Camera and Lens Quality at BorrowLenses

No surprise, but we think camera and lens quality is important here at BorrowLenses. That’s why all our gear goes through rigorous inspection between every order so that everything is functioning well when you rent or buy any of our used gear.


Renting means our equipment is well loved, which is why it is important to us that every item goes through our comprehensive review before is available for the next renter. Even if a renter is in a hurry, we will not release an item to rent if it hasn’t gone through inspection.


Gear Check: Examining Problems and Maintaining Camera and Lens Quality

Each time gear comes back to our facilities, our receivers begin with an inspection, which includes the following tasks:

  • Examine front/rear lens elements for damage and dust.
  • Inspect lens barrels for any damage to focus, zoom, and aperture rings (where present).
  • Verify focus accuracy and zoom performance at minimum and maximum zooms (where applicable).
  • Test-shoot lenses against white cards to test for any inner element dust or debris.
  • Fully clean lenses and camera bodies.
  • Check camera card slots for dust or damage.
  • Note any superficial scarring of equipment (much like with rental cars).
  • Test for front/back focusing of lenses on various camera bodies against a LensAlign or similar tool.
  • Clean camera sensors.
  • Cameras, lighting equipment, monitors, and more are fully reset to their defaults.


What Happens When Cameras or Lenses Fail Testing

If any piece of equipment fails the quality test, it is sent to our repair experts for further inspection. If a customer reports a unique problem, our gear techs will try and replicate it and send the item to repairs to dive into. This is why sometimes the item you’ve reserved becomes unavailable. We won’t ship out anything that doesn’t pass rigorous quality control.


Sometimes our gear techs are unable to replicate problems reported by customers. Even with your own gear, it is a good idea to check a variety of possible causes when your equipment isn’t performing as expected (some suggestions are listed below). If you ever think something is wrong with your rental or used gear purpose, give us a call right away so we can figure it out with you.


Used Camera Gear

Because of the thorough testing we do between rentals, our gear remains in good shape for selling. When it’s time to sell an item, we do all the things above plus another inspection to rate the item. A detailed description of any cosmetic issues is posted on the item’s listing so you know exactly what you’re getting.


Once your used gear arrives, we allow a 3-day inspection period on all sale items from the date of delivery. You can return the item within those 3 days for any reason at all with just a 3% restocking fee and the round-trip shipping cost of the equipment. After that, we allow 4 weeks for general returns, less the rental fees we would have charged, and shipping costs. Of course, if any gear is not performing as described, let us know so we can figure that out with you.


12 Settings to Check Before Shooting or When Testing Camera and Lens Quality

  • Camera’s eyepiece/viewfinder diopter. Is it set for your eyes?
  • Lenses are made within certain tolerances of sharpness. You can compensate for this with front/back focusing settings in your camera. Learn more in Microadjustment for Lens and Camera Front/Back Focusing Issues.
  • Some lenses with manual aperture rings will not cooperate with a camera in auto/semi-auto modes (Program or Shutter Priority) unless the aperture ring is locked or set to a certain locking f/stop (for Fuji X-mount lenses, set the aperture ring to “A”).
  • Make sure the Quick Control dial (certain Canon cameras) isn’t accidentally locked. Make sure the Mode Dial lock is released (applicable to certain Nikon cameras).
  • If you use the shutter button to focus and it doesn’t seem to be working, ensure your camera isn’t set to use the back-focus button.
  • Check your meter mode. If the exposures you’re getting aren’t what you’re expecting, you could be in Matrix/Evaluative mode when you’d rather be in Spot mode.
  • Look at your Exposure Compensation Dial to see if it’s set to over/under expose.
  • Choose the right focus mode for your subject. This is different from Focus Area. Learn more in All About Autofocus: Focus Area vs Focus Mode for Beginners.
  • Set file size and quality you want. Most cameras, when reset, default to JPEG and not RAW.
  • Format your memory card. Double check that the card truly is compatible with your camera. Some older cameras don’t play nicely with newer cards.
  • Check that ISO isn’t set to auto (common in resets).
  • LCDs can lose contrast and batteries die quickly, for example. Keep this in mind when traveling.

Create your own checklist and stick to it – think like a pilot!


Environmental Factors with Cameras and Lenses

Our gear is stored in temperature-controlled environments on shelving designed to protect them from shake (whether from the earthquakes we get in California or just from heavy, moving objects in the warehouse). A lot of the more complex gear is shipped in hard cases while others are shipped in specially-cut, shock-absorbing foam. In both cases, rentals are then placed into sometimes very-loved cardboard boxes to be more environmentally friendly.


Things happen, however. When gear is out on the road, it’s hard to control things like storage temperature and shaking after an item leaves the confines of our warehouses. Please report any suspicious behavior or damage to us immediately:

PHOTO DEPARTMENT /  (844) 853-6737 x2

VIDEO DEPARTMENT / (844) 853-6737 x3

Alexandria Huff's photography and lighting tutorials can be found on 500px and her blog. See her lighting tutorials here. She is a Marketing Associate Manager at She learned about lighting and teaching while modeling for photographers such as Joe McNally and has since gone on to teach lighting workshops of her own in San Francisco. Before focusing on studio portraiture, she shot motorsports for X-Games, World Rally Cross, and Formula Drift. See her chiaroscuro-style painterly portraits on her website.

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About BL

BorrowLenses is an online camera gear rental service that started in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007. We offer a wide selection of camera gear ranging from camera bodies, lenses, lighting and accessories. We make it easy to rent gear by shipping your order straight to you.