Not sure what Camera Gear to buy? Rent it, instead

Sunset in Maui, Hawaii (Photo: Kim Olson)

Sunset in Maui, Hawaii

Photography can get really expensive, fast.

There are always better lenses and newer bodies and it’s tempting to want to get them all. But of course that’s not an option for most of us.

But there is a viable alternative. And that’s…

Renting.

I love that there are more and more options when it comes to trying out gear before you buy it.

Or simply trying out gear to try out gear.

Or renting because you only need it for a day or two.

When I was starting out and photographing weddings, I didn’t have the cash to invest in an arsenal of equipment. It would’ve set me back thousands of dollars. But I also wanted to have high-quality gear and enough so that I had backups in case something went wrong (as it does occasionally do).

It’s Way Cheaper (usually).

Renting your gear gives you access to the best of the best at a tiny fraction of the price of buying the same stuff. Can’t complain about that.

I’ve only ever rented from local shops, but I know plenty of other photographers who have used services that ship you the gear and then you simply ship it back.

This way you can play around for far less than if you had to buy the gear.

Your Options.

As I mentioned, there are likely local shops that you can rent from. And if not (or if you just prefer to do it online) there are services that make it super easy and send it straight to you. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

The one that my friends & colleagues have used and would recommend most is BorrowLenses.com. I have yet to use them, but I actually have a trip to Valdez, Alaska, coming up so I may just try them out then. Sure you have to pay for shipping, but some of that would be in lieu of gas (and when gas is $4 a gallon, depending on how far you drive maybe it’s not that bad of a tradeoff!).

What about you?

Have you had any experiences renting gear? Where did you get it from? What are you thoughts about renting vs. buying?

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2 Responses to Not sure what Camera Gear to buy? Rent it, instead

  1. Andrew James June 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    I would like to agree with you. Renting photography equipment may be cheaper than buying the equipment itself. For those professionals who may need a particular equipment but cannot afford it at that time, renting it may be the best way. For passionate amateurs, renting allows them to take various gear out for test-drives to see what works for them.

    • Kim June 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Andrew! I love that renting is an affordable (and often better) option.