Read the Televisual Top 10 Rental Cameras report in full
After a tough couple of years, the camera rental market is hoping for a big year ahead. And new models expected from Sony and Arri in particlular look likely to supplant some old favourites
How it Works
At the beginning of the year, Televisual sent survey forms to a wide range of camera hire companies. Each was asked to list their five most rented cameras of 2021, along with the percentage of hires each model received.
An overall ranking of the most rented models was then created by multiplying the average percentage usage of each model by how many hire companies listed it in their top five.
Scroll down for the full top ten
Optimistic but cautious is probably the best way to sum up the mood of the camera rental market right now.
Alias Hire says it is “very much expecting 2022 to still be impacted by Covid related issues” and, although this next year should be an improvement on 2021 “in all reality, we could be waiting till 2023 to see business for us back to pre-pandemic levels.”
“The last two years have been something of a rollercoaster for most rental houses,” says Shoot Blue. “So whilst we are expecting the current demand to continue (and possibly grow further) to some extent, it’s still a case of ‘proceed with caution’ when it comes to investing in new equipment.”
ProVision is one of many rental houses looking ahead with positivity: “With COVID restrictions looking to ease, 2022 is projected to be a very busy year in the drama world.” The medium-term industry trend, particularly in HETV production, is certainly for an upward curve. As S+O says: “hunger for investment from streaming services such as Netflix and broadcast companies like Sky brings hope for an expected growth in production requirements in the coming months and years” That hope is reflected in some stats from this year’s survey. While the average investment planned by rental houses in last year’s survey was £593k (median £250k), the average planned investment for the next 12 months is a little over £900k (median £440k).
And where will that investment go? The rental houses replying to this survey say that the new Sony Venice MkII is the number one investment plan for next year with the soon to emerge ARRI S35 4K in second (along with the already popular Sony FX6 and Sony FX9).
In amongst those top five investment plans remains the Arri Alexa Mini LF, now starting to supersede the original Mini (now being retired by Arri). The original Mini is still at the top of the pro rental chart, with plenty of rental houses saying it will stay that way for a while yet but that the Mini LF will finally outpace it soon.
The Sony Venice MkII is also expected to have a big impact on the original Venice. “It will be interesting to see what the demand for the Sony Venice is like once we start to see the Sony Venice 2 being readily available,” says Video Europe. Procam Take 2 say it is “closely watching how the market engages and reacts to the launch of the Sony Venice 2.” ProVision says it expects “the Sony Venice 2 to be on DoP’s camera lists going forward, so will be in our fleet shortly.” No Drama says: “Once Venice 2 is released we’ll see that getting requested straight onto commercials.”
The big news over the coming year is likely to be the upcoming ARRI S35 4K camera, slated for release this spring. VMI says “we are eagerly waiting for the new S35 ARRI camera to come to market, which we plan to buy in bulk.” ProVision says, “we are excited to see when Arri reveal more details about the Alexa S35 4k as that should very quickly become a standard in the TV drama sector.” Although as No Drama says, its success “will completely depend on the formats, both res and speed, it arrives on the scene with.”
Outside of the high end, the FS7 is still holding on surprisingly well. Says the Kit Room: “Whilst Sony FX9’s and FX6 are becoming very popular, Sony FS7 is still a reliable workhorse for many budget conscious productions.”
Run Hire too says, “We’ve not made the leap to the FX6 or FX9 yet, as we haven’t had many enquires for it and, as such, we have kept our fleet of FS7 MKI and MKII cameras going, and they have been flying off the shelves consistently all through 2021 and into 2022.” But the FS7, and the FS7 MkII’s time is surely coming. ProVision says that “not surprisingly the Sony FX6 and FX9 have been instant hits and replaced the FS7 as leaders in the factual market.”
But it’s not all about the Sony and Arri. Rental houses report the Canon C300 MkII still does business (and even the XF305). VMI says the “Canon C500 II has been supremely popular and made full frame acquisition both affordable and accessible.” With Film Store saying “Canon will push to recapture the market they once dominated with the C300. Their recent releases in the EOS range, coupled with their drive toward the mirrorless sector and rumoured upcoming cameras are both impressive and encouraging for shooters that enjoy the Canon look.”
S+O says the “recently introduced RED Komodo was a great addition to their line-up, its revolutionary format captivated the interest of many of our new and regular clients alike. Hopefully, the Raptor XL will be the camera for hire companies looking for a complete RED solution.” Films at 59, nestled as it is in the natural history hub of Bristol, similarly says that “natural history is still flying the Red flag so they will continue to be our most popular cameras until a possible replacement comes along.”
And others may make a move too, says Film Store, “Blackmagic have a knack of stunning the industry with their ever-increasing sensor resolutions, backend support and industry standard software.”
