Where To Rent A Lens Online

Where To Rent A Lens Online

Copyright Yasin TurkogluEver needed a lens but have been unable to afford it? In this post Peter Carey explores how you can have them – by renting lenses.

I admit it.  I like to dream about owning many, many lenses.  It seems I can always conjure up at least one photo to justify purchasing any given lens.  But when it comes right down to it, I’m not a big fan of tying all my money up in glass that sits for months and months at a time.  Sure, having a 600mm pro lens would have been great for a friend’s soccer game, but that would be over $5000 sitting in the corner in my house, collecting dust on the box right now.

So what to do to get my niche lens fix while still maintaining the ability to keep food in the kitchen?   Rent!

I used to live near Seattle, Washington and there has always been a great local shop which rents out a wide variety of lenses.  But now that I have moved further away, it’s a royal pain to head into the city for that one lens, and then to turn around a week later to return it.  And that’s where the joy of the internet and FedEx come in.

Most lens rental sites allow borrowing for a week, month or more.  Rates vary from site to site as well as shipping costs.  What I have found most convenient is the ability to have the lens shipped to a remote location if I happen to be shooting a wedding on the East Coast.  As long as there is someone to sign for the package, I’m set.  Returns are equally as easy with most shops including a prepaid shipping sticker.  Just wrap the lens back in the packaging it arrived in, slap the label on the outside and drop it at the appropriate shipping counter.

A complete review of all online offerings is outside of the realm of this one post.  But don’t let that stop you from chiming in on the comments section with your experience to help guide others.

Below is a list of online rental shops and a sample price, in US Dollars, for a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens shipped to US Zip Code 98236.  I picked this lens as it tends to be quite popular and I happen to use Canon equipment.  No offense meant to any other brands.  Or zip codes. Or Countries. Or currencies.   (Note: With some sites, if that exact lens was out of stock, a comparable weight and value lens was used to calculate shipping as some sites would not allow for shipping estimates on out of stock lenses)

Company 1 week rental Shipping Total Ships Via Insurance Available?
Rent Glass $54 $27.90 $81.90 USPS Priority Yes
Lens Rentals $64 $31 $95.00 2-day FedEx Yes – $9
Zip Lens $60 $31 $91.00 2-day FedEx Yes – $10
Photo Lens Rental $59 $37.72 $96.72 USPS Priority Not apparent
Lens Pro To Go $100 $100.00 3-day FedEx Yes – $10
Borrow Lenses $64 $30 $94.00 2-day FedEx Yes – $14
Camera Lens Rentals $59 $29.99 $88.99 USPS Yes – $9

Do you have any experience with a lens rental company?  Share it in the comments section below!

Peter is an avid photographer who enjoys travel, portraiture and wildlife photography. A travel related blog of his past and current shenanigans can be found at The Carey Adventures.

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Peter West Carey

Peter West Carey leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics - A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

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