with Courtney Slazinik
When and Why You Should Consider Camera Lens Rental
When and Why You Should Consider Camera Lens Rental

Camera lens rental may be something you should consider before buying your next lens or for your next photography outing. This is a fantastic way to test out certain gear to see if it fits your photography style before you invest in new camera lens.

Is it renting a camera lens affordable?

It isn’t as expensive as you might think in the whole realm of things. Well, photography related, that is. You can rent by the day, a weekend, a week, a month, depending on the company. Of course, the longer you rent a lens, the more it is going to cost. You should think about how cost effective it is to buy the lens as opposed to renting for longer periods. Cheaper lenses cost less to rent. More expensive lenses cost more to rent.

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you in advance if you rent a lens through the link and support Click it Up a Notch.

For example, at Adorama at Nikon 24-70mm that retails for $1,880 costs $24 to rent for a day and $72 for the whole week.

How long is the camera lens rental durations?

Depending upon the company, rental durations may differ. Some rental company’s rental durations differ depending upon a face to face rental or a mail rental. If the equipment is mailed, the company may require a longer rental agreement due to the wasted days in the mail.

How does the lens rental work?

You can reserve lenses for specific dates. If you are going on vacation and would like to take a lens that you don’t own or want to buy, you can reserve it for the dates you will be gone. Or if there is a holiday or special event coming up, you may want to consider renting. If you have an upcoming special shoot like a birth you also might want to rent a better lens than what you already have since it is such a special moment.

What lens should I rent?

If you want to rent a lens, but are not sure about compatibility, call the company you are thinking of renting from. Customer service should be able to help you find a lens that will fit your camera and your needs. This is a personal preference. Maybe you have had your eye on a zoom and want to play with it before you buy it. You can read more about what lens would work best in which situation in these posts – What lens should I buy next? and Comparing different lenses.

Why rent a camera lens?

If you are thinking of buying new equipment and want to give it a test run before you take the plunge, renting is an affordable way to decide if it is the right lens or camera for you. I have known photographers to rent camera bodies to decide up which brand to upgrade to as well as deciding between different lenses to buy like the 35mm vs 50mm lens.

Vacations are a great time to rent a lens. Some lenses are just not very useful on the day to day basis. And typically, those lenses are very expensive. So, it may make more sense to rent rather than buy for special occasions.

Or maybe you’d like to try your hand at some wide angle photography, that’s a great time to rent before you buy!

Read more: Top 9 Tips for Remarkable Street Photography

What’s the first step?

Decide which lens you want to rent. If you aren’t sure, or need a guide to help you decide check out my Ultimate Lens Comparison for Finding Your Perfect Lens.

It is really easy. BorrowLenses.com is an online rental company. It is really quick and easy to order a lens. You can also choose several “pick up” locations (not offered in every state) if you would rather not have it mailed to your home. Adorama Rentals also offers an in person or by mail rental. From what I understand, mail rentals through Adorama Rentals have a minimum of a week long rental.

Where do I go for camera lens rental?

When I rented a lens, I looked at both Borrow Lenses and Adorama Rentals before renting. Due to my schedule, Borrow Lenses was the best choice for me. I had a great experience with them. The lens arrived when it was scheduled to arrive and they were forgiving when I sent it back a day late. Woops! The lens was in great condition. It was tack sharp and I enjoyed getting to play with a wide angle all weekend.

Recently, I went to New York City for a photo walk and rented a wide angle prime lens (Nikon 24mm f/1.4G) for street photography. Until renting a wide angle lens, I wasn’t sure that it would be a lens that I would use very often or would need in my bag. After renting, I have a wide angle on my list of wants. It would be great for vacations and indoor shoots and storytelling. The lens, new, is around $2000, so renting made sense to me for this quick trip.

Here are a few images from my rental! I even got to meet Courtney! I can’t wait to have another occasion to rent a lens.

