Equipment

The Most Rented Photo and Video Products of 2021

Published December 21, 2021

Each year, we try to share as much information as possible with our community here at Lensrentals.com. Being one of the largest rental houses in the world, we think that our end-of-the-year data can show a pretty broad scope of where the industry is heading and what we can expect into next year and beyond. Last week, we shared our data for the most rented new products for 2021, and it showed a focus on the videography world – with the number one rental being the Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (RF), and plenty of video cameras to follow on the list. But let’s use this opportunity to look further into our data, and go over the most popular rentals of 2021.

 

Most Popular Photography & Videography Gear of 2021
1 Canon EOS R5 11 Canon 35mm f/1.4L II
2 Canon 5D Mark IV 12 Canon EOS C300 Mark II Dual Pixel (EF)
3 Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II 13 Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (EF)
4 Canon EOS R6 14 Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
5 Sony Alpha a7S III 15 Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS
6 Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS 16 Canon EOS R
7 Sony Alpha a7 III 17 Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (RF)
8 Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III 18 Canon EOS C200 EF Cinema Camera
9 Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM 19 Sony Alpha a7R IV
10 Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS    

 

A list of usual suspects, if you’ve followed these posts from previous years, but to get a full comparison, let’s look at the list from 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

 

When comparing the top list from this year and last, the stark and obvious talking point is the Canon R5 jumping to the top of the list in just a single year. Released in the back half of 2020, the Canon R5 was on backorder for much of 2020, but now that it’s more readily available, it’s being used in droves. While this marks a lot of good news for the EOS R platform, the second most popular rental for 2021 was the Canon 5D Mark IV – a DSLR on the EF platform. Other mentions are the decline of other brands – the entire list for 2021 is Canon and Sony – with an EF mounted Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K also clearing the list. Does this mark more bad news for Nikon in particular, a brand that has been falling further from these lists each year? Well to get a better read on that data, let’s look at some more breakdowns – with market shares for each brand, and how they’ve done this year compared to last.

 

Camera Brand Market Shares
Camera Manufacturer Market Share 2021 Market Share 2020
Canon 38.05% 38.46%
Sony 26.26% 22.80%
Blackmagic 7.85% 9.71%
Nikon 6.36% 6.60%
Panasonic 5.49% 6.70%
Fuji 3.94% 4.38%
Leica 3.30% 2.92%
Insta360 1.91% 2.41%
RED 1.50% 1.16%
BirdDog 1.23% 0.54%
GoPro 1.10% 1.29%
ARRI 0.73%  0.52%

 

Despite Canon taking over the majority of the top rented products for 2021, they actually lost a small margin of camera body market share, while still holding a large lead over the next competitor – Sony. Even still, it’s pretty shocking to see that ~60% of the camera bodies we rent are either Canon or Sony. If we want to dive even further into the data sets, we can now look through the market share list, but for lenses – since we are named Lensrentals, after all.

 

Lens Brand Market Shares
Lens Manufacturer Market Share 2021 Market Share 2020
Canon 37.16% 34.52%
Sony 15.76% 16.08%
Sigma 11.45% 12.42%
Nikon 9.93% 10.53%
Zeiss 3.37% 3.51%
Fuji 3.29% 3.35%
Tamron 2.69% 3.11%
Angenieux 2.44% 1.96%
Fujinon 2.01% 2.21%
Panasonic 1.87% 2.58%
Leica 1.83% 1.88%
Venus Optics 1.25%  1.54%
Olympus 1.17% 1.46%
Rokinon 0.70% 0.86%
Hasselblad 0.61% 0.67%
Tokina 0.58% 0.49%

 

Looking at the lens market shares comparing this year from last, you can really see how much of our rentals are Canon systems – which makes sense since the EF mount is still basically an industry standard for video productions – with brands like RED and ARRI making cameras with EF mounting camera systems.

Fujifilm’s market share also starts to look a lot better, when combining their Fuji lenses with the Fujinon brand. The difference between the two brand names comes down to build quality – with the Fujinon brand offering metal construction.

Going down the lens market share list, there aren’t too many surprises. A lot of the third-party manufacturers started to have their numbers slip a bit, which makes sense as brand leaders like Canon, Sony, and Nikon continue to release lenses for their platforms. With brands like Sigma and Tamron developing RF and Z mount lenses soon, we can expect their numbers to grow in the continuing years. But on the note of lens mounts, let’s look at the market shares for each individual lens mount platform —

 

