While not necessarily indicative of how well a brand is doing in terms of sales, the annual LensRentals Top Rented Photo and Video Products report is at least telling of what’s popular or what has the public eye. This year, it was Canon yet again.
While actual sales figures are much more telling when it comes to determining the health of a business, looking at what is rented gives a slightly different perspective: what’s interesting, popular, or remains highly-used? For example, in previous conversations with LensRentals staff, it’s been revealed that while many people who use the service do so for special projects, a large number of rentals go to those looking to try out equipment before they buy it.
LensRentals is a particularly useful source for this kind of data because of the sheer volume the company rents out. Lensrentals just fulfilled its millionth order this year and has 350,000 customers nationwide, and the company tells PetaPixel that it fulfills orders for hundreds of thousands of products per year.
In previous years, while the Canon EOS R was often derided by professionals and photography outlets for being behind the times, LensRentals saw an uptick in rentals for the camera. In 2019, Canon’s first foray into mirrorless saw itself atop the Top 20 list, while Nikon saw no product make the list.
So while public perception might be one thing, the reality is often different. While Canon was ridiculed in the comments sections of many websites for a camera that was seen to be behind the times, it continues to leap up in popularity. Even if it wasn’t being purchased in large numbers, it was at least curious enough of a product to capture the attention of renters.
This year, the EOS R made another jump: from 19th place to 7th, with no Nikon Z product on that top 20 list (though the D750 did make a somewhat unexpected appearance at number 16).
Here is the full list of Top 20 products rented in 2020:
Drilling down a bit, below are the most popular photography lenses rented out in 2020, categorized by mount:
Looking at that, the chart below showing Canon as the clear market share leader for lens brands rented in 2020 should come as no surprise:
In previous years, Sony saw itself climbing in popularity and threatening to challenge Canon’s grip on first place. This year, that trend wavered, as both Sony and Nikon saw dips in the popularity of its equipment. Sony overall fell 2.27% over 2019, Nikon fell 0.38%, and Canon rose a further 0.29%:
In 2019, both Nikon and Sony saw market shares grow and Canon’s shrank in turn. This year, that reversed.
All data is good data, but this year’s numbers might not be as helpful as those previous. 2020 has not been kind to the photography industry. Many photographers have found it challenging to keep their businesses going and nearly all of them experienced some kind of dip in business. Still, the data presented in the company’s full report is useful for determining what brands and what equipment is actually trending in real-world popularity and is also helpful in determining what the market sees as valuable heading into 2021.