Camera lens rental is, in my opinion, one of the best things ever. Camera lenses are expensive, especially when you start looking at the professional grade Nikon and Canon l series lenses therefore there is a lot at stake if you make a bum decision and buy the wrong lens. Camera lens rentals removes the risk of wasting a lot of money on the wrong lens, although it does come at a cost.
The first thing you have to be made aware of with lenses for hire is the cost. The daily rate for camera lens rentals is high, and then there is the ‘hidden cost’ of the damage deposit (which should be refundable but getting the entire amount back is often a challenge). Okay, camera lens rental is expensive when you look at the daily rates, but it is a cost well worth paying out before dropping several thousand bucks on a new lens.
I appreciate there is a market for used and second hand camera lenses but as soon as you take a lens out of the box the value immediately drops, and significantly too. Yep, without even using the lens the value decreases, and this is money you will never get back. I have a prime example of how much value a lens loses in a short time. I recently bought a Canon 28-300L IS lens for £567 less than the cost new and it had only been used twice. I was stunned over the mint condition, and given I bought the lens from a camera store the previous owner would have received less than I paid for it.
The potential loss from buying the wrong lens easily exceeds the high cost of camera lens rental therefore sucking up the cost of renting a lens before buying it really is a no brainer.
I am all for camera lenses for hire companies and I have rented quite a few Canon l series lenses in the past and the lenses for hire I have used have saved me from making quite a few wrong decisions.
Example of how using a camera lens rental company saved me from a costly mistake
Before I make any purchase I spend a lot of time (probably a bit too much time) researching the product to make sure it is exactly what I want. When I was looking to buy a tele lens for wildlife, bird and motor sports photography I managed to get the shortlist down to two potential lenses, the Canon 100-400 IS and the Canon 400L prime. After spending several hours researching and reading up on each lens, as well as asking questions on popular photography forums I decided the Canon 400mm prime was the lens for me.
When I went to buy the Canon 400mm lens the bloke at my local camera shop suggested I rent the lens for a day to make sure it did do everything I wanted it to. Even though I wanted the lens there and then for a superbike race the following day I was persuaded to hire the lens for the event, and boy am I glad I did.
Don’t get me wrong, the Canon 400mm prime is an awesome lens and, if you can live with the 400mm focal length, one I would recommend. The image quality is superb, the sharpness is excellent, the colours are bright and vibrant and the build quality is second to none. All things considered it is a great lens.
Even though the Canon 400mm lens is a great lens, and one I thought that would be perfect for the superbike meeting it turned out not be the lens for me. The fixed focal length and the fact that I could move from the grandstand was too restrictive and there was only one type of shot I could get with the lens. Whilst the images I did get were superb, many of which I have since sold, there was no variety and all the photos were a bit “samey”. The superbikes have one race meeting every year at my local race circuit, so I was disappointed I didn’t have the equipment I needed to get the shots I wanted.
Within 10 minutes of using the Canon 400mm prime lens I knew it was not suitable for me, and whilst I was disappointed, the camera lens rental experience had saved me from a very expensive mistake.
Needless to say I rented the Canon 100-400 lens for another bike meeting at my local circuit, sat in the same grandstand and took some shots. The Canon 100-400 was less restrictive than the Canon 400mm and being able to change the focal length meant I could zoom right in for frame filling close ups of single bikes or pull right back and take photos of several bikes and some of the bike fans too.
The Canon 100-400 is a versatile lens that allowed me to get the shots I wanted. Before using the Canon 100-400 I thought all of my shots would need a focal length of at least 400mm and that I would never shoot at shorter focal lengths (hence why I thought the Canon 400mm prime would be best. The Canon 100-400 lens was the best option and if it weren’t for the camera lens rental company I would have never of known until it was too late and I had bought the Canon 400mm prime.
Would you benefit from camera lens rentals?
If you have any expensive lens purchases planned in the future then I believe you would benefit from using a camera lens rental company to make sure the lens you think you want/need is the most suitable for you. Okay, you are going to have to shell out a bit of cash to hire the lens but it could end up saving you a lot of money in the end.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.