How to Rent the Right Camera Lens for your Trip


Telephoto Lenses

If you’re going on a trip that’s special enough to make you think about renting camera gear (our incredible African Safari comes to mind), chances are that you’re thinking of getting one of those monster telephoto lenses like the ones you see on the sidelines at professional sports games. Those can be great and I don’t discourage it but be sure of what you’re getting into first.

Try this: remove the transmission from your car and carry it around for five days.

That should give you an idea of the size and weight of some of those big lenses.

At the same time, you probably want something a bit more substantial than just a tiny pocket camera or your cell phone’s built-in camera.


When renting, here are some guidelines on what to look for.

  1. Free shipping in both directions.
  2. Combined shipping for multiple items. If you rent more than one thing, the rental house should combine them and ship them together. This saves both of you money.
  3. Insurance. Very few insurance policies will cover high-end camera equipment. Don’t fall into the trap of believing your homeowner’s policy covers it. There is usually a cap (probably around $1,000). If you have a photography related business, you may be covered by your commercial policy but double-check to make sure.
  4. Cost of the item. Rental cost will vary and generally you pay less per day for longer term rentals. Expect to pay around 5% of the retail purchase price for a week’s rental, and about 10% for a month. These are very rough guidelines. In any event, the total cost should be clearly spelled out with no suprises.
  5. Plan to get your equipment 2-3 days before you will actually need it. This allows for shipping delays and also gives you time to familiarize yourself with the new equipment.

If renting a very high-end lens

  1. Make sure you know the size and weight. Most people who have not handled one are unprepared for just how large and heavy some of these lenses can be.
  2. Make even more sure that you have a tripod capable of supporting it. Otherwise, rent one.

If renting a camera body

  1. Make sure of whether or not it comes with memory card(s) and that the battery will be fully charged.
  2. Find out if a battery charger, card reader, cables or any other accessories will be included as part of the rental.
  3. Definitely take extra time to familiarize yourself with the buttons and functions of this particular model camera.

Luckily, we can help! We’re not just travel planners. Jeff is also a professional photographer and teaches photography workshops. That means he has the expertise to help you choose the right equipment for your trip. We use and recommend Borrow Lenses.

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1 Response

  1. Maggie says:

    I had no idea that some rental- companies come with insurance for the camera. That seems like a really good idea, especially since camera equipment can cost thousands of dollars. Plus, I think it can be more relieving for you when you are actually using it. You don’t have to constantly worry about what would happen if it broke.

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