Parachut rents ‘endless’ photo gear for one price — with a catch

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Kitch Bain
There are photo rental companies and even peer-to-peer rentals, and then there’s Parachut, the startup that sends photographers unlimited gear for one subscription price. If “endless gear” has a too-good-to-be-true ring to it, you could be right: subscribers don’t actually get to choose what gear they get or when.

Parachut, which launched in beta Friday, sends subscribers “chutes,” or sets of gear, that are based on a wish list but not specific requests — like when Netflix started sending DVDs through the mail. For example, if the Sony A7II is on the wish list, the photographer could get that body along with a lens or two, a flash, and other accessories packed into one kit. Subscribers keep the gear as long as they’d like, and once they return it, they receive another chute kit.

The program is designed for photographers who want to test out the latest gear, or creatives who often switch gears when it comes to their subject (and the camera they need to capture it). While the surprise kits may not be ideal compared to rental services where photographers choose exactly what they want and when, the $149 monthly subscription makes it a viable option for photographers swapping gear often.

So what gear does Parachut have? The warehouse has a range of gear from digital cameras to vintage film shooters that also includes pro-level video cameras, drones, and lighting and smaller accessories.

With kits mixing lenses, bodies, and accessories together, getting a new chute in the mail could inspire some creativity beyond the photographer’s main camera. While there’s a wish list, the surprise factor will likely discourage shooters that need gear on a specific date for a certain project.

Parachut is currently only in beta — and there’s a waiting list to get signed up for the program.

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