Why is Canon 200 f2 so much more expensive than Nikon's?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by steve_phillipps, May 5, 2010.

  1. Never looked at the price of the Canon 200mm f2 before, but I just did and was amazed that it is £4850, compared to **only** £3100 for the Nikon. I have the Nikon and it's just beyond brilliant, and I can't possibly believe that the Canon is any better in optics or build (though maybe as good), so why the huge price difference? Both have IS too, weird.
  2. Where's that link to Billy Goats Gruff when I need it? Ah there it is (link).
    On some things Nikon is higher, on others Canon. Your point is?
  3. I thought my point was quite obvious? Just wondering why one is so much more expensive than the other when they seem pretty similar spec - wondering if there was something I didn't know about - that's what the forum's about, learning stuff, no? What's your point?
  4. In the US, the Canon is $5300 and Nikon is $4899. btw I also want to know why the Nikon's 500mm f/4 costs $8499 while Canon's only $6140, both have IS. Do you know why?
  5. Thing is none of these other price differences come close to this one in the UK on the 200s, the Canon is well over 50% more expensive than the Nikon, that's what really surprised me. I've got no agenda, just curious if there really is any major difference between the two?
    In the Uk the Nikon and Canon 500 f4s are about identical in price.

  6. Universal Health Care to blame?
  7. Steve, I think you'll find relatively few people who have used both lenses. Among the people who have are the folks over at lensrentals.com. In their specs they list the Canon as being 0.8 pounds lighter. They describe the Nikon 200/2 in these terms,
    Faster than Paris Hilton, sharper than my ex-wife’s tongue, more contrast than a Democratic Primary, and backgrounds as beautifully blurred as my memories of that weekend in Cancun, this lens is just the bomb. Its phenomenal just as it is. With a set of teleconverters it can be any lens you want it to be from 200mm to 400mm.​
    And the Canon lens in these terms,
    Faster than Paris Hilton, sharper than my ex-wifes tongue, more contrast than a Democratic Primary, backgrounds as beautifully blurred as my memories of that weekend in Cancun, but more expensive than an Illinois Congressman on vacation with a lobbyist. This lens is phenomenal just as it is. With a set of teleconverters it can be any lens you want it to be from 200mm to 400mm.​
    So you see, both lenses are faster than Paris Hilton, sharper than the ex, more contrasty than the Democrats, etc. But only the Canon offers the additional perk of being more expensive than an Illinois Congressman. So that's why the Canon costs more - because it's more expensive.
    Hope that helps.
  8. Blimey, did all you guys get out of the wrong side of bed this morning?
    I thought I was only asking a simple question, wasn't expecting all this sarcasm.
    If it's of no interest to anyone else then fine, just don't reply, I just thought it was a bit odd and wondered if there was a reason for it, and after several responses I'm still none the wiser, just a bit annoyed and perplexed at the responses.
    Sorry to have bothered you all.
  9. zml


    In the US the 200/2 L IS is often included in the rebates (last time $500) which makes it often less expensive than the Nikon's offering. I use the Canon's EF 200/2 and have used the Nikon a few times: the Nikon is heavier and its VR is not as effective.
  10. Why do you guys care? Do you shoot with Nikon?
  11. I did indeed get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.
    But the point I was trying to make is that nobody knows why the prices are different. They're both great lenses. And as Mr Novisto points out, the prices are actually quite similar in the US. As to why they're so different in Great Britain, I have no idea.
  12. There are major differences in the lens design and construction:
    Nikon 13 elements, 9 groups, ed glass $5,099 weighs 6.4lb
    Canon 17 elements, 12 groups, fluorite element(s) lighter weight, 5.5 lbs, adds up to more expensive, with a sticker price of $5,999, a difference of $900 in the US.
    Maybe Nikon UK are overstocked and want to get rid of them. Retail pricing also includes expected warranty repair costs and the old "what can we sell this for" factor.
  13. Maybe with the Canon you are paying for the lighter weight. Canon has a reputation for their long-angle primes (big white lenses), so in part you might be paying for the reputation. Not that Nikon isn't reputable, but their reputation doesn't directly play into this area. Also, the Canon goes to f/32. I believe the Nikon only goes to f/22. The Canon also uses circular aperture blades. The Canon also has 17 lens elements, while the Nikon only has 13. Not that these differences make any practical difference at all in shooting conditions, but it might indicate that Canon is spending a little more money in the manufacturing than Nikon on this particular lens.
