Renting camera lenses is a great way to get that expensive exotic piece of glass you’ve always lusted after!
Maybe you want to try a lens before you buy it, or perhaps you need one for a specific job or trip.
Whatever the case, camera lens rentals are a great way to get your hands on some gear you don’t already own.
To rent a lens, you usually need to pre-pay for the rental period and shipping – although some services do offer free shipping over a certain sum.
In this guide, you’ll discover six popular options for renting lenses in the US.
(Feel free to leave your recommendations for lens rental services elsewhere in the world in the comments below.)
6 Popular Options for Camera Lens Rentals
1. Borrow Lenses
Borrow Lenses is one of the most popular lens rental services because you can pick up and drop off the gear at any 300+ UPS locations in the United States.
You can also have cameras or lenses delivered to your address, including same-day delivery in SNF and NYC, or do a free local pick-up at their location in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, or Washington.
They have a wide selection of lenses, both in brands and in focal lengths, and they also have extenders and adapters. If you’re not sure what gear you need, they offer guidance and support.
In 99% of the cases, they don’t require a deposit, and they only charge your credit card after shipping.
They offer two types of coverage – one for accidental damage and one that’s more inclusive.
If you change your mind about the rental period, you can extend it or return the lens early and get the credit back if you had it for more than four days.
They also offer great service for buying used lenses and other camera gear.
Despite the name, at Lensrentals, you can rent camera gear of any kind – not just lenses. It’s great for lenses though, as they have a wide selection of brands, mounts and adapters.
A good part of their catalogue is available for direct purchase, so if you fall in love with the lens you rented, you can keep it. You can also have a 7-day rental period to test out a lens you want to buy, which will be deducted from the final price if you decide to go ahead with the purchase.
Shipping is available within the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska.
The company is based in Tennessee, and local pick-up is possible in either of their locations in Nashville or Memphis. However, only Memphis offers same-day pickups.
You’ll get a pre-paid return label on your package to return the lens at the end of the rental period.
Two types of protection plans are available as add-ons to reduce your liability, and they have worldwide coverage. There isn’t a deposit fee, and the charge is made after shipping.
Live chat is available on the website if you need any assistance before, during or after the rental. It’s possible to extend the rentals and lease for up to six months.
3. ProPhoto Rental
ProPhoto Rental is based in Colorado. One of the best things about them is their pricing system – especially if you’re thinking about long periods.
They don’t do day rates. Instead, they have a particular system where the fee slowly increases. You can see the pricing for the first few days underneath the lens you want, but you can also input a custom period on the booking calendar and get a quote.
Another pricing perk is that you don’t get charged an extra fee if you want to extend the rental period, and you notify before the last day – you only pay the difference. However, if you wait until the last day, or once the rental is overdue, then it’s charged as a new rental – hence, it’s more expensive.
You don’t get charged until after the shipping, and they also accept cancellations without penalty fees if you cancel before the lens gets shipped.
There’s a free ground shipping option on orders over $75 – however, Hawaii and Alaska are unfortunately not included in this offer.
ProPhoto Rental do ship to hotels, which is not common and greatly appreciated, and you can also do local pickup.
They don’t have as many lenses as the previous options, but it’s well assorted for all the leading brands like Canon, Nikon, Leica and Sony, as well as Sigma Art lenses. They also have an array of filters and accessories.
You can purchase a damage waiver for the gear – the cost is the same regardless of how long you’re keeping the lens.
4. Adorama Rental
Adorama Rental mainly caters to video gear, but they also carry photographic cameras, lenses, accessories and lighting.
They have two locations in NYC, and they have one of the broadest ranges of equipment available for rent. They also have some stricter rules when compared to other rental services.
To rent gear from them, you need to create an account. New customers need to book at least one day in advance for a verification process. On the plus side, returning customers can book with only two hours for prep time.
They also require a deposit or for you to provide a certificate of insurance – please check their requirements before getting insurance to make sure it will suffice. This depends on the total replacement cost.
You’ll need a non-debit credit card where that can hold the replacement value of your rental or the deductible from the insurance. After returning the equipment, the rental price is charged, and the hold is released within 72 hours.
They ship across the US and offer local pick-up, including curbside. There’s a customer support chat on the website for any issues and enquiries.
5. Lens Pro To Go
Lens Pro To Go is based in Massachusetts, but thanks to its partnership with FedEx and Hunts, you can pick up or drop off your rental gear at over 4,000 locations in the US.
They also ship to all of the US, including hotels (as long as you or someone else is there to sign for the delivery). UPS services are also available for shipping, but not for pick up.
You can easily extend the rental period right from the website. Once you’re done, put the gear back in the Pelican Case and use the pre-paid return label that came with it.
Most of the time, there’s no need for a security deposit. You’ll be charged from one week to two days before the shipping of the equipment – except for same-day orders, of course, when you’re charged almost immediately.
They offer two types of protection plans: one basic for accidental damage and another that’s more inclusive. However, you’re not obliged to purchase a protection plan or present an insurance policy – the risk is on you.
If you decide to go with third-party insurance, you’ll be responsible for the communication and payment – they don’t deal with the insurance company.
If you rent lenses (or other equipment) often, this is a great company for you because they have a Rental Rewards program. It allows you to get credits every time you use it – then you’ll see the credit on your account page, and it will be available as a payment method at checkout.
The assortment of lens types and brands is quite extensive, so you’re likely to find whatever you need. Also, if you’re not sure what you need, they can help you out as everyone is a photographer or videographer.
Aperturent is located in Washington, but they have locations in Atlanta, GA and Dallas, TX. They have a wide variety of lenses and accessories such as filters, adapters, and teleconverters.
Most orders don’t require a deposit, but you need to create an account and go through the verification process, which can take up to three business hours.
They offer local pickup or shipping all across the US. You can ask for same-day shipping if you place your order before 3:00 PM – the default delivery service is the 2-day FedEx, but you can order an overnight delivery for an extra cost.
You’ll get a pre-paid return shipping label to send back the equipment at the end of your rent.
It is possible to extend or shorten the time of your order. However, if you’re returning the lens earlier, you’ll only get a refund for the unused time starting on the fourth day of rental. This is because the minimum rent is three days, so even if you use it only for one day, you have to pay for three.
They have a free cancellation policy if you notify them before they ship the equipment.
They offer basic damage insurance. If you need a more comprehensive option, you should buy it from a third-party provider.
They also have a frequent renter discount, which is excellent if you need to rent equipment an average of 10 to 20 times per year.
Camera Gear & Lens Rental: Final Words
Renting lenses is a great solution when you don’t have the budget to buy or you want to try one out before investing in it.
However, if you’re renting for a specific shoot, make sure you consider enough time for them to process your order and for any delays in the shipping. While most rental services can guarantee their processing time, once the package is in the courier’s hands they don’t have control over it.
So, these are the best lens rental services we know of in the US. Are there any in your area that you can recommend? What about other countries? Is this a service you can find? Let us know in the comments!