It’s true, it’s true! DEMO DAYS draw nigh and we’re all going to the zoo!

What is there to say about one of our most-anticipated annual events? If you’re not familiar, get ready to make a new tradition out of our FREE Lens & Camera Demo Day. A small army of manufacturers’ representatives and enthusiastic imaging experts from your local Mike’s Camera stores will be setting up shop in the Denver, Cheyenne Mountain, and Sacramento Zoos to loan out a wide variety of the latest gear, absolutely free of charge (aside from the Zoo’s entry fee).

From beginners’ DSLRs to esoteric lenses you’d likely not encounter anywhere else—tilt-shift, anyone?—this is the perfect opportunity to put that camera, lens, or tripod you’ve been eyeing through real-world, risk-free testing. It’s also an incomparable opportunity to play, without having to commit to a new purchase. We’ll bring the dream camera bag, and you can push the gear to its limits surrounded by spring-time wildlife from around the world. (Check out some real-world photos from last year here and an awesome video of the experience here!) Who knows? You might even find out that the missing piece of your kit was hiding where you least expected it… and rumor has it that there will be exclusive savings for anyone who visits our tables.

No registration is necessary, but if you have your eye on something specific, you’re going to want to come early. All rentals are first come, first served, for one hour at a time. After your hour, you can trade it in for another piece of gear, or take the same one out if there’s no one waiting on it. Any photos you take are yours to cherish, forever.

And, yes, we will be hosting the five-figure lenses. When you come up to our tables at the Zoo, ask about our Picture Point schedule!

Your checklist

  • Current driver’s license or government-issued ID card
  • Valid credit card, returned uncharged after our gear is returned
  • MEMORY CARDS for the camera(s) you’re interested in testing
  • Admission money for the zoo
  • Directions to one of the following locations (click each banner for more information):
Free Lens and Camera Demo Day, Saturday, April 27th, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Denver Zoo. Try equipment from Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm, ProMaster, and Tamron.
Free Lens and Camera Demo Day, Saturday, April 28th, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Denver Zoo. Try equipment from Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm, ProMaster, and Tamron.
Free Lens and Camera Demo Day, Saturday, May 5th, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Denver Zoo. Try equipment from Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm, ProMaster, and Tamron.


  1. For the Sacramento Zoo event, which camera (body) manufacturers will be present? e.g. Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony?

    1. Howdy! We’ll have gear and representatives from Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Tamron and Sigma. We’ll have Fujifilm gear to lend, but no representative is available at this time. We’ll also have tripods to test from ProMaster. Hope to see you there!

  2. Hi! Will you have the Sony A7III there to test? I’m really interested in this camera, but haven’t had the chance to test it yet. I’d like to see it before I buy one!

    1. Howdy! We do not receive lists beforehand of specific equipment the manufacturers will be bringing, but I’m confident an α7 III will be available—probably more than one!
      You are also always welcome to stop into any of our retail locations if you’d like to handle a camera before deciding which one is right for you.

    2. Is there any age limitations? My daughter is a budding photographer at age 14 and would like to participate.

      1. Your daughter is more than welcome to participate. We do require a valid driver’s license and credit card to be held as collateral, but if you or another person is willing to furnish them on her behalf it is no problem at all.

  3. Hi there! How many people typically turnout for these, like the Denver event? Is there a lot of waiting around?

    1. We always get a pretty solid turnout, but there’s also a lot of gear. There is zero chance that you’ll wait around if you’re interested in a few different things or open to experimentation. Even if you’re interested in trying something specific, we only get people waiting for the very newest cameras or lenses, typically. When something is out and about, we can tell you when it’s meant to be returned and we’ve organized casual wait-lists when there are more than a couple people vying for something scarce.

    1. Admission to the zoo is not free. However, once you’re through the door, our gear and expertise are unlimited. And remember, the zoo’s gotta keep all those animals happy and healthy!

  4. Another question …. I’m hoping to try several different cameras from different companies. Do I need a memory card for each camera? Or just one per card type used? Make sure I have one XQD for Nikon, and one SDXC UHS-II/U3 to use for Fuji, Sony, and Olympus? Or one XQD for Nikon, and three SDXC’s for Fuji, Sony, and Olympus? Thanks again and looking forward to a day at the zoo 😀

    1. You should have no problem bringing only one of each type of memory card. That being said, if you want to err on the extreme side of caution, it wouldn’t hurt to have one card for each brand, since they each use a different file structure. I haven’t, personally, had any problem using the same memory card across multiple cameras, but theoretically there’s a larger (but still very, very small) risk of corruption. We’re glad you’re excited—it’s one of our favorite events of the year!

  5. This might be a dumb question but can we bring our camera bodies and simply try out new lenses?

    1. Not a dumb question in a world where dumb restrictions sometimes exist. You are more than welcome to bring your camera body (or bodies) and try out lenses.

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