I started renting gear last year in Toronto and I’m doing more and more often now. I think renting equipment is completely underrated and if you’re not doing it, you should start! Renting equipment can help you save money and use gear that you would otherwise not get to use.
Test before you buy
You want that new lens or camera, but you’re not sure about the online reviews? If you buy it, you might get a restocking fee or you might even have to sell it on Craigslist. A great alternative is to rent that lens or camera for a day or two so you can test it. Then you can decide to buy. For example, renting a lens for a day is often around $20-$50, so I think it’s worth it.
Use equipment you can’t afford
Sometimes, I need some equipment for photoshoots, but I don’t have the money to buy it yet. That’s how I started using tilt-shift lenses, which are over $2,000 each. Instead of putting my business in debt, I’ve been renting some lenses and lights when I know I’ll need them. I know own one tilt-shift and I’ll buy the other one I need soon.
Rent equipment you use only once
If you need something specific for a photoshoot, but you know you won’t use it again, just rent it! Instead of buying a 400mm lens for that specific trip, rent it and save a lot of money. Renting gear is the best way to fight gear acquisition syndrome!
Where to rent
You may not be aware of it, but your local camera store likely offers rentals. If you’ve been buying all your stuff online, it’s time to go and check out the local stores. Who knows, you might end up buying there. If you live in a small community or if your local store doesn’t have a great selection, I have a solution for you: online services like BorrowLenses and LensRentals. Unfortunately, they only work in the US, but they are very good services that will ship you a large variety of camera gear.