Magazine Article


Do You Buy, Rent, and/or Lease Your Photography Equipment?

This month's Peer2Peer question focuses on how photographers acquire their equipment. A number of factors determine whether to buy, lease, or rent, among them: cost, convenience, logistics, cash flow, knowledge of product, knowledge of financing options. We asked this question to shed light on the pluses and minuses of renting and leasing and answer such questions as: Where do you find about about leasing a camera? Are stores, manufacturers, or financial institutions the best resource? How often does renting or leasing lead to purchasing? The survey was sent out Friday, August 17. Results were compiled Wednesday, August 22. Of the 1,066 Studio Photography readers who began the survey, 100 percent of them completed it. This is clearly a significant topic for studio owners and free lance photographers alike. Here's some of what we found out..


• Of the 1,066 photographers who responded, 87% buy all their equipment, 12% buy 75% of their equipment. Just 1% said they rent all of their equipment; 51% rent 25% of their equipment. And 3% lease all of their equipment; 22% lease 25% of their gear.

• Of those who have rented, 54% eventually bought the equipment. Of those photographers who have rented gear at some point, 38% said that renting is overall a convenient way to try out equipment, 22% said it wasn't worth the hassle, 13% said it was a wise financial decision, 11% considered it financially wasteful.

• Of those who leased, 53% eventually bought the gear. Of those photographers who have leased photo equipment at some point, 29% reported that overall leasing was not worth the hassle, 23% felt it was a wise financial decision, 18% thought is was financially wasteful.

Click here to view PDF version of full article with survey results.

Quotable Quotes

"I can rent a $1,500 -$2,000 lens from Calumet for $30 for a weekend, even reserve it a month in advance."
-David White, Photo Catering (, Huntington Beach, CA

"Leasing has been a great financial tool for my studio. I enjoy knowing that at the end of the lease I can opt for the $1 buyout then continue to use the equipment or trade in for an upgrade."
- Jack Rinehart, Photo Source (, St. Louis, MO

"When we started, we leased cameras, lenses, computers, printers. It was a little more expensive in the long run, but it helped us get on our feet and have a fully equipped studio and office with very low up-front costs.
-Radley Muller, Yary Photography (, Bellingham, WA

"Due to the constant upgrades in digital equipment, leasing was the best option."
-Luis Zavala, Luis Zavala Photography (, El Cerrito, CA

"Leasing was a poor financial decision because I didn't research the company before signing on the dotted line. Research leasing firms as you would someone who works for you."

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