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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