BUYING OR RENTING A NEW CAMERA-WHICH SHOULD YOU OPT FOR?

Hey, guess what? We are a camera rental business. So you might be confused when you read the title to this blog post, because you can probably guess what our answer is going to be.


But wait, there’s more! There are actually real world scenarios where even we would say hey, you’d be better off buying the gear for your show instead of renting it from us. But – if you can believe for one second that I’m impartial – in most situations renting gear makes better financial sense.


HOW DID RENTALS EVEN GET STARTED? (A HISTORY LESSON)

Way way back in the day, like before the dinosaurs or something, there was a thing called the studio system and almost all films were made within it. Actors, writers, directors, and even runners had contracts with one particular studio and that’s all they were allowed to work for. The studios were big-time players. And they had huge warehouses of equipment, and would own everything from the lights and the flats to the cameras and lenses. And everyone was happy.


Except they weren’t. The business was changing and innovation was needed. Outside companies began inventing new types of cameras and lenses, and other film-making gear. The costs of developing these items was crazy expensive, and joe-schmoe movie producer couldn’t afford to buy everything for his spaghetti western, so he had to turn to some of the first camera rental houses to make his film. Certain companies, like Panavision, even functioned as a rental-only option, where purchasing the gear wasn’t even a possibility. Rentals spread to other parts of the industry as well, grip, props, trailers, etc.


So the big studio systems split up slowly and smaller players came on the scene, more productions started happening  and a burgeoning rental industry arose for better or worse. And everyone was happy…

BUT THEN DIGITAL HAPPENED

And things got cheaper! Some will say it started back with the Sony VX-2000, others with the Panasonic DVX-100, and George Lucas will say it started with Star Wars Episode 1. But all of a sudden there was a plethora or decent looking digital cameras that could be used for high-end production. And when things like the Canon 5D and the Red One came out it got really interesting…not to mention cheaper.

Today new competing digital formats are announced almost monthly, and the hot camera and lenses of the moment change constantly. Digital cameras are becoming more like film-cameras requiring expensive rail mounts and matte boxes, etc., not to mention quality cinema lenses. And a camera you buy today for $15,000 may be worth only $5,000 next year.


THE BOTTOM LINE:

Renting takes the risk out of your production. If you have tens of thousands of dollars and know exactly what camera and lenses you will want to shoot all of your projects on for the next 2-3 years then buying may make sense for you. But we know that in reality the needs of different projects require different cameras, and it’s very hard to predict what format or style is going to be popular 6-months to a year from now.


Digital technologie’s fast turn around time means that whatever camera body you buy today is going to be quickly obsolete and worth a fraction of what you paid for it in a short amount of time.


Even if buying lots of cameras and lenses doesn’t make sense for you right now, the old-fashioned rental house structure (and high-prices) might not make sense either.


New technology means a new type of rental house is needed. And that’s where we come in.


We believe in charging reasonable rates, quality service, an easy check-in and check-out process, and making the latest in digital cameras and lenses available to you. So you can focus on your project, and not worry about being over-charged or staying up to date with the latest camera news.



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