The Best and Most Rented New Photography Gear of 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.
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.
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
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.
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.