When you’re exploring new places, it helps to have the right gear. With the right camera lens, you can take selfies, group shots, as well as zoomed-in bird’s-eye-view videos of your cat — not to mention a slow-motion recording of a kiss.

Here’s how to rent a camera lens in 8 steps:

  1. Research well and choose a good camera lens rental dealer.
  2. Set your budget.
  3. Ensure the dealer you choose offers a return policy.
  4. Check the availability of the camera lens rental.
  5. Find out what is included in the rental price.
  6. Place your order, or get the camera lens rental.
  7. Provide your contact and payment information.
  8. Return your camera lens rental on time.

If you’re into photography, you’ll want to document every gorgeous moment of your trip. In this article, we break down the above steps even further. Read on to learn more.

Can You Rent a Camera Lens?

Renting photography equipment is a cheap but sure way to discover firsthand what your desired lens can get you in terms of quality. This helps, especially when you need a premium and highly specialized lens for a short while. But, before we go any deeper, is lens renting a thing?

You can rent a camera lens from most camera rental companies. The only problem is that renting a camera lens can be quite expensive and unprofitable if you intend to do this regularly. On the bright side, you don’t have to buy a new lens.

Here are a few other reasons why renting is better than buying:

  • Renting photography gear before purchase allows you to use and test the equipment. You can test out the lens to see if it works well with your camera. You’ll also know if it’s what you want to have before committing to buy it.
  • Saves money – you can rent a lens that costs several hundred dollars for a fraction of the cost instead of buying it outright.
  • You get access to highly specialized gear for your events.
  • Renting photography gear is more appropriate for occasional and one-time gigs that aren’t part of a normal workflow.
  • You won’t risk losing money on a lens you do not like or use very much. If you rent the lens and don’t like it, just send it back and move on to another one.

Many people choose to rent a camera lens — rather than buy one — either because they don’t know what kind of lens they want or their budget doesn’t allow them to purchase a new lens.

That said, follow these steps to rent a camera lens.

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1. Research well and Choose a Good Camera Lens Rental Dealer

Research might sound a bit overrated here, but it’s a very important first step. Fortunately, we have many dealers renting out lenses — find a list of some of the best camera lens rentals here.

You don’t have to spend too much time researching all the dealers you find. Instead, you want to look for a dealer closest to you.

Start by preparing a checklist for your research. Here are some of the details you’ll be paying close attention to:

  • The dealer’s reputation.
  • Availability and cost of equipment.
  • The time it will take to ship or deliver the equipment.
  • Company’s rental policy.
  • Customer service.

Take your time and go through different companies. If they have a physical store, make an effort to visit. If not, learn as much as you can from their website.

2. Set Your Budget

It would be best if you didn’t spend what you don’t have. If your budget is $50 or less, there’s a wide variety of options available to you. However, if you want to rent a lens above $50, you’ll need to be more selective about the lens you choose and make sure it fits within your budget.

Some prime lenses, such as the Canon 85mm 1.2L II, are some of the most expensive lens rentals you’ll find, charging about $79 per day. These are fantastic lenses, but if you want something a little more affordable, you’ll probably want to rent a lens that’s slightly over or under $50. However, you can rent telephoto lenses, wide-angle lenses, or even macro lens rentals if you really want to get a specialty lens.

Additionally, you need to consider how often you want to rent the lens. If you’re renting the lens for a day, there’s no need to prebook. Simply go online, find the rental company of your choice, then simply book the lens. But if you’re renting the lens for a specific time and day, make sure to make an early booking.

Ask a professional photographer to help you choose the best lens rental for your needs and budget if you are unsure of how much to set aside for your lens rental.

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3. Ensure the Dealer You Choose Offers a Return Policy

If you want to use the lens for a single day, that’s great. However, if you decide you don’t need to use it anymore, you’ll need to be able to return it with ease. Make sure the company you’re renting from offers a return policy. Also, ensure that it has local support staff that can help you in case anything goes wrong during or after your rental period.

While at it, don’t forget to check out different sites for other peoples’ reviews and recommendations before placing your order.

Apart from the return policy, it’s also important to ensure that your chosen dealer has insurance for their equipment. It should help reduce the damage fee you would need to pay in case an accident beyond your control were to occur. Such accidents would include theft or a breakdown.

Most camera rental companies offer insurance, where you pay additional fees on top of your rental fees.

4. Check the Availability of the Camera Lens Rental

Is the camera lens available on the day you need to rent it? Always be keen when it comes to availability. Factor in the turnover time as well. How long will the camera rental take to arrive? If the lens is available, you’re able to spare enough time to transport it before the actual day you intend to use it.

