Testing Beyond the Camera Store


Today’s Question: You recommended testing out a camera with an electronic viewfinder before making a decision about buying that camera. But for those of us who don’t have a camera store nearby, how can we actually test gear before ordering it?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I think one of the best ways to test out camera gear in general, or to use specialty gear for a short period of time, is to use a rental service such as LensRentals.com (https://timgrey.me/lensrentals).

More Detail: Reading specifications and reviews about camera gear can obviously be helpful in terms of choosing which particular product might be the best fit in your camera bag. But in my mind there is simply no replacement for getting your hands on the gear and getting a chance to try it out before you make a final purchasing decision.

If you have a camera store nearby, you can obviously visit the store to try out a wide variety of cameras, lenses, and other equipment. Another great option is to rent gear for a short period of time, both for evaluation and to supplement your gear with something you only need for a short period of time.

If you are thinking about buying a lens, for example, you could rent that lens and try it out in the real world. You could even rent a couple of different lenses to compare them as you work toward your final decision.

In some cases I have found I wanted a particular lens for a special trip or project, but I didn’t feel I would use the lens enough to justify spending the money to purchase the lens. This is another example of a great reason to rent camera gear.

There are a variety of options for renting camera gear, but one I’ve had a great experience with is LensRentals.com, which enables you to go online, select the gear you want to rent, and have it shipped to you to arrive by a particular date. As part of the rental, a return shipping label is included so you can easily send the gear back at the end of your rental period.

You can learn more about LensRentals.com by following this link: