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Author Topic: Renting lenses/body - who does it?  (Read 3972 times)

dilbert

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Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« on: May 17, 2011, 08:18:18 PM »
With the increased advertising from Lens Rentals I'm starting to wonder about renting lenses....  or even a body.

Does anyone use this type of service for non-professional photography?

How do you do the math?

How do you decide which lenses to rent?

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Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« on: May 17, 2011, 08:18:18 PM »

Osiris30

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2011, 08:33:18 PM »
With the increased advertising from Lens Rentals I'm starting to wonder about renting lenses....  or even a body.

Does anyone use this type of service for non-professional photography?

How do you do the math?

How do you decide which lenses to rent?

I've rented things I've thought of purchasing and wanted to properly test drive (say a week of shooting), things I don't need often (extra strobes for a special shoot for example), crazy expensive class (think mega telephoto primes) that I need once a year, etc.  Ya over 5-8 years I might spend as much renting as buying, expect I'm always using the latest and greatest, service isn't my problem, and with insurance many worries aren't mine either!

The other thing is if you need that quick filler.. your xyz is broken and you need one for a shoot/trip/etc.  Guys like LR.com and LRC.com are saviors when you're in a bind!

weilin

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2011, 09:06:34 PM »
I do quite a bit of renting from them. My favorite rentals are the 200mm F/2.8 and 70-200mm F/2.8.

As a former student (Just graduated actually), This is my primary means to get lenses to complement what I already have before I go out on a trip. I currently have a 10-22mm and the 17-55. That leaves my telephoto range lacking. So I rent one of the above to complement as necessary (depending upon whether I have a packmule friend coming along).

Economics wise... well, if you have the money rent it once to make sure you like it then buy it. However, for the superteles renting them once a year is probably all i'll ever need those things...

They are very professional and you really can't go wrong with them. One day... just one day I'll buy my own 70-200mm...
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 09:11:49 PM by weilin »

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2011, 11:04:08 PM »
With the increased advertising from Lens Rentals I'm starting to wonder about renting lenses....  or even a body.

Does anyone use this type of service for non-professional photography?

How do you do the math?

How do you decide which lenses to rent?

Sure.  if you have a one time need, or only use a lens once or twice a year, it might be better to rent one than own it.  If I ever decide to take a trip for photography to Yellowstone, for example,  I might, for example, rent a 500mm f/4.  I'd never purchase one because I've already owned a 600mm f/4 and I know that I would use it maybe once a year at most.

Of course, there is always the danger that you might decide that you must have that rental lens, and then go out and buy one. 

dilbert

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 04:34:07 AM »
With the increased advertising from Lens Rentals I'm starting to wonder about renting lenses....  or even a body.

Does anyone use this type of service for non-professional photography?

How do you do the math?

How do you decide which lenses to rent?

Sure.  if you have a one time need, or only use a lens once or twice a year, it might be better to rent one than own it.  If I ever decide to take a trip for photography to Yellowstone, for example,  I might, for example, rent a 500mm f/4.  I'd never purchase one because I've already owned a 600mm f/4 and I know that I would use it maybe once a year at most.

Of course, there is always the danger that you might decide that you must have that rental lens, and then go out and buy one.

Having been to Yellowstone ... If I was to go back and if I was renting, I would not leave home without the 100-400 and I suppose a 500 too - maybe for full frame the 500 is good. Actually, if the 200-400+1.4x was available, I'd take that and forget about anything else for the wildlife. Well, for full frame, anyway. For crop, you'd need something else as the 200 becomes 320 and that can be too much in certain situations there. 200-560@1x/320-896@1.6x. Damn on a crop the 200-400+1.4x is going to be a killer for wildlife (as long as you can autofocus and bump the ISO safely to compensate for f-stops to get back some shutter speed - at the long end, 1/1000 is asking a lot of lighting.)

Whilst I was at Yellowstone, I got surrounded by mountain goats that were walking down the hill whilst I was shooting them (this did not require a big zoom and I was too preoccupied with taking pictures to notice that they'd surrounded me) and when driving out, found myself with the top down in a convertible as bison took over the road (I was too afraid to put the top up lest it spook them) at a distance of less than 1.5m. Scared? Hell yeah! Excited? Hell yeah! Pissed at the camera because the bison came inside the minimal focal distance? Hell yeah!

There was one place where I stopped to shoot a moose by the side of the road and the sudden appearance of a bunch of long white glass lenses attached to cameras as cars stopped was astounding.

Now that you mention it, I don't think that there's another national park where I'd feel as comfortable taking such glass as none of them have such an abundance of wildlife that is so accessible. Yosemite? Nope. Grand Canyon? Nope. Utah-collection-of-parks? Nope. Maybe Glacier National Park.

87vr6

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 11:04:17 AM »
I've been using lensrentals.com for a year now, and have used it about 5 times I think, so I'll give you my semi-unbiased opinion on them.

One, their service is great. I actually just got a rental yesterday (a day early, thus one extra day with the lens(es) for free).... However, the TS-E 24mm I rented came messed up. The tilt knob was loose and fell off. I called them and they overnighted one to me, it's on the delivery truck as I type this. No problems there.

So far, from them, I've rented stuff that I can't yet or ever afford, or just wanted to try.