What other questions do you have??

camera lens rental

  • November 30, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Lensrentals.com is another great site. I have rented prime lenses from them and it really helped me narrow down what I wanted for shooting basketball pictures of my teenage son. I even ordered a lens that was not compatible (totally my fault, I missed the huge disclaimer they had on the page) and they refunded the rental fee.

    • Courtney
      November 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      That is great to know!! Thank you! Got to love great customer service :)

  • Barb
    November 30, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Great article Laurie!

  • Jan
    November 30, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    yes lensrentals.com is awesome. and they’re local for me!

  • Lauren G.
    November 30, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Great post! I was literally just talking about renting lenses with my husband last night. He almost stopped breathing when I told him how much the lenses I want cost new. So I think renting will be a good alternative in the meantime. =) We are going to NYC for Christmas (his mom lives there) and I totally want to get some awesome city shots now that I have my new camera. I have checked out both sites you mentioned and am so glad I have this resource now! Thanks!

  • November 30, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Lensprotogo is another great one. Awesome customer service!

  • December 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Rentglass.com is very affordable. For comparison, the Nikon lens you mentioned is only $65/week and it gets cheaper per week if you rent for more than 1 week.

    • Gabrielle
      February 5, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Have you used Rentglass.com often. They do seem very affordable, but my only concern is that their site doesn’t look very legit :) I would love to hear more of your thoughts about it.
      Gabi from Denton, TX

      • February 5, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        I have used rentglass.com several times! I actually pick it up rather than get it shipped because I live near them… Yeah their website is very simple but they are great and much more affordable! You won’t be disappointed.

  • November 21, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    Very useful information. I’ll have to check these out as I’ll be travelling to the States in January and am thinking of renting gear rather than taking it with me.
    I suppose the prices will have changed.
    thanks for the information.

  • February 5, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    I love using BorrowLenses.com; I’ve always been happy with their service and quick turn around times (for the most part). I’ve borrowed a Canon 28mm 1.8 and a Tamron (for Canon) 24-70mm 2.8, and I loved both products. The reason I rent is because I haven’t save up enough money to buy a 24-70 lens, and initially I wanted to try out the 28mm because of its storytelling qualities. The 28mm is my favorite lens to work with everyday honestly. It is a gem and super fast. The 24-70mm was very heavy but wonderful for portraits indoors and out. I also borrowed a 24-105mm 4.0 from a local place in Denton, TX (The Camera Exchange) for a wedding that I shot. They didn’t have a 24-70 at the time, and I needed it last minute. Everything was swell!! I love renting lenses. It is so convenient. Now I just wish I had enough money to buy an extra lens. I’d invest in a 28mm first then perhaps an 85mm or I would save up for a 24-70 since it’s so versatile. :)
    Gabi from Denton, TX

  • February 5, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    I have also had good results with http://www.thelenspal.com. Great service, expedited shipping. Just plain great to work with!

  • Anna
    February 5, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    Funny that I came across this today… I just signed for a 24-70mm Canon from borrowlenses.com! So far, it’s been an easy process. I also got a 10% discount coupon from their site for the rental. I rented it for a family vacation to Disney. (On top of it, I’m 6 months pregnant and can’t ride Space Mountain… so I treated myself to some nice glass to play with while hubby and my daughter ride all the fun rides!)

    I’ve had my eye on this lens for its versatility and I cannot wait to try it out!

  • September 3, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Hi! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  • Beth Boal
    June 9, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    I rent from LensGiant.com, which is located in Northville, MI. Great company!

  • Brenda
    July 27, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    Beautiful pictures I must say, I rent a lens every now and then when to go on a Safari from Africa Photographic ServicesThey are great and their prices are not too bad either..Those pictures are really stunning they remind me of a big city here in South Africa. Where I live for a few years…

  • Margaret
    June 21, 2019 at 9:19 AM

    How does insurance run on lenses you rent? What if it were to be dropped or such?

    • Courtney Slazinik
      July 8, 2019 at 4:32 PM

      You would want to reach out and ask the companies as I’m sure it depends on the lens :)

Leave a Comment