Are You A Commitment-Phobic Photog? Rent, Don't Buy
If you love photography but aren't sure if you're ready to drop $7,000 on your dream camera, now you can rent-to-own. Lumoid is a new a high-end camera rental company that will even ship to you while you're on vacation - anywhere in the world.
“The first time a customer said ship it to the Hilton in Hawaii, we thought, ‘Oh my God, this is a fraudulent order,’” said Aarthi Ramamurthy, CEO of Lumoid. “We asked why and the customer said they were traveling there and didn’t want to carry it. And we were like, ‘That makes a lot of sense, why didn’t we think of that?’”
To its credit, Lumoid is one of the first to think of and execute the try-before-you-buy model with shipping products. It works like this: You rent a camera or lens for at least three days, and the company ships it wherever you want. Camera-body rentals currently range from $8 a day for a GoPro Hero 3 to over $30 per day for a super-high-end camera like a Leica M9, which retails for around $7,000. Accessories such as the memory card and strap are included.
Lumoid’s search page includes browsing by brand and type of photography.
If you end up wanting to buy the camera or lens you rented, you can use 30% of your fee as a purchase credit. The real sweetener is that you can use multiple rental credits toward a purchase within the same calendar year. After shooting, you could also choose to simply pay for the memory card and ship the rest back.
Daniel Bohner, one of Lumoid’s first customers, was playing wedding photographer on his road trip, and he wanted to try out the Canon 6D. Lumoid didn’t have the camera yet, so Ramamurthy ran to the nearest Best Buy to get one and ship it the next day. Bohner did end up buying it, and nowadays the company offers the Canon 5D Mark III as part of its Wedding Kit.
Other themed camera/lens kits include Wildlife, Road Trip and of course, Hipster (you probably haven’t heard of it).
While there are some other photography rental sites out there, such as lensrentals.com, the try-before-you-buy model is still rare. Ramamurthy calls her company a “Trunk Club for gadgets,” referring to the men’s-clothing company that ships curated outfits to customers and takes back whatever they don’t want.