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Renting Camera Gear vs. Buying for Travel Photography
Tuesday, June 13, 2017  

Editors' Choice: Best Travel TechWe used Aperturent.com last year during a three-week media assignment in Europe. At that time, I was considering the purchase of a new wide-angle lens for my Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera. A friend I was having coffee with one day said, "Why don't you just rent a lens for the trip?" Hmmm, I had never even considered doing that. I did some research on Google and found Aperturent.com. (See our 2017 update below.)

After perusing their website, I found that Aperturent.com had the exact wide-angle lens I was considering. The cost to rent the lens (Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM) for three weeks was about $100, a third of what it would have cost to buy the lens new. And, a bonus for me, Aperturent has a location here in Dallas! I placed my order online and scheduled a local pickup. However, Aperturent.com will ship to anywhere in the USA via FedEx. If you live in Dallas or Atlanta, you can pick up and return your gear locally thereby avoiding shipping charges.

Aperturent.com

The day before we were scheduled to depart the USA, I stopped by Aperturent.com's Dallas office and picked up the lens. It was packaged in a very strong plastic case with dense foam padding. The case was the perfect size for packing in my carry-on luggage. Both lens caps (rear and front) were also included in the rental. An inspection of the lens revealed a very clean, like-new lens. I could not have been more pleased.

Strong plastic case for carrying the lens

After arriving in Europe, I unpacked the lens and installed it on my camera. The lens performed flawlessly for the entire three-week rental. I am convinced that renting camera gear is definitely a good choice, especially for travel photographers.


Second Experience in 2017

Fast forward to 2017 and we are faced with yet another three-week media assignment in Europe. However, now we have a new Panasonic LUMIX G85 micro four thirds camera. We sold the Canon and purchased the Panasonic because it was a smaller, lighter format. And, since we did not have a big investment in Canon glass, thanks to having rented lenses from Aperturent.com, it was easy to sell the camera on eBay and move to the new format. This is another advantage of renting lenses. However, a new camera means a completely different lens mount. Fortunately, Aperturent.com came through again.


Lumix 42.5mm f/1.2

After perusing their website, I found that they offer a nice selection of micro four-thirds lenses to fit the Panasonic. Lenses for micro four thirds cameras are quite expensive, so renting makes even more sense. I chose two lenses: a 42.5mm f/1.2 (85mm equivalent) for shooting low light production shows on the cruises, and a 15mm f/1.7 primarily for shooting closeups of food.


Lumix 15mm f/1.7

One again, I was able to pick up both lenses locally at Aperturent.com's Dallas location. The cost to rent both lenses for 21 days, with insurance, was $322. Not bad considering that the 42.5mm lens sells for $1,195 and the 15mm sells for $550. Both lenses performed flawlessly and were in like-new condition when I received them.

The moral to this story is that, after renting both lenses, I know for sure I do not need to purchase the 42.5mm. It just does not serve my needs and it is a little too bulky. So, by renting the lens, I was spared a $1,200 purchase mistake. The 15mm lens, on the other hand, is one that I would consider adding to my permanent collection.

Once again, Aperturent.com saved me money and proved to be a valuable and reliable service.

Advantages of renting vs. buying

Try before you buy - Renting gear is a good way to have an extended trial period of a product before you spend the money to buy it.

Save money - Renting is much cheaper than buying. Even for a three-week rental, which is extreme, renting is cost-effective.

One-time use - In the case of lenses, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on lenses that you may only need once, or once per year. It just does not make sense to own such a lens when you can rent one. For example, an African safari would be perfect for a 400mm telephoto lens, but why spend $5,000 to buy one for 10 days when you can rent one?

What if you change gear? - Here is a huge advantage to renting lenses: what if you decide to change from an APS-C or micro-four thirds format to a full-frame format in the future? Any lenses you purchase will be worthless! You will have to buy all new lenses formatted for full-frame use.

And There's More

Aperturent.com rents a wide variety of camera gear including cameras, lighting, tripods, video gear, etc. The next time you are thinking about buying any camera gear for travel photography, check with Aperturent.com first!

For more information, check their website at Aperturent.com.

     
     
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