What makes this lens so expensive?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by robert_g.|2, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. Hopefully this won't be a stupid question, but let's see....
    The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lens is about $300. So, why is the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM over $1200? Is the aperture the determining factor basically? Why is this lens so much more expensive while covering less of a focal range?
  2. Build quality is the first thing that comes to mind.
    Quality of materials to make the latter.
  3. Does the fixed aperture have anything to do with it? If so, why would it increase the pricing?
  4. the 'L' word = better glass or more of it, better build = metal vs plastic, double coated vs single coated, wider aperture at all stops, higher image quality, fast vs slower AF, noisy vs quiet IS, better USM motor, weather sealed, are just a few of the things that makes the 70-200 more expensive.
  5. Lenses are not priced by focal range but by --> optical quality, build quality, durability, constant aperture. Basically consumer grade vs. professional grade.
  6. There are a lot of factors, including those listed by Peter. Lens design is much more difficult the more area that the optics need to cover with a quality image. APS sensors are smaller and so the technology not as critical with full frame. Then, of course, there is the constant aperture. Here again, the technology is more involved than when you have a variable aperture.
  7. It's more complicated to build a constant aperture lens.
  8. It has a fluorite element. Those are very expensive to manufacture.
    Other factors: Build quality, internal zoom and focus, better image stabilizer, ring USM with full-time manual focus. Also economies of scale must play some part - they're selling a lot more of the 55-250s.
  9. One is a low cost, slow, mostly plasic, lens with a 27mm image circle, a micro DC motor and no special glass.
    The other is a faster, mostly metal lens with a 43mm image circle, a ring USM motor and special glass.
  10. Plus it has a red ring. But seriously worlds apart in over all quality.
  11. Off-white paint is far more expensive than black.
  12. The EFS lens is "a darn good value for the price and plenty of lens for many DSLR shooters. The L lens is as good as lenses get with solid construction - and it looks really, really cool.
  13. Robert,
    If you think the 70-200 f/4 L is expensive, don’t even think to check out the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS. And especially don’t look at the 200 f/1.8, the 300 f/2.8 L IS, or the TS-E 17.
    And let’s not even mention the 1200 f/5.6, shall we?
  14. Most of the factors behind the higher price listed here applies to the non-IS 70-200/4L too. And that lens is only around $600.
  15. Just borrow that L lens and mount it on your camera for a couple hundred shots and you'll answer your own question. You'll also not want to give it back.
  16. Anders have a point. Is it really two times more expensive to make the IS version ? Canon decides what prices they want for their products. It has very much to do what the market are prepared to pay. With an excelent lens as the 70-200 4L IS, its no problem to ask for 1200 USD especially since no other manufactor have anything like it.
    The EFs 55-250 is under a totally different enviroment of competition and is also aimed at a more price sensitive category of custumers.
  17. simplest answer is :
    go to canon, try both lenses on the same body, same focal lenght, everything same!
    you will get your answer. i used both! both will perform great if you consider it's value!
    happy shooting
  18. How can I "borrow" an L lens? Do you know if I can rent lenses affordably?
  19. Lenses cost $1/gram. 55-250 weighs 300 grams. 70-200/4 IS weighs 1.2 kilograms.
  20. You don't have to borrow it, to tell the difference. Actually, all you need to do is go to a camera store, and hold the 55-250 IS in one hand, and hold any Canon 70-200 L in the other hand... and you will understand what people mean about the build quality. Of course, it won't tell you about Image quality, but you get the idea. The Canon 70-200 f/2.8 is much larger, if you really want to see the difference. You can also compare the f/4 vs f/2.8.
    As mentioned, there is a Canon 70-200 f/4 L (with no IS), it currently runs $600-650. I own the 55-250 IS, it is okay, but I'm saving for a 70-200 f/4 (IS) or f/2.8.
    The Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS runs about $1700-1800. This is the top-dog of the 70-200's, for Canon.
  21. EFS = Toy
    L = Pro, full frame
  22. Also, while I do not know this to be true, I strongly suspect it -- the 55-250mm IS may be a "loss leader ".
    At one time both Nikon and Canon made some lenses that were clearly intended to be for the miserly new user who would want something cheap. At some point, Nikon figured out that they could upgrade their "kit" lens to a higher optical quality. For several years, every camera magazine harped on how sh*tty the Canon kit lens was compared to the equivalent Nikkor. So a year or two ago, Canon decided to put an end to that and introduced the new kit 18-55mm lens with greatly improved optical quality and image-stabilization. While they were at it, they responded to other competition from Nikon by also making a good and cheap 55-250mm IS lens.
