The above photograph was taken with the lens I rented for eight days (August 27-September 4, 2013). The lens I rented was the Canon 70-200 F4 L IS USM. As you can tell from the image here the lens helped get very close to the moose and produced an amazing image. To buy this lens today would cost around $1400 or so (depending on where you bought it and the condition). My rental cost was far below that (less than $100.00, as the company I rented from had a special in August). If you are a photographer who wants or needs to use a professional L series Canon lens and can’t buy one, then renting is a good option. The process was very simple and I did not experience any problems from the first day, when I placed the order all the way until the last day, when I sent the lens back (using a prepaid label sent with the lens).
The photograph above was also taken with the 70-200 lens and the lens hood attached. This Trumpeter Swan was banded by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP). Montana FWP has been monitoring the health and migration of Trumpeter Swans in the state for a few years now. The swans are rarely seen in western Montana. This one has spent the summer on a lake near my mother’s home for the summer of 2013.
The 70-200mm lens I rented included the hood and a case, though the case was very seldom used since the lens spent most of the time on my camera or in my camera bag. You do have the option of buying insurance in case you damage the lens (reduces the cost of replacing the lens and lowers the amount you’d pay to repair any damage). If you plan on taking photographs and have the potential for accidental damage you may want to purchase the insurance.
Renting a professional telephoto lens was a thrilling experience and one that I may do in the future, depending on my budget and photography needs. I did experience some sadness in returning the lens, as I was used to having the very quality professional lens on my camera. There are several places online that rent lens by 3 days or more; Lensrental and Borrowlenses. Checkout their websites for lenses, rates, and more information.
Would you rent a professional lens, or prefer to save and buy one? What specific event or subject do you see the need to rent a lens? Would renting a lens be more or less profitable than purchasing a professional lens?