Renting cameras to test before purchase?

Started May 17, 2013 | Discussions
er3
er3
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Renting cameras to test before purchase?
May 17, 2013

I've been considering an Olympus OMD for a little while now. The only thing really preventing me form doing so is because I bought my 7D less than a year ago (upgraded from my old but reliable xTi). I love that thing and have no plans on giving it up.

But the OMD seems to really be loved by it's owners as well but I'm not sure I can take another plunge in the $1000 camera range. I *can* but my practical side says no. Practical me is no fun. Practical me also hates lugging the 7D around for the every day shooting scenario.

Anyway, is it worth it to rent for a few weeks to play around with or is that a total waste of $? I've never rented a camera before and just wondering if others have prior to purchasing said camera and felt it was worth the cost.

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Sulis2
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Re: Renting cameras to test before purchase?
In reply to er3, May 17, 2013

What people with slightly negotiable moral scruples do is order the camera from Amazon to see if they like it - if not, send it back before the 30 days is up.

As I said, depends on your moral scruples...

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Jake21
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Re: Renting cameras to test before purchase?
In reply to Sulis2, May 17, 2013

Depends on total cost to rent. When I was looking at medium format cameras I rented a couple (m 7 and m 645) to try out over a weekend at local shop before making a purchase. Back then it wasn't so expensive - I think $30 or so a shot and no shipping since the shop was local.

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For an em-5 I wouldn't spend $100 to rent it since you could resell and get most (not all) of that back; but for $30 I would.

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I'm not a fan of the buy from store to try and then return - i rahter just go to a local store and handle one to see if there is an immediate turn on/off - naturally a turn on might become negative after a bit of usage - but if you don't like the camera to begin with then that is a good hint that maybe you should look elsewhere (things like the evf and size might be a good starting indicator if it is the camera for you). FOr example I tried a G2 and G3 at a local trade show and disliked the evf in both of them; at anotehr trade show i tired the pro-1, nex 7 and em-5 and of the three the em-5 was the only one i found acceptable (the nex 7 was not bad - esp outdoors but indoors the evf was a real turn off when the store lighting due to (I think) frequency issues (flickering). The pro-1 was awful with regards to focus evf.

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Mind yuo the above usage is  not how i normally use a camera and I was aware of that actual usage might make a different impression (they were kind enough to let me step outdoors with the cameras to see how sunlight impacted the experience).

I have small hands the em-5 was incredibly responsive - immediate turn on - though the pro1 has a lot of pluses and I'm keeping my eye on fuji to see if newer bodies address the major issues.

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uberzone
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Your Practical Side Says Wait
In reply to er3, May 17, 2013

The successor to the EM-5 will be announced in 4 months. If you can wait until then you can a) get and EM-5 for much cheaper or b) get the new upgraded model.

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gandalfII
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Re: Your Practical Side Says Wait
In reply to uberzone, May 17, 2013

I expect the next OMD to be an incremental upgrade at a premium price and the EM5 might not drop in value as much as you think.  The exception is if the new one focuses 43 lenses well, but I'm not sure how many people that will still appeal to.

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MrGubrz
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Re: Your Practical Side Says Wait
In reply to gandalfII, May 17, 2013

gandalfII wrote:

I expect the next OMD to be an incremental upgrade at a premium price and the EM5 might not drop in value as much as you think.  The exception is if the new one focuses 43 lenses well, but I'm not sure how many people that will still appeal to.

the people who spent massive fortunes to get those big pro lenses

the best ive got is the 12-60, which is an amazing lens, but i still doubt id use it even if it focussed as fast as the native lenses... its just so HUGE compared to the teency m43 lenses

im brainwashed!

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MrGubrz
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Re: Renting cameras to test before purchase?
In reply to er3, May 17, 2013

i say sell the 7d and any non ff canon stuff, buy the omd, save up for a FF canon(or whatever brand)

ive got ff(rx1/a99) and m43... its an amazing combination... i cant imagine an apsc fitting in there now

if it were just ONE camera and system, apsc could work.. but its just not different feeling enuf for ME

just some thoughts!

oh, also...

how much to rent it?

how much to rent a decent lens youll actually want to use(im not a kit zoomer)

you cant test the camera without testing a good lens!

