Photography equipment hire in ACT?

CoffeeGeek 16 November 2009 14

Hi All,

I’ve been asked to shoot some basic wedding photos for a friend. I need to hire a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L (preferably IS).

Is there anywhere to hire this equipment for a weekend in December?



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14 Responses to Photography equipment hire in ACT?
Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 11:44 pm 14 Dec 09

Foo said :

I tried the 24-105mm on my 7D and for a general purpose on a 1.6x crop body, you miss the wider angles. The EF-S lenses start at 15 or 17mm for a reason. Most of the general purpose L series lenses seem optimal for the full frame bodies like the 5F Mk II…

This is true and I went through this a while back as well, it all depends on the individual really. In the end I went for the 24-105 f4 L for my 500D and my old Sigma 18-50 f2.8 hasn’t come out of the cupboard since. Partly because the L lens is much better, as you’d expect, haha.

Sure, I miss the odd wide shot, but (for me) that is more than made up for the extra range past 50mm. I’d say in the 2500 or so shots I’ve taken with my 24-105 that there’s been less than 10 times I’ve been found wanting at the wider end. I’ve actually been surprised by how good it has proved to be in that respect.

levinphotog levinphotog 9:26 am 12 Dec 09

Hi all!

After an incredibly frustrating attempt trying to quickly source a 1000w monobloc & softbox for a shoot last month – I spoke to a hire company in Sydney and while discussing the lack of hire facilities in Canberra, we approached the possibility of them expanding their operations to include a local facility in Canberra dealing with hire of mainly studio equipment but not lenses and such.
I’m still trying to gauge interest and whether it would be profitable to invest in this.
Would love some feedback!

Foo Foo 1:25 pm 17 Nov 09

Also, a good monopod will make life much easier than a tripod for many situations, as you’ll end up moving around a bit and don’t want to get caught up in chair legs and such. It’ll add to the stability and reduce wrist strain, especially if you get hold of a 70-200. And if you can get an assistant as smilesr suggested, a big 5-in-1 reflector/diffuser can make a huge impact on softening light. And before you know it, you’ve spent more on accessories than you did on the lens. Nearly. This is why professional studios charge the rates they do. There’s a whole lot more in a pro’s bag to pay for, and that’s before you take their time into consideration.

Good luck with the shoot, and don’t forget to post the results so we can see how you did.

Back to the original topic, anyone else interested in a lens hire facility in Canberra, please say “Aye”. Possibly with enough interest we could petition a local retailer or studio to start offering the service?

smilesr smilesr 9:51 am 17 Nov 09

Have a back-up camera – even if its film. Murphy’s Law. And actually I have a theory that cameras, computers etc. pick up on the extra stress of their operator and start playing up (no, really!).

And rope in someone as an assistant – invaluable for arranging people, batteries/lenses swaps, holding diffusers, holding tripods, running around etc so you can concentrate on only taking photos.

Foo Foo 6:40 pm 16 Nov 09

I tried the 24-105mm on my 7D and for a general purpose on a 1.6x crop body, you miss the wider angles. The EF-S lenses start at 15 or 17mm for a reason. Most of the general purpose L series lenses seem optimal for the full frame bodies like the 5F Mk II. The 50D is better paired with EF-S lenses which accommodate for the crop on the frame. That’s how the ultra-wides can go down to 10mm and still perform well, with little fish eye distortion, but they won’t work on a full frame body.

The 17-55mm on the 5D would be a better option I think, especially if shooting in low light, hence the original request for the f/2.8 lens. At 55mm you’ll be cropping some shots, but likewise if you want the 200mm focal length, the 20-105mm only gets you halfway there, and over a full stop slower.

The 70-200mm 2.8 IS is one of the best regarded lenses Canon ever built, I can see why CoffeeGeek wants to get one of those in particular. I faced a similar decision recently regarding the 24-105mm f/4 IS and opted to wait and see if Canon announced anything new for Christmas, or I could get a good review of the 17-55mm f/2.8 mentioned above. It’ll be interesting to see if the L-series starts to accommodate the crop bodies better in the near future or if we’ll see some better EF-S lenses.

Inappropriate Inappropriate 4:14 pm 16 Nov 09

As you’ve only got one body you could consider the 24-105mm F/4 L IS…unless you really like your 2.8 f-stop; it would mean not having to swap lenses.

Foo Foo 3:07 pm 16 Nov 09

CoffeeGeek, sounds like you’ve got most bases covered lens wise already, so I’ll stop suggesting alternatives. I was considering the 17-55 f/2.8 myself as a general purpose lens, glad to hear it’s good. Got a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 prime on the way instead.

Do yourself a favour and consider the Tamron 10-24 ultra-wide angle lens too. I bought one a while ago, after comparing head to head with the Canon. Tamron is half a stop faster, not quite as sharp at some apertures, and $400 cheaper. Those things considered it’s an excellent lens, and being EF-S based will suit your 50D quite well. That is to say, better than an EF that was designed for full frame. When I compared shots of the same subject on the computer, I couldn’t really pick which lens was which, without checking exif data. For prints off an inkjet, you’d never be able to tell.

