Why Are Camera Lenses So Expensive

By | 08/09/2022

As someone interested in photography and looking at equipment did you ever recollect “why are photographic camera lenses and so expensive?” Having used DSLRs for nigh 20 years, I can tell yous that camera lenses existence expensive is due to several factors.

Carl Zeiss lens

Let me explicate this and likewise give you lot some tips on saving money on your adjacent lens purchase.

Ane of the reasons camera lenses are expensive is the brand name. Much of it is also based on the raw materials used. The amount of human involvement in the manufacturing and testing procedure as well has a begetting. Finally, the corporeality of inquiry and evolution that goes into making a lens likewise has an impact on the final toll tag.

If you ever wondered if cheap lenses can aid you take good photos, or how you can get hold of great lenses for a bargain, read on. I answer all these questions forth with the reasons why photographic camera lenses are expensive in the post-obit commodity.

Are camera lenses overpriced?

I know many of you lot would love to say aye, camera lenses are overpriced. Sometimes I experience that way as well, peculiarly when I meet something I love until I discover the price tag and become disappointed. But you have to keep in mind that to make a lens an incredible corporeality of research and development is involved. This may often take years.

When the lens hits the market it is sold at a premium to recover the costs of Enquiry & Development. Only R&D is not the but reason why lenses are so incredibly pricey. Let’s expect at the other costs of manufacturing lenses.

Why are photographic camera lenses and then expensive?

Research and Evolution cost recovery is a major reason why lenses tend to be overpriced. Another reason is the cost of the components used in the manufacturing procedure. Consumer-grade lenses use cheaper components. These components do not take the same optical performance as exercise the components used in manufacturing professional-grade lenses.

I will give you an instance.

Fluorite is an element that is used in manufacturing professional-grade lenses. This chemical element is found naturally (not created in equally much volume equally desired) and has fantabulous optical qualities. These lenses take a low refractive index compared to standard drinking glass elements and also take depression dispersion qualities.

Additionally, they can transmit infrared and ultraviolet light improve than other drinking glass elements. Therefore, they are used in professional person lenses in identify of glass elements to suppress chromatic aberrations. The consequence is less color fringing which is common identify in cheaper consumer-form lenses.

light going through lens elements

That said, using fluorite has a downside and that is the pricing. Information technology is very expensive and therefore pushes upwards the cost of manufacturing.

The procedure of manufacturing also has a bearing on the price of lenses. Nigh professional-course lenses are tested, and quality checked by hand. Only a small function of the manufacturing procedure is done by machines. The ultimate quality checking and a lot of the other associates processes have human involvement. This is one of the main reasons why professional lenses are so expensive.

On the other mitt, consumer-grade lenses are almost entirely made in an automated process. They are randomly tested for quality checks and therefore the amount of human involvement in the manufacturing procedure is limited. This results in lower costs of manufacturing.

What practice camera lenses cost?

The cost of camera lenses can swing wildly from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The Yongnuo YN 50mm f/i.8 lens can price less than l dollars in the used market. For a brand new re-create, you lot shouldn’t pay more than 60 dollars.

On the other hand, the Sigma APO 200-500mm f/2.eight EX DG costs nearly $26,000. At that price tag, information technology is beyond the reach of near photographers. Except for a few affluent photographers with a well-established business or plenty of disposable money no one can beget these lenses.

How much should you spend on lenses?

If yous are wondering whether the lens you need is going to fix you back by hundreds or thousands of dollars I have a suggestion for you lot.

Call back in these terms: What kind of photos will you be shooting? Are you lot a professional, an amateur shooting as a hobby, or you are a budding professional looking for something to first with?

The lens you lot buy should exist matching to your needs. If you are an amateur lensman interested in birding, I recommend that you become for something that gives yous decent operation at an affordable price tag. Something similar the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR.

Nikon 200-500mm lens

If y’all are a coincidental photographer, taking photos occasionally, a standard zoom lens like an eighteen-55mm or an 18-200mm is a better option. Both these lenses are inexpensive and produce decent-quality images. If you lot are a professional, someone whose bread and butter depends on photography, I recommend that you invest in the all-time lens you can afford. In the long run, that lens will pay for itself.

Are expensive camera lenses worth information technology?

The answer to “are expensive camera lenses worth it” is both yes and no. The argument in favor of expensive lenses is that in photography, the quality of the drinking glass that you tin can buy is direct related to the corporeality of money you are prepared to spend. Equally I take explained elsewhere in this discussion, some of the elements used in the manufacturing of lenses like fluorite, nano crystal blanket, etc cost a lot to manufacture. The presence of these elements and coatings improves the performance of the lenses. But at the same time, it too pushes up the cost of the lenses.

There is withal ane exception and that is brand premium. Some brands charge a premium. It is perfectly normal to detect a comparable 3rd-party lens that is equally adept and made with roughly the same components simply priced much less.

A case in the point is the Tamron SP 70-200mm F/ii.8 Di VC USD designed for the Nikon total-frame DSLR. This lens costs one-half the price of the comparable OEM lens, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. And all the same, the Tamron lens performs slightly better than the Nikon.

Both  lenses have been tested on a Nikon total-frame photographic camera (D850) and were establish to be extremely sharp producing superb images. But detailed studies have shown that the Tamron is slightly sharper than the Nikon.

This means that unless you compare the two lenses, test them out and see the results, you could be easily mistaken to think pricey is improve. So, only considering a lens is expensive does not always mean it is worth it. You can find comparable or even improve alternatives at a much lower price.

