Equipment

The Top Rented Photo and Video Products of 2020

Published December 30, 2020

Each year, we take a look at the data and rentals we were able to provide for our customer base and use it to get some perspective on where the industry might be heading. Certainly, this year was a different one, with the pandemic putting many stops to the industry and the jobs available – but we still were able to rent out thousands of piece of gear each month, to help other create their vision. While much of the event photography space was stopped in its wake, there was still a substantial amount of gear rented for personal projects and other things. As always, we’re so thankful to have your business this year, despite how tough it may have been for you and your colleagues. So let us take a look at the most popular gear rentals of 2020.

 

Most Popular Photography & Videography Gear of 2020
1 Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II 11 Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III
2 Canon 5D Mark IV 12 Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro
3 Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II 13 Sony NP-FZ100 Battery
4 Sony Alpha a7 III 14 DJI Ronin-S 3-Axis Gimbal
5 Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III 15 Canon 6D Mark II
6 Canon 35mm f/1.4L II 16 Nikon D750
7 Canon EOS R 17 Canon LP-E6N Battery
8 Canon 50mm f/1.2L 18 Canon EF-EOS R Mount Adapter
9 Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS 19 Canon 85mm f/1.2L II
10 Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM 20 Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art for Canon

 

If this isn’t your first year seeing this annual list (you may want to peek at our list for 201920182017, and 2016), you’ll see that for the top spots, it’s more of the same year after year. The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II has been the top rented lens for us for years now, and the Canon 5D Mark IV has held the top spot for cameras when it was released back in 2016. Will that change with the new flagship of the Canon EOS R5? Only time will tell, but it didn’t make this year’s list, as it wasn’t released until a few months ago, and stock has still been difficult to get ahold of. Another point of interest is that no new gear has made the top 20 this year, and it has just been a year of the standard rentals from previous years. A number of things could account for that, from brands like RED camera holding off their release schedule because of the pandemic, or the pandemic putting halts on so many opportunities within the industry.

While the most popular rentals are interesting, let’s dig into it further and talk about individual lens mounts and how much each lens mount takes of the market share. This was a big year for the Canon RF mount, which should be no surprise. With seven lenses announced in 2020 for the RF mount, and two new cameras to the lineup, Canon has made a big push towards their mirrorless platform. Nikon has also pushed their Z platform, though they didn’t see the rentals to show much of an improvement from previous years.

 

Market Share of Photo Lenses Rented in 2020 by Mount
Brand Last Year (2019) This Year (2020) Change %
Canon EF Mount 40.04% 37.32% -2.72%
Canon EF-M Mount 0.04% 0.19% 0.15%
Canon RF Mount 1.38% 5.66% 4.28%
Fuji X Mount 3.53% 2.87% -0.66%
Fuji GFX 0.80% 1.14% 0.34%
Hasselblad X 0.40% 0.74% 0.34%
L Mount 1.06% 2.34% 1.28%
Leica M 1.20% 1.33% 0.13%
Micro 4/3rds 5.61% 4.55% -1.06%
Nikon F 17.99% 16.24% -1.75%
Nikon Z 0.77% 1.36% 0.59%
Pentax 645 0.12% 0.11% -0.01%
Pentax K 0.30% 0.30% 0.00%
Sony A 0.45% 0.31% -0.14%
Sony E 25.17% 24.52% -0.65%

 

When it comes to video mounts, the industry is still predominately using the Canon EF mount of lenses, with PL mount lenses coming in a distant second – with those margins shrinking. Surprisingly, the Sony E mount has seen a pretty substantial dip on the video side, which could be cause for speculation (I’ll let the comments handle that).

 

Market Share of Video Lenses Rented in 2020 by Mount
Brand Last Year (2019) This Year (2020) Change %
B4 Mount 0.00% 1.71% 1.71%
Canon EF Mount 51.69% 52.92% 1.23%
Fuji Mount 0.11% 0.58% 0.47%
Micro 4/3rds 4.41% 3.37% -1.04%
Nikon F 0.37% 0.25% -0.12%
PL Mount 28.95% 33.20% 4.25%
Sony E 14.47% 7.97% -6.50%

 

If we broaden the view a bit, we can take a look at market trends as a whole and how they correlate to individual lens brands and their marketing strategies. If we take a look at individual lens brands, you’ll see that the biggest thing to notice is that Nikon has now fallen to fourth, behind Sigma. However, no one had as big of a fall (on the photo side) as Sony has, with a -1.59% market share drop. When you move to the video side, you see that Sigma and Angenieux both had tough years, losing some of their market share to Canon and Fujinon, while Zeiss stayed steady in their share.

