photo by perkmeup via iStock
I have a habit, a dirty, nasty habit of splurging to purchase the newest cameras and the newest lenses the moment they hit the market. While this means I’m great at writing reviews, it also means I have no money in my bank account most of the time and I’m guessing if you’re reading this you might be in the same boat.
Camera equipment is one of those sweet niches in life where renting actually does make more sense than buying.
Below, learn a few reasons why you should rent camera gear before you buy.
Advantages of Renting Camera Gear
Like Creative Ryan points out in his video, the number one advantage of renting camera gear is that it’s more cost effective than buying.
There are so many equipment options in the photography industry. It’s one of the industries where workers have complete autocracy over their purchasing power.
If you work in marketing or graphic design, you need to own Apple; if you work in the gig economy, it makes the most sense to own a hybrid. Photography is the one industry with a wide playing field, even if most photographers still adhere to brand loyalty pretty ardently. You don’t have to!
And if you want to try all of the brands, then you probably can’t afford to purchase them.
Another advantage you’ll enjoy if you rent camera gear is it gives you time to build up your budget to purchase the camera you really want to buy.
And you’re never going to find the camera you really want to buy if you don’t get to play with it hands-on by renting it in the first place.
Renting Lenses Can Boost Your Photography Skills
photo by Pollyana Ventura via iStock
Renting lenses can increase your creativity in your photography more than almost anything else besides education.
Lenses are a great way for you to trick out your camera to fit your photography niche. As an example, a lot of photographers who specialize in architecture will have a tilt-shift lens, which is a lens that allows you to adjust the focal plane on an angle with the camera sensor.
However, if you’re not an architectural photographer, you may still want to play around with a tilt-shift lens. Why not? You can take incredible photos of anything taller than you with a tilt-shift lens.
If you’re a landscape photographer, imagine the mountains you can shoot with a rented lens that you would never otherwise think of trying.
Plus, when you get the chance to shoot a large assignment, something with a little extra wiggle room in the budget, it’s the perfect time to rent a different lens.
Should You Rent Camera Gear Online or In Store?
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Whether you want to rent a camera for a day or a month, there are photography rental stores for you.
The first option people typically go with is a camera rental store near them, meaning a brick and mortar camera rental store.
The best pro of renting in store is that you get better communication with the salespeople. You can ask questions about specific gear more easily, build relationships with the salespeople and maybe even get discounts for being a frequent customer.
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve searched the web for “camera rentals near me.” The issue is I live in a remote town and I don’t want to make a stop while I’m traveling for work at a camera rental store.
So, I usually shop online.
Borrow Lenses is one option for online rentals that I’ve used in the past. It’s part of a large corporation that also owns Shutterfly, so they usually have some sort of a 10-15% off deal going on.
They also allow you to either ship the equipment to your home (useful for those of us not located in large cities), or pick it up in store.
However, the biggest pro with Borrow Lenses is also the biggest con. It’s a huge company, so the customer service can be shotty.
If you want the best of both worlds (online and in store), I can’t recommend Paul’s Photo enough. When I’m shopping in store, equipment can frequently be outdated (especially in my tiny town).
Plus, I’m usually not looking for circa 2010 Nikon lens rentals; I want the newest options that small camera stores usually can’t afford.
I recently went online frantically searching for a Nikon Z7 rental and found it from Paul’s Photo. The daily rental rate on a camera that costs upwards of $4,000 was just $125 through this store.
And the real reason I went with Paul’s Photo over the slew of other camera rental stores near me is that they have a try-before-you-buy option.
While challenging yourself with the latest and greatest Nikon or Canon lens rentals is proven to increase your creativity, I’d be lying if I said I never wanted to purchase the equipment after I tried it. It’s why I’m almost always in the negative on my business; I can’t stop buying the newest mirrorless cameras.
The guys over at Paul’s Photo give you 50% off your rental day if you purchase the same equipment in the next 3 days.
Finally, unlike Borrow Lenses, Paul’s Photo is a mid-sized company. Their customer service is unparalleled in the camera rental game. They literally have a profile on their store’s general manager on their website.
For me, Paul’s Photo is a happy medium.
Send Us Your Stories
Good luck with your camera rental adventure, and as always, be sure to post your camera rental stories for us. Especially if they’re funny!