Top Teks, has started a contract hire business offering cameras at about a quarter of normal hire costs.
Users have to commit to a camera for terms of six or 12 months, although it is possible to swap cameras during the 12-month hire period. It means that someone requiring a camera for a month-long shoot would only need to get a couple of weeks more work for the camera before gaining on the deal.
"We've noticed over the last few years, freelancers not wanting to commit to buying cameras, due to format changes or technology changes, or clients wanting different cameras used. But, if you're hiring a camera, then you can't retain your settings, you don't know how that camera has been treated and you've no guarantee a particular model will be available," said Mike Thomas, Top Teks' sales director (pictured).
Users can also buy the camera outright for a guaranteed price at the end of the hire period (or give it back and get something else). The percentage of discount varies depending on the model, but after 12 months using a new Canon XF305, which would cost £275 per month including two high-capacity batteries and a wide-angle adapter, the buyout price would be £4,900 (compared to a new price of £6,200, so the user would be getting £1,300 off the rental).
Other advantages for users include: no capital outlay (no deposit); all of the hire costs can be put against tax (compared to a percentage of the depreciation normally); and if hiring for 12 months users can swap to another camera, although that would move them to the slightly more expensive six month rate.
Top Teks is currently offering eight camera models (Panasonic HPX-3100, HPX371 and AG-3DA1, Sony PMW-500, PDW-F800 and PMW-F3 with CP2 Primes, and the Canon XF305), but will add more as people request them. It also offers lenses, and hire of P2 or SxS cards and drives.
By David Fox