Staff Picks of the Best New Photo and Video Products of 2022
Earlier this week, we published the top rentals for 2022. There were plenty of surprises on the list, especially when we started to dig further down in the analytics and numbers, but the Canon EOS R5 reigned supreme as our most rented piece of gear for 2022.
In fact, all of the gear on the top 20 most rented products were at least a year old. This is no surprise, as most people prefer renting the products they’re familiar with, whereas new products usually need to prove themselves to the consumers before they become regular renters. So with that in mind, I compiled a list of the best new products in our inventory for 2022, and then asked several members of staff to select their favorites for the year. But before we dive into that, let us look again at the top products for 2022.
|Canon EOS R5
|Sony Alpha a7 IV
|Canon EOS R6
|Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS
|Sony Alpha a7S III
|Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
|Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (RF)
|Sony FX6 Full-Frame Cinema Camera
|Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS
|Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L
|Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS
|Sony PXW-FX9 XDCAM 6K Full-Frame Camera
|Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II
|Sony Alpha a7 III
|Canon 5D Mark IV
|Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II
|Sony FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Camera
|RED KOMODO 6K
|Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III
|Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM
Now before we dive into the staff picks, there are a few housekeeping notes to keep in mind. Most notably, these are products that hit our inventory in 2022, but some of them may have been released earlier. With supply chain issues, new products can sometimes be hard to come by, so we’re looking solely at the gear that we got in our hands in 2022. I was really impressed with the diversity of picks this year, as no one copied anyone else’s choices – likely due in part to the diversity of skillsets and interests from our staff members. So first, lets look at your choices, and see the top twenty most rented new products for 2022, and then ask our staff to pick one or two of the hundreds of products that we started carrying this year.
I love these tube lights! I know, everyone is talking about tube lights and who does it better, but I honestly believe Astera is doing it right. The fact that they are wireless, extremely easy to connect to the app with multiple lights, the battery power feels like it never dies, and the insane versatility of lighting effects and color range are endless! These TitanTube LEDs make having complicated lighting setups for photoshoots or videos so much easier because you don’t have the mess of wires, you can connect all of them to the app with ease, and you can control them all together or separately just with a couple taps on your phone in the app. If you are wanting the perfect light for a multi-LED setup and you have that creative itch, these are where it’s at.
First of all, how adorable! This little guy is so cute and compact, but still packs the perfect amount of light for a small photoshoot. The Profoto A2 is extremely convenient, is small enough to put in your purse, and not to mention, it has bluetooth! You can operate this strobe with your phone, so your main focus is your subject. If you are one who is inspired by your surroundings, this is the perfect strobe for an impromptu shoot!
Ally Aycock Patterson
So this is technically three products I’m treating as a single product, which was not the assignment, but one day we’ll all learn not to invite me to these end-of-the-year projects anymore. As a non-gamer, I have a hard time getting excited about gear built for streaming experiences but holy moly, are these headphones nice! A colleague convinced me to wear the A50 and A40 for a few conference calls this year and not only does the sound driver deliver audio with incredible clarity, but the included mod kit upgrade also enhances the comfort level so much that I would have gladly worn them all day! I think my first reaction summed it up best, “these are like the Cadillac of headsets.”
The original BirdDog P100 has been a very successful rental product but BirdDog really elevated their PTZ game with this new series. The BirdDog P110 and P120 are essentially the same camera, but with different zoom ranges, which in and of itself, points to how much attention was dedicated to ensuring versatility when the cameras were designed. In addition to being able to shop by your focal length needs, both cameras support auto-tracking and full NDI as well as NDI | HX2 and HX3. BirdDog’s free BirdUI has been overhauled to provide a much more user-friendly interface for the cameras, and it is truly feature-rich. Plus, who doesn’t love the idea of a camera with a mohawk tally?
