FAQ Fridays: Is renting a DSLR lens worth it?

This week, we have a special FAQ Fridays for you. We’ve got another video review! Have you ever wanted to try out a $2000 lens but didn’t want to shell out that kind of money just to see if you like it or not? We’ve been just as curious and decided, WTH, why not?… it’ll make a great video review too!

If you’re a budding photographer, you will quickly find out that high quality camera gear is NOT cheap! We’ve all had that thought before right? “If only I had this piece of gear, my photos would look better!?” The honest answer is, well sort of. Let’s take this analogy: If you won the lottery tomorrow and bought a Ferrari, would that instantly make you a better driver? Probably not… but if you took that performance car onto the race track everyday, your skills would definitely improve! It’s the same with photography and the relationship between: Gear & Quality photos.

Here’s the sad truth! There is a greater than 200 Million to 1 chance tomorrow that you will NOT win the lottery and become the next millionaire. Sorry. =( This means, if you want to drive a Ferrari tomorrow… you’d have to either buy steal one or RENT one. :p People rent cars everyday, no biggy huh? But here’s the point to what this post is all about: Did you know you can also rent photography equipment? Did you know many “pro” photographers do this every day?

Yes! You can rent any piece of equipment out there. You can rent everything from camera bodies, to lenses, to strobes, and even light stands and backgrounds. You don’t have to sell your left kidney for $5000 to buy your dream lens… you can rent it! How difficult is it? Because we wont recommend anything we haven’t used before… we decided to go out and rent a lens so that we could share the experience with you. Take a look at our video below:

Lens we rented: Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens
Rented from: BorrowLenses.com

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So let’s answer the question: Is renting a DSLR lens worth it?

Well, if the lens you want to rent costs only $200 to buy… it’s probably better to just save a bit longer and then buy the lens. But if the dreamy lens you’ve been eyeing so you can capture bokeh like this is out of your budget… and you know you’ll never be able to buy it without getting in trouble with your sig. other having to sell a body part to afford it… just rent it!

Here’s another scenario, what if you have a session next week but yesterday your sister assistant working for free dropped your prized 85mm f/1.4 bokeh-licious lens? It’ll take them 3 weeks to fix the lens, but if you wanted to rent it, you could have it at your doorsteps tomorrow!

So the answer is a definite: YES! It’s worth renting a DSLR lens if you:
– 1) just want to try an expensive lens or camera out
– 2) are on the fence on whether that expensive lens or camera is worth it
– 3) need to use a peace of gear that you will never want to buy long term.

Below is also a list I quickly put together on what the cost is to rent:

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens (retail $440): rent 1 week for $28
Nikon 24mm f/1.4G lens ($2000): rent 1 week for $90
Nikon 85mm f/1.4G lens ($1700): rent 1 week for $73
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G zoom lens ($1900): rent 1 week for $66
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G zoom lens ($2400): rent 1 week for $99
Nikon 200mm f/2G ($5800): rent 1 week for $222
Nikon D700 camera body ($2200): rent 1 week for $149
Nikon D3s camera body ($5200): rent 1 week for $295

Note: you can rent any brand gear too… Canon, Nikon, Sony, Profoto… etc.

So is renting a DSLR lens worth it? Yes! Your in-tact kidney will thank you for it. =) Thanks again for stopping by! Let us know if you have any questions.


What is FAQ Fridays?
FAQ Fridays is an ongoing weekly feature on this site where WE answer questions submitted by you. We hope this new segment will help with many of your photography challenges. As always, you can ask questions in the comments section if it relates to that certain post.

Here is a list of: all previous FAQ Fridays posts

If you have specific questions that do not relate directly… then feel free to submit your questions by using the FAQ Fridays Submission Form page.

Alternatively, you can email your questions to: faq -at- prettygeeky.com (note: email broken up to prevent spam bots).

  • bao bai said:

    I found this very helpful! Not bad at all to rent. I shall rent when I have events like weddings, birthdays, bach parties etc.... The big o lens you just rented which event did you guys use it on? Curious and which photos did you capture with it? I like to see the turn out. Thanks! As always very helpful!

    • bao bai said:

      Btw I maybe shooting a birthday at a lounge. Which lense be better to rent for that type of event? Or will my 35mm do the work? Thanks!

      • tyger said:

        @Bao
        For events, Nikon's 17-55mm f/2.8 will give you a versatile focal length. Your 35mm will help when you want to take a photo of a small group of people. But when you need to get wider for a larger group, being able to go as wide as 17mm will help. You can get an idea of the focal length by using Nikon's standard kit lens 18-55mm (usually comes with Nikon consumer targeted DSLRs like D40,D5100). What's the difference with the 17-55mm? It has a lot more glass elements to improve the quality of the photos. It also lets you open up to f/2.8. Here's the link to that lens if you are curious:

        http://www.borrowlenses.com/product/nikon_wide_angle/Nikon_17-55mm_f2.8_AF-S_ED_DX

        • bao bai said:

          Thanks for the great help Ty! I will have to rent this lens one for events I do.

    • tyger said:

      @Bao
      We used the 24-70mm lens on the Sweet Valentines engagement session (some of the wider shots of the stringy hearts) and for a wedding which has not been posted yet.

      • bao bai said:

        Oh, okay! Cool I will look back at the Valentines engagement session. Also can't wait to see more wedding photos. You two have been doing a lot of weddings lately! And they been looking beautiful! btw miss you two and see ya soon!:D

  • Viola said:

    I totally agree with, "if only I had this piece of gear, my photos would look better!" (btw you spelled "piece" wrong...lol) I only have the 50mm 1.4g but I feel like I NEED a 35mm just for landscape-y photos and then a zoom lens too for those times I wanna catch something the kids are doing but I'm too far to catch it. Definitely, going to rent before buying...luckily I can rent for free from my school! :)

  • 0000 said:

    Oh wow! I never knew you could rent lenses, but now I'm totally going to consider doing so--especially since the spring flowers are just around the corner! I've also been curious about trying lenses that fashion photographers use since I run a style blog. Thanks for the tip!

  • Steven P. said:

    bokeh-licious? I almost thought your name was Kai instead of Ty for a second :)