The Sony Alpha 1 Was the Most Rented New Camera of 2021

Lensrentals has published its end-of-the-year data that reveals the most popular new 2021 equipment that has been rented in the last year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Sony Alpha 1 was the most popular stills camera, with Nikon’s Z7 II in second place.

Lensrentals says that it believes its data is a great tool to measure industry metrics to determine where both the photo and video markets are trending. 2020 was an anomaly due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as can be expected, but 2021 saw a bit of a bounceback as the industry was able to rebuild some of what it lost.

Below are the top 18 products that were released in 2021 from the Lensrentals library listed from highest to lowest demand:

  1. Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (RF)
  2. Sony FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Camera
  3. Sony Alpha a1
  4. Sony FX6 Full-Frame Cinema Camera
  5. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro (EF)
  6. RED DIGITAL CINEMA KOMODO 6K Camera Production Kit
  7. Nikon Z 7II
  8. Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
  9. Leica Q2 Monochrom
  10. Aputure LS 600d Pro Daylight LED V-Mount Kit
  11. DZOFilm Pictor 20-55mm T2.8 Parfocal Zoom (EF)
  12. Fuji GFX 100S Medium Format Mirrorless
  13. Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM
  14. Sony FX6 Camera Kit w/ 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens
  15. DZOFilm Pictor 50-125mm T2.8 Parfocal Zoom (EF)
  16. Canon EOS C300 Mark II w/ Touch Focus Kit (EF)
  17. Blackmagic Design ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel
  18. SmallHD Cine 24″ 4K High Bright Pro Monitor

From a strict photography standpoint, the Sony Alpha 1 was the most popular rental (which should not come as a surprise) followed by the Nikon Z7 II, Leica Q2 Monochrom, and then the Fujifilm GFX 100S. But of the 18 total products on the list, only those three products can be considered purely stills-photography focused. The rest of the list is made up of video cameras, accessories, and lenses that are suitable for both photo and video use.

Lensrentals agrees that the data points to a market that has an increasing interest in video and filmmaking.

“At the top of the list, and by a pretty wide margin, was the Canon C70 Cinema Camera, and is most notably impressive because it really further solidifies the industry’s response to Canon’s RF lens mount,” Lensrentals’ editor Zach Sutton writes.

Looking at last year’s data, which can be viewed on the company’s blog post, and comparing it to this year’s information, the popularity of the RF mount has really taken off.

“The RF lens mount continues to grow in its market share as more people trade in their DSLRs and move to the Canon mirrorless platform. Additionally, it seems that the professional video market has really taken over from previous years, with much of the list for 2021 being in the professional video camera department.”

There isn’t quite enough information here to definitively say that video products are becoming more popular than still photography products, especially since rental data needs to be looked at in comparison to sales numbers from both segments as well and because the global chip shortage has made it extremely difficult for camera manufacturers to produce cameras at a rate the market currently can support. For now, it’s likely a good idea to just consider this data and continue to evaluate the market through 2022 before drawing any concrete conclusions.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article did not specify that the list of most rented products were specifically new in 2021 and not all total products in Lensrentals’ library. It has been corrected and we apologize for this error.