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er3
er3
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Re: Renting cameras to test before purchase?
In reply to Jake21, May 17, 2013

Jake21 wrote:

Depends on total cost to rent. When I was looking at medium format cameras I rented a couple (m 7 and m 645) to try out over a weekend at local shop before making a purchase. Back then it wasn't so expensive - I think $30 or so a shot and no shipping since the shop was local.

-

For an em-5 I wouldn't spend $100 to rent it since you could resell and get most (not all) of that back; but for $30 I would.

-

I'm not a fan of the buy from store to try and then return - i rahter just go to a local store and handle one to see if there is an immediate turn on/off - naturally a turn on might become negative after a bit of usage - but if you don't like the camera to begin with then that is a good hint that maybe you should look elsewhere (things like the evf and size might be a good starting indicator if it is the camera for you). FOr example I tried a G2 and G3 at a local trade show and disliked the evf in both of them; at anotehr trade show i tired the pro-1, nex 7 and em-5 and of the three the em-5 was the only one i found acceptable (the nex 7 was not bad - esp outdoors but indoors the evf was a real turn off when the store lighting due to (I think) frequency issues (flickering). The pro-1 was awful with regards to focus evf.

-

Mind yuo the above usage is  not how i normally use a camera and I was aware of that actual usage might make a different impression (they were kind enough to let me step outdoors with the cameras to see how sunlight impacted the experience).

I have small hands the em-5 was incredibly responsive - immediate turn on - though the pro1 has a lot of pluses and I'm keeping my eye on fuji to see if newer bodies address the major issues.

Yeah, the rental w/ lens for 10 days is about $125. Gives me time to get used to the menu & see if it works in my daily shooting habits. I've held it in my hand before and really liked it. I didn't like the Gseries either.

I also don't like the buy/return route (but not judging anyone who does!). I just don't prefer to go down that route.

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er3
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Re: Your Practical Side Says Wait
In reply to uberzone, May 17, 2013

uberzone wrote:

The successor to the EM-5 will be announced in 4 months. If you can wait until then you can a) get and EM-5 for much cheaper or b) get the new upgraded model.

Hmmmm....that is a thought. I would likely opt to get the EM5 cheaper. Seems like a solid camera.

I guess one of the things that also keeps me from jumping in how quickly do they become outdated? DSLRs at least you know you can have that thing for years before you even have to think about an upgrade. There's still nothing wrong w/ my xTi and I use it as a 2nd body or let friends who don't have a DSLR borrow it when they want to shoot (usually people who want to learn a few things).

Perhaps my trepidation would ease if I knew the same about MFT but they seem to come out w/ updates just slightly less frequently than your basic P&S? Maybe it's just my perception.

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er3
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Re: Renting cameras to test before purchase?
In reply to MrGubrz, May 17, 2013

MrGubrz wrote:

i say sell the 7d and any non ff canon stuff, buy the omd, save up for a FF canon(or whatever brand)

ive got ff(rx1/a99) and m43... its an amazing combination... i cant imagine an apsc fitting in there now

That's a thought but I don't really need full frame. I thought long & hard about that before I bought the 7D. It's not a must for my needs. I guess I got used to shooting w/ crop. But I see your point about it and something to think about.

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baxters
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Re: Renting cameras to test before purchase?
In reply to er3, May 17, 2013

Since the OP lives in Brooklyn, why not check in with the bigger shops and see if they will rent you a camera and maybe apply part of the rent to a purchase if you buy a new one. Have it shipped to a buddy in NJ if sales taxes are a crusher. Prices/availability in NYC are as good as anywhere else in the USA anyway.

It would be tough to buy a new EM5 in Chicago if that were a task on the Great Race TV show.

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Zeegee
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Re: Renting cameras to test before purchase?
In reply to Sulis2, May 17, 2013

I have used this technique and would have purchased one of the cameras however it was a GREY MARKET item.  Do be aware that some items from Amazon are GREY MARKET (especially used ones) without a USA Warranty and sometimes without English documentation.

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Greynerd
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Nothing wrong with sending goods back.
In reply to Sulis2, May 17, 2013

What total nonsense. The whole idea of mail order is you try it at home and if you do not like it you send it back. The mail order companies get so many advantages over brick and mortar shops surely you can allow this one disadvantage. The big vendors just sit in tax havens and cream off the business from shops so I would not feel too sorry for them.

