Jump to content

Owning/renting primarily cinema lenses


Loren Hamilton

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I'm curious how many of you out there make a large part of your income (or maybe even most of it!) from renting just cinema lenses (and cameras too, I guess). Obviously, the camera is much more of a 'tool' that is used to get the job done, but the glass is much more of an artistic decision and may not be rented quite as often for every type of job or shooting scenario. However, glass does not depreciate in value nearly as quickly and isn't necessarily rendered obsolete on the same timescale that cinema cameras are...day rates are arguably higher than cameras at times.

Do you have any do's/don't's for owning big ticket items such as cinema lenses (or cameras)? 

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

I’ve owned Canon Compact Cine Zooms since 2013. They’ve been parked at the rental house for their entire life. I would recommend doing that, or having multiple jobs lined up that your lenses will go on before dropping ($)$$$$$ on a set. 

As far as protection from depreciation, nowadays that is not certain. My Canon Zooms cost around $25K USD/each back in 2013, (including tax, but not including the Duclos PL/EF swappable mount mods, cases, insurance). Now the same lenses sell brand-new for $10K USD/each because they are not full-frame.... At least I didn’t buy Leica Summilux-C glass! 

On the other hand, I’ve had my Sachtler Cine 30 HD Tripod for almost as long, and it costs and rents for the same as when I bought it. A much better financial investment, strictly by the books. 

I would say, if you’re purchasing mainly as a business investment, buy what’s hot/new or industry standard and market the hell out of it. If you’re planning on renting out your gear as an AC, then this is the route I would go. Personally, I think it makes more sense to go for OConnor heads, SmallHD monitors, Preston or ARRI FIZ, etc as you can rent them out on every job. Whereas every DP you work with will most likely prefer to use their own set of lenses and filters. You could ask your regular DPs what they want to shoot with ahead of time and see if they will rent from you - but if they see that you’re making a lot of money, they’ll probably just buy their own set eventually.

However, if you’re purchasing for your own use as a DP, then buy what suits your taste and shooting style and just worry about making good images. Ultimately, you’re marketing your own taste, so the gear has to work for your particular style. In that case, there are a lot of affordable options these days that could limit your risk. I just picked up a set of DZO Vespid primes, and they are incredible value for the money. They are so cheap, I have no pressure to rent them out at all or sell clients on them so I can just concentrate on making nice images with them.

Just my $0.02!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Satsuki, copy all of that. I guess I was also referring to having gear live at a rental house as well in my stated question. I have some gear that lives a rental house as well and it does great, they're accessories that you need to have on nearly every shoot. 

I guess the other main concern now with buying glass is the whole S35 vs FF issue: which is smarter to invest in?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member

I keep almost buying those Sony CineAlta primes everyone seems to think are actually quite good, but then I look at the situation with super35 and think... I don't want to spend ten grand on that.

And I realise I'm in the UK.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
4 hours ago, Loren Hamilton said:

Satsuki, copy all of that. I guess I was also referring to having gear live at a rental house as well in my stated question. I have some gear that lives a rental house as well and it does great, they're accessories that you need to have on nearly every shoot. 

I guess the other main concern now with buying glass is the whole S35 vs FF issue: which is smarter to invest in?


I think this depends a lot on your particular market. To be honest, I really have no idea how one pulls this off in LA. It seems to me that you can rent literally anything you want there with the preponderance of large rental house inventories and owner operators. And relatively cheaply to boot. 

In a smaller market like mine where say, anamorphic lenses and vintage re-housed glass options are not plentiful, you can more or less corner the market on a particular type of item. But I’m not sure that strategy works in LA. I would think it really comes down knowing to your client base and what they’re willing to pay for. 
 

Re: S35 or Full Frame

Full Frame is pretty hot right now. But again, what cameras do your clients shoot on? What lenses do they consistently ask for? If most of your DPs still want to shoot on Speed Panchros or Summicron-Cs, then I think that should factor into the decision. There are just so many sets of lenses out there at all different price points, it’s impossible to give a one-size-fits-all answer. It’s one thing to know what you enjoy personally, and another to know what will sell. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...