If you need a piece of photographic equipment your natural inclination might be to buy. But, actually, renting it instead can often prove to be the better decision. Obviously there are practical reasons for hiring the 'big ticket' likes of a studio, or a lighting rig more commonly used for feature films than owning either yourself outright. But even smaller items such as cameras and lenses are sometimes better borrowed than purchased. For example, you might require them just for one specific job, so the expense of a purchase is hard to justify.
There's also the fact that if you do hire, you can go for the latest and greatest kit each time, rather than being limited by the previous year's model just because you've bought it. Alternatively, you might not even be sure that whatever you're hiring is totally right for you - so the service can also be used as an invaluable 'try before you buy' option. It's additionally worth seeking out special deals, such as a weekend's hire at a single day's rate, whilst negotiating an extra day (or two) is also sometimes possible.
To get you've started we've flagged up a selection of 'go to' firms for a wide range of hire products, and detailed why they could be well worth checking out.
The Flash Centre
With outposts in London, Leeds and Birmingham, the rental arm of 'TFC' is recognised by pro photographers as a lighting specialist, particularly as regards the Elinchrom brand, having been in business for a quarter of a century. It offers various 'carrots' to photographers, such as a trybefore-you-buy option - with up to 50% of the hire charge returned if subsequently buying - plus special weekend rates and a loyalty scheme. For example, four stamps awarded each time you spend over £40 add up to £25 off your next hire.
Further advantages when opening an account with The Flash Centre include the ability to make convenient monthly payments, receive a 5% early payment discount, a 15% bonus voucher, and, unlike some, there's no need to leave a deposit on kit. In addition, the longer you hire for, the more financial saving are made, with a sliding scale in place. For instance, 10-14 days' hire is charged at seven days, or 28 days is charged at just 10 days. The 9am Friday to 10am Monday weekend rate is charged at a single day, or you can take delivery at 3pm on Thursday and keep until the Monday - for a day and a half's payment.
Apart from all manner and sizes of Elinchrom lights, The Flash Centre also hires out rigs for videographers, along with continuous lights, monitors and microphones for shooting videowith an HD DSLR. Another recent boost in popularity has been for action cameras, with TFC offering the market leading GoPro range.
Although its company name may indicate otherwise, Canon and Nikon camera bodies are offered too - including the heavyweight likes of the 5D Mark II and 1D X, plus D4 and D800 (including the 'e' variant). There is also a comprehensive range of accompanying lenses, not only brand specific but also those from Zeiss. Phase one cameras and even the likes of the Fuji X100 system camera are further offered for hire.
Opening hours are 9.00am to 5.30am Monday to Friday, and naturally T&C's apply.
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