01- ARRI ALEXA MINI
Average Day Rate £453
Top 5 hire from
Dynamic Rentals; Films at 59; Film Store; The Kit Room; New Day; No Drama; Procam Take 2; Pro Motion; ProVision; S+O; Shoot Blue; Video Europe; VMI
Warner Music UK – Rod Stewart Sailing for Americas Cup, BBC – Big Weekend, CC Lab / Sky Arts – Noel Gallagher Out Of The Now (Film Store); Great British Architects, various promos (New Day); Married At First Sight S6, Jamie Oliver: Together, The Emily Atack Show S2 (S+O); Inside Number 9 – BBC), Henry VIII (Blakeway Productions for Channel 5 (VMI); Commercials, music videos (Pro Motion); UK terrestrial (Films at 59); The Bay, Happy Valley 3, Vera, The Reckoning, The Tower, Ackley Bridge 5 (ProVision); Various Commercials for The Gate, Chief, LS Productions, Boohoo, Sky Creative, All Creatures Great & Small (Channel 5/ Playground TV), StoneHouse, BBC Alba Triuir, STAD for Cwmni Da, The Confessions of Frannie Langton (No Drama)
It’s another year in the number one spot for the original Arri Alexa Mini in our poll of the most popular pro cameras in the rental market.
Despite its continued popularity, the camera that was first introduced way back in 2015 will be discontinued by Arri this year. Arri is now to focus on the Alexa Mini LF as its offering for large format productions with the upcoming ARRI S35 4K camera aimed at Super 35 productions. Despite it leaving the factory lines, the original Mini will surely be a rental favourite for a good few years yet.
As Shoot Blue says, “the ARRI Alexa Mini has continued its reign as our best performing camera model overall. Despite its age, it’s still very much in demand for short form projects such as commercials and branded content. Given how popular the Mini still is, it’s been a great ROI for rental houses who have invested in this camera.”
VMI similarly expects “the ARRI Alexa Mini to continue its dominance in the UK production industry as it continues to be the go-to camera for the majority of drama and commercials productions until the next ARRI camera lands later this year.”
The near seven-year-old Mini suffers for its lack of true 4K capture, and this “limits its appeal for platforms such as the Netflix and Amazon,” says Shoot Blue. But despite this, the Mini has “continued to be a workhorse,” says No Drama. “less so on high end commercials; Mini LF has established itself there with Venice following closely behind but, on run of the mill TVCs, television drama and low budget features, it’s still a very popular and capable choice.”
Provision predicts that the Mini “will probably have another year at the top of the list” because “although native 4k and Full Frame requirements are more popular than a year ago, they’re still not the majority.”
02 Sony FX9
Average Day Rate £251
Top 5 hire from Alias Hire; Bluefin; Film Store; The Kit Room; New Day; Pro Motion; ProVision; S+O; Shoot Blue; Video Europe; VI Rental
Hired for The Real Manhunter – Sky (Bluefin); UEFA Euro 2020, BBC Comic Relief, Transistor/Netflix – I am a Killer (Film Store); NHS Ad, Rugby World Cup, Tennis (New Day); Outsiders, Celebs Go Dating S10 (S+O); C4, BBC, ITV (VI Rental); Ambulance, Earth Storm (Pro Motion); Live + Wild, Dubai Hustle (ProVision)
Sony’s FX9 makes another step up the top ten list from third last time to second.
As Bluefin says, the camera “ticks a lot of boxes.” While New Day notes that the FX9 now “seems to be the commercial/promo field camera of choice.” And its popularity could grow: “with the easing of Covid restrictions I would hope doc/daytime/reality type programmes will come back thus driving the Sony FX6/FX9 rentals,” says Films at 59. S+O also predicts the camera wil gather pace “as clients and self-shooters alike realise the advantages brought by their auto-focus functionally on native E mount lenses — especially when shooting in Full Frame mode.” Film Store Rental says the FX9 is now “far and away the most popular camera across the entertainment and reality docu sectors.” The Kit Room says the camera has been an “instant hit with clients who are already familiar with FS7s.”
03 ARRI ALEXA MINI LF
Average Day Rate £897
Top 5 hire from Dynamic Rentals; Films at 59; No Drama; Procam Take 2; ProVision; S+O; Shoot Blue; Video Europe
Hired for This Is Going To Hurt, BBC Natural History, Walk The Line (S+O), streamers (Films at 59); Waterloo Road, The Wedding Season (ProVision); Various commercials for The Gate, Chief, LS Productions, Sugar Free TV, Tanami, Greenroom, Agile, Sky. Dramas – Cobra/ Sky, Ridley, Ralph & Katie/ITV (No Drama)
Arri’s Mini LF climbs up the top ten pro rental cameras list from sixth place to third this time. It sits alongside its rival, the Sony Venice (closely following in fourth spot) but both cameras “simply dominated the high-end global market in 2021,” says Dynamic Rental. “We had over 200 of them on rental and NEVER had enough.” ProVision says that “the Venice and Mini LF have both been busy in the drama market, the latter appearing to very much be the DoP’s camera of choice and appearing on many camera wish-lists. 2022 may be the last of the Alexa Mini proving our busiest camera, with the Alexa Mini LF looking like the most obvious successor.” No Drama says it has “seen the MiniLF become our go-to choice for high-end TV commercials and, in the latter part of the year, match Venice for popularity on dramas, only ever really stifled by budget where the Venice is as capable a camera – more so in many ways – but a more budget friendly choice.”
