Are Camera Rentals Worth It?

What do the Numbers Say?

Beyond just subjective or reasons based on opinion there are some strong objective reasons behind renting a lens vs. buying one.

From our pricing research of over 750 lenses the average lens price is over $1100. 

If you’ve looked at lens prices you know that they vary widely based on quality and type, but this is a good base cost for comparison sake.

Then if you look at renting a quality lens for about one week the price can range from about $50-$80. 

Again, specific lenses may be more or less than this but this is a fair price range for a lens that many people would consider renting.

So, if we take these simple numbers you could rent a lens for between 14-22 weeks for the same cost as buying one. So that’s almost the same as renting a lens every other week!

Now if you’re renting the same lens every other week you should consider just buying it instead. Not just for the cost, but also for the convenience of having it on hand.

What this does illustrate is that renting a lens compared to buying one, isn’t a bad financial decision.

Just as if you were deciding if you should buy a yearlong membership to somewhere rather than just the one time cost; you can decide how much you’ll use that membership. With this type of decision, often you’ll determine that if you use the membership more than four times you’d be saving money.

Our example here shows that you’d need to plan on using a purchased lens more for more than half a year before it would be worth buying rather than renting a lens.

22 weeks of use becomes a good gauge for whether you should buy a lens.

Although this is a good guide for you to use in your decision making process, it doesn’t mean you should wait until week 21 of renting before you buy that lens.

If you’ve rented the same lens 3 or more times that’s a good point to consider if you’re continued use of that lens will justify purchasing it.

Does that mean you’ve waisted your money one those first rentals? Not at all!

Those rentals gave you great value at the time. In addition, they’ve gotten you to the point where you know if you like the lens or not.

When looked at objectively, renting a lens can be a less expensive option for many photographers.

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