The top equipment rented from Lensrentals in 2018 may surprise you


posted Monday, December 3, 2018 at 5:00 PM EDT


Every year, Lensrentals has done their best to compile a list of the most rented equipment out of their stores, and with 2018 being their biggest rental year ever (they keep growing!), they thought it prudent to share their findings from 2018. Now if you only read the comment section on this website and others, you might think that Sony would claim the top spot for most rented equipment. You would be wrong. Though they did see an increase in demand over 2017, Canon still claimed the top spot by a considerable margin. 

The chart below (which you can also see here) shows that even though Canon saw a 3% dip in overall market share of rentals out of Lensrentals, they still hold around 15 percentage points more than Sony does, and that difference is about what Nikon takes in as the third place finisher. For all the flack that Canon gets, they still appear to be top dog in the rental market (at least with the largest rental house in the United States). 

Market Share of Camera Brands, 2018

Brand This year Last Year
Canon 41.57% 44.90%
Sony 26.31% 24.97%
Nikon 15.28% 15.06%
Panasonic 9.41% 6.72%
Fujifilm 4.27% 4.65%
Leica 1.49% 1.72%
Olympus 0.95% 1.47%
Pentax 0.49% 0.60%
Hasselblad 0.22% 0.22%

LensRentals also has a lot of information not just on camera bodies, but also on lenses. I urge you to take a look at those findings here. But after seeing the break down of camera demand, it should come as no surprise that Canon again holds the top market share when it comes to lenses. 

Based on all the data that Lensrentals collected from their rentals, they wanted to call out a few observations:

Sony's camera rental popularity increased slightly in 2018, which might relate to many Canon and Nikon users trialing Sony’s mirrorless cameras over the last few years. Trials may have begun to fade slightly with the new mirrorless cameras from Canon and Nikon now available for rental, the numbers next year will be fascinating to watch for the appetite for mirrorless. Early data suggests that the EOS R system is about twice as popular as the Nikon Z stuff.

Sony increased rental usage with approximately 60% of the growth was from new release lenses rather than from existing lenses being rented more. The new lenses that drove the most growth were:

- Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 OSS
- Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM
- Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS

Canon's overall camera usage has dropped slightly, while Nikon has increased possibly as a result of the D850 that was released at the tail end of 2017. Many other camera brands witnessed growth in usage in 2018, accounting for a potential slowdown slightly in Canon rentals. The data was pulled before the general availability of the Nikon Z6 and Z7 (or Canon R) in November 2018. 

Top two lenses has remained the same for many years, with Canon's second generation of its f2.8 24-70mm and 70-200mm, proving most popular. However, Sony has finally broken into the top three with its 24-70mm f2.8. In 2019, its worth tracking how the 70-200mm III will fair, especially given the way Sony's 70-200mm did this year, moving up from 16th to 6th on the most popular list of rented equipment.

Panasonic's growth was all because of these 3 lenses:

- Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 X Power OIS II
- Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 X Power OIS II
- anasonic/Leica 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH

The 12-35mm is by far the most popular Panasonic lens ever, followed by its 35-100mm as the 2nd most popular Panasonic lens to date.

Sigma and Tamron continued mild increases to line with their quality improvements across their range of lenses.

To read more about Lensrentals' findings, make sure you visit their very comprehensive blog post here. It's a lot to take in, but it does provide a great insight into the industry as a whole, and not necessarily just the opinions of those who are the loudest in online conversation.