reasonable ($25/day for the 135L + weekends count as a single day). What I also like is they will delivery the lens to the Henry's store of your choice without additional charges. Vistek rental prices are more expensive, and although they technically offer more rental choices than Headshots, the availability varies from store to store.
 

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gordonb - I'm not sure if we're talking about the same Chantal? She only signed a record deal in '95-'96, and she would've been 15 years old in 1989 ;)
I'm pretty sure it was her but it might have been the early 90s
I used Headshots lens rentals, which is also affiliated with Henry's. I find the prices reasonable ($25/day for the 135L + weekends count as a single day). What I also like is they will delivery the lens to the Henry's store of your choice without additional charges. Vistek rental prices are more expensive, and although they technically offer more rental choices than Headshots, the availability varies from store to store.
Ah yes, Joneshouse is their other business.
I've never tried either Henry's or Vistek but I was going to rent a monster 400mm f/2.8IS for the Soccer Finals but it is this weekend and the kids are at camp and so won't be there. I'm tempted to try renting from Lens Rentals Canada who are in Owen Sound as they are owned (partly or solely) by the person who runs Canon Rumors another site I'm rather fond of.
 

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GordonB,

Thanks for the tip on Lens Rental Canada. I should check them out.

I'd eye up the 300mm 2.8. Perfect for ringette season if the kids are in a tournament......

I've got the 70-200 2.8 IS L, and a 17-55mm 2.8 IS. They work well with my 30d's.

P
 

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The prices for Lens Rental Canada look very good for mid-to-long term rentals. The shipping cost doesn't make short-term rentals that appealing.

More options are always good :)
Tez,

Not for you,.... but for me it may be more doable.... no where in Waterloo rents that stuff (AFAIK). A trip to the GTA is 100km plus time.... 400km and 4+ hrs driving for pickup and return of a lens....

My Jetta is the most fuel efficient vehicle (other than the motorcycle) at 8L/100km (premium) which for me would be $32 in gas....

The Post Office is less than 1km from our house.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think there's a Henry's location in Waterloo? You can try Headshots:

Rentals via Henry's Locations

At the time of this writing, there are more than 25 Henry's locations in Ontario, as well as 2 locations in Nova Scotia and 2 locations in Winnipeg, Manitoba. If there is a Henry's location near you, we are happy to ship your rental there for pick-up and return. We may need a few days to get the gear to that store, but you benefit by not having to make the journey into Toronto to pick-up and deliver, or pay courier charges for delivery to outlying areas. As well, we never charge for rental goods in transit to or from a Henry's location. So all in all, this deal is hard to beat. Keep in mind that the staff in the Henry's pick-up locations may not be familiar with the equipment you are renting, so be sure you make all the necessary arrangements, including payments, through Headshots.
 
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