The Best Camera Lenses to Rent

For most photographers, the first question you want to ask yourself is ‘What type of photography do I do?’ Then ask, ‘What lens is best for that type of photography?’.

Details about the quality of the lenses, which brand to choose, and which lenses are compatible with your camera are all important questions. However, you should first be clear about what you plan to shoot, and what type of lens is best for it.

For many photographers, they are just content with whatever they have. The joy of renting lenses is that you can decide what you want to use.

So while you can make that kit lens do a lot of things, choosing a lens for the specific specs it has is incredibly empowering.

Do you need a very fast lens with a large aperture to achieve extraordinary bokeh? Or maybe something with a long reach to capture details of distant subjects?

When you rent a lens, you can make your selection based on the attributes of a single lens. Whereas when you buy a lens, people tend to be a bit more hands-on when it comes to balancing performance and cost.

If you’re worried about cost, we break down lens rental amounts so you can judge whether to rent or buy.

So don’t be afraid to rent a prime lens with that f1.4 aperture. Or try the 400mm range on the telephoto.

One of the goals of renting a lens rather than buying one is to see if you like or need those types of features in your everyday photography needs.

Two Things to Look For When Renting Lenses

For most photographers, the decision about which lens to rent will come down to one of two things. Or maybe both.

As you may have guessed, those are Aperture and Focal Length.

APERTURE

While focal length is usually the starting point for photographers when deciding what lens to get, it is the aperture size that makes the final decision.

If you had a choice between af/4.5 and f/2.8, you would choose f/2.8. It’s just going to be a lot more flexible.

While researching the most popular camera lenses for rent, I found that of the 30 most popular lenses, 80% were f/2.8 or wider (meaning a larger aperture).

When I got what I used as my lens, it was the aperture size that helped me finalize my decision.

When buying a new lens, the decision to use a smaller aperture over a faster lens may vary by hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, when renting lenses, the price difference is much easier to digest.

I’m not suggesting you should rent the most expensive lens, but the fun of renting lenses is trying on something you wouldn’t normally buy new. I don’t own a surfboard (as I live in the mountains) but I would love to rent one to try it out and see if I like it.

So unless you know you’re not going to need that fast aperture, I suggest you look for a lens with an aperture of at least f/2.8. The additional bokeh, depth, and available light are worth checking out at least once.

FOCAL LENGTH

As mentioned above, focal length is probably the first thing you narrow down your search for. Assuming you know what focal length you need for your particular needs. If not, then we have a guide below on the most common lens specs for the most popular types of photography.

When renting a lens, you may want to try zoom if you’re not sure what you want. That can help you get a feel for the focus range you’re naturally comfortable with when shooting. Which can help you make an easier decision on your next camera lens purchase.

Don’t be afraid to try a very wide lens or a very long lens. Especially if you never go outside of the standard or normal focus range (35mm to ~85mm).

Trying something new and having to see your frame from a slightly different perspective will help spark creativity. It can also help you define your particular photography style.

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