Should renting lenses be the norm?

17 Nov

The more I read Roger Cicala’s blog about all the testing they do and how they battle with the repair folks to get lenses fine-tuned for better performance, the more I’m convinced (of course, that’s the idea of having that blog!) that this is a much better way to do photography. It takes away the agonising at home whether the lens you got is a poor copy – outside of spec, even, possibly! Presuming that the lens rental outfit of your choice does a similar amount of testing, you would know that they don’t send out bad lenses, and you won’t ever have to deal with repairs. All that agonising wait, especially from Nikon and Olympus!

Of course, if more people used this kind of service, fewer lenses might get made and sold, and lens manufacturers would have to clean up their act, reduce sample variation, and make consistently high quality lenses that couldn’t be easily tweaked. It’s hard to say whether the reduced production volume of lenses would be ecologically favourable, or outweighed by the increased distance travelled by the lenses as they reach the photographers who rent them in any given week.

I’m pretty convinced, however, that the reduced number of throwaway lenses produced would be an ecological as well as individual benefit in the long term.

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