Why are the normal primes so pricey?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by speedandstyle, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have been wondering about this for awhile but decided to ask and see if any body knows. Why are the normal lenses for the m4/3 system so expensive?

    Usually a normal prime that isn't extremely fast is priced just a little bit higher than a kit zoom but not the case with m4/3. The Nikon and Canon DSLR systems have affordable primes for both FF and APS sizes. The Nikon 1 has a normal prime that is cheaper than the kit zoom and the Pentax Q gives a normal prime with the body. The Sony NEX normal prime is higher too but not quite as high as the Pany 25mm.

    Anybody know why?:confused:
     
  2. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Chris
    Yes i know why. They are a bit overpriced plus it seems that Pana cannot keep the demand production pace. that means, less lenses, more people wanting = higher prices.

    I agree a "nifty fifty" starts at USD$100 up to $380 tops except for their "L" versions. but....oh well.... this will start rolling and youll get tons of answers on why... though i agree with you. it doesnt make sense to me either...
     
  3. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    277
    Oct 10, 2012
    If you're willing to look to third party alternatives, the Sigma 19mm is not too expensive:

    Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens for Olympus/ Panasonic Micro 400963

    I'm not real familiar with the PL 25mm you reference, but my impression is that it is more of a high end lens than a budget normal lens.

    I do share your frustration though. I'd like to see more affordable primes. It seems like high-end ($350 and up), high-performance primes are very popular right now. Given the small sensor format of m4/3, my personal preference would be for more prime lenses that emphasize small-size and affordability over ultra-high resolution.
     
  4. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus Loser

    941
    Nov 16, 2010
    Finland
    Maybe it's because N and C sell those lenses 10-100 times more compared to Panasonic. I think there are 4 reasons for the higher price in Pana 25mm's case:
    1. Word Leica 2. True quality 3. smaller market = less potential buyers anyway 4. Limited manufacturing capacity = they sell them faster than they can make them :bravo-009:

    I do agree that MFT system needs cheaper 25mm lens. Olympus, give us the 25mm f2.x pancake!!!
     
  5. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Compare one of our primes to the cheap primes on other systems. Optical quality, build quality, etc. The lenses for m4/3 are expensive, no doubt about it, but they are really good. The 20mm is tiny and incredibly sharp. Nearly all of the other lenses are internal focus with non-rotating front elements. Now it would be nice to have something like the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, absolutely. (Oly, I hear you have a 25/1.8 in the lab. Release it.) But the question is not "why are the primes pricey", because they're reasonably priced for the quality. The question is "why don't we have cheap primes?" to which the answer is that it's a new system with low sale volumes.
     
  6. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    The Pentax Q Normal Prime is not for sale without buying the body too (thought this might change after the introduction of the Q10). So that one is hard to compare based on price.

    50mm lenses are relatively easy to make using more-or-less a double-gauss design. In general, a double gauss design will provide the focal length approximately equal to the flange distance. SLR double gauss lenses provide about 50mm. µ4/3 provides about 20mm. Hence the cheap Olympus 17mm double-gauss lens. Also the cheap Sony 16mm E-mount lens.

    I'm not a lens design guru or anything, but I suspect a "normal" µ4/3 lens would require either essentially an extension tube out to a double-gauss, which would be ungainly, big, and ugly, or the use of aspherical and/or ED elements to keep the light telecentric, which isn't generally cheap.

    All that junk aside, I consider the 45mm to be cheap, especially for what it offers.
     
  7. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    The Leica 25mm is also nano-coated :smile:
     
  8. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus Loser

    941
    Nov 16, 2010
    Finland
    True, but so are my cross country skis also nano-coated. :biggrin:
     
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  9. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    But if you're going to compare and ask about price, then Nikon's cheapest nano coated lens is $700 USD....So in this light, is the Leica 25mm really that expensive?
     
  10. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    How bout Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/2.8?

    normal lens - check
    isn't extremly fast - check
    priced just a little bit - check
     
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  11. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    277
    Oct 10, 2012
  12. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I don't know Nikon, but the Canon L lens is the 50/1.2 which is currently listed at $1419 on Amazon US. The 50/1.4 is a pretty old design, but is USM. It's in the $300s, but has a USM motor known for burning out frequently. The 50/1.8 is one grade above a toy lens in construction, but given the <$100 price is considered disposable, and is "sharp enough" in the center from 1.8 through about 2.2, then sharpens much more nicely at 2.8 and up. The PL25 is sharper at 1.4, and the CV25/0.95 is less than the Canon 1.2.

    Of course, if you mean literally a normal lens, as in the contruction is near 50mm, then that's the Oly 45, which is not that expensive, or the PL45 macro, which is a tad expensive for a 50mm macro.
     
