Panasonic is Now Leasing Out Its Cameras Like They’re Cars


Panasonic Japan has started a new service that lets photographers lease out camera kits that is an extension of the company’s Tokyo-based rental service.

Initially spotted by 43Rumors, Panasonic’s new lease program attempts to address a few issues that might come up with photographers who are considering a new camera system. For example, many don’t know much about a particular camera and learn best hands-on while others may not want to regret purchasing a camera. For those in the second camp, long-term rentals can be prohibitively expensive. Panasonic also says those who want to cut down on up-front expenses may also find the monthly lease program appealing.

Panasonic is debuting the lease option through two options: a selfie/vlogger kit that combines a hand grip with a Lumix G100V or the Lumix S5 II with a 50mm f/1.8. The former costs 2,970 yen (about $20) per month for 36 months while the latter costs 9,900 yen (about $68) per month over the same period. In total, the contract for the G100V will cost lessees 106,956 yen (about $727) while the S5 II kit will cost 356,400 yen (about $2,421).

To put those numbers in perspective, the G100V kit sells for 84,150 yen (about $572) while the S5 II kit goes for 299,970 (about $2,038), so lessees do pay a premium for the monthly subscription compared to the cost of a one-time purchase.

Panasonic Japan

But in addition to the equipment, those who select the lease option do get additional perks. Panasonic includes access to Lumix Academy, which has lessons on how to use the cameras ranging from beginners to intermediate-level photographers. Panasonic also won’t hold photographers liable for any repair costs if the camera kit breaks down or is accidentally dropped. Lessees also get access to Panasonic’s full rental service at a “special price” and can get their camera kit cleaned professionally once a year.

At the end of the lease term, photographers can continue to pay a reduced 550 yen fee (about $3.75) from month 37 until month 72, but the contract can also be terminated and the photographer can just keep the camera kits. The only advantage to keeping the lease is that photographers will continue to have the protection against “natural breakdowns and damage” that is covered under the terms of the lease and access to an annual cleaning service for the equipment and lens rental service. After 72 months, the equipment becomes the property of the lessee and those two support features cease.

Those who choose to cancel the lease before the terms of the agreement are up (36 months) are charged two months of usage fees and must return the equipment.

Panasonic’s lease program currently only includes these two camera kits and there is no indication that the company plans to bring the service to countries outside of Japan, though anything is possible if it proves successful domestically.