This handheld Super35 camcorder can be summed up in one word – versatility. The smaller frame gives users the ability to run and gun as they please while capturing clean 6K resolution. Users can either use the tilting 5″ LCD when capturing things on the move, or can opt for the attachable viewfinder for more precise shooting. Want to record fast-paced action in bright daylight? The 6K at 60fps recording setting using a CFast 2.0 will work perfectly. Want to have a longer shoot in more controlled settings? An external hard drive via the USB-C and 13 stops of high dynamic range will give you all the control you need to capture the best shots. Add the camera’s ability to hook into the Blackmagic line of ATEM mini switchers, and you have an excellent live streaming setup. Take all this into consideration, an the 6K G2 is truly a jack of all trades.
Blackmagic aimed to make a broadcast camera with digital cinema quality. The tremendous result was the Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2. The 6K resolution sensor with built-in optical ND filters and 3D LUTs gives broadcasts from this camera a nearly cinematic feel. The B4 lens mount allows users to mount UHD lenses, giving you the par-focal consistency needed in the field. Partnered with the G2 is the Fujinon XA20SX8.5BERM, an excellent servo lens. Fujinon’s QuickZoom technology can let users go the 8.5-170mm range in less than a second. Since the G2 is an URSA, users will have all the accessories available to them as other URSA Mini cams (i.e. Studio Viewfinders, Zoom and Focus Controls, and External SSD Ports). Reporting from the field looks much more impressive with the URSA Broadcast G2.
As more and more live productions are trying to find ways to streamline their workflows, the Roland V-160HD enters the fray packing quite a punch. It gives a ton of flexibility with a healthy serving of both HDMI, SDI and audio input and output options. One of my favorite features is the PTZ Camera integration (which is extremely handy for reducing the footprint of your workflow as well as saving precious seconds when running solo productions). It’s hard to find a production switcher that both serves as a “Swiss Army knife” for live production AND is laid out in a way that is easy to use, but the V-160HD handles that challenge quite nicely.
This is my vote for best new mic of the year. This mic is based on the famed AKG c414 and delivers on so many different levels. This mic can do vocals, podcasts, guitars, horns, ensembles and so much more. This mic is one of the more durable that we rent out, so it can take those rougher gigs or setups. It also features the 5 position bass roll-off switch so you can shape whatever sounds your working with from the mic. This is personally one of my favorite mics and I’m very excited that we started renting it out this year.
This is a definite favorite product of mine, probably my favorite new product of the year. This is LR’s first foray in to full sized mixers and is a huge step for the audio department. As opposed to our other mixers, the Presonus has motorized faders that automatically adjust levels as you do when using an ipad or laptop. The larger appeal to me about this product is what it can do for LR as a whole. We now have a very popular mixer that has all of the bells and whistles that professional audio engineers need, plus some.
This is my personal favorite of the Hollyland Solidcom systems. This system works as a wireless intercom system as well as using a HUB so it gives the user plenty of options in a much more comfortable (to me) and sleeker package. It provides a crystal clear signal up to 1,100 ft and is fairly simple to set up. The system uses DECT 6.0 to encrypt your signal so that no one can listen in on your conversations.
This kit is a beast and there’s nothing like it in its class. Not only is it a dynamic gimbal in the way that only Ronin can build but the camera is more than serviceable and can compete with other cinema cameras. If you’ve got a shoot that calls for significant gimbal usage and you’re flexible on the lenses you can use, the ease and simplicity of the setup is more than worth it. 4 axis of range coupled with active track and auto focus ensures that your subject is always in frame and in focus.
This light weight 4K capable monitor is a great addition to a shoot where a 5″ inch screen will suffice. It has a crisp responsive touch screen and the ability to load and toggle between LUTS. I really like this as unobtrusive option to mount on a DSLR for run and gun shooting.
DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine combo
The DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine combo was one of my favorite products of the year. It was a well welcomed upgrade to an already great DJI Mavic three. It’s ability to shoot 5.1k ProRes eliminates my need for taking out the larger DJI inspire. It also allows me to more easily color grade and shot match to other cinema cameras I’m using on various projects. Having internal solid state storage also makes transferring those larger files a lot quicker and easier. Another bonus is the DJI RC Pro controller. I prefer this so much more than using the DJI app on my phone. With the RC Pro Controller, I am able to get up and fly much more smoothly than with a mobile device. Overall I would say this is almost the perfect drone. You get all of the great standard features you find in the DJI Mavic 3 like the intelligent flight modes and obstacle avoidance as well as the dual cameras but with the Mavic 3 Pro cine combo you now get pro level image quality with consumer level useability making this one of my favorite products of 2022.
