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Standard lens price- justified?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jaomul, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    If we take 50mm (fov) as standard the 25mm m4/3rds lenses can be pretty much classed as the standard prime. Why so expensive. I can understand the panasonic due it being f1.4, but the Olympus f1.8 is nearly the same price and twice the price of similar specced 50mm lenses from Canon, Nikon ,Pentax and Sony.

    Is there a reason for the price I am missing? Thanks
    • Like Like x 1
  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The Canon/Nikon/Pentax/Sony lens won't fit m4/3s.
  3. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    Thanks, that's enlightening
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Well, why does one car cost more than another car, afterall they're all just boxes on wheels? I simply don't understand this constantly asked question. It is what it is, if the price is an issue, then there are cheaper options, as everyone points out.

    And just to add, the Olympus 25mm lens is not a 50mm lens, it simply has the equivalent field of view on m4/3s. Have a look at similar focal length lenses for Nikon/Canon et al and see what they charge.

    Just to help you along: http://www.digidirect.com.au/camera...angle_lenses/nikon_af-s_nikkor_28mm_f18g_lens, http://www.digidirect.com.au/camera_lenses/canon/wide_angle/canon_ef_24mm_f28_is_usm_lens, http://www.digidirect.com.au/camera_lenses/sony/carl_zeiss/sony_sal-24f20z_24mm_f20_lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    Why bother answer if you are tired of same questions. Maybe you prefer smart answers than ignoring a post. That's ok.

    I did point out fov equivalent when I asked. From my point of view a forum is for discussing issues with people who want to interact.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    For a start the m43 lenses just don't sell in the volumes that Canon/Nikon lenses do - so you lose economies of scale.

    Also, theres 20 (eos) - 40 (f) years of lens mount compatibility which means theres a strong second hand market for certain focal lengths as well as a lot of re-usability of designs and tooling.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    You asked a question and I answered it, but it's frustrating always seeing the same bleating about price. Micro Four Thirds doesn't imply that the price and quality is 'micro'.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    Ok. Truce. In my head I was saying a 45mm f1.8 m4/3rds kind of mimicked the 85mm on ff with regards to fov at a smaller price. The 25mm mimmick the 50s but are more expensive.

    Half question, no answer available from users, though the smaller customer base mentioned may explain
  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    As Ray points out making a 25mm lens is a little more complex than making a 50mm lens

    compare the specs of the canon 50mm 1.8


    and the Oly 25


    the oly has more bits of more complex glass in it, is way better built.

    Canon on the other hand have been making their lens for close to 25 years, for a much larger market, so have probably written off all their R and D costs and use cheaper materials and manufacturing

    There is also the argument that m43 lenses have to resolve the image to a higher degree because the imaging pixels are so small

    • Like Like x 2
  10. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It's not just a matter of smaller customer base and smaller production numbers, but it adds to the cost recovery. It's also a matter of actual focal length and degree of quality in design required to make an excellent lens. A 25mm focal length lens is still a 25mm focal length lens regardless of format, the same optical challenges exist if you want high quality. But there's also the matter of making a physically small lens into a very high quality lens that adds additional challenges. Leica lenses are small, high quality, manual focus and extremely expensive.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. By similar spec, you mean that:
    a) They have a 50mm FoV on 35mm film.
    b) They have a maximum aperture of f/1.8.

    There's far more to a lens than FoV and maximum aperture. There's other optical qualities, build quality, focussing speed, etc. On Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony, the 50mm f/1.8s are designed to be cheap kit primes. On m4/3 they are not. There is only the one cheap kit prime in m4/3, the 20mm f1.7, which is only in cheap kit status due to it's slower than usual (by m4/3 standards) focusing speed and extending during focussing, rather than anything optically or build-wise.
  12. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Others have pointed out that cost comparisons should start with lenses of similar focal length.

    OK, Let's look at this review of the $125 Canon 50mm f1.8 . They shot the obligatory brick wall, and it's sharp in the center, but pretty soft in the corners at f1.8. Granted this is a budget lens. It has six elements.

    The Olympus 45 mm was designed with nine elements. and its corner performance is far better. We're paying more money for it, but not that much more, as frugal buyers often find it for $300 USD.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    The price that a company sets for a product is dependent on many things, many of which are unknown to people outside of the company. I've also observed that first hand knowledge of high precision manufacturing is sparse on public forums. As a result, all responses to a question like this are highly speculative.
  14. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 16, 2014
    The 25mm f1.8 is new and has not been discounted much yet, at least not in the US. Before the end of of the year it will probably go on sale for $350 or perhaps even lower. Right now Olympus is cashing in on the demand from people that want one badly enough to pay list price.

    But even $350 is still close to 3 times what the Canon 50mm costs. You do get what you pay for with the Olympus 25 being sharper wide open in general and much sharper in the corners. Also the autofocus motor is quiet enough to be used for video which is nice even for those of us that do not shoot video. The Canon 50mm was designed decades ago as the standard kit lens when nobody really expected much from them. The design costs have been paid for long ago and the relatively simple and easy to manufacture design also contribute to the low cost along with high sales volume.

