The Most Popular Equipment of 2017

The Most Popular Equipment of 2017

We all know what our favorite cameras are, but which brands have the numbers to back them up? We spoke to LensRentals, B&H, and 500px about what they saw over the year.

So first up is the cameras. We might all laud the Nikon D850 and Sony’s a7R III, but since they came out towards the end of this year they won’t find themselves in the top spots. Nonetheless, you’ll still know every name on this list.

Cameras - LensRentals

  1. Canon 5D Mark III
  2. Sony a7S II
  3. Canon 5D Mark IV
  4. Canon 6D
  5. Nikon D750
  6. Sony a7R II
  7. Canon 7D Mark II
  8. Fuji X-T2
  9. Sony a6500
  10. Nikon D810

Last year the Nikon D810 was number nine, but now it’s close to falling off the top ten (soon to be replaced by the D850 next year). Making a guess, I’d say Nikon is getting beat on video specs, where other cameras are meeting the needs of both photographers and videographers. Sony’s a7S II and a6500 are great for video work, and won’t break the bank. Whereas Nikon is only hitting one of those markets.

It’s also funny that people are renting the older Canon 5D when the Mark IV came out last year. There’s only a $50 difference in price for a week’s rental, so I guess that’s a testament to how disappointing the 5D Mark IV was in 2016. People would rather save the money than upgrade.

Cameras - B&H

B&H tells a different story here, with the 5D Mark IV doing a lot better than the Mark III. Nikon doesn't fall behind here either. It's also worth noting that they categorize things a little differently, splitting up mirrorless cameras from DSLRs and those sales don't include the full year (just the last quarter).


  1. Canon 6D Mark II 
  2. Canon 5D Mark IV 
  3. Nikon D850 
  4. Nikon D750


  1. Sony a7R III
  2. Sony a6300 w/16-50mm lens
  3. Sony a6000 w/16-50mm lens
  4. Panasonic GH5

Interesting that the Sony a6500 wasn't in the top of the mirrorless sales, when both it's predecessors are. You'd think that people would look to the Panasonic G7 for a budget 4K camera since it's cheaper than Sony's a6300 which also shoots in 4K. 

Strange that the Canon 5D Mark III isn't in B&H's top DSLR sales when there's a thousand dollar difference between the two right now. Then again, if you were worried about price you would likely opt for the 6D Mark II which is about 25% cheaper than the Mark III.

Cameras - 500px

The previous two weren't apples to apples comparisons, and 500px is no different. They're not interested in the total amount of shots taken with cameras. Instead, they've focused on the adoption rate of cameras released in 2017. It's worth mentioning that they've been counting since September 2016, which explains their top camera.

Fastest Adopted Cameras

  1. Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  2. Canon 5D Mark IV 
  3. Apple iPhone 7
  4. Canon 80D
  5. Fuji X-T2

Because 500px knows how people are actually using their cameras, they can tell us what cameras are the most popular for certain genres. Nothing's overly surprising, but for readers who aren't used to certain aspects of photography, it's a really great gauge for where trends are headed. For example, it's pretty obvious that street photography is usually photographed on lightweight cameras. Bear in mind that this isn't about the most popular camera, but instead the cameras with the best adoption rate since their release.

Street Photography

  1. Other (63.5%)
  2. Fuji X-T2 (10.5%)
  3. Apple iPhone 7 Plus (8.9%)
  4. Apple iPhone 7 (6.7%)
  5. Canon 5D Mark IV (5.7%)
  6. Fuji X100F (4.7%)

Landscape Photography

  1. Apple iPhone 7/Other (75.4%)
  2. Canon 5D Mark IV (7.3%)
  3. Canon 80D (4.6%)
  4. Apple iPhone 7 Plus (4.5%)
  5. Fuji X-T2 (4.5%)
  6. Apple iPhone 7 (3.7%)

Fashion Photography

  1. Nikon D810 (31.5%)
  2. Canon 5D Mark IV (23.3%)
  3. Nikon D7200 (15.9%)
  4. Other (15.9%)
  5. Fuji X-T2 (9.5%)
  6. Apple iPhone 7 Plus (5.4%)

Lenses - LensRentals

  1. Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II
  2. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
  3. Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS
  4. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L
  5. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
  6. Canon 50mm f/1.2L
  7. Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro
  8. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
  9. Canon 85mm f/1.2L II
  10. Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II

Again, Nikon losing out here on rentals. The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G II was at the number eight spot last year but now sits at number twelve. Their 24-70mm f/2.8G is the 18th most rented, while Canon’s version gets the number one spot. This is more likely due to how universal Canon’s glass is. While Canon has opened up some of their cinema line to PL mount lenses, there’s no denying that a lot of other camera systems use a Canon mount.

I also find it interesting that there’s only one truly wide angle lens and no tilt-shift lenses. In my eyes, they’d be the type of thing you’d rent rather than buy, especially for use on gimbals. It seems like this list is full of staple lenses that suit everyday use. The Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II just about makes the top ten list here. The Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS and Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8  are the only full-frame wide angles on the list, at 19th and 26th respectively.

