Image provided by Lensrentals

As it does every year, Lensrentals has released the numbers behind the most popular gear it saw rented out through 2018. In a blog post on its website, Lensrentals details nearly every category and subcategory imaginable, showing what cameras, lenses, and formats reign supreme in the world of online rentals.

In Lensrental's own words, 'This barometer of equipment rental patterns is useful for the industry to gauge trends in adoption of new technology, camera and lens formats and change in brand share of the market.'

Starting with cameras, Canon still leads, with Sony and Nikon trailing, respectively. Year-over-year though, Canon is down from 44.90% in 2017 to 41.57% in 2018, while Sony and Nikon both increased from 24.67% to 26.31% and 15.06% to 15.28%, respectively. Although the data for this analysis was gathered before the general availability of both Canon and Nikon's full-frame mirrorless offerings, Lensrentals says early data suggests Canon's EOS R system is roughly twice as popular as Nikon's Z6 and Z7 cameras.

The top ILC camera brands, based on percentage of total rentals, according to Lensrentals.

The Canon 5D Mark IV and 5D Mark III take the top two spots, respectively, with the Sony a7s II, Sony a7 III, and Panasonic GH5 rounding out the top five. The Sony a7 III is the only new camera (released in 2018) to make it into the top five.

While on the topic of CaNikon, Lensrentals data shows Canon's overall camera usage has decreased slightly, going from 44.90% to 41.57% year-over-year, as Nikon's increased from 15.06% to 15.28% year over year. Lensrentals notes this is possibly due to the release of the D850 late in 2017, which gave Nikon momentum going into the new year. Other camera brands saw growth as well in 2018, filling the void left behind by Canon.

Below is a list of the top ten cameras rented out by Lensrental users:

1. Canon 5D Mark IV
2. Canon 5D Mark III
3. Sony Alpha a7S II
4. Sony Alpha a7 III
5. Panasonic GH5
6. Sony Alpha a7R III
7. Nikon D750
8. Canon 6D Mark II
9. Nikon D850
10. Canon 6D

On the lens front, not much has changed at the top. Canon, Sony, Sigma, and Nikon take the top four spots, with 37.17%, 14.58%, 12.96%, and 9.62% of rentals, respectively. After that, the numbers drop dramatically, as seen in the below chart.

The top lens brands, based on percentage of total rentals, according to Lensrentals. Other includes: Metabones, Olympus, Rokinon, Voigtlander, Leica, Tokina, Fujinon, Pentax, Veydra, Lensbaby, Venus Optics, Hasselblad, Angenieux, Wooden Camera, SLR Magic and Schneider.

Canon's second-generation 24-70mm F2.8 and 70-200mm F2.8 have proven to be the most popular lenses yet again. However, Sony has found its way into the top three with its own 24-70mm F2.8 and Sony lens rentals have increased approximately 60%, growth mostly driven from new lens releases. Lensrentals says the following lenses 'drove the most growth' for Sony:

  • Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 OSS
  • Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM
  • Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS

Panasonic also saw growth, driven exclusively by three lenses as well:

  • Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 X Power OIS II
  • Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 X Power OIS II
  • Panasonic/Leica 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH

Both Sigma and Tamron saw a slow, but steady increase in popularity, as both have been rolling out new and improved lenses across their respective lineups. Below is a list of the top ten lenses, according to Lensrentals:

1. Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II
2. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
3. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
4. Canon 35mm f/1.4L II
5. Canon 50mm f/1.2L
6. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS
7. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L
8. Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro
9. Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III
10. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II

Overall, there isn't too much change across the board, aside from a few notable exceptions mentioned above. Again though, this data was pulled before Canon and Nikon's respective full-frame mirrorless cameras became available to the general public. With the cameras now available leading into the next year, there could be dramatic changes, both in the DSLR and mirrorless market as manufacturers battle it out for the top spot.

To see a more detailed analysis of the gear rented out and numbers behind the scenes, head over to Lensrentals' blog post.