  14. :)
    why is gras green?
  15. Brian, that's one thing I'm trying to say, you don't have to care, it's just something I was idly wondering about, it's not a big deal I was just wondering if there was something that was the reason for the difference - even if it was just exchange rates or something - I don't know, that's why I asked.
    Not trying to pit one make vs another, and I'm sure in this case it'd be pointless as they'd both almost certainly be equally brilliant. Just when I've looked at prices in the past Canon vs Nikon it's always tended to be fairly close (EOS 1ds vs D3x, 1dmkIV vs D3, 400 2.8, 600 f4 etc., anything on the same level and spec), but this is way over 50% more for essentailly the same bit of kit as far as I can see. I thought it was interesting - I was obviously alone.
    Thanks for the later responses, more like the answers I was hoping for.

  16. Craig, what difference does the circular aperture blades make? If it's bokeh, I thought that was one of the strong points of the Nikon.
    Gerhard, thanks, useful question.
  17. :)
    why is gras green?
  18. Exactly what do think you're contributing Gerhard? I don't understand.
  19. Steve,
    I think you are getting such strange responses because there's no real answer why one lens is more expensive than the other one. The price is set by the Canon marketing department, it actually reflects the amount of money a person would pay for it, that's all. I don't think there're lots of people who actually compared the lenses and have an answer. That's it. Well, it's more expensive and this is a fact, nothing more
  20. Thanks Vladimir, if that's what it is then fine, that's what I wanted to know.
    It's just that sometimes there are reasons that are not obvious, and that's what I was wondering - that's why it's totally stupid to ask "why is GRASS green", because my question is one that could potentially have answers - that's why I asked it.
    Another thing I always did wonder was why before Nikon had VR lenses their 600 f4 without VR was as expensive or even more so than Canon's 600 f4 with IS - again your answer is probably the right one there too.
  21. I have no answer to your question.
    But to contribute to discussion
    Neil van Neikerk used both :
  22. Steve, Let's see, a Nikon shooter comes on a Canon forum and asks why one particular Canon item is more expensive than the "beyond brilliant" Nikon lens. Now after getting answers you don't much care for, you're wondering why people treated this as a troll?
    I will admit my general rule is to eliminate incompetence as an explanation before falling back on conspiracy, so perhaps I erred in this case. If so, I apologize for all of us. ;)
  23. JDM,
    I'm not a "Nikon shooter", I use all sorts of stuff, and I'm a TV cameraman by profession so if anything I'm a Panasonic and Sony shooter.
    I did say in first post that I assume the Canon is every bit as good as the Nikon, and I said above that "I'm sure the Canon is equally brilliant", so as I've said severa; times I have no agenda or a wish to compare the 2 quality wise (unlike many who frequent these forums).
    And it's not that I got answers that I didn't care for, except in terms of sarcasm and implying that I'd asked a stupid and meaningless question when I didn't think I did.
    All I did was visit a website that I sometimes buy gear from, see the price of the Canon and think "crikey, that's a hell of a lot more than I paid for my Nikon one, I wonder why". This seemed to be the place to answer my idle pondering - my mistake.
  24. zml


    > I'm a Panasonic and Sony shooter
    Then you should be very familiar with the erratic pricing schemes of these two, right..?
  25. That's a very good point Michael, yes I am!
  26. Regarding the circular diaphragm blades: Like I said, I doubt it makes any difference. Both lenses will show creamy bokeh, but bokeh at f/2 is independent of diaphragm shape, as the diaphragm blades are hidden when the lens is wide open. As you stop down, however, the shape of the blades determines the geometry of the aperture, whether it be an octagon, pentagon, hexagon, etc. If the blades are curved just right, the aperture remains approximately circular throughout the range. This mainly affects reflections and point of light that may flare and create ghosts and artifacts in the shape of the aperture. What does this have to do with this discussion? Painstakingly making diaphragm blades to a certain geometry and tolerance costs money. I only presumed that it might add a little cost to incorporate blades of a certain shape. And for the record, prices are not ONLY determined by marketing/sales. First, a company must consider manufaturing costs, then distribution and administration costs, then advertising costs. Finally, they will take market demand into account, and in certain countries there will be a difference based on currency rates. The biggest factor, however, is always manufacturing. This is the basis of all pricing. Even when you have your rate structure set up after considering market demand, etc, the items that cost more to make are the ones that cost more to buy.
