Renting Lenses – BorrowLenses vs LensProToGo

Every year I attend a local Country music festival where I take pictures and shoot video for stock. However, this year I’m fortunate enough to have been hired as the venue’s official photographer. So, I need to step up my game.  I was selected because of the quality of my work from past years, but I want to make sure I’m selected again in the future, so I wanted to rent a better zoom lens (I have a Sigma 70-300 F/3.5-5.6).

In the past I have rented lenses from BorrowLenses.com and I’ve been pretty satisfied. But this time I decided to use LensProToGo.com and I’m highly impressed by their service so far.

When I first rented from BorrowLenses, I had to jump through all kinds of hoops from them.  I had to fax a signed form, make copies of my ID, credit card, a utility bill and they put a lien on my first born child. It was a difficult process, but you only have to go through it once.  LensProToGo required additional information not in their order form, but it was a much more painless and friendlier process.

When you order a lens from BorrowLenses, their minimum rental period is 3 days, then it goes to a week, 2 weeks, etc. You can do custom rental periods, but that requires emailing or calling them, it’s in no way a automated process online.  By contrast, LensProToGo has a modern web site that allows you to very easily select a custom rental period when placing your order. Furthermore, with BorrowLenses, their prices do not include shipping and you have to go deep through the lens order process in order to figure out what the cost will eventually be. While LensProToGo includes the shipping cost in their prices and as you select options it automatically updates your final total conveniently.

BorrowLenses has a MUCH LARGER selection of lenses available, at least for Canon.  I rented the Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L IS lens for the music festival from LensProToGo and I would have preferred to rent the non-IS version, but they don’t carry it. They also don’t carry the Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 which I’ve found to be of excellent quality and would have been cheaper to rent.

Besides being able to get a lens needed for a particular shoot (if you don’t have friends that can loan you the lens), renting lenses also allows you to try an expensive lens before you buy it. I bought the Canon 70-300mm F/3.5-5.6 IS lens and found that I really didn’t like it after having spent a lot of money on it.  It worked, but it was louder than the Sigma and the bokeh wasn’t early as nice.  I also found the Sigma to be slightly sharper.  Before buying my Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 lens, I rented one and found that I really loved it. So, I was able to buy one with confidence.

I will continue to check both BorrowLenses and LensProToGo when I rent my lenses, but if the price is the same between the two sites, I’ll order from LensProToGo because the order process is so much smoother and flexible. I only wish they had more of a selection.

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