The ‘Airbnb of this’ and the ‘Uber of that’. Disrupter. Gamification. Unicorns. It all sounds like the tech-startup vernacular you’d overhear in some Silicon Valley cafe, where hot-headed 20-somethings will face-blast anyone within ears reach with the next best thing to change the world.

But it seems that Canon might have done just that for camera users. This month they’ve launched Kyōyū –  Japanese for ‘share’ – a new platform that allows Canon owners to make money from their gear, and for people to use equipment they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get their creative mitts on.

Community is the big word here. Whether it’s knowledge, experiences or the kit itself, the sharing nature of the community allows everyone involved to do more together.  So how’s it work?

For Renters

Kyōyū allows people to hire cameras and lenses from others nearby, as and when they need them. You just sign up, find a community member, shoot them a booking request and Bob’s your Uncle. It’s affordable and a cool way to try out gear before you potentially make the plunge yourself.

For Providers

Kyōyū offers an easy listing process with ballpark pricing suggestions provided. Insurance? Canon’s sorted this out at no cost to the provider via IAG.

canon kyoyu henry brydon

Click through to see my Kyōyū cameo.

So Why Am I Getting Behind This?

The whole concept’s an exciting example of how a company can think differently. I’ve been a Canon user for 7 years now; it’s a brand that helped propel my passion for photography and whilst gear is only one piece of the visual storytelling puzzle, I’m grateful for what the company has brought to my creative expression, both for me and We Are Explorers.

Yes, I was paid a small sum to feature in their video (and yes I was told to flip the front of my jacket over to disguise an unfortunately placed logo) but I’m personally quite proud to get behind this brilliant concept. It’s about saving money for people looking to develop their hobbies whilst encouraging REAL connections in an offline world; something that bucks the 21st century trend for an online based social life. Well played Canon.


To find out more about Kyōyū, visit


Kyoyu canon

Feature photo by Jake Anderson

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