When I was beginning in photography, I only had what would be considered beginner photography equipment -- one camera and one lens. My lens was what came with my camera, and it was a 50 mm. I loved my first camera and lens. However, I kept wondering why I couldn't get AMAZING photos. I would see it in my mind, take the picture and it wouldn't come out how I thought it would. This was many years ago.
As I progressed in my photography, and in life, I also was able to buy more equipment. Finally, I was earning more money at my day job. And I could choose one other lens to buy. But what kind of lens should I buy? I was more confused than ever when I went to look at the different lenses out there. There were so many to choose from, and they all ranged in price by ALOT!!!
I found it overwhelming. I kept hearing two things: 1) you don't need a fancy camera or equipment to take great photos; and 2) if you are going to invest in equipment, it pays to invest in great "glass," or a great lens. So which one was it? Well, you really don't need a really expensive camera or lens to take a great photo. There are more to taking a beautiful photo such as composition, color, lighting, etc. BUT you have to admit, a lens that will open up really wide (small f/stop) that focuses automatically and provides vibration reduction, is something that I was definitely wanting to buy. Again, the price for some of those great lenses were out of my price range.
With the advent of the internet, there are many stores to choose from to buy photography equipment. I still didn't know what I wanted to buy, so I decided to try it out before I bought it. I heard about borrowlenses.com and checked them out. I decided to rent a lens that was a Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens. I was nervous. I am not the best at using a library because I usually forget to bring back my library books. Now I was being entrusted with a very expensive lens to borrow. However they made the process really easy, and it was affordable. Instead of buying a $400+ lens and then deciding it wasn't for me, I was able to rent it for a period of time at much less the cost.
I chose to try out the lens during a week in October when I knew I would have time to go around and take pictures. I know some other photographers rent/borrow lenses if they have a wedding or a portrait shoot coming up, and they don't own a lens ideal for the situation. I was lucky that I had plenty of time and a choice for when I was renting the lens to try it out.
I live in the county, and I took the following photo with the lens. I was amazed that I was able to get such detail out of a photo. I loved the lens.
After trying out the lens, you have an option to return the lens, or to buy it. At the time I borrowed the lens, $400 was too much for me to spend on my hobby. So I dutifully returned the lens, and was happy with the experience of borrowing it, using the lens, returning it, and not taking too much of a hit to my budget. I was also very excited about trying out a new "toy."
Fast forward a few years later and my husband was asking me what I wanted for Christmas. I never had a good answer for this question. Feeling love from gifts is not my thing. If I want something, and I have the money, I buy what I want. Sure, I love when my husband buys me presents but usually the things I want you can't buy (world peace, less selfishness in the world). But I had kept in the experience of renting this lens in the back of my mind, and I told him I wanted this specific lens. Guess what I got for Christmas?!? The lens I had rented/borrowed a few years before. I had a wonderful Christmas.
If you are just starting out, or if you don't have a lot of resources, or if you are slow to spend your money on photography equipment; consider borrowing equipment from places like borrowlenses.com. I don't think I mentioned above, but will here: borrowlenses.com is NOT only for borrowing lenses. They rent many other forms of photography equipment. Check it out, and give it a try! I think you will really enjoy the experience.