Last year, when I still had a crop body, I rented the 17-55/2.8 and the 70-200/4 for a week. Awesome lenses.

I rented the TS-E 24mm to try it out a month or two ago for a week's time, and it was quite fun.

For the big car show I'm going to this weekend, I rented the TS-E again, the awesome 70-200/2.8IS, and the 28/1.8 for dinner, indoor party situations.

I've rented a camera bag when I didn't have one, and a flash as well.

They take care of everything quite well, none of lenses I've used seemed to be ever abused. maybe some exterior scratches or whatnot.

I've even bought from them. They sell of their lenses and bodies after 2 years of service. They advertised a 17-40L for 630 in 9/10 condition. I bought it and haven't worried about it since.

Their service (so far) is bar none. The lenses come wrapped tight in foam, bubble wrap etc. They include a return shipping label, etc... It's painless, except the hit on your wallet. But then again, if you rent 2000+ dollar lenses, of course it's not going to be cheap.

All in all, I would not hesitate to buy or rent from these guys ever.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 12:27:06 PM »
Personally, I haven't ever rented a lens.  I don't see the point in rental to 'try it out' - as far as I'm concerned, that's wasted money that could be applied toward the purchase.  Instead, if I'm not sure a lens is for me, I buy it used on CL.  I did that with a 300mm f/4L IS, and with a 200mm f/2.8L II.  In both cases, I subesquently sold the prime in favor of a zoom covering that range (100-400mm and 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II).  I also bought then subesquently sold a 70-300mm DO lens. 

Renting those lenses for a week each, to try them out, would have cost me $275.  Over my 6 transactions for those same lenses (3 buys and 3 sells), I got to try them for much longer than a week, and I actually came out net in the black (a little over $100 profit, IIRC, plus some nice pics with those lenses).  As long as you don't have a burning need to get a lens, and you buy at the right price on CL, that's the way to try lenses, IMO.

On the other hand, I can see the benefit in renting a lens that you really only need occasionally - like a 500/4 for a trip to Yellowstone.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 12:50:33 PM by neuroanatomist »
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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 12:27:06 PM »

unfocused

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2011, 01:20:40 PM »
Another satisfied Lens Rentals customer here.

The decision on what to rent and what to buy is personal, based on your needs and your pocketbook.

Renting costs me about 10% of the purchase price. I look at that cost and:
  • Compare it to how frequently I will need the lens;
  • What the risks are in using the lens where I am going (I've never needed to use the insurance, but I always buy it. I like the idea that as long as I can salvage most of the pieces of the lens I'm not out anything);
  • Where I am going and what I am planning to shoot;
  • How sure I am that I really want that particular lens; and
  • Whether or not it's a lens that I could ever afford to buy in the first place.

Most of us have emotional attachments to our cameras and lenses. We rationalize purchases, but in reality, a lot of what we buy we buy simply because we like having it. Successful professionals try to avoid that emotional attachment.

You may not be a pro, but you can think like one. Look at the cost per use and decide how you might otherwise be using that cash. Professionals rent equipment because they don't want to tie up their cash. Cash is always your most liquid and flexible asset. A lens may be fairly liquid, but you still can't take it to the supermarket and buy groceries. Plus, the value depends on market factors beyond your control (Will Canon release a new version a month after you buy the old version? Will you be able to find a willing buyer for the lens when you need the cash? How quickly can you turn it around? etc.).

In the end there is no right answer and it depends on your personal situation. I rent when it makes sense for me. I buy when I can rationalize owning that shiny new toy.
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87vr6

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2011, 09:00:56 PM »
And buying a lens isn't always an option on CL... especially those of us who do not live within convienent distance of a semi-large metropolitan area. Like me, on the coast of NC.

Also, buying a lens off of CL isn't a sure thing when it comes to condition, I understand to do cash only and in person transactions, but you could still discover problems down the road, and people might not be truthful about their use of the lens/body.

This is why I usually buy refurb'd items either from Canon direct, or BHphoto or Adorama.

And, cool, you can buy the lens you want to "try", but I don't have 2500 sitting around to get the 70-200/2.8IS II that I just rented for a week for 115 bucks or so...

Lawliet

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2011, 10:39:23 AM »
For me the prime candidates for renting are special purpose lenses. Think of the big whites - the 200/2 or 400/2,8 are stunning, but having that much money tied up with something I use only a few days a year? After all that 70-200/2,8II fills their roles decent enough for everyday use...
The TS-Es or the MP-E are in the same boat, and even with the primes in the common fl range the main reason against renting is collection addiction.

Down the road: everything I don't have in my default bag would be a hot candidate. Either because I don't use it often enough, or it could be substituted most of the time I actually use it.

motorhead

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2011, 11:24:55 AM »
As Lawliet has just said - special, one off occasions.

I've rented an EF500 f/4 for a motor racing event, it cost me just £100 for 4 days and there was no way I could ever justify buying something that I'd use so rarely.

And thats true for us amateurs just as much as for the pro's amongst us. Doing the cost/benefit analysis may be easier without the accountant leaning over our shoulder, but much the same thought process goes on.

If and when the 1Ds mk4 ever appears, I might well hire one for a weekend to try it out before I commit the vast sums of cash. 

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Re: Renting lenses/body - who does it?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2011, 11:24:55 AM »