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Equipment

The Best and Most Rented New Photography Gear of 2015

Published December 16, 2015

Here at LensRentals, we have a unique perspective to the market trends. With over 100,000 pieces of gear that are rented out regularly, we’re able to effectively monitor what products are the most interesting for photographers and videographers. Here is where we’ll show you all our own market trends, and give you a list of the most popular photography and videographer items rented from the year 2015. We’ll also go through our staff, and they’ll individually explain to you what new items they were most excited about from this past year.

Please note that this list is just of the new items from this past year. We went back and forth deciding if we should also show off the most rented gear from 2015, but the reality is that list wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. It’d be a lot of 24-70mm lenses and other very popular lenses and camera bodies rented not necessarily for their interesting features, but for their practicality. We decided that new gear would bring more talking points to our customers, and as a result, we’ve gathered a list of the most popular new items from 2015.

 

Most Popular New Photography Gear of 2015

1 Sony Alpha a7R II 11 Metabones EF-S Lens to E Mount T Smart Adapter IV
2 Sony Alpha a7II 12 Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA
3 DJI Ronin-M 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer 13 Nikon D7200
4 Canon 11-24mm f/4L 14 Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS
5 Canon EOS 5DS R 15 Easyrig Cinema 3 500N with 9″ Arm
6 Canon EOS 5DS 16 SmallHD 5″ 502 HDMI / SDI On-Camera Field Monitor
7 Sony FE 28-135mm f/4 G PZ OSS 17 Teradek Bolt Pro 300 Wireless HD-SDI/HDMI Kit
8 Litepanels Astra 1×1 Bi-Color LED Panel w/ AB Plate 18 Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS Macro
9 Sony Alpha a7S II 19 Sony FE 28mm f/2
10 Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM for Canon 20 Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED AF-S VR

 

Though renting gear isn’t all that we do. We also have an entire staff of photographers who spend each and every day inspecting, cleaning, repairing and using the gear within our inventory. Each of our staff members has their own unique advice and experiences with the gear that comes into our office. So we decided we ask each of them to contribute to the discussion, and tell us what is their favorite new piece of photography and video gear from the past year.

Staff Picks

 

Sony a7R II
My favorite piece of kit for 2015 is the Sony a7RII. I’d been a fan of the new Sony full frame mirrorless bodies for a while, but they kept falling short for me in performance, most notably with autofocus. The a7RII is the first that I’ve successfully used at weddings without feeling the need to have a Nikon D750 on hand (my preferred wedding body up to this point). AF is quick and accurate, high ISO noise performance is superb, the in-body stabilization is very handy, especially when I use Leica lenses on adapters, and the slightly larger build over the previous generation really makes the camera feel better in my hands. Once Sony has a decent, full lens line up I’ll be completely set. Even with the current lineup, I usually only need the 28mm, 55mm, and 90mm, and a couple of Leica favorites like the 21mm Summilux.
Joey Miller

 

Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS II
My favorite new piece of gear is the Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS II. It’s amazingly light for a super-telephoto at 4.5 pounds (about a pound more than a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens) and with 4-stop image stabilization can be handheld even when the light isn’t awesome. It’s very sharp and unlike the version 1 is quite contrasty. Basically, it’s an easily carried super telephoto lens than can be shot without a tripod if you wish. And it’s a good 560mm f/5.6 lens with a 1.4X teleconverter. It’s expensive, but it’s unique and expands my capabilities.
Roger Cicala

 

Sony PXW-FS5
Most of the stuff I shoot outside of work is solo documentary, which calls for a very specific set of functions that don’t always seem to be a priority for camera makers. Canon’s C100 and Canon’s C300 have fit the bill pretty well for me so far, but Sony’s FS5 might just take over as my tool of choice, which makes it my favorite product of 2015. Internal 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, high speed burst shooting at up to 240fps, SLog 3 support, dual SDXC slots, near-perfect ergonomics, and the crazy convenient electronically variable ND filter would make it a pretty impressive camera at any size. The fact that you can fit this thing in a backpack with room leftover for a shotgun mic and a couple lenses might make it the best documentary camera so far for single shooters who don’t need 4K, which it’ll do, but only in 8-bit 4:2:0. I don’t need 4K yet, though, and if you’re shooting documentaries without a crew then you don’t either.
Ryan Hill

 

Profoto B2 Strobes
I’ve used the Profoto B2 more than any other light this year. I’m a small person, I drive a small car, and I do most shoots on location.This light is super portable and battery powered so I can always get beautifully lit shots wherever I go from the streamlined and sleek brand that I love. The Profoto B2 also offers TTL shooting and High-Speed Sync. I pair this kit with the AirRemote TTL transceiver  to shoot wirelessly, but the flash heads are small enough to use on camera via the ProMediaGear BBX Boomerang Flash Bracket for Profoto B2.At 250w/s the B2 only has about half the output of the Profoto B1 500 Air, but I’ve found I don’t normally use that much power and if needed the two lights can be used in combination.
Sarah McAlexander

 

