LensRentals.com Review – Disappointment *Updated

Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time cameras I review are ones I purchase with my hard-earned Pesos… The other tenth of a percent of time, I rent or borrow the camera. I recently gave LensRentals.com a little business, renting the Leica M-E and the Leica 35mm f/2.0 Summicron-M Asph Lens for the Leica M9/M-E review – In 2015 article.  Here are my thoughts on ease of use, packaging, and service.

Ease Of Use

The best part of working with LensRentals.com was their service, they make it incredibly easy to get your hands on gear very quickly.  Shipping times are very reasonable and you can fine tune the rental period the same way you’d choose the dates to visit a hotel.

Packaging

The camera and lens came in a large Styrofoam lined box that had an old camera bag stuffed inside.  Inside the camera bag was the camera and lens cushioned by bubble wrap like material.  Everything was packaged adequately and there was a nice little folder with return instructions and a prepaid return label to use on the box they sent.

Service

Here is where the waters get a little murky.  On the front end, before they got my money, the service was great.  The address on my credit card was an old address so the payment wasn’t going through.  Instead of simply cancelling the order and shooting me an email, I got a phone call from a very helpful employee who helped me figure out what was going on and ensured that the shipment would arrive on their earlier estimated date.  Great!  Thank you.

Once I received the camera, one of their more expensive rentals because the camera is a $4,700 camera with a $3,000+ lens when new, I quickly realized that the sensor was filthy.  Now, the M9/M-E cameras are plagued with a corrosion issue that can look like dust on your lens too but either way it should not have been sent out that way.

I quickly emailed support@lensrentals.com to remedy this and here was their response:

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Vague at best.  Really, that’s not a great response for anyone who has paid hard-earned cash to borrow gear for professional work.  It’s almost been a week since LensRentals has received the camera and no one has reached out to me.  I’d have expected that they would offer to send me a replacement at no cost because the mistake was their own.  If someone would have told me that the sensor on the camera from LensRentals.com comes filthy I would have avoided them.

Update:

Lensrentals.com reached out to me and made things more than right.  I received an email apologizing for the lengthy delay and instead of simply refunding me the rental cost they also gave me an additional $350 towards my next rental.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 6.25.22 PM

Conclusion

Would I recommend them?  Not really, even though a dirty sensor isn’t the end of the world it does add time to post processing and for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time (like most professionals) that’s an unwelcome service they provide.  Yes.  Considering they went above and beyond to make this right…  Although late, late is better than never.  They showed me that my business matters and by offering me an extra $350 credit they’ve ensured that I will use them again.  Good move, Lens Rental, good move.

Save your money and use a credit card to purchase your gear from a reputable retailer like Amazon.  You’ll get typically 30 days to try it out and then return it for a refund, normally only having to pay shipping and handling which is a small fraction of what you’d pay to rent through a service like LensRentals.com.  You’ll save money and ensure that the camera or lens you are getting is in pristine condition because it is brand new.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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4 Comments

  • I just borrowed a Nikon D700 from ATS Rentals and found the service to be great. I too had a problem with the gear, however it was not as serious as what you described. They were responsive and offered to make good on it if there was a problem. Luckily, there was not.

    They also offered to ship the camera a day early at no additional charge so I could be sure to get it before I left for vacation.

  • John

    A great review and thanks for posting it. As we all know things can go wrong in business and its how it is handled that counts. It sounds like Lensrentals.com is a stand up company and hopefully they have learned from the issue and will not send equipment which has not been checked. I think I will give them a try.

    Just a little thought for Lensrentals.com – do it right the first time and it won’t be so costly! We can all learn.

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