Buying photography gear nearly always involves conflicting emotions. On one hand, you’re excited about your new toy(s) and can hardly wait to test it out. On the other hand, you feel pained every time you think about how much it cost.
And there are a lot of toys that you can buy in the photography world. Unfortunately, only about 0.001% of photographers have unlimited budgets to spend on new gear.
The rest of us are stuck trying to figure out what gear is worth it for us.
But, how do you know that a $2,500 lens is worth it for you if you’ve never used one before? Is the Canon R6 worth the money or are you just as happy with the RP and its much cheaper price tag?
Why not rent the gear you want to try? For just a fraction of the cost, you can find out if that new lens you’ve been eyeing really is as amazing as they say. Let’s look at how it works!
Who Rents Camera Gear?
If you’ve never heard of renting camera gear before, this might seem a little strange. After all, who would be willing to lend out expensive camera gear to complete strangers?
Thankfully, there are companies that are willing to take on the risk. A big one is LensRentals.com. It doesn’t matter where you live in the US, these guys will ship your rented gear directly to your door.
When you check out their catalog, you’ll see that they have a huge list of cameras, lenses, lights, and other accessories such as tripods, light modifiers, and even batteries.
Why Rent Camera Gear?
Of course, it costs money to rent camera gear. Unlike when you buy a piece of equipment, the money is just gone. You can’t sell it again later to recoup part of the cost.
So, what are some situations that warrant renting gear instead of buying it? Let’s look at a few.
Try Before You Buy
The most obvious one is to be able to try out a piece of equipment before you buy it. For example, macro lenses are inherently expensive. While you can find a budget version of other lenses (such as the 50mm) you won’t find a “cheap” version of a macro lens.
What you will find are inexpensive accessories marketed to approximate shooting with a macro lens. For example, macro filters you can screw on the end of your lens or extension tubes to move the lens away from the camera body (causing magnification).
But what is the difference between using these accessories and shooting with a real macro lens? Are the accessories good enough for your purposes?
This is a hard answer to find by reading reviews or other people’s opinions because it depends on your specific needs.
So, why not rent a macro lens for a fraction of the cost of buying one? Compare it to using filters or tubes and you’ll have your answer!
You can also use renting as a way to test run a few lenses. For example, you might want to get into wildlife photography but don’t know which telephoto lens you would prefer. You can only glean so much information from reading reviews and opinions. Rent the lenses that interest you to compare and choose the one you like best.
Rent a Special Piece of Equipment for a One-Time Shoot
What is another instance where renting camera gear comes in handy?
Let’s say you have an unusual (for you) shoot coming up. For example, you might normally be a natural light portrait photographer but someone hired you to shoot an indoor event. You’re gonna need a good flash for that. Because it isn’t something you do all the time, you might not want to drop the money on it. Rent the flash instead!
The same goes for lenses and other gear. If you normally shoot family sessions, you probably have little need for a macro lens. But you just got hired for a wedding! You’ll need a macro lens for shots of the rings and other details. Instead of plunking out the money for a macro lens, you can rent one for this one-off event.
Extra Camera Body
If you’re working towards becoming a pro photographer, you may already know that one camera isn’t enough. Imagine the horror if your one camera stops working during a wedding you were hired to photograph?
Furthermore, having two camera bodies for certain events is a lifesaver. With two bodies you can have a telephoto lens and a wide-angle lens set up at the same time so you don’t have to switch back and forth.
You might not be ready to own a second camera body. You are getting hired for a few events here and there, but it isn’t enough yet to justify the expense of a second body.
Rent that second body for the times you’ll need it. As a bonus, you can rent different bodies each time to get a feel for different cameras. When you’re finally ready to buy, you’ll already know which one is your preference.
How it Works to Rent Camera Gear
Renting the gear is super easy with LensRentals.com. Simply enter the site and choose the gear you want to rent. Go to the checkout to find out how much it will cost. The price depends on a few factors including what you want to rent as well as the number of days you want to have it.
Your gear will be shipped to you anywhere in the US and you’ll be charged the day it ships out.
When you receive it, we recommend taking a picture of the contents. This will help you put everything back correctly when it’s time to pack it up and ship it back.
LensRentals.com makes the whole process super simple. It even comes with a return shipping label so sending it back is a breeze!
Interested in trying out LensRentals.com? Use the promo code TPM15 for 15% off!
What if you break it?
If you’ve ever heard the sound of your $2,500 camera with its $1,500 lens hitting concrete, you understand the gut-wrenching feeling. We all strive to keep our camera gear safe but accidents happen.
What if one of these accidents happens to a $2,500 lens you rented specifically because you can’t afford to buy it?
Thankfully, there’s a little thing called insurance. Lensrentals.com offers two optional add-ons that limit your liability if something terrible happens. The basic plan covers drops, spills, and even bear attacks while limiting your liability to 10% of the item’s value.
The plus plan offers the same plus a few other events that might ruin the equipment. These include:
- Falling out of an aircraft (what!?)
In other words, if you find that you had really, really bad luck during your rental period, you won’t have to pay 100% of the value.
You’re still liable for a portion plus the event needs to be one of the covered ones to be eligible for coverage. So, take good care of the equipment while you have it.
Free Shipping for Frequent Renters
Each order will come with an additional shipping charge. However, if you think you’ll be renting items a few times throughout the year, there’s a better option. Sign up for the LensRentals HD program to get free standard shipping on all orders for one year for just $99.
All items in the LensRentals catalog are eligible for the shipping discount. Whether you need tripods, lighting, lenses, or cameras, it’s all free to ship with the program. If you think you’ll rent several times throughout the year, this is a great way to save on shipping costs.
Renting Camera Gear
There is a plethora of information and reviews online to help you in your camera gear buying decisions. Plus, you can always go to a store to handle a new camera or ogle over a new lens.
However, you won’t truly get a good feel for that gear and how it will work for you until you actually use it under your typical shooting conditions.
This is where renting camera gear shines. You can interact with it and see the image quality for yourself. You can find out which accessories are super helpful for the type of images you typically shoot and so much more.
The best part is that it all happens at a tiny fraction of the price that it would be to buy all that gear.
Even if you buy something and figure you can resell it if you don’t like it, there’s still the hassle involved in finding a buyer and selling it. Plus, you won’t be able to get 100% of the purchase price anyway.
Renting is a much simpler solution!