Canon 35mm f/1.4 II
This year, I fell in love with the new Canon 35mm f/1.4L II. I loved the old version of this lens, so it was great to see Canon finally step it up, and make the sharpest 35mm available. Previously, Sigma had shaken me away from the Canon 35mm with their Sigma 35mm Art 1.4, but I’ve always been a bit of a Canon loyalist and opted to wait for Canon to bring a new contender to the race. They did with the Canon 35mm f/1.4 II, improving on everything from its previous version. Sadly, though, the price was also improved, but it is certainly a worthy investment given our recent discoveries of its incredible build quality.
Zach Sutton

 

Canon C300 Mark II
Canon has outdone themselves with the Canon C300 Mark II. Their original Canon C300 has been one of our favorite cameras since its release. We recommend that camera a lot because it is so user-friendly and very reliable. We rarely receive complaints about the C300, it just works. So I was really excited when we demoed the C300 Mark II at NAB this year. Sure enough, every concern we had with the original C300 has been addressed: 4K resolution, high frame rate shooting, 12-bit internal recording, proxy files, detachable monitor cables, raw output, and more! Canon has made their best camera even better, and it will be my goto solution for 2016.
Kris Steward

 

Leica SL (Typ 601)
I’m going with the Leica SL (Type 601). Though still in its infancy, the SL promises a level of versatility we have never seen from a Leica camera. By switching over to an EVF type mirrorless system, the SL has access to nearly any lens available (via adapter). We can expect to enjoy fast and accurate autofocus, as is clear with the 24-90mm, on a new set of lenses held to Leica’s legendary standards. Normally I shoot with Leica rangefinders (M-series), which have inherent limitations on focal range and subject distance. While the precision of a rangefinder experience and overall outcome make this sacrifice worthwhile to me, the SL has the potential to liberate photographers from these bounds and still retain the immersive quality Leica is known for. The prospect of Leica refining the modern mirrorless camera as they have the rangefinder over the past century is very exciting indeed.
Aaron Closz

 

So there you have it, the best new products for photographers and videographers for 2015. Did you think we missed something? Feel free to list your favorite new pieces of gear in the comments below.

Author: Lensrentals

Articles written by the entire editorial and technical staff at LensRentals.com. These articles are for when there is more than one author for the entire post, and are written as a community effort.

Posted in Equipment
  • Waxy Parsnips

    WOW! Watching you dismantle this lens and tear it down to bare metal is like standing on a cliff and looking into an abbiss! Lots of bravery!!

  • Patty Keeley Mills

    I’m preparing to shoot a wedding this weekend. I’ve been told it’s low light – maybe candlelight. I have a Canon 70D and 60D with 70-200 2.8L II and 24-70 2.8L. I’m thinking I need something even faster. What would you recommend? I need to pick this up on 1/15/16.

  • Archieman

    Or the Rx100iii, the viewfinder, tilt LCD, small size and excellent image quality are what attracted me to this model

  • Lorenz Rychner

    You list Sigma 150-600 (not specifying which, C or S) and not Tamron 150-600. The Sigma C I rented had an unacceptably stiff focus ring, the Tamron did not and was otherwise on par during my short time of use. What can you say about the reason/difference?

  • Thinkinginpictures

    I bet the Sony A99 is at the bottom of the list of “most rented” cameras for 2015. Sigh…the life of an A mount shooter keeps getting harder:(

  • mikespivey

    Thanks for the reply. As someone with a foot in the Canon and Sony camps, I think Canon gets shorted because they have nothing new. It’s like everyone has abandoned them, which is not true. As old as it is, when I must produce, I grab the Canon, not the Sony.
    I personally think the continued use of “old tech” is also newsworthy.
    Thanks

  • Mikespivey, you are correct. We thought it would be boring to just list the usual suspects: Canon 5DIII, 24-70s, and 70-200s. That is, as you say, bread and butter. Actually if we had the ‘most rented’ list it would just be the ‘most rented Canon list’ so we’d almost have had to do it by brand. The only thing of interest, perhaps, is that Sony cameras have passed Nikon as the second most rented cameras.

  • mikespivey

    Very interesting. However, I would be interested in a list that includes old and new. Surely, you must still rent a ton of 5D Mk IIIs and D810s with bread and butter (24-70 and 70-200) lenses. Not new and exciting, but still workhorses. Thanks

  • Marc P.

    An excellent Tear-Down Post, Roger. Very well documented and written. I am just wondering…how would Sigma correct a front or backfocus for instance with this or other (say 50/1.4) ART lenses? Well, i think here comes in mind the Sigma USB Dock…but that couldn’t be all…one would say…or?! 😉

    Happy new year soon, all best for the LR Team.
    Marc

  • Orange

    RX100

  • CarVac

    Which Sigma 150-600 is it that made the list? Or the sum of the two?

  • Unrest

    I agree with Sarah!! Hello :).

  • bdbender4

    Fuji x-T10 and 18-55 zoom package. I am just a casual photographer, but I also have been at it for 50 years and have had a lot of gear. It’s almost embarrassing to admit this little setup is actually all I need most of the time. I know this is a niche product, but it has pretty much taken the place of my Canon 6D plus 24-70 F/4L grab-and-go setup. The lens, as many have said, ain’t no typical kit lens, and it’s very happy at F/4. I have a pretty good pile of Canon stuff, plus two other Fuji X bodies, and 4 Fuji primes. But now they mostly just sit.

  • Thelma Sheneman

    My daughter is going to China in Feb. what recommendation on a camera do you have. Something small but good.

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