  27. Steve, dont let them get to you.
  28. I, for one, don't think this is a stupid/silly/pointless question at all. Look at all the serious informative responses. I learn something new about the lenses, optical systems,... from these things. Not that such info will help me make a better photograph, but photography is my hobby, I want to know everything about it as much as my brain allows me too, no matter how trivial it is.
  29. Nikon USA offers 5-year warranty vs. Canon USA 1-year warranty, that explains why Nikon costs more than Canon. The 200 f/2.0L IS is newer than the 200 f/2.0G VR, so it costs more.
    Nikon lenses suck, they break down a lot, hence the 5-year warranty. Canon lenses never break, hence no need for long warranty. Don't even go into Sony and Panasonic, those two should stick to Blu-Ray players and HD TVs.
    Peace out! :) :)
  30. Craig, Martyn, Tuan, thanks very much.
    Sinh - talk about sweeping statements! I'll let others debate that with you, but I hope it was tongue-in-cheek because it's quite obviously silly.
    Don't know what Panasonic and Sony stuff you've been using but the broadcast gear is in general very reliable. The Panasonic Varicam that I use was the mainstay of the Planet Earth series and was thrashed about though jungles and Arctic wastes with very few issues. These are serious bits of kit, the body alone costs around £25,000, and the 2 lens kit that comes with it another £40,000, another £9,000 for a tripod, £2,000 for the batteries etc., so you'd hope they'd work OK!
  31. Still, I think the market demand comes first. No sense is starting process of design of a lens without knowing what kind of lens needed, what quality it should have, and what price tag it could have. These are starting points which define complexity of the future lens and thus labor costs. And of course competitor lenses should be taken into account, their quality, and their prices. IMO
  32. Steve
    A lot of forum-folk can't help but reply to threads that obviously hold no interest to them. Once they've hit the reply button there's no way they're going to be honest and say, "Gee, I don't know."
    Such a reply would make them look foolish, kinda like someone with so much time on their hands they would reply to a PNET thread that doesn't interest them.
    The internet's a strange place and PNET is not always immune to its less than polite tendencies.
  33. Vladimir, that's kind of what I was thinking, that you'd have a very similar price to your competitor - in this case Canon and Nikon being the most of direct competitors - and the versions of 200 f2 from Canon and Nikon are very obviously almost identical in terms of performance and build as well as their target market.
    Just looking at Adorama and BHPhoto and they both seem to have them at a similar price. Checked a few other site in the UK and again they're very different (£3100 vs £4900 at one big store). I wonder why this is? Before anyone jumps down my throat, no particular reason I want to know this, and I won't lose sleep if I don't find out, I'm just curious!
  34. Thank you Paul.
  35. zml


    Steve: Nikon is known to give good deals to retailers and bulk purchasers (remember the Canon buy back deals offered by Nikon during the Beijing Olympics..?) so that may play a role, too.
    As an aside, the UK/US pricing varies, is not very logical (except that the costs of doing business in the EU are higher) and, even though US prices are often lower on many things, I used to buy Mamiya MF stuff in the UK (Robert White) because the same products sold in the US by Mamiya America were almost twice as expensive. Go figure...
  36. Gerhard...Grass (with two S's) is green because God (take your pick) likes what green filters does for black and white conversions, and hates what red filters do for them. Also, grass does get yellow eventually, hence God's love for yellow filters and their relationship to black and white conversions. God is also not crazy about blue filters and God preceded both Canon and Nikon, but in the photographic world, not by much. Regards, Bill.
  37. Thanks for the question Steve, some of the answers were well thought and informative. I would like to send a message to Sinh though. You are soooo correct. After 7 years, 500 weddings, countless portrait and sporting events, millions of kids, dogs and other assorted animalia, my Nikon 80-200 2.8 has a loose outer casing screw. I'll buy another, coz Canon is for photocopiers. You're an idiot!
