There are now several companies dedicated to renting lenses and other photography gear to photographers. Borrowlenses.com, LensProToGo.com, Lensrentals.com, etc. These companies charge you a fee for you to rent a lens for a few days or weeks and ship the lens right to your door. When you're done with the lens, you ship it back to them and pay the rental. It's a convenient system.
I've never needed to rent a lens before, but since I recently switched from Canon to Nikon, I haven't yet replenished my lens lineup completely. So a client called and asked me to do a shoot that would require a super-telephoto lens. Rather than raiding my bank account, I decided to rent the lens.
Knowing that there are several competing companies in this space, I first shopped by price. Surprisingly, they are all about the same as far as price goes. The difference between the companies was usually only a couple dollars.
All else appearing equal, I chose Lensrentals.com because I have read their photography articles for several months and have been extremely impressed with their dedication to knowing their gear inside and out. If you haven't been there yet, go to lensrentals.com/news and you'll find a wealth of gear information that you can't find anywhere else on the web.
Since Lens Rentals had won my trust a bit, I decided on picking them… and I am glad that I did. Here's a review of my experience.
Benefits of Lens Rentals.com:
- On the description page of every lens they rent, Roger gives his “real person” review of the lens. It's a brutally honest review and concise enough that it makes sense.
- Lens Rentals includes a return shipping label so you won't be surprised with any shipping fees.
- Gear was in perfect working order. Exactly what I expected.
- They offer damage insurance at a pretty reasonable cost. Made me much more comfortable with the whole proposition.
- Shipping time to get the lens to me was pretty quick–two days.
- The website is pretty 90's. It's clunky and hard to use. As a former owner of a web design firm, it's a total pet peeve. There were a few times when using the site that I found myself asking, “What do I have to do next?”
- No RSS feed of the wonderful Lensrentals.com/news feed. I would really like one. There is some good stuff there.
Have you tried Lens Rentals before? Do you prefer another company? Never rented a lens yet? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Some day I might try out the other companies and then I'll review them as well.