Camera’s Rented By Lens Mount
Mount 2021 Rentals 2020 Rentals Change
Canon EF 28.79% 32.69% -3.9%
Canon RF 22.26% 20.42% 1.84%
Sony E 14.58% 9.58% 4.99%
Fixed Lens 8.99% 9.62% 0.63%
Micro 4/3rds 7.17% 8.88% -1.71%
Nikon F 7.04% 7.74% -0.70%
Fuji 3.33% 3.57% -0.24%
Nikon Z 2.64% 2.06% 0.57%
L Mount 1.56% 1.78% -0.22%
Leica M 1.32% 1.30% 0.03%
Fuji GFX 0.96% 0.98% -0.02%
PL Mount 0.82% 0.82% 0.00%
Hasselblad X 0.32% 0.30% 0.02%
Pentax 0.14% 0.17% -0.03%
Sony A 0.07% 0.09% -0.02%

 

As usual, these numbers don’t tell the full story, especially when you look at the changes in market share over 2021 and 2020. 2020 was a weird year for everyone, especially for a company that focuses on rentals for photo and video productions. Each of these brands has increased 100% in rentals from 2020 to 2021, which is obviously good news for all the brands in question. But if we just look at the percentages, the Canon RF mount systems had pretty large growth, as did Sony E mount systems. That’s no big surprise, with the Canon R5 becoming more available, and Sony’s release of the A1 and other systems. Other points of note are that the Nikon Z series just isn’t gaining the momentum that Canon is with their mirrorless platform, and that the Fuji GFX systems actually lost a little bit on the rental percentages, despite the Fuji GFX 100s coming out this year (and being among our top new products for 2021). But nevertheless, there is always more data to look through, so let’s look at lens rented by lens mount.

 

Lenses Rented By Lens Mount
Mount 2021 Rentals 2020 Rentals Change
Canon EF 38.56% 41.94% -3.37%
Sony E 22.81% 22.40% 0.41%
Canon RF 12.45% 7.44% 5.01%
Nikon F 11.41% 12.75% -1.33%
Micro 4/3rds 4.64% 5.56% -0.91%
Fuji 2.96% 3.11% -0.15%
Nikon Z 1.68% 1.28% 0.40%
PL Mount 1.64% 1.45% 0.19%
L Mount 1.45% 1.62% -0.16%
Fuji GFX 1.05% 0.98% 0.07%
Leica M 0.71% 0.75% -0.04%
Hasselblad X 0.27% 0.30% -0.03%
Sony A 0.19% 0.23% -0.04%
Pentax K 0.17% 0.20% -0.03%

 

Lenses rented based on mount shows a little more of the story. Still leading the pack is the Canon EF platform, despite Canon pushing nearly all their focus on the RF mount. That said, you can start to see the transition from DSLR to mirrorless platforms, with the RF mount showing a 5% growth, overpowering the 3.37% decline in the EF lens market share for 2021. Other points of note are with Nikon, showing a -1.33% change in their F platform, while their Z series only showed a small growth. Does this mean people are leaving Nikon for other brands? The numbers perhaps show just that. Additionally, the L mount platform – designed to be a universal mount for a variety of cameras and lenses – lost some momentum this year, with a small decline in market share.

And to complete the subset of data this year, let’s look at lighting brands, and where they sit within the market share in their groups.

 

Lighting Brand Market Shares
Light Brand Market Share 2021 Market Share 2020
Aputure 19.08% 10.26%
Litepanels 17.12% 20.03%
Profoto 17.09% 18.58%
Manfrotto 9.49% 11.62%
Westcott 7.81% 8.17%
ARRI 5.70% 5.27%
Quasar Science 3.90% 3.65%
Paul C Buff 3.04% 3.57%
Kino Flo 2.71% 3.49%
Fiilex 2.62% 2.97%
Kupo 1.92% 2.55%
Chimera 1.66%  2.04%

 

Some things of note, before we dig through this data. How our system is set up, we include a lot of grip gear into our lighting data, so brands like Kupo are on the list for both their lightstands, as well as the combo kits we have for the Litepanels products. This also puts some anomalies in place for Manfrotto, who offer both lightstands, as well as LED panels. Even still, the crowned champion of this category is Aputure, who have nearly doubled their market share this year in the lighting department with their array of LED panels and high-powered LED monolights. Each other brand showed either a marginal growth or decline in their market share (though again, we had way more rentals in 2021 than we did in 2020, as we are able to move past the global pandemic). Personally, looking at these numbers, it does bring some concern for brands like Kino Flo, who was once a market leader with their 4Bank systems but have since been replaced with more efficient LED lights like those from brands like Quasar Science.

So as a recap from our previous post, let’s end this piece with the data shown a week and a half ago, showing where the new products for 2021 are placed. Did any of the information above surprise you? Is there any additional info you’d like to see for future years? Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Top Rented New Products for 2021
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

 

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
  • Michael – Visual Pursuit

    Those top rented lenses can as well be used in advertising, corporate and industry photography.
    What makes it obvious that they are rented for event photography in your opinion?