  13. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    277
    Oct 10, 2012

    Agreed. This is my only m4/3 lens currently and I have been very pleased. I'm not sure it would technically fall into the true "normal" range, but 34mm equivalent is sort of the transition point from normal to wide-angle so it works very well for general use. I especially like the compact size and OOF rendering.
     
  14. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
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  15. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Chris
    Well thats the thing. The PL25 ive read (dont know in fact) that is not better than a Canon f1.4 which is USD$300-400. That why i said that the L was out of this conversation.

    at the same time, every company that wants to develop a "new system" than the ones established they need to plan that they need to be as competitive as possible with the other systems so they can have a chance of existing. Im not talking about "good" or "bad" im talking about being able to be competitive. in this terms, Oly and Pana we all know they have worked their asses off to deliver cameras like the OMD or the GH3 right? so they need to do the same with their lenses. right? even the quite "polemic" P12-35 which some say it is the most expensive lens of the m43 at the moment, but at the same time one of the best zooms if not the best zoom lens at the moment as well for the format. Its being compared to the Canikon 24-70 ones and everyone agrees the P12-35 is priced accordingly. But then the P25 is quite expensive compared to its counterparts. and it doesnt compete price wise with the medium-range-normal-lenses of the Canikon ones. Cause im not sure its an "L" lens comparable is it?. Yes, like someone else said. ITs a different problem. its more like supply-demand thing. just that.

    I think companies should predict what and how to do and be competitive within their markets. I know m43 as other mirrorless are "new" formats and they are getting noticed all around but then more than ever they need to watch every step of what they do, and pricing is one of those. Im not saying that it needs to be cheaper than but more like "same range" than. but not "more" than. if that makes any sense.

    whats great though is that Pana and Oly seem to LISTEN quite a lot their customers and act accordingly. and thats awesome. you dont see the same thing on other markets. or not as good as in m43land.
     
  16. Region2

    Region2 New to Mu-43

    8
    Sep 30, 2012
    New York, NY
    Since the OMD EM5 came in, I've been fighting myself not to run over to B&H during lunch to pick up that lens.

    I was trying to be patient by learning the kit lens inside and out, but after a quick night session at Central Park, I realized I could do with a brighter lens.

    Buy the PL 25mm now or wait... :confused:
     
  17. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Well, it's overall tough to compare.

    Again, I only know Canon.

    The Canon 50/1.4 is not widely regarded as a good lens. It's soft wide open, and it's bokeh is not very great, and it doesn't last.

    Here are a couple of samples of the $360 Canon 50/1.4 bokeh over on POTN. Not to everyone's liking.
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=1196991&postcount=4
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=15161990&postcount=9457
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=15143682&postcount=9407

    Many people prefer the rendering and bokeh of the Sigma 50 1.4 (sample here: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=15168463&postcount=8866 and here: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=15141026&postcount=8845), which is about $450, but the AF is squirrely. It front focuses on near objects and back focuses on far objects (or is it vice versa). I had one, and called Sigma service to send it in for focus adjustment, and they informed me that if I focused on something at 2 meters, that's when the lens would neither front nor back focus, but all bets were off for nearer or farther subjects! Ah, PDAF :)

    So, at least compared to Canon: The 50/1.4 on a 5D has shallower DOF than the PL25 on m43, but is softer and less contrasty, and does not produce very good bokeh (not that the PL25 is great, either but it's not too bad https://www.mu-43.com/f80/panasonic...x-image-thread-15938/index100.html#post345075), but is about $150-200 cheaper (also bigger and heavier, too) and will burn out it's focus motor -- not if, but when. The Sigma 50/1.4 has shallower DOF than the PL25, and has nicer bokeh and color, but has inconsistent and squirrely AF. Pick your poison, lol.

    At least compared to Canon options, I rather think the PL25 is reasonably priced. If you are OK with a near toy lens and tredning-to-lomo rendering (at least wide open), the 50/1.8 wide open is a very cheap and fun lens, and has been my preferred 50 on my 5D for that reason.

    Maybe a Nikon owner could chime in on their side.
     
  18. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    I don't think the PL is the entry level normal lens. I think Oly has the 17 and Panny had the 20, but shortages and a "must have" status have kept it priced higher. I think anything with the Leica branding is meant to compete with L lenses or other premium tiers (whether it does is left to you, but I'm arguing that it's Panasonic's intention).
     
  19. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks for all the replies!

    I do understand that the Pany 25mm is a fairly high quality build. Someone stated the question should be - "why don't we have cheap primes?". Olympus? Panasonic? Are you reading this? We want a very affordable normal prime lens!

    I know the Sigma lenses are very affordable and reported to have good IQ. However they are a bit slow at f2.8. They are also on the fringe of being "normals". The 19mm is short and the 30mm is long. Panasonic does have the 20mm but again it is a bit short. The Oly 17mm is too short to be a normal, it is a wide(very affordable but a wide).
     
  20. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Panny 20mm 1.7 is a little over $300 and is a normal fast prime.
     
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