Try Before You Buy: How to Try an SLR Camera Before You Buy It

When you go to buy some shoes or pants, you try them on first, right? Just like when you buy some glasses, you try on the entire store to see which pair suits you best after having checked with the optician’s glasses that they are the ones with which you see well. This does not happen with some products, such as mobile phones or photographic material. In these cases, you should be guided by the technical information offered by the manufacturer, some specialized websites or, at best, by the personal and completely subjective opinion of the people who kindly spend their time leaving their comments on blogs or the like.

Now, if you are going to make a significant outlay, with what it has cost you to save your money to get such a camera or that lens with which you have been dreaming for months (or even years)… wouldn’t it be logical or at least very desirable to be able to try it? to make sure it’s a good buy?

The answer is clearly a yes. It would be ideal, but it is not usual. However, there is some other option to know if it is what you are looking for or what you expect, or if on the contrary you decide to back out before making the disbursement. The easiest and most economical alternative would be to have someone among your friends who loves photography as much as you, or more, and who has precisely that material that is “your dark object of desire” 😉 and very kindly lends it to you for a while or a whole day. This, as I have already said, would be ideal, although I recognize that it is not easy. So I’m going to talk to you about the other option available to anyone (with some dough, because it’s not free, of course): renting photographic material.

Camera rental modalities

There are several modalities in terms of equipment rental, normal rental and rental with option to buy.


They rent the equipment you need during the period you request it at a previously agreed price with its corresponding budget. You leave a deposit before picking up the equipment and pay the rental price, when the rental period ends you return the equipment and, unless you have damaged it, they return the deposit.

Rent with option to buy

This option is quite interesting, because it works more or less like the previous one, but if you decide to keep the product, the full rental amount is discounted on the purchase. So the test will not cost you anything. It’s great if the product convinces you, if not… you’re in the same situation and you have to pay the rent, but if you look at it carefully, it’s better to pay the rent than not make a disbursement with something that you can’t return and that doesn’t convince you. Now that is a loss.

Some sites to rent cameras


  • casanovafoto: They offer rental and rent-to-own and have a wide range of cameras, lenses and accessories.
  • lensmarkt: rental. You have to be registered to rent and on the same website you can check the availability of dates without having to wait for them to contact you to reserve. They do not give you the deposit that they apply to each product, although in the rental conditions they explain that a percentage or the full amount of the value of the product may be applicable.
  • llumm Studios: another equipment rental place. The drawback in this case is that you cannot see the availability or the price instantly, you must consult them to request a quote.
  • lensclub: if you have Nikon or Canon, perfect, but if you have another brand you won’t find material here.



What can be rented?

Anything you can think of that you may not even know exists 😉 Here are the basics:

  • bodies
  • Glasses
  • tripods
  • Filters
  • Lighting material: complete equipment, flashes, light windows, reflectors, umbrellas, etc.
  • props
  • Others: computer monitors, printers, memory cards, projectors, background supports, batteries, chargers, etc.

Why or when to rent photographic material?

We are talking all the time about renting material to test before buying, which is the object of the article, but there are other occasions in which this option can be useful, here are some:

  • When you have a job for which you need a very specific material that you know you are not going to use later.
  • To test different types of lenses and thus be able to better discover what type of photography you like best before investing, to know if you are landscapes or macro, short or long distances 😉
  • To check if your limitations in photography are really due to your equipment or lack of practice or knowledge.
  • For a specific session that you feel like doing for pleasure, for example a series with a fisheye. This lens is not very versatile for how expensive it is.
  • To experiment and play with filters, external flashes and other accessories.
  • To attend a course where you need a reflex camera if you don’t have one yet. If you have ever been put off by this condition when enrolling in a course, here is the solution. No one buys a piano before teaching or a car before having a driver’s license. But we are very likely to invest in a SLR when we have no idea of ​​​​photography.
  • To provide training. If you want to show your students how to work with a certain equipment that you do not have, you can choose to rent it.
  • Or to receive it. If you are a photography student, rent different lenses to practice.
  • If you have to transport very heavy equipment, renting may be cheaper than transport.


Like everything in life, renting photographic equipment has its advantages and disadvantages. We have already talked about the advantages, although I would add the possibility of trying a material that is completely out of your pocket. It is indulging in a great unattainable luxury in a very small dose, but after all, at least you can try it. The bad side:

  • You have to plan well in advance and if the work is outside, you will have to make do with the weather conditions whether you like them or not.
  • Except in the case of rent with the option to buy, if in the end you decide to buy the product, it will end up being more expensive, since you will have paid more than once for it.

Some advices

  • When renting your equipment, I recommend that you read all the conditions, transport, return, cancellation, deposit… so you don’t get any surprises.
  • It would also be interesting for you to compare prices on different pages to see which is the best option.
  • If it’s for a job with a set date, search early to ensure availability.
  • Pay attention to the offers that these sites launch. If you don’t care about the date you can take advantage of a price reduction.

You’re out of excuses

I hope that it has become clear to you how the rental of photographic equipment works and that our proposal is interesting for you. If so, this post will have been worth it.

If your excuse for not going out to photograph is that your equipment is boring and you can’t buy another one, it’s no use to you. So get up from your chair and look for your camera, photography is learned by practicing and the best photographers did not take the photos sitting at home 😉

Before giving up your seat, I would appreciate it if you would spread this information by sharing it on Facebook, Google + or Twitter, and if you already hit “Like” you will make me smile for the day 😉 Thank you and until next time!