If you’re thinking of purchasing a new lens but aren’t quite sure if you want it, or if you’re hoping to shoot one specific event that you don’t have equipment for but don’t need to purchase, you might consider renting.
Local to the Twin Cities, West Photo rents a variety of gear, including lenses, camera bodies, lighting, etc. However, they’ve recently changed a few things about their rental program that make it a little less accessible – they require a credit card for a security deposit and the cost of the lens is reserved on your card. So if you’re renting a $1100 lens, you’ll need to have $1100 available, at least temporarily, on a credit card. They also require a liability and inland marine insurance policy, something most amateur photographers do not have.
There are several online sites that also rent lenses and have fewer requirements, making it easier to rent as a hobbyist. You reserve a lens for a specific period of time and it’s shipped to your door. When you’re done, you ship it back. It’s a nice way to test out something temporarily.