Another “must have” depending on the ceiling is a decent diffuser for the flash, especially if you’re shooting close with the 30mm prime. I’ve got small and large on flash ones. The small is OK, it’s the size of the flash head. The large is like a small icecream bucket you stick the flash in. Really softens the flash and disperses it better across the scene. You do lose a bit of flash strength, but it’s easy enough to compensate for. Likewise for close flash work, an off camera flash cable can really help. Buy the genuine Canon, it’s worth the extra $40 over the generic because, it works. I swapped the generic because it fired one in ten shots. With a good clean ceiling white, bounce flash will be easier.

If you can get an e-mail address to me, I can provide a couple of samples of what the Tamron ultrawide and the 70-300mm Canon can do. Check out the 70-300 at Ted’s in Civic, it might do what you need. I shot with it for years on my 40D, and only replaced it for to 100-400 IS L-series a few weeks back. At 3.5-5.6 it might not be as fast as you want, but the 50D is pretty good in low light.

Having time to do a practice shoot in the venues is a good idea too, even if they’re empty, or at least just scout them so you can check for possible annoying external light sources, high ceilings or other annoyances.

Hope this helps…

deye deye 2:53 pm 16 Nov 09

As far as I am aware there is nowhere in Canberra to hire good quality equipment. There might be a camera/video club around that has some equipment but I doubt it.
When I looked the best I could do was a few places in Sydney or Melboune, remember you’ll have to pay for delivery and the days it’s in transit, at a guess you’d be looking at a couple of hundred dollars.

CoffeeGeek CoffeeGeek 2:37 pm 16 Nov 09

Good comments from all.

This is a case of “get a friend who knows his way around an SLR, or put a disposable camera on every table and hope for the best”.

I wouldn’t borrow a lens, the same as I wouldn’t loan one to anyone. Foo, your idea is brilliant to buy one new then hock it on ebay. It prolly will cost the same, but I won’t be limited to the weekend then have to express ship it back to sydney.

I have a 50d, a 17-55 f/2.8 IS (an exceptional non-L lens), a 30mm f/1.4 prime (which results in almost 50mm on the 1.6x body, and is fast), a good tripod, and I know how and when to use it all. I really would like to hire/buy the 10-22mm canon, and the 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

I have a mentor here in Canberra who was the 2008 international photographer of the year, for weddings, wildlife, and art, so I’ll do a couple of sessions with him, hopefully go on a couple of shoots before mid December.

I appreciate your comments, please keep them coming. This discussion isn’t to help me decide IF I should shoot a friend’s wedding, as they have few options. I’m interested to hear from those who have shot weddings, and get their “Must know” tips and tricks.

Foo Foo 1:04 pm 16 Nov 09

Just buy it, you won’t regret it.

If this is instead of hiring a professional photographer (which would probably cost upwards of $1000), and you’re willing to take a small gamble, buy the lens and hock it for $500 less on eBay or a similar site. Yes, I’d buy a second hand lens of that description for $500 less than retail. It’d probably cost you that much to hire one from Sydney for a day anyway. Mind you, once you shoot with it, you’ll never want to give it back.

And as for Inappropriate’s suggestion of borrowing one, I wouldn’t let my L-series glass out of my sight, let alone hand it over where it’s a fair bet that there will be champagne corks flying and little kids to trip over. You’d have more luck giving someone an invite and letting them handle their own gear.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, go see Jim at Ted’s in Bailey’s Corner, Civic. I’ve trialled a couple of lenses on my camera bodies there to make sure they were worth the investment. Can’t rate Jim’s experience and advice highly enough, and he’ll always try to find a way for you to spend less money if possible. You might be able to find a cheaper alternative (I know they have an EF-S 70-300mmIS at a really good price, a little slower than the 70-200 but still a great lens).

Hope some of this helps, but yes, we need a lens hire shop in Canberra, desperately. My cousin knows a place in Sydney that hires out all kinds of delightful kit, including virtually antique Polaroids for that can’t fake in photoshop look.

Inappropriate Inappropriate 1:02 pm 16 Nov 09

Thoroughly Smashed said :

I’ll leave Dan to describe his experience:

I agree with the sentiments expressed therein.

Wedding’s are a high-pressure sh*t job, and is why I won’t shoot weddings for friends etc. The only way I’d shoot a wedding would be if they couldn’t afford a photographer and it meant having to otherwise go without.

CoffeeGeek CoffeeGeek 12:14 pm 16 Nov 09

TS, fair call, but the person who posted the question was saying things like this:

“Took (part of) a class in general photography at the local tech school”

“My camera is… broken… I’m going to need a new lens, assuming that is, indeed, the problem”

“I’m guessing a tripod (would a basic $US20 to $US30 model do?) and probably a better flash (I know NOTHING about different flashes.”)

This is classic “Are there any beginners books (Wedding Photography For Dummies or something) I could look into? I would like to make the pictures as close to professional as I possibly can manage.”


“I’m not that good”

I wouldn’t ask this guy to photograph anything important. Period.

Inappropriate Inappropriate 11:25 am 16 Nov 09

No one in Canberra. I think there might be places in Melb or Syd that may do it. Have a search of the discussions in as this topic comes up often.

You may have better luck asking to borrow that lens of someone.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 11:25 am 16 Nov 09

I’ll leave Dan to describe his experience:

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