    They certainly wouldn't admit it if it's true (for legal and import reasons); but I suspect, as I said, that the profit margin on these kit lenses are either very low or perhaps even subsidized by both Nikon and Canon to "suck in" the new buyers with some real bargains.
    Plus all the other reasons already given for L lenses costing more because they include much more expensive, harder to make and shape special optical glasses, and so on.
  23. "EFS = Toy"
    I guess you haven't seen the 17-55 f/2.8, Ken!
  24. Many of the responses are correct, some are sarcastic.
    The other factors that will greatly affect the price are:
    EFS lenses tend to be geared for the mass market (i.e. consumer grade) and are typically mass produced (in relative terms, there are no SLR lenses that come close to the production runs of consumer electronics) by automated manufacturing techniques.
    By comparison, L series lenses are practically hand built for a very specific market (i.e. serious hobbyist or professional) who's primary concern is build and image quality. That's why there aren't any 15:1 super zooms from Ziess or Cannon L series. This is an example of: "You get what you pay for".
    It's like comparing a Porsche to a VW, both from the same corporation, yet built for totally different markets.
  25. "L = Pro, full frame"​
    So does the camera or the lens or both determine if it's "full framed"?
    (Not sure what "full framed" means exactly but I will google it.)
  26. Edit : unnecessary repetition of valid points already well made...
  27. Robert, I'd check out the EFS lens first, as it might satisfy your needs. US$1200 seems alot of money for such a slow zoom lens, and you may not need to pay the premium for build quality that you don't necessarily need.
  28. Robert, "Full Frame" means the lens can cover the larger format of the pro Canon bodies. These have sensors roughly the same size as film in a 35mm SLR. EFS lenses are not designed to cover that format, only the smaller format of the lower-end bodies like the Digital Rebel. Full-frame lenses work fine on the crop-format bodies, but EFS lenses will probably show black corners on full-frame bodies.
  29. I have the EFS-18/135 and the 70/200L and when used at ƒ8 and printed to 13" x 19" I don't think anyone could tell the difference. BTW the EFS 60 macro and 10/22 are definately not toys!
  30. "Why is this lens so much more expensive while covering less of a focal range?"
    As others have said it's the quality of the entire product including quality control during manufacture. If you really want to go scratch your head check out the prices on the lens hoods for the Canon super-telephotos (2.8 series with white lens hoods). $550 and up. Wow!
  31. What makes this lens so expensive?​
    Purely and simply because that is the price that Canon have decided will maximise their benefit on the item. Mostly profit, I guess, but also having an item at the "right place" in the product line-up, and other touchy-feely issues.
    Now, if you were to ask "what makes it worthwhile to the user to pay so much more for the lens?" then you have a whole range of answers, like better image quality, better user experience, more robust, better AF drive, more robust IS, whatever. All of which contribute to the higher build price. But there's no absolute connection between build price and sale price.
  32. The 55-250 has 12 elements (pieces of glass) in 10 groups. The 70-200 has 20 elements in 15 groups. Almost twice as much glass. That is why it weighs more. I have never been so impressed with a lens as I have with my 70-200. It's a fine "piece of glass".
  33. "I guess you haven't seen the 17-55 f/2.8, Ken!"
    A agree -- I meant "toy" in stature due its smaller circle for the APS-C. Supposedly the EF-S 10-22 kicks ass too.
  34. I have the EFS-18/135 and the 70/200L and when used at ƒ8 and printed to 13" x 19" I don't think anyone could tell the difference.​
    The point here is that if you are using the lens at f/8, outdoors bright sunlight and huge DoF then yeah, either lens would work. Instead the point of this expensive L lens can be used fully wide open and has superb and consistent IQ across the entire image combined with flawless focusing that will work every single time. If you're always stepping down then there's no point in buying a fixed large aperture zoom lens. Save yourself the money (and your neck!) and buy your other half something nice.