  • M Hector

    I have been pondering renting some equipment just to try it out (which I am very sure some people do here, in addition to renting for events and such). It seems to me that deciding initial inventory of a particular brand or model could be analyzed using probabilities (statistical formulas) based on past or current factors such as market share, short-term growth or shrinkage in sales figures, audience, etc. At least this provides something to mull over, in addition to knowing your business very well and your customer base. Anyway, it is interesting to see people suspicious of these figures when a cherished brand is not represented as a person may expect. These are rentals, too, not sales. That is an important distinction. What an electronics retailer may see probably doesn’t match rental figures. What I see in a giant lot at Hertz or Dollar does not match what I see in automobile sales figures proportionately. Thank you for sharing this data.

  • Nicolas Woollaston

    Canon are obviously very dominant, but one wonders whether perhaps the EF to RF transition is a temporary boost encouraging people to rent rather than buy, ie some renting of EF lenses due to reluctance to invest in the mount at this point and some renting of RF lenses might be try-before-you-buy.

  • Michael – Visual Pursuit

    Starting with the T90 in 1985, Canon established a long tradition of producing massive amounts of inventory before starting shippings at all. All copies of the T90 were built in only 3 months, and then sold over a 5 year time span. The 5D MkIV hit the market with 2,400,000 preproduced units. This of course doesn’t bring Canon to being sold out from pre-orders as fast as companies with smaller manufacturing capacities. And yet – it happened with the R3.

    What one might perceive as massive pre-order frenzy might just as well be the sign of smaller manufacturing capacities.

  • RC Jenkins

    I think that these questions and comments come off as overly defensive and don’t even make sense when one is measuring how much product moves, with the exception of the one case of unavailable that I listed. This is not a chicken or egg problem. This is not a brick and mortar retailer dedicated a stand or entire sections to a brand that stands out from others so people can see how much more space they take up.

    How many spare cameras are available for rent (beyond what is needed) is not an input into what people choose to rent. Lists like this might be, but not a list. In other words, people do not go to lensrentals and look to see how many Z7’s they have and then how many R5’s they have and then choose to rent an R5. Especially true if they only list available and not inventory (which I believe is the case). Because in this case, low number available could even mean everyone else is renting them.

    And again: this data even lines up with every single reliable data source elsewhere. CIPA. Nikon financials. Techno systems research. Every time these facts come out, Nikon users in particular often get defensive, even though there’s nothing to get defensive about. I even wrote that article over on NikonRumors earlier this year on this topic.

    To me it sounds like an excuse and defensiveness rather than accepting facts. People haven’t rented as many Z’s as Sonys or Canons. And it’s not because lensrentals buys fewer to rent. Case in point: there are plenty of Z’s to rent right now.

    The primary reasons Z’s haven’t been getting rented as much are 1) Nikon has been much smaller in the prosumer space than they appear on the surface in terms of units because they have had a proportionally stronger entry level than competitors. Verified fact.
    2) Because of the above, Nikon lacks incumbency and system lock in today
    3) Nikon’s offerings have been concentrated in moderate prosumer that people buy rather than expensive pro that people rent
    4) Nikon has had limited video offerings, system compatibilities, and incumbency
    5) Nikon users have tended to resist change, most easily seen by Nikon’s F mount approach compared to Canon’s EF
    6) Industry perception, sometimes through people’s announcements that demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of numbers

    Things change over time. Nikon will grow Z, particularly with the Z9 and some of their new lenses, which are prime candidates for rental. But they are where they are today, and it’s not because lensrentals keeps fewer in stock since the inventory levels appear to be plenty. Refusing to believe this is irrational.

  • Kenneth_Almquist

    To control for inventory, you would have to count the people who went to lensrentals looking for a product, discovered it wasn’t available, and rented elsewhere. I suspect that lensrentals doesn’t have a very reliable metric for this–in particular not one that Richard Cicala would consider sufficiently well validated to publish. I would also guess that if they did correct for this, it wouldn’t affect the numbers much, for two reasons. First, lensrentals seems to have most products in stock most of the time. Second, if they determine that they are losing lots of rental opportunities due to not having a particular item available, they acquire more of that item. In other words, their internal metrics will show (rightly or wrongly) that they have sufficient inventory most of the time because they are using those metrics to set inventory levels.

    I suspect that recommendations from Lens Rentals have a pretty large effect on what accessories are rented, but not much on cameras and lenses.

  • WestEndFoto

    While nobody is perfect, if you are implying that Thom thinks everything is a conspiracy against Nikon, I don’t buy that. His questions are fair questions and deserve an honest answer, which has not been forthcoming.

  • RC Jenkins

    This is rental market share. If your claim is that Nikon users tend to buy and not rent, then Nikon’s rental market share will be lower. If 100% of Nikon users buy and don’t rent, their rental market share will be 0%. So what exactly is your issue, when your own premise that Nikon users tend to buy supports what this data shows?

