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The development of eco-friendly cameras represent an important step towards sustainability in the photography industry. If you’re a photography business or just a hobbyist, consider buying or renting from sustainable camera providers. This article reviews some sustainable options to consider for buying or renting camera equipment.

Eco-Friendly Cameras: What Makes a Camera Sustainable?

Here are some features that make cameras sustainable:

  • Raw material choices: Typical digital and film cameras contain a long list of elements, from aluminum, zinc and stainless steel to a number of chemicals, minerals and synthetics. To minimize environmental impact and landfill waste, sustainable camera manufacturers incorporate recycled content into their products – precious metal compounds and plastics sourced from discarded CDs, water bottles, personal computers, etc. – instead of virgin material.
  • Lower energy consumption: Energy consumption represents 60-80 percent of a camera’s total environmental impact. In order to improve energy efficiency without compromising camera functionality, green manufacturers incorporate several innovations like smart compression technology and highly-efficient chipsets developed specifically for video surveillance applications, as well as extremely low-light sensitive sensors and lenses thateliminate the need for costly external illumination.
  • More compact design and packaging: Green manufacturers are designing smaller cameras with modular components that make them easier to assemble and disassemble for repair and recycling.

5 Sustainable Choices for New Cameras

When researching your options for eco-friendly cameras, consider both the company and the products they manufacture. EthicalConsumer.org looks at several attributes when it scores camera brands.

Does the brand score well for its conflict minerals policy? Conflict minerals are associated with a number of issues including workers’ rights, pollution and the funding of armed conflicts. Does the brand score well for its toxics policy? All electronics contain potentially dangerous toxic compounds. We expect companies to have a policy that commits to phasing out the worst of these. Here are some camera brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability:

Sigma

Sigma Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of cameras, lenses, flashes and other photographic accessories. All Sigma products are produced in the company’s own Aizu factory in Bandai, Fukushima, Japan. Sigma Technology regularly takes part in activities that contribute to a sustainable future, by supporting innovation and development through education.

Hasselblad

Hasselblad AB is a Swedish manufacturer of medium format cameras, photographic equipment and image scanners based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The company originally became known for its classic analog medium-format cameras that used a waist-level viewfinder.

Ricoh

The Ricoh Company, Ltd. is a Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company. It was founded by the now-defunct commercial division of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research known as the Riken Concern, on 6 February 1936 as Riken Sensitized Paper. Pentax is a brand name used primarily by Ricoh for DSLR cameras, lenses, sport optics and CCTV optics.

Leica

German-based Leica Camera AG manufactures cameras, optical lenses, photographic lenses, binoculars, rifle scopes and microscopes. The company was founded by Ernst Leitz in 1869, in Wetzlar, Germany. Leica stands for visual enjoyment and lasting value.

GoPro

GoPro, Inc. is an American technology company founded in 2002 by Nick Woodman. It manufactures action cameras and develops its own mobile apps and video-editing software. GoPro is committed to achieving universal ethical trading standards throughout all parts of its supply chain, and to ensure that the working conditions in GoPro’s supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that business operations and manufacturing processes are environmentally friendly.

Used Camera Equipment Options

Purchasing a used camera is a great sustainable option. It minimizes electronic waste and helps conserve virgin materials used to manufacture new products. Finding The Universe highlights some great options for finding used camera and photography equipment.

KEH

KEH focuses on buying and selling used camera equipment almost exclusively. All used equipment undergo a stringent quality check before being listed and are backed with a 180 day warranty. KEH is definitely a great option if you are based in the US and looking for used cameras, used camera lenses, and a wide range of other photography accessories and equipment.

Amazon

As the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon has become a go-to source for purchasing used products. Amazon operates the Amazon Renewed program. Products sold under this program come with a 90 day guarantee where you can get a replacement or refund of the product. Amazon is definitely one of the best options when it comes to buying second hand camera equipment.

eBay

eBay is another trusted source when looking for used camera gear. You can buy from both private sellers and camera companies.

B&H

B&H are one of the most well known photography stores in the US. When it comes to second hand camera equipment, B&H has a dedicated used section on their website. B&H covers used items with a 30 day refund period and a 90 day parts and labor warranty.

Adorama

Another popular store for photographers is Adorama, who have a physical store in Manhattan as well as a large online presence. They have a reasonable selection of second hand cameras, lenses and other photography equipment on their site, and each product is given a condition rating so you can know what to expect.

Renting Camera Equipment

If you’re not looking at picking up new gear for keeps, camera rental companies can help save you a lot of money. New gear can be an expensive investment especially if you don’t plan on using it frequently. Renting is also a great way to test various equipment before making longterm purchasing decisions.

LensRental and BorrowLenses are two main companies that rent out camera gear:

LensRentals is currently the largest photography gear rental agency in the US. If you’re looking for the largest selection, premium customer service and flexible rental policies, LensRental is just right for you. I have been renting camera gear with them for two years now and continue to be impressed by their reliability and fast delivery.

BorrowLenses has an especially large Canon and Nikon selection. BorrowLenses also has a small but respectable selection of used cameras and lenses for shoppers looking to save money on new purchases. Lastly, they offer multiple pickup locations nation-wide, concentrated in coastal CA, WA, and the Philadelphia-Boston corridor. BorrowLenses also has a green business certification, reflecting their credibility and commitment to sustainability.

Eco-Friendly Cameras and Sustainable Photography

There are many ways a photographer can become more sustainable and contribute to the green movement. By investing in eco-friendly cameras and equipment, you will be able to:

  • Do your part to preserve the planet
  • Improve your company’s reputation and brand
  • Grow sales by attracting a new group of eco-conscious customers
  • Retain more loyal customers
  • Attract new employees that care about a greener environment
  • Become a greener company and leader in the photography industry

About the Author

Maria Gorskikh

GBB Green Ambassador

Maria Gorskikh is a content writer for Green Business Bureau who is passionate about business and sustainability. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, concentrating in Finance and Business Sustainability. Maria also has a special interest in environmental studies and social movements. Outside of academia and her career pursuits, Maria enjoys playing chess, painting, traveling in Europe.

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