At the end of 2008, a camera, the Canon 5DMKII, was released and it forever changed how we use video on a monthly, if not weekly, or, for some people, daily basis. The camera that was $3,500 when released just 6 years ago can now be bought for $750.
It’s inevitable that most things we buy these days will be outdated at some point in time. Just like your phone, tv or car, cameras and A/V equipment also becomes outdated. In the photography and filmmaking world, an average camera’s lifespan is 5 years. During this 5 year span, it’s almost certain that at least 1 new camera, if not 2, will surface reducing the value of the camera you purchased. A camera, like a car, will drop in value as soon as the shutter is clicked or the record button is pushed.
Renting gear allows you to stay up to date with technology without investing in every new camera, lens, light, audio recorder, slider or stabilizer that gets released. You can feel free to click the shutter or red record button without feeling guilty.
But what does staying up to date really mean in the photo and video world? Most times it means a ‘better looking image’ or an easier way to do things.
In filmmaking, the screen resolution has improved over the years. Since the beginning, resolution has been described as the number of pixels horizontally and vertically on a monitor. For example 1280×720 = 921,600 pixels.
HD 720P (1280×720 pixels) was the standard just a few years ago. It advanced to HD 1080P, then 2K and now 4K. Cameras that couldn’t record 4K without an external recorder, now can, like the Sony A7sII.
In photography it could mean a higher resolution camera. The resolution of the camera is measured in megapixel. For every megapixel, there are actually one million pixels. If you bought a camera that was 6 megapixels a few years ago, chances are you can’t buy that camera anymore and may want a newer one now. But remember that the number of pixels isn’t always equal to the quality of the image the camera captures.
Some DSLR bodies now offer touch screens like the Canon 80D, Nikon D5500 and Nikon D500 as well as ways to send images directly to your phone or tablet like the Canon 6D, Nikon D750 and once again the D500.
The problem is, it costs a fortune to upgrade if you’re constantly chasing new features. In fact, you may never get a positive return on your investments if you’re always acquiring new gear. This is why most high end commercial production companies try to avoid owning gear at all. They rent because it allows them to choose the best tools for every shoot.
When you rent it puts the responsibility of buying and maintaining new technology on someone else…meaning us! Your production team also stays excited because they get to learn how to use the latest tools or make production run more efficiently. Who wouldn’t want to be able to use the best of the best without having to buy it?