Wondering where to rent camera lenses? You’re in the right place. This page is our guide to renting lenses online. The cost of camera equipment can be pretty crazy. You don’t have to buy much before you’re putting a serious dent in your bank account.
If you only need a certain lens once – or even just occasionally – renting can be a good option. The good (and potentially frustrating) news is that there’s a ton of choice out there when it comes to which rental site you go with.
While this is certainly a good thing, it can make pulling the trigger a little harder. How do you even know where to get started? What’s the best place to rent lenses anyway? Further down this page, we’ve rated some of our favorite options out there.
We also discuss some of the things to consider when renting to avoid disappointment.
Best Lens Rental – Things to Consider
We make some pretty good suggestions lower down. That said, it’s still worth knowing what you should keep in mind when shopping. The more prepared you are when renting, the easier it will be to avoid the sharks. Read on to learn more.
Check for Hidden Fees
Unfortunately, the hourly rate you’ll be paying isn’t the only cost you’ll have to consider. It’s worth checking what other hidden fees you might have to deal with. Checking which party covers insurance, for example, is a big one that some people overlook.
Most sites offer insurance as part of the experience, but it’s definitely worth double-checking this before pulling the trigger. Shipping and subscription costs are also part of the experience on some sites. A little due diligence can go a long way here.
Look at the Returns Policy
No one enters into a rental agreement expecting to be late when returning things, but sometimes life happens. Be sure to double-check the late fees that each seller or site uses when you’re browsing online.
It’s best to know how much you’d be burnt before actually having to deal with it in real life.
Daily Cost VS Memberships VS Subscriptions
Most people will go with a small daily or hourly payment when renting. This often works out as the best deal, but it can sometimes be more cost-effective to choose other means to pay.
For example, some sites offer membership schemes that significantly reduce the cost of renting over time. Other owners offer subscription models that unlock different perks and savings.
Shop around a little and see what works best for your circumstances.
If you break or damage the equipment you’re renting, will you be personally liable? This is the first question you should ask yourself before renting. To be honest, the answer is usually no, but it’s definitely worth making sure.
Is insurance covered by the rental site, the lender, or by you? This is another big one. Most sites advertise their insurance coverage pretty clearly. Read it closely before pulling the trigger.
Know Exactly What You Need
The world of camera accessories is chock full of different brand names, lens mounts, and proprietary connection systems. Renting a lens that isn’t actually compatible with your gear can be very frustrating.
Some inexperienced lenders can even mistake which product they’re offering (check previous reviews to work against this problem). Your best bet is to know exactly which lens model you’re looking for to reduce confusion as much as possible.
Best Lens Rental Company – Our Top Picks
Right – let’s get into it. The list below contains some of the best camera lens rental sites available in 2021. We’ve considered availability, price, and convenience when curating the list below.
Read on to find the best option for you!
BorrowLenses.come is probably the most popular option for renters in the USA. It offers a sizable collection, easy-to-understand renting options, and a level of availability that some other sites just can’t match.
If you’ve ever rented lenses online before, chances are you used this site.
In terms of brand coverage, BorrowLenses does a pretty great job here. Options are available from the following:
This coverage may vary from month to month, but it seems pretty decent. If you’re not near a local seller, there are shipping packages available. In fact, if your rental comes to more than $149, you’ll get free standard UPS shipping thrown in for good measure.
One thing we like about this option is their ‘risk-free’ rentals policy. It’s possible to cancel or completely change your order at any time as long as it hasn’t shipped yet. This kind of flexibility can add a great deal of peace of mind when renting.
Backed by Experts
The BorrowLenses team is a little different from some other rental sites out there. Their staff is intimately familiar with camera equipment and how to use it. They regularly make video and visual content themselves.
This means you’re renting from a company that actually values the products that you’re looking for. When renting from an independent lender, this can be tough to find.
The selection, free shipping, and expert backing that come with BorrowLenses all seem great. If you’re going to cancel or change your order, just make sure you do it before it’s actually shipped.
Next up is another fantastic site called Lensrentals. These guys feature an impressive selection of camera equipment that can all be rented for way less than you might expect. If you’re new to lens renting, they might just be worth checking out.
As with the other sites featured on this page, Lensrentals has a ton of choice when it comes to both camera lenses and existing brands. They offer products from the following:
- Micro 4/3 lenses
Remember that this collection is changing all the time and your mileage may vary slightly. Shipping with this site is reasonable, but a little more expensive than some other options. Prices start at $25 and increase in increments of $5 per extra item.
