On some American digital camera e-zines, I often see ads for a lens rental company in Tennessee that stocks pro-calibre lenses. I doubt they would ship to Canada, so can you recommend some reputable lens rental companies on this side of the border?
That’s a good question, Mario, because it’s well worth renting an expensive lens you’re considering purchasing or that you might need only once or twice a year. For example, I occasionally rent the ($7400) Nikon AF-S 200-400 mm f/4 VR zoom for bird photography at about $230 for four days. There are several firms in Canada that rent not only lenses but also cameras and accessories, including Lens Rentals Canada, which I have used several times recently, as well as Vistek Pro Rentals and Henry’s Rentals. A Google search also revealed Lens Lenders and Canada Lens Rentals; no doubt there are some others that I did not find.
When comparing rental prices online, be sure to check whether the listed prices include shipping. Some firms do include it, while others charge extra. A few offer free pickup at a nearby store in certain geographic areas. The shipping cost can account for some significant price differences, especially with a large, heavy, super telephoto lens. Note too that some of the firms offer an option with Insurance at a slightly higher rental rate. If you cannot make arrangements with your own insurance company for all-risk coverage on equipment that you rent, it’s worth paying a bit extra to get any available coverage. Do read the wording, however, since you’ll find exclusions in all insurance contracts.
You specifically asked about reputable companies, Mario, and that’s understandable. However, as you might expect, we cannot vouch for the services provided by any company, so you might want to do search online for feedback from previous customers as to their level of satisfaction.
Edited to add (15 August 2015): Lens Rentals Canada is no longer in business. For more information, see the company’s press release here.