Camera Lens Rental: Prime Lenses Vs Zoom Lenses

Camera Lens Rental: Prime Lenses Vs Zoom Lenses

Camera lens rental — a breakdown of the basics

Indiewire has really been killing it lately, but this article is particularly helpful in that it answers some basic questions about camera lens rental options.  In the below, Indiewire succinctly calls out the perks and pitfalls of renting a prime lens (with fixed focal length) and/or renting a zoom lens (allowing for varied focal length).  You can and should read the whole article on their site, but it was too good to neglect bookmarking on our own, as well.  We are, after all, here to help you with all your London camera hire needs — and that includes camera lens hire.

Camera lens rental, Zeiss

Lens hire: the ZEISS 25MM COMPACT PRIME 2 T3.6



Your camera lens rental options, simplified

The overall thesis:

While prime lenses are traditionally more cinema-oriented than zooms, there are also some great cinema zooms out there.


Pros for prime lenses:

Synopsis: Primes are used as much as ever on professional film sets, and I highly recommend them as part of your kit, especially if you’re going after the film look.

The main advantages of a prime lens are:

  • Sharper
  • Faster Aperture
  • Lower Cost
  • More Portable

The most important item on this list to me personally is the faster aperture. It’s rare to find a good zoom lens that has an aperture lower than 2.8 which means if you need a low light lens, you are almost definitely going to need to look for a prime…Since prime lenses are only designed to be sharp at one focal length, it’s much easier for the manufacturers to make their prime lenses really sharp, as opposed to zooms which need to be set up to shoot crisp images at variable focal lengths.

If cost is a factor for you, then primes become even more attractive as they always cost less than comparable zooms….The size of primes also make them ideal for shooting and travelling as they require less glass and are typically much smaller than. 


Pros for zoom lenses:

Synopsis: Although zoom lenses are less traditional on a film set than prime lenses, they are certainly still widely used on productions of all sizes…[as] they offer a number of advantages over primes including:

  • Versatility
  • Ease of Use
  • Speciality Shots
  • Cost (sort of!)

There is no question that a zoom lens is more versatile than a prime lens in that you are effectively getting many different focal lengths in the same lens. This makes it ideal for run ‘n gun shooting situations, documentary shooting, or any other scenario where you can’t stop to change the lens. 

 And although prime lenses are cheaper than zooms, you also need to factor in the cost of buying multiple primes, vs. one zoom. If your needs are limited and you just need one single lens that will cover every situation, it may be more efficient and cost effective to get a nice zoom lens.


Those are your camera lens rental options and our favorite bullet points from the first half of the article.  Distilled, digestible.  Thanks, Indiewire!  Read the second half here, but bear in mind it offers more of an elaboration on the above than any new insight.  Still, quite helpful for any filmmaker or cinematographer who’s having a hard time pulling the trigger with regards to professional film equipment hire.


Need more advice?  Aimimage is your source for comprehensive film equipment hire in London.  Give us a shout and we’ll help you parse your camera lens rental needs.

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