Canon’s EF mount held 40% of the market share last year, and at the end of this year is doing just fine at 37%. That’s in comparison to Sony’s E mount at 13%, Nikon F at 12% and Micro 4/3 at just 4%. There’s a stark difference between Canon and the competition.

Which must mean that for Sony to have a lens in the top ten, it must be a very popular lens. Nikon’s rental customers must be spread out among lots of other lenses. My assumption is that Nikon users have already invested in the camera system and its lenses. They’re only ordering lenses they won’t buy. That’s in contrast to people who need Canon glass, who are renting the most basic lenses for different camera systems.

Lenses - B&H

B&H are again splitting up SLR lenses and mirrorless lenses, and while the SLR lenses are predictable, I was pretty interested in their mirrorless stats. For example the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 (Sony E-mount) isn't what you might consider a classic lens that everybody should own. It's also odd that there aren't any Panasonic lenses in the mirrorless section, with the release of the GH5 in 2017.

SLR Lenses

  1. Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM
  2. 50mm f/1.8G NIKKOR AF-S
  3. 24-70mm f/2.8L EF II
  4. 70-200mm f/2.8E

Mirrorless Lenses

  1. Olympus 30mm f3.5 M.Zuiko ED Macro
  2. Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS
  3. Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS
  4. Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS (Sony E-Mount)

Lenses - 500px

500px didn't have any concrete statistics for us with regards to the lenses that we love to use. However, there was one intriguing point of information – which iPhone 7 Plus lens did people use most often? Since the phone has two lenses (wide and telephoto) they were able to figure out exactly what was used. Below is the chart they've given us to show off the data:

Turns out, the telephoto lens is used only a third of the time. It totally makes sense when you think about it. It's pretty cool how they were able to tell whether a user was using both lenses at the same time too, presumably there's been a lot of "Portrait Mode" photos uploaded to their system.

VR and Drones

LensRentals recently introduced drones and 360 cameras, and as a result, we don't have any solid stats on that yet. So 2018 will be a big year for these categories, potentially defining how the practice is managed in the future. If I had to guess, I’d say that the DJI Inspire V2 will be the winner of 2018. It’s too expensive to buy on a whim, but also not outrageous to rent, and not difficult to set up. The going rate is $640, with a Zenmuse X4S, for a whole week!

I’m also curious to see how popular 360 cameras will be in 2018. It seems like the perfect fit for a rental, and with more editing systems being able to work with the video footage, it’s getting easier. My bet is that the Insta360 Pro will be the winner of that one.

B&H didn't have any stats for us on this one, but we do know that 500px's most popular drone was the DJI Mavic. Nothing overly surprising here!

What do you think? Would you have ordered the same gear? Or has the world been missing out on your favorite lens?

Stephen Kampff's picture

Working in broadcasting and digital media, Stephen Kampff brings key advice to shoots and works hard to stay on top of what's going to be important to the industry.

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Great choices we have today. I am thrilled with the video and stills on the Nikon D850. I was getting impatient. Thank you Nikon. Again, I'm saying there are other great choices from other brands. People get odjida if you praise a camera brand other than what they use. But I am very pleased.

You can get an A6000 as a bundle with two kit lenses for around $700-to-$800, which is great for hobbyists like myself upgrading into the DSLR/mirrorless category. A similar bundle for the A6500 is double those prices. At that point, you buy an A7 instead, or buy the A6000 and upgrade to the A7 body in a few years after buying some lenses. Makes sense.

That's a very good point, I hadn't thought that the a6500 prices basically encroach on the a7 line.

" I guess that’s a testament to how disappointing the 5D Mark IV was in 2016."

Considering what drastic improvement in sensor/processor performance there is in the Mk IV versus the Mk III, I guess Canon shooters aren't too critical of their image quality. I work in a studio where we shoot with Mk IIs and Mk IIIs, and all I can say is "sheesh!"...

I wonder why there are so many Canon cameras? That seems strange to me.

very interesting list

People that don't care about 4k are fine with the 5d mark III. I still shoot with mine and use the mark 4 to video shoots and videos. I don't notice a huge megapixel difference and the touchscreen is cooler for video.

I get that video is essential these days for different purposes. I just wish it were optional in terms of a bells and whistle. It won't be a dramatic difference, but I think some people are paying for a camera option they'll never use. Like quality audio components, go with separates!

I record audio separately. But having focus assist for manual focusing, zebra, no cropping 4k footage and a smaller codec would be great. The mark 4 isn't more expensive than the mark 3 was when it came out so I consider the 4k a bonus. If every camera the sold had everything you need, they'd only sell one camera.

One of these days, I will rent a tilt/shift lens from LensRentals to play with. I've rented the Canon EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L II to photograph a practice round at The Masters. I'll rent the lens again when the Air Force Thunderbirds or Navy Blue Angels have a performance within a hundred or so miles.