August 2018

The Big Question: To Rent or To Buy?

“Do I need to own a camera in order to produce videos?”

Some would argue yes, but others may just say renting is sufficient if you are unsure if you can afford the pricey start-up costs. In the video production industry, sometimes our dream cameras are bigger than our pockets. As technology continues to vastly improve, camera equipment is constantly evolving and only getting better with time. Although owning equipment has its advantages, luckily, there are some other routes you can take to get your hands on your favorite piece of equipment without the stress of having to spend thousands on camera equipment.

high tech video camera equipment filming on an abstract set

The Perks of Renting

“Feed your passion without starving your wallet.”

Technology is growing rapidly and new equipment is constantly emerging. Though it might be tempting to keep up with the trends, almost anywhere in a big city, you can find a local rental house that has the equipment you are looking for your next project. Renting gear has many advantages, like allowing you to use the latest gear without making a monetary commitment.

9 Perks of Renting

1) It’s cheaper to rent it on the rare occasions when you do need it.

2) It’s more financially feasible when the gear is not something you’ll use often. Ask yourself these questions: “Can I use this equipment regularly?” “Will the investment of buying outweigh the rental cost over time?”

3) You can try out unique equipment that you wouldn’t necessarily buy, like a high-quality underwater housing or an extremely wide-angle lens.

4) Rental protection plans might be better than your own insurance policy.

5) When you’re just starting out, it’s difficult to know which gear to buy. Renting lets you get a feel for what you might like to have.

6) Renting is a great option for instances when your gear is out for repair. Repairs may take weeks to complete, and having backup gear lets you keep working while you wait.

7) If you want your other shooters to have specific gear, you can rent it for them for professional shoots.

8) Eliminate buyer’s remorse. Just because new gear comes out does not mean it works better. It’s difficult to know if it lives up to its reputation until you use it yourself. Once you’ve tried it and know you like a piece of gear, you can buy it and know you’re making the right choice.

9) The value of the gear will eventually be depreciated over time. Even if you only use it a few times and decide to sell, you may only make back a fraction back.

But like they say, if you got it, spend it...

shelves lined with various high tech camera rental equipment


Check out some of the local rental houses that we use.

Eleven04 Productions (Chicago, IL)

Eleven04 Productions is a Chicago-based film equipment rental house. They accommodate indie filmmakers and freelancers by offering a variety of professional quality cameras, lenses, lighting, support, and accessories.

Magnanimous Media (Chicago, IL)

Magnanimous Media rents high-quality equipment to video and photo professionals to help you achieve your goals and pursue your passions.

Camera Ambassador (Chicago, IL)

Camera Ambassador provides video production equipment rentals & sales to filmmakers nationwide. They can help you find the right tools for your next story!

If you’re having trouble finding rental houses, you can always checkout ShareGrid!

All in all, buying versus renting always depends on your situation. Always make sure to do the math to evaluate how much you are renting gear, how much the rental cost is and how much it would cost to purchase it. Try not to be swayed by the trends or new toys; always try out gear and ask yourself if you need it before buying.

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