 

Market Share of Photo Lens Brands Rented in 2020
Brand Last Year (2019) This Year (2020) Change %
Canon 33.05% 33.83% 0.78%
Fuji 4.30% 3.94% -0.36%
Leica 1.68% 2.31% 0.63%
Nikon 13.17% 12.41% -0.76%
Olympus 1.80% 1.81% 0.01%
Panasonic 3.38% 2.90% -0.48%
Sigma 10.58% 12.43% 1.85%
Sony 20.62% 19.03% -1.59%
Tamron 4.26% 3.75% 0.51%
Venus Optics 0.81% 2.07% 1.26%
Zeiss 2.32% 1.76% -0.56%

 
 

Market Share of Video Lens Brands Rented in 2020
Brand Last Year (2019) This Year (2020) Change %
Angenieux 13.52% 9.34% -4.18%
Canon 21.67% 29.05% 7.38%
Fujinon 10.50% 13.79% 3.29%
Rokinon 5.66% 6.53% 0.87%
Sigma 17.89% 14.46% -3.43%
SLR Magic 3.21% 1.65% -1.56%
Tokina 1.58% 1.99% 0.41%
Zeiss 19.88% 20.02% 0.14%

 

Next, let’s take a look at different trends within the camera market. We rent a large variety of camera types, from small action cameras like GoPro HEROs, to cinema-quality systems from ARRI and RED. When we look at the data below, the most obvious statistic to note is that mirrorless is eating away at the DSLR market, as brands like Canon and Nikon focus even more of their attention and resources on their mirrorless platforms. Additionally, medium format cameras doubled their marketshare this year, which Fuji’s platforms have a lot to account for. ENG (electric news gathering) cameras also took a small dip in their numbers, as a result of what could likely be chalked up to cancellations of productions because of Covid-19 – but your guess is as good as mine.
 

Market Share of Camera Types Rented in 2020
Camera Type Last Year (2019) This Year (2020) Change %
Action Cam 3.12% 3.50% 0.38%
Cinema Camcorder 32.68% 36.29% 3.61%
Compact Camera 4.32% 3.22% -1.10%
DSLR 25.42% 19.68% -5.74%
ENG Camcorder 9.33% 6.35% -2.98%
Medium Format Camera 1.40% 3.02% 1.62%
Mirrorless Camera 21.57% 24.95% 3.38%
Prosumer Camcorder 2.16% 2.98% 0.82%

 

And finally, let’s break down the data one last time by specific brands. Below is a breakdown of each brand and what brand rents most frequently here at Lensrentals.com.

Market Share of Brands Rented in 2020
Brand Last Year (2019) This Year (2020) Change %
Canon 24.89% 25.18% 0.29%
Sony 16.76% 14.49% -2.27%
Nikon 6.89% 6.51% -0.38%
Sigma 4.75% 5.43% 0.68%
Blackmagic 2.01% 4.52% 2.51%
Panasonic 3.94% 3.66% -0.28%
DJI 3.33% 3.04% -0.29%
Fuji 2.36% 2.83% 0.47%
Zeiss 2.07% 1.80% -0.27%
Leica 1.42% 1.73% 0.31%
SanDisk 1.76% 1.55% -0.21%
Manfrotto 1.50% 1.40% -0.10%
Tamron 1.44% 1.36% -0.08%
RED 2.44% 1.28% -1.16%
Teradeck 1.05% 1.22% 0.17%
ARRI 0.98% 1.12% 0.14%
SmallHD 1.34% 1.02% -0.32%
All Other Brands 21.07% 21.86% 0.72%

 

Did any of this data surprise you? Let us know what you found most interesting in the comments below, and stayed tuned for another article in a few days, which will break down specifically new products released in 2020.

Author: Zach Sutton

I’m Zach and I’m the editor and a frequent writer here at Lensrentals.com. I’m also an editorial and portrait photographer in Los Angeles, CA, and offer educational workshops on photography and lighting all over North America.

Posted in Equipment
  • I’m sure there are plenty of competing brands of monitors, lights, cages, tripods and stands that would be equally appreciated if offered by Lensrentals, but in this business you should stock what people have heard of and may have used to good effect in the past. Coincidentally, that might be how Vitec decides on what to invest in (like Syrp).