We can take another example. Wide aperture lenses tend to exist pricier compared to lenses that accept a narrower aperture. For instance, the Catechism EF 35mm f/i.4L Two USM is more double the cost of the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM. You could argue near the build quality and the elements inside and things like that. Yep, there are limitations, but if you are aware of the limitations and work only on the strengths of the cheaper lens, yous can capture stunning images with information technology.

Canon 35mm lens

Are cheap camera lenses whatsoever skilful?

Earlier we wait at the answer to the question of cheap camera lenses existence whatever skilful, let’south first look at the definition of inexpensive lenses. A cheap lens costs less than a comparable professional lens. The points of difference are mainly construction quality, elements used, and the brand. I have already discussed the aspects of construction and quality of elements used in the manufacturing process elsewhere in this give-and-take.

But the point that needs to be answered is, are cheap camera lenses any good? To respond this, we need to empathize a few things. Technology always pushes the boundaries of possibility. Over the years refinements in optical glass and lens technologies accept brought remarkable improvements in the way how low-cal is transmitted through the lens and how it gets focused after splitting. Today, the use of fluorite elements has made it possible to almost eliminate chromatic aberrations.

Simply on the flip side, these technologies are expensive and and so they have pushed the prices of lenses upwards.

Cheaper lenses are either sometime technology or simpler versions of more technologically superior lenses. Their optical performance is not on par with the more expensive lenses incorporating the latest technologies.

That said, a lot of photographers are however using these lenses using former technologies actively. They understand the limitations of these lenses and piece of work around those limitations to ensure that the quality of images is presentable.

Nikkor 50mm lens

Ironically, some of these old lenses have establish renewed involvement for the very reason why they were overlooked in the beginning place – their imperfections. Modern photographers are using these lenses for achieving ghosting, flares, and defocus effects, issues that made many photographers choose amend alternatives in the beginning place.

Which camera system has the cheapest lenses?

Camera lenses are what create the ultimate magic, non the camera torso. The job of the photographic camera torso is but to capture light and convert the analog signals into digital course. The real magic happens inside the lens. Then much then that camera manufacturers spend millions developing lens technologies.

This tin can exist substantiated from the fact that lens technologies often last for decades whereas camera technologies change every few years. Additionally, lenses can exist exorbitantly expensive. More than expensive than cameras. And so much and so that many of y’all will be want to know which camera organization has the cheapest lenses to offer only and then that you tin keep your costs down in the long run.

No specific brand has the cheapest lenses. Unless of course, you buy a compact camera or perhaps a Bridge camera, both of which come up with a built-in lens. This fashion, A) y’all don’t have to invest separately in a lens, and B) the whole package comes cheap.

Merely if it is a DSLR that you are looking to purchase, or maybe a mirrorless camera, yous have to invest in some lenses. Most camera systems offer yous two to three different segments of lenses to cull from.

The first one is the premium category. This segment comprises the accented best lens that you could lay your hands on. An case would be the Catechism’due south L serial lenses like the Catechism EF 24-70mm f/2.8L 2 USM or the Sigma Art series lenses like the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art.

The mid-range lenses give you the best of 2 worlds, price and functioning. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR is a mid-range super-telephoto lens that offers a fantastic focal length range of 200mm to 500mm at a price under $1500. No wonder information technology is one of the most popular super-telephoto lenses among Nikon users, peculiarly among those who take a budget DX camera (the Nikon equivalent of an APS-C sensor).

The tertiary segment is the entry-level or upkeep segment. This segment offers inexpensive lenses similar the Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.v-v.6E ED VR and the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.six 3 USM. These lenses reflect huge cost-cutting in terms of build quality and elements use. These have a directly impact on the optical performance of the lens.

How tin I get cheap camera lenses?

Does that mean that you lot cannot buy lenses for cheap? Well, not everyone is built-in with a gold spoon in his or her mouth and not everyone has a fairy godmother prepared to hand over oodles of cash. Well-nigh of united states take to relieve to buy the things nosotros want to buy. Then, the million-dollar question is, is there a mode to get inexpensive camera lenses? The answer is yes.

Even if you cannot buy them brand new, yous can always buy them used, and there are plenty of places where you tin buy them used. The first identify one would look for used gear is online. Look for the online used gear stores. Amazon and eBay are two places where you can start. Adorama likewise has a used gear shop. And then yous tin also await at KEH and GEARFOCUS.

Canon 15-45mm lens

There is a whole range of products that are available at a very reasonable price. You will have to do some research to observe out exactly what you lot demand and then compare the price at different online stores to get the best deal.

Despite the convenience, this volition always remain my 2d preference for buying used gear. The reason being you are never sure of the exact working condition of the gear. What if the mirror within is jammed or not in the best shape? What if there was water damage and the camera has non been serviced and certified subsequently? In that location are a million different things that can be wrong with used gear. So, it is always best to go for trusted sellers and platforms that offering a render and money-back guarantee.

The second choice is to go to physical stores. This i is my favorite as y’all can meet the actual condition of the gear and test information technology out before making payment. If you are an experienced individual, you will probably be able to make out if at that place are whatever serious issues. But even then, a coin-back policy cannot harm.

The tertiary choice is to buy them directly from their first owner. Professional photographers ofttimes renew their collection.  Many times, they simply sell them off so that they tin gather money to invest in new gear. This is a smashing time to bargain and go something that yous demand at a discount. The only trouble is y’all may not accept a money-back policy and all sales are usually terminal.

Below is an interesting video by DigitalRev on the subject of using an expensive DSLR with a cheap lens vs a cheaper DSLR with a pro lens:

I hope that this article has more than answered your question of why camera lenses are expensive.  Click on the following link to learn when to use APS-C lenses over total frame lenses.

Source: https://www.photodoto.com/why-camera-lenses-are-expensive/