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Author Topic: Has anyone done a cost analysis for renting / purchasing Canon EF 800?  (Read 2455 times)

sumowondertoad

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I'm wondering if any working freelance photographers have done a cost breakdown of the new Canon EF 800.  It's currently $10,750 at B&H.  Specifically, I'm interested in hearing thoughts about the differences between purchasing and rental.  My local rental house has the lens available for $100 daily rate (goes down to $100 for both weekend days, and there are additional discounts for weekly and monthly rates).  Of course, I know it's a simple matter of figuring out how many days I would use the lens in a given year, and multiplying the result to figure out how many days it would cost for a full purchase.

I have always thought that purchasing large glass was more economical and renting the bodies, but I'm seeing a trend towards the other direction.  For example, the same rental house as mentioned above also rents a 1D Mark III body for $250 per day, substantially more than the lens which costs 3 times as much.  So, it seems to make more sense to purchase bodies and rent the rest.

I'm also asking for advice with how to make this monster lens more invisible when I'm out shooting.  I know there are lens coats for this, but it still attracts quite a bit of unwanted human attention.  Any thoughts on this other matter?  What about a coat thrown over it to disguise it (I've tried it and it works fairly well, but eventually I have to take the coat off to shoot).

Thanks so much for your feedback.  I really appreciate your time.

Scott
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Hank

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Has anyone done a cost analysis for renting / purchasing Canon EF 800?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 01:56:56 am »

We come at it from a different angle as pros, so I don't know how helpful this will be.  Our principal meter is the income generating potential of a lens or any other piece of gear.  If it can pay for itself in a year with new income, we buy it.  If not, we rent it for the occasional uses where it is absolutely needed.  As a business purchase we also have the opportunity to depreciate it out over a longer time span than that as well.  

Considering the tax break, you'd think a one year payback is a pretty rigorous requirement.  Not when you weigh it against the other things you could use that same $10k for.   Lots of needs compeat for the money, and you have to pick between them.   For a business, income potential is a much more useful meter.   We might find it better to rent the lens for example, and apply the $10k to extra payments against a mortgage.

I'm not sure that helps your deliberations, but it's how we go about it.
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peter.doerrie

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Has anyone done a cost analysis for renting / purchasing Canon EF 800?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2009, 06:37:20 am »

Quote from: sumowondertoad
...  Of course, I know it's a simple matter of figuring out how many days I would use the lens in a given year, and multiplying the result to figure out how many days it would cost for a full purchase. ...

Actually it is more a question of how much you are going to use the lens in total during the next few years.

Let's assume the worst case and put the rental price at 100USD / day. You would need a total of 100 days of usage to make it worth buying that lens.

Now, a 800mm is a lens that has a long potential usage period (high build quality, unlikely to get replaced by a better lens during the next couple of years, etc.) So let's say you are going to use it for the next 7 years (again, worst case). If you say that you are going to use it more than 100 days during the next seven years, buy it. Otherwise, rent it.

This is the simple calculation.

If you want to make it more complicated, you need to factor the following things in:

* resale value after a given number of years
* chance of theft / loss / breaking
* chance of switching camera systems
* possibility of you shooting different subjects in a few years
* etc.
* additonal costs for insurance and added equipment (new backpack, new tripod, new head, new sherpa)

you get the picture
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feppe

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Has anyone done a cost analysis for renting / purchasing Canon EF 800?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2009, 06:58:37 am »

Gauging the pros and cons is quite a bit more complicated than figuring out how long it does to take to recoop the expense and for it to depreciate fully, I'm afraid.

Perhaps the most important factor for such a big-ticket item is the opportunity cost (ie. buying it means you won't have $10k to spend on something else with possibly higher return on investment), and it should be treated as an investment rather than a straightforward minor procurement.

The options you present have the following consequences:
- You spend $10k on the lens today. This means you will have $10k less to spend on lighting equipment, backs, software, computers, gas, etc. in the future
- You spend a few hundred every once in a while on renting it. You have $10k to spend on everything else which gets smaller every time you rent. Or you can put it in bank or invest it for extra income - or forgo a loan saving the interest you would have to pay if you borrow the money.

So the question you have to ask is whether the lens has higher return-on-investment than, say, a month-long trip to the Amazon to shoot the wildlife there - with the rented 800mm. The Amazon trip might get you pictures you can sell for ten+ years - but the lens would help you get pictures with it for probably ten years as well. It is impossible for me/us to answer the ROI question for you, so you have to take a critical look at your business and determine where the money is best utilized.

If you really want to get in-depth on how to value it, google Economic Value Added which takes into account capital investment - it's used by many of the biggest corporations.

Disclaimer: my day-job is in corporate finance but this is not economic/investment advice blaah blaah. It might be worth your while to consult your bank as well.

rcdurston

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Has anyone done a cost analysis for renting / purchasing Canon EF 800?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 07:12:51 am »

I'd ask your accountant. I think all that has been said is true. The whole idea of having the lense at your disposal too makes for creativity ie. having it there will allow you to shoot with it more.
I would probably lease it with a option for a small buy out at the end. Better for cash flow and taxes.
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Ken Bennett

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Has anyone done a cost analysis for renting / purchasing Canon EF 800?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2009, 05:28:39 pm »

The only other consideration is availability. If you own the lens, and someone spots, say, a snowy owl over in the next county, you can be there in an hour. If you have to rent the lens, well, maybe it's available and maybe it isn't. Maybe it's Sunday morning and you are out of luck. Or maybe someone else has rented it. So it's not all financial, if you can afford the lens.
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Hank

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Has anyone done a cost analysis for renting / purchasing Canon EF 800?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 12:17:50 pm »

Quote from: k bennett
The only other consideration is availability. If you own the lens, and someone spots, say, a snowy owl over in the next county, you can be there in an hour. If you have to rent the lens, well, maybe it's available and maybe it isn't. Maybe it's Sunday morning and you are out of luck. Or maybe someone else has rented it. So it's not all financial, if you can afford the lens.


There's a lot to that insight.  Sometimes you can't plan ahead with enough lead time to have the lens shipped to you, if it is even available from the shop when you need it.  I've responded to exactly those sorts of ops, just because I own a long lens.  Along the same lines, I've also received quick cotracts simply because clients know I have long lenses, and they need the capability on short notice, too.  

Mine is only a 500 f/4, but it's still a brute to carry around yet worrisome to leave locked up in a vehicle.  That's the downside of owning long lenses.  Even when you own it, when you really need it the blooming thing is often miles or continents away.
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mahleu

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Has anyone done a cost analysis for renting / purchasing Canon EF 800?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2009, 01:35:06 pm »

If you can buy used then you can usually use it and sell it on without losing much.
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