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Thread: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

  1. #1

    Default What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    This question has been lingering in my mind after I surfed through this forum: Why does a f2.8 (or any faster lenses) cost more than the "normal" (eg. 4.5, 5.6) versions?

    Other than usability in low light, made of better quality plastics and bigger glasses and a gold/red rim, what makes them cost a bomb? After all, it's fixed aperture right, do they have any blades to start with?

    I don't know if this has been discussed, but it's pretty hard to find given the many keywords... sorry if I sound noobs. Thanks.
    from guitars, cars to dslr...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    Research into making the lens
    Technology for production of the lens
    Cost materials / length of time for manufacturing of the lens
    Machines to manufacture the lens
    Special coatings for the lenses

    All these cost money. The bigger the glass, the more important that accuracy is maintain in getting the correct dimensions at the corners, and that the coating is applied properly. And also, the stronger materials needed to hold the glass precisely in location, and to move the glass for focusing, and for zooming.

    There are so many variables that can go wrong in a manufacturing a precision made lens. Reducing the chances of them going wrong cost money that rises on a exponential curve.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    Put it simply, the bigger the lens (especially smaller F number) the difficulty of fabrication increase in a logarithmic sense.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    this was from a post in the canon section by JKpicture

    Canon lens manufacturing process

    this is for canon, but i'm sure all the other brands are similar too... this gives u a rough idea of the cost involved

  5. #5
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Six-GHz View Post
    This question has been lingering in my mind after I surfed through this forum: Why does a f2.8 (or any faster lenses) cost more than the "normal" (eg. 4.5, 5.6) versions?

    Other than usability in low light, made of better quality plastics and bigger glasses and a gold/red rim, what makes them cost a bomb? After all, it's fixed aperture right, do they have any blades to start with?

    I don't know if this has been discussed, but it's pretty hard to find given the many keywords... sorry if I sound noobs. Thanks.
    RnD dude... tat's the key factor.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  6. #6

    Default Re: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Six-GHz View Post
    This question has been lingering in my mind after I surfed through this forum: Why does a f2.8 (or any faster lenses) cost more than the "normal" (eg. 4.5, 5.6) versions?

    Other than usability in low light, made of better quality plastics and bigger glasses and a gold/red rim, what makes them cost a bomb? After all, it's fixed aperture right, do they have any blades to start with?

    I don't know if this has been discussed, but it's pretty hard to find given the many keywords... sorry if I sound noobs. Thanks.
    Dude, fixed aperture does not mean that there are not aperture blades. The term is only applicable for zoom lenses and describes that the aperture does not change as you change the focal length, a feat by itself that is not cheap....
    The cost of fast lenses is higher due to a number of reason:
    > the built is usually better i.e. use of lighter materials or stronger materials, often metal instead of plastic
    > the glass is of better quality and in the case of tele-lenses a lot bigger (diameter), than in slower lenses. large pieces of glass are difficult to make.
    > the design of the lens is different, using more elements and special elements

    all of the above leads to superior lenses that are sharper and have less abberations and distortions.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    What justifies the cost? Hand-ground aspherical elements that can only be ground by less then 10 lens engineers and a wide aperture. ie Noct Nikkor 58mm f/1.2

    Its usually the quality of the optics and larger aperture. You'll also pay more for lenses made of expensvie metals like magnesium, have the company's proprietory technology ie IS,VR,OIS,USM,HSM,SWM,ED,RF... You also pay more when they add other acronyms like L,EX to denote their pro line stuff.
    5D MII w/16-35L,Sigma 28-70&Nikkors(35f2,85f1.4,105f2.5,180f2.8ED)

  8. #8

    Default Re: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Six-GHz View Post
    ...After all, it's fixed aperture right, do they have any blades to start with? ...
    The right term to use is constant maximum aperture. It means that the maximum aperture remains constant throughout the zoom range. The aperture is not fixed.

    The use of large lens, better anti-reflective multi-coatings, low dispersive glass, more lens elements, etc. contributes significantly to the cost.

    BC
    Last edited by Scaglietti; 26th June 2007 at 12:22 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?

    Thanks for all the replies, and thanks for the clarifications!
    from guitars, cars to dslr...

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