    Separately, having more of an item in inventory isn’t the same thing as having an item rented. The only time this would have an effect is if an item that someone wants to rent is unavailable for rental at that time. Most people renting specialized equipment like this almost certainly don’t go “oh they have 20 Sonys available and 10 Nikons available, so I’ll rent the Sony. Instead, they likely know the items they want to rent for a specific use. So the question would be: how often did it happen that someone wanted to rent Nikon equipment but it was unavailable, compared to other brands? If the answer is that this happened rarely, then inventory doesn’t matter.

    So in your example of 20 Sony, 30 Canon, and 10 Nikon; if 11 people rent Sony, 17 people rent Canon, and 7 people rent Nikon, will upping the inventory to 30-30-30 make a difference? No. Because rentals will actually be 11-17-7, keeping market share of rentals the exact same. Will normalizing by inventory (multiplying Sony by 150% and Nikon by 300%) be a more accurate representation of what people are renting? Nope.

    Customers don’t compare inventory levels–they just look at if what they want is available and how much it would cost to rent.

    Regarding the dissing, that’s a subjective take and it may or may not have had an effect. But it is true that Nikons overall unit share (in terms of people buying equipment, not renting) has been declining, even according to Nikon themselves. It is also true that Nikon’s mirrorless share has been
    relatively small; and this rental data sounds consistent with that. And regarding their overall share, this is largely because Nikon’s market share has been dependent specifically on entry-level products moreso than the market has–these would be the same type of products that you’ve been pushing Nikon to focus on, and the same types of products that have been declining in the market–for many years. This implies that most Nikon users for quite some time have not been buying high-end equipment and likely, not renting it either, since people tend to rent higher-end equipment, as can clearly be seen here. Nikon has had a higher proportion of entry-level users than Canon or Sony, even according to their own data and financial reports.

    Recently, as Nikon has identified that the entry-level market is shrinking and not as lucrative or sustainable, Nikon has been focusing more on higher-end Z products; and this will likely manifest itself as relative growth–and even the rental data above shows Nikon Z rentals grew a bit since last year, with the Z7ii even making it to the top 10.

    For 2022, with cameras like the Z9 and Z lenses like the upcoming telephotos, Nikon’s Z system could see a boost. Because people will try the Z9 via rental; and consequently, they will try Z lenses via rental. Others may also see the Z9 as aspirational and proving the system and may be more open to entering the Z system as customers of Z cameras, renting lenses to use for them. But for market share, the question is always relative: will Nikon rentals go up at the same rate as Canon R or Sony E rentals go up? And also related, will Nikon F users get into Nikon Z, so that all those D850 renters from years ago now rent the Z9? (And related, partially by combining these: will users from other systems or new users get into Nikon Z?) We’ll find out next year and the next few years.

    Not everything is a conspiracy against Nikon. And I say this as a primarily Nikon Z user, as you already know.

  • Thom Hogan

    You’re missing part of my point. LensRentals has lower Nikon inventory (compared to Canon/Sony) because they assess that the demand is generally not in Nikon. Nikon users tend to buy, not rent. We don’t see the same level of pre-order madness with Canon, for instance (witness Z9, which is essentially sold out for half a year just from pre-orders). So the questions become: (a) has LensRentals adjusted their inventory for their perceived demand, and (b) if they did, is the Nikon stuff still languishing, or is it out as much as the Canon/Sony stuff when controlled for inventory?

    Another point: Roger and the rest of LensRentals have been quietly dissing Nikon for some time now, partly because they can’t get the same access to parts/info/product as they do with other brands. Perhaps not intentionally dissing, but I’ve caught plenty of overstatements and misstatements in their podcasts. So essentially they’re turning away Nikon users by your commentary. So of course the LensRental demand is lower for Nikon. You reap what you sow.

  • Athanasius Kirchner

    We’ll see how much they’re “struggling” once the Z9 hits the shelves ?

  • Zeke zeke

    Clearly, Canon has a huge lead here. However looking at the top rented lenses, it appears obvious that the equipment is being rented for event photography. So this particular dataset is not directly applicable to those doing other kinds of photography. I have no doubt that Canon is still a leader there, but maybe with not as big of a margin.

  • Inventory is always based on supply and demand. If something is rented out frequently, and we can’t keep that product in stock, we quickly alleviate the problem by ordering more units. Nikon is struggling, and has been for years…this isn’t a chicken-and-egg problem, it’s an innovation and market share retention problem.

  • Thom Hogan

    So Roger, have you controlled for inventory in these tables? If you have 20 Sony X and 30 Canon Y and 10
    Nikon Z, quite obviously you can’t rent as many Z as X or as many X than Y. There’s a chicken-and-egg problem inherent in doing such lists.

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