Rent or Buy

Some of us photographers don’t have the “capital” to be able to purchase all the gear that we want.  We have our one camera body, several lenses, and some other equipment – a few flashes, stands, and a handful of memory cards.  But to get professional shots at specific events, such as a wedding, you need professional weapons and know how to use them.  Am I ready to purchase a Nikon D7000 ($1,200 MSRP), a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II ($2,400), and a Nikon 85mm f/1.4 ($1,700)?  No way – especially since I don’t do enough paid photography to get a good ROI (return on investment) from said purchases.  I’m at that point where I could only justify improving the gear I own if I were to start marketing myself in order to book more shoots.  So instead of buying the gear I need, here’s a little secret.  Okay, it’s not really a secret, but websites such as,, and come in really handy in these situations.  You can rent pretty much anything you need from them, use it for the allotted time, and then ship it back when your rental period is up.  Last time I rented, I used LensRentals, but this time I chose to use BorrowLenses since their prices are cheaper.  I’ll get to use all three of the items above ($5,300 MSRP) for 4 days.  Total cost including shipping was right around $200.

The point of this post is this: renting gear can be a good option.  Even if you don’t have an event to shoot; if you simply want to give a camera body a test run; if you’ve always wanted to create a really cool fisheye image; or if you’re not a photographer yet and you want to shoot with a friend who is – try renting some gear!

Also, as a bonus, I wanted to post an image for your viewing pleasure that has nothing to do with this post: the Tower of London in (moderate) HDR.  Processed with Photomatix Pro and Lightroom.  Thanks for reading!


One Comment

  1. Reply
    Judy 2 Jun ’12

    Not only are you a great photographer, you are a great writer! I was captivated by the devlopment of your thesis!

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