Renting or buying photography gear?

by Carla DLM

Getting high quality photography gear is expensive for many of us. It would be fantastic to have the ideal lens, camera body, lighting and other equipment for specific occasion. Also, what about projects that require special equipment only for a short period of time?

Yes sometimes we want all.
 

by John Wilhelm


Unfortunately, we ought to prioritize. It is just impossible to constantly buy new equipment. What is the equipment that fits our budget? What is the best option? Do we really need to buy this now? etc, etc. There are too many questions!

Renting gear instead of buying it has become an attractive alternative these days. There are several companies that offer this service. From video to photography, they have almost everything. Prices are very competitive and you can get equipment from almost any brand, including expensive ones such as Phase One or Hasselblad.

Borrowlenses (https://www.borrowlenses.com ) was the first company I noticed offering this service years ago. The basic concept was very appealing and now there are many more companies following on their steps.

For some photographers this can be a great option before buying equipment. It is certainly not the the same to try a product with your own hands, than to make a simple or exhaustive online investigation of its specifications and reviews. For other photographers, this provides exciting alternatives for their regular works and projects. For example, weeks ago, I read about two photographers that needed to create a giant 60 feet x 9 feet photo of NYC (http://petapixel.com/2016/02/18/created-giant-60-foot-photo-nyc-100mpcamera/). At that time, they were using a Canon 5D Mark III (http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/eos-5d-mark-iii-body). They could not decline this kind of job, so they needed to take risks and think fast. Renting emerged as the best choice and they picked the Phase One IQ3 100MP system (https://www.phaseone.com/en/Products/Camera-Systems/XF100MP.aspx). For me, this is a fabulous example of the virtues of renting gear. The final result, taken with a 100MP camera, was remarkable (https://www.flickr.com/photos/petapixel/24486799393/sizes/o/ ).

Since renting is becoming a widespread practice in the photography world, there is a new company called Parachut (http://www.parachut.co ). Its business model is somehow inspired by how Netflix’s works. Instead of videos, they offer photography gear for a monthly price. The idea is to give members unlimited access to equipment for $149/month (99$ the first month).

Apparently, you can keep the gear for as long as you need it and return it once you are done.

This company will work only in the US but, if the concept is well received, I am confident we will soon see it applied in many other countries. For me, it is still a bit pricy, but I am sure it will be a good fit for many people.

#newgear #parachut #rentals

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