One thing that stood out to us when reviewing Lensrentals is the site’s ‘packages’ feature. In short, this makes it possible to rent curated bundles of useful equipment. Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer who needs to rent all the necessary gear – there’s a package for that.
Doing an underwater shoot? There’s a package for that. You get the idea.
If you rent something through Lensrentals and decide you love it enough to buy, we’ve got some good news for you. Their sister site, Lensauthority.com, makes it super easy to make things official.
These guys have been operating since 2006 and their experience really shows. The size of their catalogue and the breadth of their offerings make this site one of the best places to rent lenses in 2021.
Now for something a little different. ShareGrid is community-driven. Lenders can create a profile on their site and offer their products to prospective renters. ShareGrid claims to be the “largest, most trusted camera sharing community” in the world.
While the selection here is sizable, your specific location may impact what’s available to you.
The strength of a community-driven service can also be its downfall. Your area and its local sellers will determine what you’re able to rent through this platform. Usually, it’s possible to find options from the following brands:
If you’re somewhere like New York, you’ll probably be fine. Living somewhere more rural? Don’t hold your breath.
As you’ll be renting from individuals rather than a big company, the insurance options here are worth a little scrutiny. Luckily, ShareGrid provides access to a range of coverage options to suit a variety of different needs.
Be sure to check out this support page before renting if you’re unsure.
Used by Industry Titans
The ShareGrid service is trusted by some pretty huge names in the content creation industry. The likes of Disney, AmazonStudios, HBO, and Facebook have all used the site to source equipment or other services.
This kind of trust from big names usually indicates a consistent track record and at least a decent level of quality.
It all comes down to your location with this one. Community-driven sites are often amazing, but they definitely work better if you’re in a big city. At any rate, it’s worth checking out what’s available no matter where you are – you may just strike gold.
This is an excellent option for working professionals who need access to a constantly changing array of camera equipment. As a subscription-based service, things work a little differently here. It’s likely too expensive for more casual users, but might be just what the pros are looking for.
Three subscription tiers are available at this rental site. Tier 1 costs around $250 a month and gives basic access to some equipment. If you’re just after lenses, this option might be ok.
The good news is that your gear can be kept without any return dates, just keep paying your subscription for as long as you need the gear. Tier 2 unlocks some more advanced gear and costs $399.
For around $500 a month, you’ll have access to the complete Parachut catalogue. If you need the latest and best equipment, this might be the only subscription level that makes sense.
While the monthly cost associated with this option is certainly expensive, you won’t have to pay a penny more for shipping. If you plan on renting a ton of equipment every month, you can save a fair bit of money with a service like this.
Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t come as standard with Parachut. However, it can be purchased as an optional extra that starts at $50. We recommend at least considering this option as renting without coverage can be very risky.
The monthly cost of this site will put a lot of more casual users off, and that’s ok. Parachut is designed for pros who need access to a huge catalogue of cutting-edge equipment. If this sounds like you, we recommend giving it a go.
Last, but certainly not least, is FatLama. If you’re based in the UK – especially in London – this will probably be the best site to check out when looking for camera lenses. This is another community-driven platform.
This means that the selection could be phenomenal, but it could also let you down. It all depends on where you live.
If you’re based in London, the selection on FatLama seems to be pretty great. Expect to find lenses from the following brands:
- Much more
Just remember that if you’re in a smaller town or city, a community-driven page might not be what you’re looking for.
In terms of insurance coverage, you shouldn’t have much to worry about here. The site’s ‘lender guarantee’ covers each individual rented item up to the value of £25,000. This means that in the unlikely event that you damage what you’ve rented, you won’t have to fork out hundreds in damages.
Best Camera Lens Rental Site – Our Verdict
We hope you found our tips and recommendations on this page useful. The best option for you is all going to come down to where you live. If you’re in a big city, a community-driven site can offer some pretty great deals.
Those in quieter areas will benefit from the free shipping options on sites like BorrowLenses.com. Pros who need access to a ton of equipment should definitely consider checking out Parachut.
Whichever site you choose, be sure to double-check things like hidden fees, insurance coverage, and returns policies. The more you know before pulling the trigger, the easier it will be to avoid disappointment.