Podcast Episode

The Lensrentals Podcast Episode #63 – Shooting the Sh!t: Pay Transparency, PA Work & BS Reviews

Published August 4, 2022

Each week Roger Cicala, founder of Lensrentals.com, hosts conversations about the art and science of capturing images. From photography to videography, film, history, and technology, the show covers a wide range of topics to educate and inspire creators of all kinds.

Shooting the Sh!t: Pay Transparency, PA Work & BS Reviews

In this season’s finale of the Lensrentals.com Podcast, Ryan, Joey, and Roger sit down, and cover some of the topics that they always wanted to on the podcast, but never found a place for them. So expect a bit more freeform, hot takes, and reality checks in this very fun episode.

Among the topics discussed, is Roger going down a rabbit hole of terrible gear reviews that can be found strung throughout the internet. Why are a lot of gear reviews basically garbage? Well, simply because a well-researched review takes a lot of time, forethought, and data collecting – something that struggles to exist on the internet. Ryan also talks about his experiences as a Production Assistant and Joey discusses the need for pay transparency within photography and videography.

Thank you again for tuning into this season of the Lensrentals.com Podcast. The best way you can show your support to the show is to tune in and share some of your favorite episodes with your friends.


0:10 – Welcome to The Lensrentals Podcast! This week is the season finale, so we decided to keep the theme pretty loose. Roger, Joey, and Ryan each just chose a topic they wanted to cover that we haven’t had time to cover in-depth on any previous episodes. We’re just shooting the…breeze.

1:00 – But, before we get to the topic at hand, we’re arguing about Dr. Who and Oscar nominations.

3:05 – Roger introduces the first topic: the vast majority of online reviews are basically garbage.

5:45 – Why are most reviews garbage? It’s difficult and expensive to write well-researched reviews. On the other hand, it’s cheap and easy to say whatever will get you free stuff to review.

7:00 – Speaking from firsthand experience, there are also many easy and cheap ways to buy good or even bad reviews.

10:00 – Forums are often iffy as well. Our advice is to find a small handful of trustworthy sources and take everything else with a massive grain of salt.

11:00 – Copy-to-copy variation is also a huge issue for reviewers. The fact that one copy of a lens is tack sharp doesn’t necessarily mean every copy will be.

12:40 – Ryan introduces the second topic: the trials and tribulations of working as a Production Assistant.

13:50 – PA work has a lot in common with another tough job environment, restaurant work.

14:30 – Ryan describes the most common pay structure from his time as a PA. The pay might have changed a bit since then, but the hours certainly haven’t.

16:00 – To start with a fun story, here’s how Ryan got his first PA job.

18:30 – And now, a somewhat sadder story! We’ll start by describing what an Assistant Director does.

22:00 – Many of the video techs who now work at Lensrentals also previously worked in various film production industries.

24:20 – Some advice for anyone listening who’s thinking of starting work as a PA on film sets.

25:00 – Joey introduces the third topic: pay transparency in freelance photography.

26:45 – Their effectiveness varies depending on your location, but there are freelancer guilds and unions out there.

28:00 – There are certainly creative downsides to having a day job, but being able to practice photography without the need for everything to make money can be very freeing.

29:00 – Ending on a positive note, our general theme here is that you can always make a change.

30:45 – Thanks for listening to The Lensrentals Podcast! This is our last episode of the season, but stay subscribed so you know when we’re coming back.

The Lensrentals Podcast is a production of Lensrentals, founded by Roger Cicala. Our production staff includes Drew Cicala, Ryan Hill, Sarah McAlexander, Julian Harper, John Tucker, and Zach Sutton. Other contributors include Roger Cicala, Joey Miller, Ally Aycock Patterson, Joshua Richardson, and Philip Robertson.

Thanks to Jacques Granger for our theme song.

Submit a topic idea, question, or comment, leave us a voicemail at 901-609-LENS, or send us an email at podcast@lensrentals.com.


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 Podcast Episode
  • JP

    So… is it implied that the optical tests are no longer forthcoming (due to manufacturer objections)?

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