What Justifies the Cost of Lenses?


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Six-GHz

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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.
 

Nerd

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#2
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.
 

canonikon

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

zac08

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#5
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

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#6
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
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:sweatsm:

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.
 

Jan 14, 2005
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#8
...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
 

Six-GHz

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Nov 29, 2006
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#9
Thanks for all the replies, and thanks for the clarifications!
 

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