  35. Has economy of scale been mentioned?
    The RD and tooling up to produce any lens is enormously expensive. Some because their materials and complexity, all the factors mentioned above, will cost more to produce than basic units, much more. But the cost to the consumer will be even greater because they know that fewer will purchase it in any event. Whereas the bread'n'butter lenses can run in numbers of thousands, spreading the RD and tooling costs over the entire run. It's as simple as that.
  36. Two reasons for the increased cost. First, the more expensive lens has a fixed maximum aperture size (f-4) throughout the focal range. The less expensive lens maximum aperture decreases (from f-4 to f5.6) as the lens is zoomed to longer focal lengths. That is 1 full stop of light loss at the longer focal lengths. Second, the "L" designation indicates that "low dispersion" glass is used in the lens. It is definitely a higher quality glass.
  37. Seeing is believing. Try both the lenses and then compare. 70-200mm is absolutely stunning.
  38. Alec Myers is right. Price is determined first and foremost by marketing considerations. And BTW, I traded two pro, full frame lenses for two toys two years ago and am very happy I did. Surprisingly, the toys offer slightly better IQ than the pro, full frame lenses.

    Happy shooting,
  39. Which "toys" Yakim?
  40. 10-22 and 17-55. I traded 17-40 and 24-105 for them. I also have another toy, the 60/2.8. I traded 100/2.8 for it. However, this one is not an L so I didn't count it. :)
    All these toys are stupidly good (IQ wise), and which can rival any lens, be it L, prime or whatever. In fact, the 17-55 made my 35/1.4 L and Sigma 50/1.4 redundant. After several months of co-ownership I noticed that I always reach for the zoom so I sold them. The 10-22 is also so good that it chased out on any other lens within these FL's. Don't want Zeiss, don't want L, don't want Nikon.
    But that's only because I am a man. And you know how much men like their toys......
    Happy shooting,
  41. What makes this lens so expensive?​
    Its expensive because Canon think they can charge a lot for it. As someone else pointed out the 70-200 f4L non IS is only $600. Canon knows that IS is very valuable and the 70-200 f4 was popular, so they figured they can get away with charging a lot for a popular lens with IS added, even it it is $500 more than the non IS model.
    Conversely they can put IS in powershots and kit lenses for probably $25 in the price conscious end of the market.
    One is a low cost, slow, mostly plasic, lens with a 27mm image circle, a micro DC motor and no special glass.​
    I thought the EF-S 50-250 IS has a UD element. It certainly has very good IQ.
  42. Come to think of it, the new EF-S 15-85 f4-5.6 IS is a lens Canon would have charged maybe $450 for a few years ago. It can't be much harder to make than the full frame 28-135 f4.5.6 IS.
    I guess they realise that with people willing to pay $1000 for a digital body today compared to $250 for a film body a few years ago, people will also happily pay $800 for a lens compared to maybe a few hundred in the good old days.
  43. "Its expensive because Canon think they can charge a lot for it."
    It is expensive because Canon KNOWS they can charge a lot for it.
    They got my money. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It is my favorite lens of all time.
  44. Just a reminder that when things were priced at lower levels "a few years ago" that the yen was lower and the dollar was higher. I am sorry to see them bucking up the prices, but the old dollar "ain't what she used to be." $800 is the new $500, alas.
  45. The L lenses are much more expensive due purely to one reason alone: "bragging rights".
    Kid aside, I would say, it's more like comparing Honda (such as Honda Civic) to Acura (Acura TSX). Both made by the same company, different in quality..
  46. It costs what it does because you'll pay that much. And if you won't, others will.
    There are certain features that merit a higher price. It has a fluorite element, weather-sealing, a more sophisticated IS system, and a USM motor. It's also somewhat larger and faster than the 55-250, and a full-frame lens with commensurate superiority in edge performance. In the 70-200 range, it is the least-comprised lens available.
    But most of these apply equally to the 70-200/4L. That lens has always been considered something of a bargain, so perhaps the $1200 cost of the IS version is simply adjusting the pricing curve to where Canon believes it should have started.
  47. It helps if you understand what makes a better lens. at f8 you may not see much, if you shoot wide open and want better colour rendition, edge sharpness, contrast, less aberation and silent motor +++ etc then pay a lil more. this page from canon has a lil info but many are satisfied with the lower priced model

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