  38. I also don't understand the reason for some of the responses to the question. It's clearly about wanting to understand why one is so much more expensive. That is, what factor or factors cause the difference.
    Some answers have given some good possibilities, and I think it was understood that it was unlikely anyone was going to pop up with The One Single Reason with conclusive proof. Can't someone notice something that seems odd, and ask if anyone's got an idea why?
  39. To Sinh:
    Why would you make the most antagonistic post, then sign off with "Peace Out"?
    Warranty policy could be interpreted differently from the way you did, with just as much logic. It could be argued that a reliable product can be given a long warranty because it costs a company little to do so, whereas an unreliable product will be too expensive to warranty for as long.
  40. Steve-
    I can see that nothing short of an definite, irrefutable answer will make you happy. So I sugguest that you find someone that intimately understands the engineering, production, and materials costs of both Canon and Nikon lenses. Otherwise, that person would only be guessing.
    My guess is that as a previous poster said, age is the main factor. Lenses (or any product) takes a LOT of money in the R&D department to design and produce. As the product gets older, it's sales slowly start to mitigate the cost of R&D, and the price drops. In the case of cameras, televisions, gaming systems, and other things that are only on the market for a few years, the price actually goes down so they can remain competitive.
    In the case of lenses and flashes, which are in the lineup 5-15 years, the price 'drops' by the manufacturer (usually) raising the prices less than the cost of inflation. 85mm lenses are a prime example. Hah hah, get it? Anyway. The Nikon 85 1.4 is about 60% the price of the Canon 85 1.2, despite both lenses frequently testing similarly, and many people actually preferring the Nikon. Now granted, the Canon has an internal motor and the lack of an aperture ring means less dust and moisture inside ... but that's not a thousand dollar difference. But if you take the original cost of the 85 1.4 when new and adjust it for inflation, I assure you the number will be as high or slightly higher than the Canon is now.
    This is also why the EOS 1v is so much cheaper than the F6. The F6 is a relatively new film camera (gutsy!), while the 1v has been around for years.
  41. The Canon one is white and doubles as a press pass, that's why.
  42. Steve: you're right, it was tongue-in-cheek, and you didn't waste your time debating with me or replying to my stupid and out-of-the-world thread. The Sony and Panasonic that I'm using are really Blu-ray, DVD players and HDTV. I don't use or know anything more fancy than those stuff.
    I really have no interest in this post, but since I hadn't been posting anything in the EOS forum for so long and this thread was one of the most popular threads I decided to drop by and mess around with you guys, I guess I got some of you seasoned, highly experienced professional all ticked off. If you think I'm an idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about, why bother wasting your time replying to my post? When someone says something negative about your favorite brand, your blood all boils up huh? Something never changed!
  43. Good Question Steve. Sorry can't help you here, can't afford either of them.
    I would at best agree with couple of post that mfr costs and production quantities might have a role to play.
  44. Grass is green because it eats the red light and spits out the rest.

    (a real expert on why leaves are green might provide a more detailed answer but this is what it boils down to. )
  45. Thanks guys.
    Zack, you've obviously not read my posts, as you're way off the mark - I'm not looking for irrefutable answers, I've said several times that I'm not that bothered, it was entirely idle pondering, so don't jump to conclusions.
    Sinh, if you'll read my reply to you you'll see it was a one liner, all that it deserved, so I didn't really too much time with it. And it wasn't me that called you an idiot, I left that to others who read your amazing idea. BTW, the Panasonics that you berate so much also have a 5 year warranty like the indestructable Canons, strange that. And I don't have a "favourite brand" so can't be offended, so again way way off the mark. If you'd seen some of my other posts you'd realise that I criticise plenty of Nikon stuff, including stuff that I own - unlike many I have a very unbiased, neutral view of things.
  46. I think this is a good question Steve having looked at the 200mm f2 from afar. Can't comment technically, or on Nikon but it seems that in the Canon L 'professional' series range there is two groups of lens, one for semi-pros/enthusiasts and one for pros. From a pricing point of view they seem to really want to keep the two separate and lenses such as are just overpriced. For example the 300mm f4 and the 300mm f2.8 has a price difference of 3 or 4 times which I'm sure can not be justified by manufacturing costs alone.
