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The Pros and Cons of 4 Popular Camera Rental Options

Tanner Shinnick

Need to rent a camera for your next shoot? Let’s look at the ins, outs, pros, and cons of four popular camera rental options so you can make the best choice.

You’re pumped. You just booked a high-profile gig, and the client wants you to shoot with a high-end camera that you’ve always wanted to use. Now, you’ve got to find a camera rental option that works with the production’s budget and schedule.

Fortunately, it’s never been easier to rent a camera. Here are a few popular resources to consider.

1. Online Rental Services

Online Rental Services

Services like LensProToGo and LensRentals.com make shipping a breeze. Image via ronstik.

Online services like LensProToGo or LensRentals.com make renting a camera a pain-free process. They’ll ship the camera right to your doorstep, return label included. Competitive pricing means you’ll find an option that aligns with your budget, and you can usually find first-time deals and discount codes. Bonus: Attentive, proactive customer service means you won’t find yourself without a vital accessory or component on the day of your shoot.

Pros: Online Rental

  • Doorstep delivery
  • Easy shipping both ways
  • Competitive pricing
  • Solid customer service

Cons: Online Rental

  • Shipping lead time
  • No “hands on” try-before-you-buy option

2. Community Sharing Rentals (ShareGrid)

Renting a Camera

Renting from an operation like ShareGrid is a great way to support the filmmaking community. Image via nampix.

Services like ShareGrid allow owners to rent out their personal equipment to other local creators. If you live in a large city, then this is an excellent option, as you can easily find most camera systems in your area.

Typically, the owners have their packages perfectly outfitted for production, with plenty of power of media. Utilizing these platforms also allows you to meet other creatives in your city and expand your network.

Pros: Community Rentals

  • Community based
  • Competitive pricing
  • On-demand insurance
  • Likely local pick-up and drop-off

Cons: Community Rentals

  • Must live in or be willing to travel to larger markets
  • Limited customization options

3. Local Rental Houses

Local Rent Houses

Local rental houses have a plethora of cameras and accessories to choose from. Image via 26ShadesOfGreen.

Most larger cities have rental houses that stock a wide range of cameras, accessories, and other production gear. When you visit, you’ll find experienced, knowledgable, helpful staff, and you’ll probably bump into a few local creatives (so wear your networking hat.)

There’s another perk associated with local rental houses: Weekend rates. You can pick up a camera on Friday afternoon, return it on Monday morning, and only be charged for one day.

Pros: Local Rental Houses

  • Extensive selection
  • Close to home
  • Plentiful accessory and customization options
  • On-hand customer service
  • Weekend rates

Cons: Local Rental Houses

  • Insurance certificate likely required
  • Usually higher-priced

4. Local Owner/Operator

Locally Operated

A local operator will supply the camera for your project, as well as expand your knowledge on the equipment. Image via gnepphoto.

If you live in a decent-sized market, there’s probably an owner/operator in your area that has the camera you’re looking for. In this scenario, not only will they supply the camera for your production, but they’ll also bring a lot of knowledge about the camera system as its dedicated operator.

This method can expand your network and allow you to not only meet, but also work with, other local creatives.

Pros: Local Owner/Operator

  • Close to home
  • Networking
  • Camera comes with an expert

Cons: Local Owner/Operator

  • Added crew expense

Your dream camera awaits. How you find and rent it depends on your budget and timeline, as well as your desired level of convenience. Fortunately, you’ve got some options.

We couldn’t help but notice that you’re a total Camera Nerd. Hey! Us, too! And that’s why we think you’ll like this camera-related content:

Cover image via 26ShadesOfGreen.