Camera rental trends – Smaller cameras, larger sensors, dominant start for Canon RF

Lensrentals have revealed rental sales data for 2021, as summarised by Yossy Mendelovich of the excellent YMCinema here.

You can see extensive charts from Lensrentals here for 2020 and 2021 which reveal what gear has been successful, and what’s missing from the top 20.

However there’s more to this data than meets the eye!

The Blackmagic Pocket Camera 6K Pro appears at number 5 on the “new gear” released in 2021 chart, but the older standard 6K model without the ND filter is a bigger hit overall in 2021 with rental customers, second only to the Canon C300 Mark II in the category of video cameras. It manages to out-perform both the new C70 and recent C200, thanks to the affordability, small size, vertical integration with DaVinci Resolve, and the presence of ProRes as well as BRAW.

Lensrentals is a very large company and quite representative of the overall market for photography and videography in the US, but of course more niche or high-end rental houses for cinema will give you very different charts and in other countries things may be slightly different as well, but this is a good glimpse of what’s being used often.

The top 20 of the most rented photo & video gear is absolutely dominated by Canon and Sony. Blackmagic is the only outlier in that list.

The EOS R5 tops the overall chart of rented gear (both camera bodies and lenses), but the Sony a7S III isn’t far behind.

1. Canon EOS R5
2. Canon 5D Mark IV
3. Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II
4. Canon EOS R6
5. Sony Alpha a7S III
Looking at just the pro video cameras, the 2021 most-rented chart looks like this (if you count the a7S III):
1. Sony Alpha a7S III
2. Canon C300 Mark II
3. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (EF)
4. Canon C70
5. Canon C200
I am pretty sure most of the people renting the R5 are using it for stills, whereas the majority using the a7S III are using it for video… Although it would be interesting to know what the exact breakdown of use-case is between those two.

The only type of lens in the top 20 are all 24-70mm and 70-200mm apart from one outlier – the Canon 35mm F1.4L II EF.

This shows how different the rental market is to a buyer’s market.

So although Panasonic and Fuji aren’t in the top 20 at Lensrentals, that’s not to say cameras like the X-T4 or S1H haven’t been doing well at other outlets.

It’s interesting that the addition of EF mount and 6K over the original Micro Four Thirds 4K model seems to have done it quite a few favours.

The Canon C70 might be top of the new cameras, but actually the humble Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K is rented more often.

The Canon C70 costs almost as much per day at Lensrentals as a Sony FX6, so Canon will nevertheless be pleased with that performance. They need to see an expensive EOS R mount camera doing strongly, as that bodes well for the adoption of RF lenses in the future once people move on from EF and adapters. I still think the real strength of EF lenses is that you can use them on so many different systems though – so they may be around for a while yet. The 5D Mark IV is also still one of the top most rented pieces of equipment in 2021 at Lensrentals but I really think we’ll see that camera steadily start dropping away next year.

Here’s that NEWLY RELEASED equipment chart in full –

1. Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (RF)
2. Sony FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Camera
3. Sony Alpha a1
4. Sony FX6 Full-Frame Cinema Camera
5. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro (EF)
6. RED DIGITAL CINEMA KOMODO 6K Camera Production Kit
7. Nikon Z 7II
8. Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
9. Leica Q2 Monochrom
10. Aputure LS 600d Pro Daylight LED V-Mount Kit
11. DZOFilm Pictor 20-55mm T2.8 Parfocal Zoom (EF)
12. Fuji GFX 100S Medium Format Mirrorless
13. Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM
14. Sony FX6 Camera Kit w/ 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens
15. DZOFilm Pictor 50-125mm T2.8 Parfocal Zoom (EF)
16. Canon EOS C300 Mark II w/ Touch Focus Kit (EF)
17. Blackmagic Design ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel
18. SmallHD Cine 24″ 4K High Bright Pro Monitor
What’s interesting also is if you look at the overall manufacturer data for cameras and lenses. Here we see Nikon has not just fallen significantly behind Sony in terms of camera rentals but also Blackmagic! I wonder if the result is similar at other major rental shops? Also, Nikon are behind Sigma in the overall share of lenses rented out, whereas Canon not only have maintained their lead but it appears to be growing strongly with the introduction of RF mount.
Major camera brands, overall share of rentals (at Lensrentals):
1. Canon 38.05%
2. Sony 26.26%
3. Blackmagic 7.85%
4. Nikon 6.36%
5. Panasonic 5.49%
6. Fuji 3.94%
7. Leica 3.30%
Notice Panasonic at number 5 is less than 1% behind Nikon.
It appears the Panasonic S1, S5, GH5 and S1H are outgunning the entire Fuji GFX and X-mount range and are close to dominating Z-mount cameras.
That’s quite encouraging and I hope Panasonic can get the GH6 and a possible S2H out soon to capitalise on it.
Meanwhile the overall lens manufacturer chart looks like this:
1. Canon 37.16%
2. Sony 15.76%
3. Sigma 11.45%
4. Nikon 9.93%
5. Zeiss 3.37%
6. Fuji 3.29%
7. Tamron 2.69%
8. Angenieux 2.44%
9. Fujinon 2.01%
10. Panasonic 1.87%
11. Leica 1.83%
12. Venus Optics 1.25%
13. Olympus 1.17%
14. Rokinon 0.70%
15. Hasselblad 0.61%
16. Tokina 0.58%
Canon with a 37% share of all lens rentals at Lensrentals shows how important cameras like the EOS R5 are to get right.
EF mount is a successful act to follow.
It just shows how much the others have to catch up – when even Sony is at just 15% of the lens market at a major rental house!