  47. Matthew, you're quite right about the manufacturers keeping so called pro and amateur kit in separate categories, and as others have said a lot of boils down to them knowing what customers will pay - and "pros" will pay a lot more because they'll earn from the kit.
    Regarding the 300 f4 vs f2.8 lenses, I'm pretty sure the cost difference could be justified due to costs of mechanical as well as optical manufacturing and components. What I do find strange is when it's, as in this case, 2 lenses that have the same spec and a big price difference, or a lens with lesser spec (ie Nikon 600 f4 with no IS vs Canon 600 f4 with IS) being the same price or even more.
    I think we may have established now that it seems to be more of a regional thing than an absolute price difference though, maybe down to things like deals between Nikon UK and dealers, as well as supply and demand rather than the lenses themselves, as in the US it seems to be very different than here in the UK.
    Thanks again for all the useful replies.
  48. Things are worth what you can get for them.
  49. Yakim, lol... I almost posted something similar. There should be a link to similar questions such as "why is the sky blue?" (that we do have physical explanation for).
    I thought the sarcasm in Sinh's comment was clear, no? And I think it was funny too. Kinda like how we all know that the red ring on a Canon lens boosts the image quality 10x. That's why they charge us an arm and a leg for those lenses.
  50. Sinh, it seems to me you have no idea as to how warranty coverage is determined by a company.
    From the manufacturers stand point, a 5-year warranty means a certain quantity of product samples will develop a problem during the first five years of use that the company is willing to repair free of charge. Companies use statistics to estimate when, how and how many of their products will malfunction.
    Let's say they make a run of 100 products, and that they know that over 10 years, 90% of those products would have failed, they don't want to refund 90% of their clients, they won't offer a ten year warranty. They also know that over 5 years, only 10% of the products will fail. If 10% is an accpetable "loss", they warrant the product for 5 years.
    Statistically speaking, the shorter the warranty period, the more likely your product is to fail once the warranty is over. Of course, there's always the possibility that the manufacturer doesn't want to do warranty repairs at all, so even though they make a quality, durable product, they just provide a short warranty period.
    It's more complex than that of course, some products even have different warranties for some of their parts, and there's always the fine print, but that's the general idea.
  51. For comparison I checked the UK price for Canon's 800mm L IS. In dollars it was almost $15000.00 at Amazon UK, In the US it sells for under $11000.00 at several mail order shops. Anyone care to check the value in Yen or Euros?
  52. "Things are worth what you can get for them."
    That's true, but the OP asked why one lens was priced higher than the other.
    That's a different question than what they're worth to potential buyers.
  53. The reason for the disparities in pricing come down to the fact that the marketing departments in different countries have different strategies.
    In addition, Canon has been very enthusiastic in pricing it's newest lenses at a substantial premium over preceding versions.
    Put the two together and you will see a lot of variability from country to country and from lens to lens.
    My personal opinion about Canon( I am a Canon user) is that they sense the ability to price for the enthusiast who will buy a $1000+ lens on credit and for the pro who will make money with it over several years.
    Posts with comments like
    "Faster than Paris Hilton, sharper than my ex-wife’s tongue, more contrast than a Democratic Primary, and backgrounds as beautifully blurred as my memories of that weekend in Cancun, this lens is just the bomb. Its phenomenal just as it is. With a set of teleconverters it can be any lens you want it to be from 200mm to 400mm."
    only serve to give them a lot of free marketing and to stoke desire in the amateur.
  54. "Why is gras green?"
    If it's foie gras, don't eat it!
  55. Many fashion photographers use to use the original 200mm f2.0 Nikkor. Great at blasting out he background without having to back up too far from the model. Also, a terrific lens for basketball. It's a specialty lens but for those who need it it's invaluable. Compare prices of 50mm f1.4 Canon versus the 50mm f1.4 Summilux (Leica). Sometimes stuff costs more.
  56. If you think I'm an idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about, why bother wasting your time replying to my post?​
    To tell you that?
    In which case his response brought more useful information to the discussion than yours did...

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