04 SONY VENICE
Average Day Rate £701
Top 5 hire from Dynamic Rentals; Films at 59; Film Store; No Drama; Procam Take 2; ProVision; Shoot Blue; Video Europe
Hired for Warner / Disney+ project (Film Store); Sumotherhood (Shoot Blue); Terrestrial and streamers (Films at 59); Emily – Feature, TAPK – Feature), Hullraisers, Reassigned -Feature (ProVision); Stay Close/Red Prods & Netflix, Red Rose/ Eleven Film, Gentleman Jack/Lookout Point, Crime/Britbox (No Drama)
Up from fifth to fourth in the pro rental camera poll is the Sony Venice, just behind its rival the Alexa Mini LF. VMI says the Venice “has become incredibly popular” now and, “whilst the ARRI LF is now much more popular than before, the Sony Venice has become a really important camera for 4K drama/feature work.” And, alongside the Mini LF, ticks the streaming platform boxes. As Procam Take 2 says “The Sony Venice meets all the requirements of the streaming platforms and more.” And not just for drama. “The Sony Venice is quickly becoming the go-to system for big budget documentaries commissioned by the top streaming services for their original content,” says Film Store Rental. The question now is, what will happen to the Venice once its new sibling hits the market. “It will be interesting to see what the demand for the Sony VENICE is like once we start to see the Sony VENICE 2 being readily available,” says Video Europe.
05 SONY FX6
Average Day Rate £166
Top 5 hire from Film Store; Hireacamera; The Kit Room; New Day, ProVision; S+O, Shoot Blue; VI Rental; VMI
Hired for Peckham’s Finest, The Repair shop (Film Store); promos (New Day); Celebs Go Dating (S+O); BBC, C4 (VI Rental); Dodger – BBC, LadBible, Let’s Talk about Me doc, Brackish Productions; GM, Plimsoll (VMI); Geordie Hospital, Firefighters, Code Blue, Dubai Hustle, Family Diaries 2 (ProVision)
06 SONY FS7
Average Day Rate £138
Top 5 hire from Alias Hire; Bluefin; Run Hire; Pro Motion; VI Rental
Hired for World’s Most Expensive Christmas Cruise – ITNP (Alias Hire); BBC Hardtalk (Bluefin); Prue’s Great Garden Plot, Hornby: A Model World, Secrets of the Imperial War Museum (Run Hire); C4, BBC, ITV (VI Rental); First Dates Teens, Escape to the Country, Police After Dark (Pro Motion)
07 SONY FS7 MKII
Average Day Rate £151
Top 5 hire from Alias Hire, The Kit Room; New Day; Run Hire; VMI
Hired for Sports Promos (New Day); Gregg Wallace’s Magical Christmas Market, Gregg Wallace’s Grand Christmas Adventure (Run Hire); Enslaved (Cornelia Street Productions for Epix and CBC – BBC2 (VMI)
08 RED GEMINI
Average Day Rate £433
Top 5 hire from Films at 59; Pro Motion; VI Rental
Hired for Apple TV , Netflix, BBC, Nat Geo (VI Rental); Welcome to Earth, Commercials, MoCo (Pro Motion); Natural History for terrestrial and streamers (Films at 59)
09 CANON C300 MKII
Average Day Rate £170
Top 5 hire from Alias Hire; VI Rental; VMI
Hired for Morris Men – Film (Alias Hire); C4, BBC, ITV , AppleTV (VI Rental); Umpteen documentaries… (VMI)
10 SONY A7S MKIII
Average Day Rate £100
Top 5 hire from Bluefin; Hireacamera; New day; Run Hire
Hired for Science promo, car ad (New Day); Benefit Cosmetic commercial, Hornby: A Model World (Run Hire)
Many thanks to all the hire companies who took part:
Alias Hire, Bluefin, Dynamic Rentals, Film Store Rental, Films at 59, Hireacamera, New Day, No Drama, Pro Motion, Procam Take 2, ProVision, Run Hire, S+O, Shoot Blue, The Kit Room, Video Europe, VI Rental, VMI
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