Each company has a unique policy. If a camera lens rental company does not have the lens you are looking for, they can refer you to another company that may have the lens. Alternatively, they can ask you to wait until they receive the lens in stock, then they send it out to you.

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5. Find Out What Is Included in the Rental Price

Before you make a booking, find out what is included in the rental price. If you are only renting a specific lens, then you do not need to pay extra for other items that may be included in the rental price.

Many companies will include the camera body with the rental lens and provide a memory card as well. Others may offer extra memory cards or spare batteries while renting out their gear. Some companies also insist on you paying extra for a case, lens hood, or other accessories.

There are camera lens rental companies that also include a lens case in the rental price whereas others charge you extra if you want to purchase a lens bag. So, plan accordingly if you need those items in addition to the equipment.

6. Place Your Order, or Get the Camera Lens Rental

After a bit of planning, you can now get your camera lens online or drive to their local store. The rule of thumb is to ensure the equipment arrives at least a day before your event. This gives you enough time to test the lens, see if it’s working, and find a replacement if the need arises. It also allows you to familiarize yourself with the lens before the big day.

Tip: In case you find any issue with your rented lens, contact the rental company immediately for follow-up.

7. Provide Your Contact and Payment Information

Contact and payment information is important for the dealer. It’s also essential to provide return shipping details if required to complete your transaction. Some of the details provided may include:

  • Your contact information (Name, Address, Email Address, Phone Number).
  • Payment information ( Billing address, Bank account number, or Credit card info).

At the end of your rental period, the dealer might be kind enough to notify you via email when it’s time to return the lens.

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8. Return Your Camera Lens Rental on Time

If you return your lens on time, you won’t have to pay for an additional day. However, if you return it late, the company will charge you for the extra day(s). So, to avoid extra charges, keep track of the return date.

Here are a few things to remember when returning your camera lens:

  • Make sure you have the lens plus camera with you when you return to the rental company. This can be done in person or via mail. However, it’s best to return it in person.
  • Make sure the lens is in good working condition and not damaged in any way.
  • When returning your rental lens, make sure to return the camera as well. This way, they’ll know that it was used for photography and will return it to its original state when they receive it.
  • You may be asked to fill out some paperwork by the rental company. This isn’t strictly necessary — just make sure that everything is included, such as your receipt and all the original packaging materials for both items.

Unfortunately, not all of us are good at packaging, and returning the package the same way it came can be a hassle. To avoid the hassle, take a pic to capture the arrangement before unpackaging.

If you picked up the lens at their local office, return it to the local office. If your package came with a return label, stick to the pre-addressed return label. This makes the return process easier.

In case you encounter any issues with the rented gear, make sure to remind them upon return. Keep track of the dates, especially the return date, to avoid extra charges.

The Best Places To Rent a Camera Lens

Renting lenses is easy, provided you know where to look. Just be sure that the company you choose is reputable and provides quality lenses at a reasonable price.

The best places to rent a camera lens are camera rental shops or online companies and agencies. These dealers have a wide selection of camera lenses along with other accessories you might need.

That said, here are a few other places to start you off:

  • Talk to photographers in your area: Professional photographers in your area can point you in the direction of reputable companies. All you have to do is ask them about the companies that they rely on and those they would recommend to others.
  • Lens rental stores: Lens rental stores such as Lens Rentals, RentGlass, BorrowLenses, and LensLenders offer rental services that include more than just cameras and lenses. They also include tripods, filters, wide-angle and telephoto lenses, plus other camera equipment.
  • Etsy or other online marketplaces: Online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay have plenty of listings for camera lenses you can rent. They also offer a wide range of options, so you’ll be able to find something that fits your desires and budget.
  • Rental agencies and camera shops: When you rent a camera lens, you typically rent it from a professional that deals in lenses, like a camera shop. Alternatively, you may rent from an online rental company like LensRentals.com, which specializes in camera equipment.

Rental agencies typically charge less in exchange for the convenience of being able to walk into a physical location and use their equipment. Most companies will provide tools like filters and flash units so you can get started right away with your photography.

Final Thoughts

Renting lenses can be a great way to get exposure for your project without spending a small fortune. This is applicable whether you’re a professional photographer looking to supplement your income or a budding hobbyist who wants to take your photography skills to the next level.

With a little research, you can find a reputable company to rent from that will provide you with quality lenses at a reasonable price.