Up until recently, we have taken our pictures exclusively with our iPhones.
But let’s be honest, sometimes the iPhone camera just doesn’t cut it.
Ruth and I really knew nothing about photography and cameras before we started our blog. If you look back at our old posts, you’d probably give us a big “A for effort.”
My extensive training really capped out at the rule of thirds and tap to focus on your subject. Who’s with me?
A few months ago, we decided that we wanted to step up our photo-taking game and eventually invest in a nice camera.
Buying a nice camera is exactly that: an investment. Of course, you can get a Canon Rebel for a few hundred bucks, but with iPhone cameras improving each year, we want to invest in a camera that easily exceeds the quality of iPhone photography.
But that likely means a few thousand dollars for a solid camera and lenses. That’s no joke.
We wanted to have the BEST camera for our budget, but we barely knew what we were doing. Classic millennials.
So what was the obvious answer? Rent.
Renting gives us the opportunity to do two things: 1) learn and practice photography and 2) find the perfect camera for us. And it gives us the opportunity to do this at a fraction of the cost of buying right away!
On our trip to Zihuatanejo, we rented a Canon 6D and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. This was an amazing set up, and I was able to pick up the features fairly quickly.
The 6D has a full frame sensor and the Canon lens produces really sharp images. But what this combo has in quality, it lacks in portability. Since we will be using the camera primarily for traveling, we need it to be easy to move with.
After experiencing the bulkiness of the Canon setup, I considered a different option: mirrorless cameras.
Mirrorless cameras basically forgo the common design of your standard Canon or Nikon DSLR which use a mirror to provide the viewfinder image. In layman’s terms, it’s smaller.
We recently had a very last minute trip to Europe come together. (more on that here).
This trip was the perfect opportunity to try out another camera and lens.
There are several rental companies to choose from, but this time we partnered with LensProToGo.
These guys are photography pro’s (get it?) and really know the in’s and out’s of the gear they carry. The team was SO helpful while we tried to decide what direction we wanted to go on this trip.
The team at LensProToGo took the time to understand our style and figure out what gear would best suit our needs. This was hugely valuable for us, as we still are so new to all this.
They pride themselves on their service, and they exceeded our expectations.
They give each new customer a call to get to know their needs and make sure they are getting the perfect gear.
After talking it over with the team, we decided to try out the Sony Alpha A7S II for our trip.
We also went all out on lenses, renting the Sony 16-35mm f/4, Zeiss 25mm f/2.0 Batis, Zeiss 85mm f/1.8 Batis.
A Novice Photographer’s Review
The camera. The A7S was a dream. It sold me on mirrorless cameras and really sold me on Sony. We were so excited about this camera that our next rental will most likely be another version of the A7 series.
Its strengths are its ability in low light and 4k video capabilities. Let’s be honest though, I hardly touched the video because one thing at a time, right?! The only real weaknesses in the camera were the low megapixels (12MP) and that some colors (mainly green) appeared almost too vibrant in the pictures. But overall, LOVED the camera.
The lenses. The benefit of renting three lenses really allowed us to practice our photography skills. We had a range of focal lengths and aperture of the lenses, so I loved switching the lenses and figuring out which lens worked best for each spot.
Our favorite lens was the Zeiss 25mm f/2.0. For a fixed focal length lens, it was incredibly versatile for everything from street photography to portraits.
The Sony 16-35mm f/4 was a solid lens and was on the camera for likely the most time because of the zoom ability. The f/4 aperture was not ideal for a shallow depth of field. If Sony had a zoom lens with f/2.0, I would be sold.
Lastly, the Zeiss 85mm f/1.8 Batis was a valuable tool in the bag. The 85mm focal length was critical for long distance shots and proved to me the importance of having something more zoomed in. Surprisingly, the f/1.8 aperture almost had too shallow depth of field. The f/2.0 on the 25mm lens felt perfect for portraits.
This trip gave us tons of time to practice our photography and try out some awesome gear. I highly recommend the rent-to-own approach for finding the perfect camera.
If you want to rent some gear as well, whether to find the perfect setup or test a new lens for your existing camera, definitely check out LensProToGo.
Use our code ROME10 for 10% off your purchase! And the best part is that the price includes shipping and, of course, their exceptional service.