Can you recommend lens-rental companies in Canada?

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March 31, 2015 at 9:30 am  •  Posted in Q&A, Tips & Techniques by  •  2 Comments

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?
—Mario T.

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.

Since I photograph birds and mammals only two or three times a year and for only a couple of days each time, it makes sense to rent a pricey telephoto lens. The cost is reasonable and allows me to shoot with the very finest lenses on the market. © 2015 Peter K. Burian

Since I photograph birds and mammals only two or three times a year and for only a couple of days each time, it makes sense to rent a pricey telephoto lens. The cost is reasonable and allows me to shoot with the very finest lenses on the market. © 2015 Peter K. Burian

Not all rental companies stock a very wide range of equipment, so it's worth doing some research to find the specific product you need. Over time, you might need to rent a macro, a tilt/shift, a super wide angle and a super telephoto lens, for example. In that case, you might need to deal with more than one firm to get all of the relevant items. Photo Courtesy of Daymen Canada

Not all rental companies stock a very wide range of equipment, so it’s worth doing some research to find the specific product you need. Over time, you might need to rent a macro, a tilt/shift, a super wide angle and a super telephoto lens, for example. In that case, you might need to deal with more than one firm to get all of the relevant items. Photo Courtesy of Daymen Canada

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.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Barry moon / March 31, 2015 at 2:04 pm / Reply

    Thank you for your informative article on Canadian lens rentals. A nice alternative for those us us who do not have the immediate funds for purchases of high quality glass.

  2. Peter K Burian / March 31, 2015 at 4:18 pm / Reply

    Thanks for your comment, Barry Moon. Even a rich photo enthusiast would be wise to rent a lens he needs only a couple of times a year.

    Kind regards, Peter Burian

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