And now for something completely different. (I don’t just sit in front of my workstation making pretty Star Trek pick-shurs all day long, you know.)
After years of waiting for the right camera (a digital SLR that shoots 1080p / 24 fps video) at the right price (under $1,000), the photography gods heard my prayers and bestowed upon me the Canon EOS Digital Rebel T2i (known mostly outside the United States as the Canon EOS 550D):
I’ll be posting an in-depth review, sample video and stills the coming months, but that’s not what this post is about. Later this summer my partner and I will be heading to Europe for a tour of Italy and Greece, which is one of the reasons I decided to pull the trigger now on the T2i—I wanted a DSLR and HD camcorder for all the places we’d be seeing, but I also wanted to take only one camera, not two. For this trip of a lifetime, I need a good all-around performer telephoto lens that doesn’t weigh a ton and has superior imaging performance.
Only one small problem: this little lovely clocks in at about $1,200 retail… $300 more than the camera body itself! I’m already in the doghouse with the missus for having bought the T2i, so what to do? Simple… rent the lens. That way, I only spend a fraction of the cost of buying a high-quality Canon L-series lens, I get to try it before I buy it, and I’ll won’t be TOTALLY in the doghouse with the better half. Win-win-win!
It’s been almost 30 years since I last bought an SLR camera or lenses—yes, I truly am older than dirt—and online camera equipment rental companies didn’t exist back in the Stone Age when my Canon AE-1 Program was brand-new. Fortunately, we now live in the golden age of the instant-gratification Internet, and there are several online companies that rent high-end photographic lenses and camera equipment. Here are the deals I found as of March 25, 2010 for the Canon 70-200mm EF f/4L IS USM. Unless otherwise noted, all prices shown are for a four-week rental that includes damage waiver insurance and round-trip second day shipping:
- Pro Photo Rental (http://prophotorental.com) – $??? (see comments section below)
- MJ Memories (http://www.mjlensrentals.com) – $250*
- Photo Lens Rental (http://www.photolensrental.com) – $242**
- Rent Photo Stuff (http://www.rentphotostuff.com) – $218
- Lens Pro To Go (http://www.lensprotogo.com) – $200
- Lens Rentals (http://www.lensrentals.com) – $196
- Camera Lens Rentals (http://www.cameralensrentals.com) – $180
- Rent Glass (http://www.rentglass.com) – $171**
- Lens Giant (https://www.lensgiant.com) – $146 (note–updated with corrected shipping cost… see comments section)
- The Lens Pro (http://www.thelenspro.com) – $143
- Borrow Lenses (http://www.borrowlenses.com) – $139
* – This company doesn’t rent the Canon 70-200mm EF f/4L IS USM. The price shown here is for the Godzilla-sized Canon 70-200mm EF f/2.8L IS USM, an even faster (and LARGER) f/2.8 L-series zoom lens that retails for around $1,800.
** – This company only rents lenses for a maximum of three weeks. The price shown here was calculated by pro-rating for a fourth fictitious week.
If any of my readers have any experience (good OR bad—especially bad!) with any of the companies listed above (or know of any companies not shown above that I should check out or avoid), please reply in the comments section below.
(Please note: This post was edited on 03/26/2010 to remove the pro-rated estimated calculation of Pro Photo Rental’s price and to correct the Lens Giant price, which originally didn’t include shipping. Thanks…)