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Canon C300, Canon C300mkii, Sony FS7, Sony PMW-200, Sony PXW-200, Sony PMW-300, ARRI Alexa Mini, ARRI Amira, RED Dragon, RED Weapon, Black Magic URSA, AJA Cion, Black Magic URSA Mini, Panasonic AG-DVX200 ('Scarlet')...

The list of top class contemporary must-have cameras launched in the last five years is staggering.

And I'm excluding the traditional 2/3" shoulder mount cameras from this list (oh, go on then, include the Sony PXW-500 as well).

Every once in a while I get asked as a representative of a camera facilities company, "Isn't hiring cameras dead business? Aren't the cameras a) really cheap to buy so individuals or companies buy their own or b) so easy to use that anyone can use them so why bother going to the experts?"

With confidence, but certainly not complacency, the answer from me is thankfully, "No".

The array and amount of cameras that offer such high quality (be that the 'look' or the codec/recording bit rate) is now higher than ever. The reason why Alias Hire exists right now, and I can only assume it's a similar case for many other companies like us, is because there is a staggering amount of cameras to choose from.

If 'ABC' or 'ZYX' Productions' went and bought their preferred camera choice every time they had a commission for a long form programme, or even just a 2-minute promo, each production company/branded content company/events company would need a storage area as big as... well, us. And those companies like us of course.

Then of course there's the question of who is going to maintain and service all of this kit. Should companies that use this kit go and hire someone (and pay them £20k/£25k/£30k per annum) to look after their £+100k's worth of equipment? As well made as cameras are in terms of their development, heavy use takes its toll on even the best quality equipment.

There's also a genuine economic point to hiring too. Whilst it might appear to make sense to purchase this-or-that camera, there aren't too many opportunities to claim that back as a business expense. Why have the cost off-set from a tax return only once when it can be done multiple times via the hiring process? I, like every single person reading this, am someone that would never shirk from paying the tax that needs to be paid. And not just because it's illegal! But do I want to pay more than needs to be paid? The way to use video equipment in a tax efficient way is to hire it.

And even if regular companies and end users were to purchase their kit, and hire someone to look after it, and claim back the business expense as a one-off... will they have bought the right camera in the first place?

My little list at the top of this article to choose from is by no means exhaustive. And I'm quite sure that 2016 promises to be no different to the amount of cameras launched than any other year since the last camera to use video cassette was introduced.

What will Canon offer up at NAB in April? Or Sony or Panasonic at IBC next September? New cameras are coming I can promise that much. At the very least I doubt very much that we are at the end of the 4K revolution.

My guess is that we really are just at the beginning!

Image: Canon EOS C300
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