consumer review of Lensrental.com
Rent vs buy. Series post 3
So I am a little late in posting this review. The Christmas and New Year holidays have thrown me way off balance! Family functions, work, and fun things can wear a body out! My best learned advice for surviving the Holidays to help you next year? Remember you can't keep everybody happy!
And.....drum roll, please........Don't forget to return the lenses that you rented! I did, there will be more on that later!
In my previous posts Rent Vs. Buy, and ATS Rental review talked about how this photography venture can be a really expensive experience. So since I STILL haven't won the lottery, married a rich man (I kind of like the one I have anyway), or inherited a huge windfall from my not rich parents, I have to see if renting lenses to try new things is a more feasible option. Heck, I figure most of you are like me!
What was it like renting from lensrentals.com?
Renting from LensRentals.com, was a pretty painless process. They had the lenses that I wanted in stock for the dates I wanted. I rented them, got a confirmation email, and all was well. My communication with their customer service was very pleasant and accommodating. I put a lot of emphasis on customer service and Lensrentals.com did well in this regard.
What was done well by Lensrentals.com?
Communication was very personable and nice. Items were packaged safely and I felt like stuff was really protected when I shipped back.
Remember when I said don't forget to ship your lenses back when you've rented them? Well, here is where Lens Rentals really shined! I was supposed to ship back on Thursday the 24th. Well, duh, I had a houseful of people and we were doing our family Christmas that day because as a nurse, guess what? I was working Christmas day. So, the box got pushed aside, moved behind a chair, and because it wasn't wrapped in shiny paper and begging to be opened by a smiling face, it was forgotten. I didn't get it shipped back until the 28th! Well, I don't know if this is their usual policy or if they were feeling full of Christmas Spirit, but they didn't charge me for the extra days! Woohoo! Thanks LensRentals.com!
What could be improved?
Well, I previously only rented from ATSrentals.com so any comparison I make will be with them. Getting my package from Lensrentals,com wasn't all warm and fuzzy like Grandma had sent me a surprise. No real concrete things that are absolutely necessary to provide a good experience to complain about, though. So there were no Jelly Beans in my package and they didn't send shipping tape. Thats not a deal breaker. Even though, since all my tape had been ripped off packages earlier, and I had even used what shipping tape I had in the house to wrap the last few presents, I had to go out and buy more. Not a huge drawback, since I would need some in the house anyway, but.......
I really do like Jelly Beans....
Would I rent from them again?
Sure, I will depend on the availability of the lenses I want to rent, and if there are other shipping options other than FedEx. I have to drive nearly 15 miles to get to the nearest FedEx place. UPS is a lot more convenient for me.
Have you rented from Lens Rentals? What was your experience? Where do you rent lenses and equipment?
Rent vs buy. Series post 2
CONSUMER REVIEW OF ATSRENTALS.COM
My previous post in this series, Rent vs Buy: Options for trying new lenses, explained that I am exploring the option of renting lenses to try them out before I invest mucho money in new lenses. I am comparing three different companies, by renting the same to lenses from them. One company per month. Now I warn you, the upcoming post will sound like I was paid to write it. I promise you, I was not compensated in any way. I am going to give you an honest appraisal of my experiences. For testing purposes I am renting a 50mm f/1.4 AF-S and a 12-24mm f/4. Both for Nikon cameras. I may have to get different brands depending on the availability from each company.
Woohoo! I got home today, and exactly what was at my front door? Two lenses for me to play with from ATSRENTALS. And let me tell you, so far, I am loving ATS! The process was super easy to order, they had the lenses I wanted to try, and it was very reasonably priced. After I placed my order, it was only a few minutes before I got an email to verify my order. Open email, click link. Order verified. Next email came the next day that items had shipped.
Then, bless their hearts, they emailed me to tell me I would be getting a partial refund of my shipping costs! Whoa, what? Really? Yep, a refund. They were able to ship it to me cheaper than they had quoted because they had a lens returned early or something like that. So I'm getting money back!
So here are the things that I like about ATS so far. #1 Their prices were the same or cheaper as other companies. #2 Damage insurance was already included in the price. #3 They had the lenses I wanted. #4 They obviously have some kick-butt customer services peeps! #5 They sent me jelly beans! Now, I LOVE jelly beans, and these are even Jelly Belly jelly beans. MY favorite! #6 AND, to top it off? They sent packing tape for me to use to ship the lenses back! Oh my! Now I am one of those silly people that loves the post office, but they have saved me a trip out to get more packing tape, cause I ran out just this morning!
So far, ATS is batting 1000, baby! They may just be the J.J. Watt of the lens rental business! Yep, I had to throw J.J. in here somewhere. But, seriously, so far they've done everything right and then thrown in some unexpected special treats, too!
I did notice that there was a company that had a rewards program that applied points from rentals towards another rental, so this might be one thing ATS could do in the future, but with the service I have received at this point, it certainly isn't going to prevent me from using ATS in the future.
Now seems like a super time to let you know I have NO affiliation with ATS. They have not paid me for my review, and this review was completely unsolicited.
ANOTHER fab thing about ATS? They DON'T CHARGE FOR WEEKENDS!!!! Whoa! What? You mean I can get a lens delivered on Friday, use it Saturday and Sunday, ship it back on Monday and ONLY PAY FOR ONE DAY??? Yep, that is exactly what I mean!
So for these two lenses that were delivered on 11/5 and I will ship back on 11/10, I only paid $51.00 plus tax. I paid 49.00 shipping, but hey, they are refunding 28.82 of my shipping charges!
Pricing was the same as one of the other companies that I looked at, less than another, for theses two lenses. In addition, damage insurance did not cost extra. It was already included in the price. The other companies I have looked at so far charge additional for insurance that is required.
Rent vs buy. Series post 1
So let's face it, I'm a financially challenged hobbyist photographer. Striving for more, yes, but at this point there's more money going out with this hobby than coming in! And since I didn't come from money, marry into money, or hit the lottery, I have to find a way to try new lenses and equipment without the full retail investment.
I have been very lucky to purchase some excellent equipment, previously loved and broken in, on ebay. However, it's not always feasible price wise, you have to be very careful about what you are getting, and have to research (a lot) to find out what will work with your existing equipment because the listing may not write it out for you.
I have been exploring new lenses for my Nikon D3100. But the lenses I want are just out of my price range right now. Remember the whole, more money going out than coming in? So I had been reading about people renting lenses and I thought.... Well, Jenn, why not check it out? And a new blog series was born! My first blog series actually. I am going to pick three rental companies, rent the same lenses, and relay my experiences with each one. Customer service, price, lens availablilty, discounts/rewards, and shipping. One company per month. Again, more money going out than coming in thing???
I decided to test out a 50mm f1.4 and a 12-24mm f4. I have a 50mm f1.8, but have been reading about the fab bokeh and ultimate focus and clarity you can get with an f1.4. I want to see if the change is noticeable and worth all the hype and extra cash.
I need a good wide angle lense, something that I can potentially shoot large groups with as well as shoot in tight spaces. My friend has a 12-24 and suggested I try it.
November will be ATSRENTALS.com. December will be lensrentals.com, and January will be borrowlenses.com.
I have no affiliation or connection with any of these companies. I found them by doing a google search for "photography lens rental".
What companies have you rented from? Good experience or not?
Wife, daughter, aunt, nurse, biker chic, aspiring photographer, pretend gourmet chef. That's me! I'm living the Just Peachy Life. This Blog will now be more dedicated to photography and the art form that speaks to me the most. I am moving the lifestyle and home-life posts to the Living the Just Peachy Life Blog to separate the two! Read more about me and _Living the Just Peachy Life!
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