    While I think you get what you pay for with the two lenses I do wish there was a lower cost option for m43. I am holding off purchasing the 25mm until I can get it on sale for $350 or less. I would most use to take pictures of people and pets indoors. The shallow depth of field means the corners are typically going to be out of focus even if the lens is sharp. For these sort of photos motion blur from the subjects moving and the adverse affects of having to shoot at high ISO values are going to be what limits photo quality, not lens quality. I would want something better than the Canon 50mm though. Back when I had a Nikon D90 SLR i bought a 35mm f1.8 for $200 that was a really good lens. It was probably not as good as the Olympus 25 but was much better than the Canon lens. A $200-$250 25mm f1.8 lens that is as good as that Nikon was would be ideal for my purposes. But since that is not going to happen I am going to wait for the existing 25mm to go on sale.

    There are plenty of really cheap old manual focus lenses available on ebay but once again you get what you pay for. Not having autofocus and full automation means missing some shots you would have got with the Olympus 25. And 24mm lenses made for 35mm film cameras are much larger than m43 lenses. Having to design a 24mm lens that covers a 24x36mm image is much more difficult and expensive than designing a 25mm lens that covers the m43 sensor. Fans of old lenses should note that people with Canon SLRs can buy used 50mm f1.8 lenses for about $80 on eBay and have full autofocus and exposure automation.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Canon 50mm f/1.8 was one of the first lenses in the EOS line introduced in 1987 along side their new mount at 21,000 yen. It was sold as a kit lens and there was an incentive to keep the price low, after all, they were orphaning their current customer base of FL/FD shooters. They needed a low entry point into their system to convince the market of their new direction and they needed to do it fast in light of aggressive competition towards a successful system built/designed around AF (Minolta in particular). Its construction has actually gotten worse over the years moving towards the plastic mount from the original metal mount and loosing the range window. It uses a macro motor which focuses slow and loud by modern day comparison.

    It took 6 years for Canon to release the 50mm f1/.4 USM which is a testament to how times were different for Canon. With this new lens, came much better construction, image quality, faster aperture, AND most importantly a new type of AF motor which was silent and fast. Canon simply left the 50mm f/1.8 on their lineup as a low cost entry point since the product already accomplished what it was designed to do.... help introduce the EOS mount. Let's not forget that the R&D cost of such a lens was recouped many years ago. They actually made it cheaper for them to keep on the books by cheapening its construction, while increasing its list price by $25. Although the paper spec makes the Canon 50mm f/1.4 faster, its a closer comparison to our Olympus 45mm in terms of build, quality, features, and market. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 was listed at 49000 yen at the time of release in 1993.... not cheap either.. Its actually slightly more expensive in 1993 than the Olympus 45mm in present day.

    Let's not forget that MFT is still a small system and plays in a smaller market when compared to the wider DSLR market. If MFT will survive, I believe they will, they will need to be price competitive. IMO from my purchase decisions, I think they are very competitive in pricing. The real conclusion is that there are a lot of variables involved in pricing......
    • Like Like x 2
  16. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Are "normal" lenses really that much more expensive in todays dollars?

    The Takumar 50mm 1.4 was an "expensive" upgrade option for people buying into Pentax. The 50mm 1.4 lens, in nearly every manufacturer's arsenal was always more expensive.

    Many kits sold with 50mm 2.5 or even 50mm 3.5 lenses for years. We take for granted that an f1.4 lens is available. Like usayit said, the 1.8 version was usually the first option by the late 70s. If you bought the f1.4 lens, it was somewhat luxurious!
  17. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    The idea that a normal lens needs to be 50mm is a fairly recent one, pushed on us by the big two (or three) mainly because the optical formula for a fifty is relatively easy and cheap. Back when Konica was around they sold their cameras with a 40mm lens, which, while tending to the wide side of "normal" is still a normal lens. 50mm tends to the long end, after all. So if you want a normal 40mm equivalent you can get the Sigma 19mm for under $200 or the Panasonic 20mm for $275. Still more expensive, yes, but miniaturization does come at a cost.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yup... Previous thought, a normal lens was roughly the diagonal of the format. In MFT its roughly a 20mm. 135 negative is roughly a 40mm. Now what makes a 50mm focal length optic would be easier and cheap to manufacture? Not sure... it would be interesting to know.
  19. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I guess, ultimately, because they can. As a business, why would they price a product for less when they can sell it for more ?
  20. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    The design of the Canon 50/1.8 is basically unchanged from their 50's rf lenses. The mount is built to the standard of an off-brand Poundland toy and its focus motor is noisy and unreliable. Even the 50/1.4 is a pretty old formula and it doesn't use "proper" internal USM focussing. It's not until you get to the 50L that we see anything more than a legacy design. Have you seen the price of that lens? :eek:  I can't speak for the Nikons.

    Both the DG Summilux and Olympus 25 are complex C21 designs with some pretty exotic glass and yet they're not that expensive compared to the Canon 50/1.4.
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