In fact under UK distance selling laws you can cancel any purchase made within 7 days and they have to refund you even if they have not got the goods back.

The idea that you have to stick with a product bought sight unseen even if unsatisfactory is nonsense. If you do not like it send it back if you have that right under your particular jurisdiction.

I am disturbed by posts like this that seem to be designed to intimidate people into keeping goods that do not turn out to be as expected. Treat it like a shop counter and imagine you are just handing it back via the mail services. Many big international vendors are probably not aware what moral scruples are.

For the UK these are the regulations.

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/general/oft913.pdf

Sulis2 wrote:

What people with slightly negotiable moral scruples do is order the camera from Amazon to see if they like it - if not, send it back before the 30 days is up.

As I said, depends on your moral scruples...

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er3
er3
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Re: Renting cameras to test before purchase?
In reply to MrGubrz, May 17, 2013

MrGubrz wrote:

oh, also...

how much to rent it?

how much to rent a decent lens youll actually want to use(im not a kit zoomer)

you cant test the camera without testing a good lens!

I was going to rent the 12-50mm for versatility. Just thinking about what I would use most often. If I did buy the camera, I'd also get the Oly 40-150mm & the 20mm pancake lens.

I've thought about this a little bit. lol.

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windriver
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I rented
In reply to er3, May 18, 2013

I rented the E-M5 and the P20 prior to purchase (but bought the PL25).  Didn't regret it.

I got to see how it handled vs. my K-5 and also compare images.

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er3
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Re: I rented
In reply to windriver, May 18, 2013

windriver wrote:

I rented the E-M5 and the P20 prior to purchase (but bought the PL25).  Didn't regret it.

I got to see how it handled vs. my K-5 and also compare images.

Glad to know you found it helpful. May I ask where you rented from? Was it one of those online rental places?

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er3
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Going in
In reply to er3, May 20, 2013

Alright well I just couldn't wait anymore. I picked up the OMD today after much thought along w/ the lenses. The black/silver looks like my very first SLR the Pentax ZX-M...when life was in full manual mode and in film. They may look alike but whooboy they are very different. lol.

Futzing with the menu a bit and some shots from the backyard...I have a a bit of a learning curve here coming from my 7D. I'll have to figure out what all these settings are for. But I think the weirdest thing was the zoom since it's optical controlled by the ring, not some button on the body. It's a little weird at first. Maybe that's just me. Also the buttons are so tiny! the body is so tiny! Again, this was the point but something to get used to for sure.

Anyway, really looking forward to getting to know my new Olympus!

PS, I picked up the Oly 12-50mm & the 40-150mm + the Pany 20mm.

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windriver
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I rented from
In reply to er3, May 21, 2013

Lens Rentals.  They were professional and more than fair.  When the camera suffered some damage (which I thought was my fault - and I told them), they gave me a credit for several days loss of use because as they put it, they could not be sure it was my fault.

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windriver
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Re: Going in
In reply to er3, May 21, 2013

My advice is take some time reading dpreview's article on how to set it up, then fiddle with different settings to see how you like them.  Try assigning different functions to different buttons.  Make the focus point tiny (I love this feature).  When you get comfortable with most of the features play around with the Art Filters; I thought they might be kind of cheesy, but find several of them most interesting.  I particularly like Key Line for people and animals, and Dramatic Tone for certain landscapes.

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er3
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Re: Going in
In reply to windriver, May 21, 2013

windriver wrote:

My advice is take some time reading dpreview's article on how to set it up, then fiddle with different settings to see how you like them.  Try assigning different functions to different buttons.  Make the focus point tiny (I love this feature).  When you get comfortable with most of the features play around with the Art Filters; I thought they might be kind of cheesy, but find several of them most interesting.  I particularly like Key Line for people and animals, and Dramatic Tone for certain landscapes.

Yes, I've started playing some of the features and reading a few articles on how to set it up. It definitely seems like a fun camera. I don't think it will be going back. Haha.

I am considering renting another prime lens for my trip though. Is there one you recommend for landscapes?

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