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BorrowLenses Review: You rent the gear, they capture your heart

The Logo for BorrowLenses
The Logo for BorrowLenses

BorrowLenses services


What are some words that you associate with photography? Innovation. Creativity. Story-telling. Art. Memories. The technology involved is constantly evolving in this age of instant information. It's important to stay ahead on available equipment to inspire the best execution of your artistic vision. Is a full-frame DSLR not in your budget? Have you always wanted to try out one of those beastly telephoto lenses that sports photographers don? Are you an art junkie who would be thrilled to get their hands on a Hasselblad? Seriously, try BorrowLenses. It should be another word association with photography.

You may have read an article last summer that reveals the reasons why a photographer may want to rent camera equipment, with a quick mention to BorrowLenses as an example of a local place. In this article, it is an in-depth review of their services.

First of all, there is a subtle change in their website from last year. At the top of the page, you will notice that there are a few recommended websites, one of which is Shutterfly. Why would that be a sister webpage? That's because BorrowLenses was recently acquired by Shutterfly. We asked one of the co-founders of BorrowLenses how the merger with Shutterfly has affected their business and he only had positive things to say. In summary, he mentioned that Shutterfly is a much bigger company and with that comes more buying power and marketing to a scale that they were just not capable of in the past. How does it affect customers? After you rent the equipment, what do you do with the pictures that you made? You can have them printed at Shutterfly. It becomes a one stop shop.

Once you browse the site to view their massive catalog of rental gear, it will take your breath away. It will come to no surprise that they are the largest online camera rental company with the biggest availability and selection. If you are a self-professed camera nerd, you will feel like a kid in a candy store. How do they have so much to offer? BorrowLenses is one of the first places to get new equipment due to their excellent relationship with manufacturers and distributors.

BorrowLenses has plenty of competition in their line of work, but they describe that as friendly and cooperative in nature. That kind of collaborative atmosphere is no stranger to photographers. If you are a photographer, you probably have many like-minded friends. Taking a poll amongst friends about the web services that they use or have used in the past, one such individual mentioned as a company formerly based out of Kissimmee, FL and now in Kansas. If you look at their available products, you will notice they only have items that fall under Canon or Nikon. Borrowlenses has gear for those two top brands, but also Pentax, Sony, Leica, Olympus, Fuji, Hasselblad, GoPro and so on as well as video, audio, and lighting equipment.

Whether you are just starting out as a hobbyist or you are part of a huge company that needs their services, they have the tools to helo you. You can make your order very self-sufficient with their user friendly online process or if you need a little more of a hands-on experience, you can call their hotline and get through to their knowledgeable staff. They boast that no matter who picks up the phone, they are a photographer or videographer themselves and can share their wisdom and recommendations with you.

We asked how BorrowLenses measures their success and unanimously the answer was with their customer service. They pride themselves on their dedication to their clients and take it seriously. In fact, they frequent various trade shows and find that the most rewarding part of the job. They get a chance to meet their customer base in person and really get to know their experiences. If you ever go to one of their headquarters in either San Francisco or the Boston-based one in Waltham, you will concur that they are a friendly bunch and genuinely love what they do.

This writer was able to rent a few lenses and an external flash unit using the Wedding Essentials Package (for Canon). This a good product, because it gives you a little bit of everything that you might need for an event requiring versatility. This is especially a good option, if you are overwhelmed by the options and want everything. This kit was used to capture all the fun moments during the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston with resounding success. As we are preparing to ship the goods back to BorrowLenses, we are relieved at how easy they make the process with instructions and a prepaid return label.

Final thoughts? This is a fun-loving and caring company. If you are going to give your business to a camera rental place, you should pick BorrowLenses. Why? They have sense of humor and they partner with other organizations for charitable efforts. When we were perusing their website, we came upon a cowbell attachment. This is clearly homage to an SNL skit by the VP of Marketing. When they were asked about other little gems or April Fools pranks, they mentioned their Pot O' Lenses kit which is appropriate given the most recent holiday. As for their in-kind donation rentals, they work with HelpPortrait, the legendary Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Tiny Light Foundation, and Camp Promise to help enrich their communities.

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