Arri Alexa 35
I’m going to cheat a bit and lump this in with the Alexa LF as two products that represent how far we’ve come as a company. Both of these cameras are industry-leading pieces of technology that capture absolutely beautiful images, but they’re also more broadly representative of our continued commitment to high-end cinema. Every year our stock list gets closer and closer to equalling the kind of brick and mortar rental houses that have traditionally served feature film production. As someone who started working at Lensrentals when our best “video” camera was the 5D Mark II, it’s super exciting to now be able to support the kinds of projects that need an Alexa 35 or Alexa LF.
Did you know all Lensrentals employees get free rentals on weekends? It’s true. And I’d guess that perk goes a long way toward convincing people to work here. I know it did a lot of convincing for me. The day after I got hired here I sold my meager collection of gear: a Canon Rebel T5i, a few secondhand lenses, some cheap mics, and an old tripod from Wolf Camera (who filed for bankruptcy over 20 years ago). Since then, there have only been a handful of cameras I’ve loved enough to think about buying for myself, and now I’m saving up for an X-T5. It’s just a perfect running around camera. While I might rent a 1DX or some other cutting-edge monstrosity on weekends, if I want something in my bag all the time, it’s going to be the reasonably-sized but totally capable X-T5. For me, there’s nothing else available right now that can beat this combination of image quality, feature set, price, and portability.
I’ve been a big fan of Nikons Z series of mirrorless cameras since they arrived, but always found that the AF and AF tracking capabilities were quite underwhelming when compared to the offerings from Canon and Sony. The arrival of the Nikon Z9 however, changes all that. With this release, 3D tracking makes its mirrorless debut in photo mode, enabling the Z9 to recognize up to ten different types of subjects in a frame, and track them all individually. In testing this feature, I found the AF and tracking to be as sticky and accurate as advertised. I’m happy to say that with the Z9, Nikon has delivered what I consider the most accurate and enjoyable AF experience yet.
This little dude is packed with todays latest “must-have features.” I believe the R7 will be met with the same popularity as the Canon 7D MKII when it launched. But this time we’re goin’ mirrorless baby! Despite being smaller than its full-framed siblings, the APS-C equipped R7 delivers a robust user experience. Among several other premium features, you can shoot up to 30fps (15fps with mechanical shutter) while taking advantage of the 32.5MP sensor. Better yet, you can also rely on an AF tracking system in the R7 that keeps up with the AF system of the R5 extremely well. What can I say? The performance to price ratio is hard to beat here. If you are still unsure about jumping to mirrorless, the R7 mitigates the few reasons left to stick with a DSLR system.
I’ve flown drones on and off for nearly 7 years now, and after owning three different DJI drones, there is no drone I’ve ever been more interested in in their lineup than the Avata Pro. There is certainly a rush that comes with flying a drone, they’re fast and nimble, but that rush gets amplified to eleven when flying a FPV drone. And whereas the DJI FPV felt like a proof of concept, the Avata feels like the first mass produced FPV drone that’s usable for everyone.
As frequent readers might know, a year and a half ago, I switched my main camera from a Canon 5d Mark IV to the Fuji GFX 100s. Shooting medium format full time is something I wanted to do for years, but admittedly, it’s not all that practical. The camera is big and bulky, and the lenses are huge. So since I bought the camera, I have been eyeing other systems I can use for more casual, walkaround shooting.
And I think the Fuji X-H2S might be the answer. My own stubborness won’t let me skimp out on features when I’m looking for a ‘more casual’ camera, and the Fuji X-H2S doesn’t skimp out either. It’s a top of the line X-series camera from Fuji, and seems like the perfect companion to a GFX 100S.
Did any of our picks surprise you? Is there anything that came out this year that you think we overlooked? Feel free to chime in with all that, as well as your favorite new products in the comments below.
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