  • I’m 99% sure these numbers are unit based, and not rental cost based. Though I just got the spreadsheets and put together the piece, so I’ll double check on Monday.

  • RC Jenkins

    Thanks Zach.

    Any insight into whether these market shares are unit shares or value shares?

  • Thank you RC. Looks like the Nikon Z was a transposition error, and I’m not sure why the other figures didn’t add up to 100%, as that was an Excel function. Either way, both figures have been corrected.

  • RC Jenkins

    Are these market shares by # of units, or are they by value?

    For example, if someone rents a Canon R5 and separately rents an extra Canon LP-E6NH battery, would that be presented as:

    2 units vs. 1 unit (100% increase)
    or
    $214 vs $193 (10% increase)
    ?

    This is an important distinction, since we see that batteries (and other presumably lower-price accessories) make up at least some of the “most popular gear.”

  • Athanasius Kirchner

    Cool list! There are so many interesting takeaways there. But first, after thanking you for the article, Zach, wouldn’t it be better to sort all of the lists from highest to lowest percentage? I realize that the brands are listed in alphabetical order, but I think most people will be looking to compare percentages to the neighboring brands, instead of looking a specific brand up. It’s just an idea for next year, perhaps.

    The fact that you rent more Zeiss lenses than Tamrons is amazing to me. I mean, it makes sense (with most Zeiss optics being expensive, niche ones that make sense to rent out for specific purposes), but Tamron offer many more options, for more mounts, including specialty lenses, that it’s still a surprise.

    The massive rental share of EF lenses makes sense, especially with the boom in indie producers and smaller cameras, that often have the option to mount them. This leads to Canon being overrepresented in the charts.

    I have thought for quite a while that MFT’s market will be gobbled up by Fujifilm, but at least in the rental space, that’s obviously not happening.

    The growth in EF-M lens rentals is almost undoubtedly due to the lockdowns, and the surge in popularity of the M50 thanks to them (and all of the people who are now teleconferencing or streaming). Will be interesting to see what happens next year.

  • Anthony Cuomo

    What no remote Pan/Tilt Heads!

  • Ryan Hill

    I’m glad Fengshui mentioned SmallHD because it gives me an excuse to go into some industry inside baseball stuff on the video side.

    First of all, SmallHD is a video monitor brand. They’re by far our most popular monitors.

    More importantly, though, it’s worth noting that three of the brands on that list: SmallHD, Teradek, and Manfrotto, are actually owned by the same parent company, Vitec. This data is too niche to include in an article like this, but if we had a chart listing our most popular video accessories, it would be almost exclusively Vitec brands.

    In fact, our most popular fluid head tripods (Manfrotto, Sachtler, and OConnor), most popular wireless video transmitters (Teradek), most popular batteries (Anton Bauer), most popular cages (Wooden Camera), most popular c-stands (Avenger), and most popular continuous lights (Litepanels), are all owned by Vitec.

    Nothing against Vitec. Those are all great products. But that’s quite a bit more, um, synergy than we’re used to seeing in, for example, the camera or lens market.

  • Fengshui

    In the table “Market Share of Brands Rented in 2020”, Olympus is lumped into others in both 2019 and 2020? It did not even break 1% as SmallHD (I didn’t even heard of this brand) did. ?

  • Trey Mortensen

    There are multiple adapters (the drop in filter one, the control ring one, and the simple one, which was the one on the list). I’m guessing the others being rented were what cause it to drop to 18th despite the R being 7th. Just my guess though.

  • John Meyer

    I think a lot of people who rent the EOS R will be adapting EF glass that they already have to it. Or even adapting rented EF glass.

    Also there’s the “dilution” factor. Until recently there was pretty much one RF camera to rent, but quite a few lenses plus many adapted lenses. Therefore most of the RF camera rentals are concentrated onto one camere, boosting it into the top 20 whereas the RF lens rentals are spread out over multiple products giving less rentals per lens.

  • DrJon

    I wondered if they bundled one with the Camera rental, but they appear not to…

  • Kit.

    The most surprising, I’d say, that the EOS R was the 7th, but the EF-R adapter was just the 18th and no RF lens made it to the top 20.

    What do people rent those EOS R for? Or is the difference between being the 7th and being the 21st is not as large as I imagined?

  • John Wilde

    In the “Market Share of Brands Rented in 2020” chart, I’m surprised by Nikon’s weak showing, both this year and last.

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