Rent a lens!

posted on 30th of september, 2009

This last weekend I rented a Canon 135mm f/2 prime lens for taking shots of the kids and so on. I've rented lights before, but what surprised me was the really low cost of renting lenses. I don't know if this is common in other cities, but the cost of such a lens is over 1000 Can$, but it rents for a weekend for $25 (Friday afternoon pickup, return Monday before 11). In this case you can also apply the rental to the purchase price, so it is really an extended try before you buy idea. At that price, I could really justify it for shooting stock photos - doesn't take too many sales to pay back $25.

I could see this being great if you want to rent a specific lens for the occasional wedding or family photo shoot, or to get some specific shots (Tilt shift or fisheye?) without the expense of the full price.

On the one hand you may think that you would break even after renting 40 times, but it is more complicated than that. After 40 rentals you have no lens. If you were to buy it for $1000 and use it for three years, you would still be able to sell it for $600-800 (professional lenses seem to hold value really well). So really the payback is closer to 10 rentals.

It was fun fooling around with an f/2 lens for a while, the shallow depth of field is great to work with. This particular lens is known for being very sharp wide open, and it didn't disappoint me. That said, I've been thinking of getting a prime lens for a while now, and found it was quite tight on a crop sensor camera. It would be limited to outdoor shots, pretty much - but that is the case with my telephoto zoom as well.

Next time you want to purchase a lens, consider renting it first - you may be surprised at how different the lens is from the reviews you read. This barn shot was with this lens - I'm sure some of my other shots with blurred backgrounds will be appearing soon...

Comments (11)

Posted by Bramble100 on April 19, 2010
Great idea, i agree with it absolutely (what's more, I played with the idea to run a photo equip renting business). Unfortunately here in Hungary the choices are very limited.

Although I seriously plan to play with a Mamiya ZD 645 (22MP medium format) for a day :)
Posted by Bradcalkins on October 02, 2009
Unlike some of the other Canon primes it is nice and sharp even at f/2!
Posted by Linqong on October 02, 2009
Nice shot!Its depth of field is very charming,it should be the most significant feature of this lens

I would not wait for tomorrow, wanted to buy this lens:)
Posted by Bradcalkins on October 02, 2009
Here are two more shots with this lens (at f/2.8)...

   Boy playing   
   Girl on swing   
Posted by Bradcalkins on October 01, 2009
It was a nice lens - I wouldn't hesitate if I had a full frame body... Tough choice on my crop camera - I think I'll flush out the wide end first :)
Posted by Linqong on October 01, 2009
Whether shooting portraits or landscapes,Canon 135mm f / 2 is a great lens.I think it will enter my purchase plan:)
Posted by Littledesire on September 30, 2009
LOOOL Maen, yes they give for free these models :))))
Posted by Mani33 on September 30, 2009
Cool! I don't know if it's possible to that in Portugal! I have to ask...
Renting a whole cam with lences and lights! Oh a model should be given for free :))
Posted by Wildmac on September 30, 2009
Sounds like a great idea to me! I hope someone in my country does this too :0)
Posted by Littledesire on September 30, 2009
Sounds great! I'm waiting to see blurred ones!
Posted by Marilyngould on September 30, 2009
Brad, This is a great option and I used it prior to purchasing my Canon 100mm 2.8 macro and my EF70-200mm f/2.8L -- we have a wonderful local camera store that will credit the rental fee towards purchase price. Renting is a super way to try before you buy AND a wonderful option if you just require a special lens for a specific project. Cheers, Marilyn

Comments (11)

This article has been read 1613 times. 6 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Brad Calkins, Kheng Ho Toh.

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