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Lens Rentals Lists Most Issue Prone Lenses

By Anthony Thurston on August 6th 2013

This lens is great, that lens is great, my copy is awesome, your copy sucked. This is usually the extent of our ability to find out about lens quality. We have to dig through reviews, forum posts, and rely heavily on the opinions and perceptions of people that we do not know. Wouldn’t it be easier to have hard data to look at in regards to how often a lens needs repair or how often is has problems? Well now we have just such a list, courtesy of Lens Rentals.

In a recent post on their blog Lens Rentals provided a detailed list of the top 19 lenses that they rent out which need repair more frequently than every 60 weeks. It is worth pointing out that since these are rental lenses they are likely very well used and most likely get much more use that one of these lenses owned by you or I at home. But still, the results are both surprising and expected.


You can see from the screen capture above that the list includes (expectedly) a lot of third-party and low budget lenses. These lenses are cheap for a reason, that is not to say they are not good lenses, but it is obvious that they are not meant for heavy use like rental service puts them through.

The other bit of information you can glean form this listing is that 70-200mm lenses are just more prone to needing repair than any lens range, regardless of the manufacturer. This is rather surprising because you look at these lenses made by Nikon or Canon and think that they are built like tanks and that they will last forever.  In reality there is a lot of stuff jammed into those lenses and as such under heavy use something is bound to break and cause issues.

The blog post is a really interesting read; if you are interested in learning more about lens repairs and how the different companies do do for turn-around time I suggest you check it out.

Does this list surprise you? Let us know in a comment below. 

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Chuck Prather

    I like the idea behind these kinds of articles, but the data is incomplete. For this table to really have any kinda of meaning, they should have added how many times the lens has been rented or used. For example, obviously the sample size of the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 is very large, because I’m sure it get’s rented almost continuously. But the Rokinon 14mm 1.4 may not. What if it (the Rokinon) only get’s rented every 6 weeks? That would mean that the lens would fail almost every time its used. You really need the specifics of the usage for these kinds of tables to have any kind of meaning.
    It’s also unfair to say the 70-200mm range is “more prone to needing repair”. These lenses are more than likely the workhorses that people use for almost everything. I know mine almost never leaves the body it’s attached to. These lenses are built like tanks, but as anyone in the military will tell you, tanks spend more time in maintenance than they do in combat. Again, exact usage data is required before anyone can draw any fair conclusions.

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    • Sakari

      If you would’ve read the referal article, you would know that “weeks to failure” referes to rental time only, presented in weeks.

      They also mentioned that 70-200 range lenses are well built but are packed with lots of complex mecanics and electronics that all are required to work perfectly. More potential failure points = more failures. And same applies to tanks.

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  2. Tom Bove

    It would be nice to have some “Average cost of repairs” info as well.

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