Why is there no cheap fast 50 mm equivalent prime?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by SojiOkita, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Hi everyone.
    The aim of this post is not to complain about anything, but to try to get an explanation on this.

    In most "24x36" systems, there are fast 50 mm available for cheap.
    If I take B&H approximative prices for instance:
    Canon 50 mm f/1.8 -> 125$
    Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 -> 115$ (200$ for the AF-S version)
    Sony 50 mm f/1.8 -> 170$
    Pentax 50 mm f/1.8 -> 180$

    For APS:
    Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 -> 200$
    Sony 35 mm f/1.8 -> 220$

    All these lenses have a wide aperture of f/1.8, have AF, an equivalent focal length of 50 mm, are cheap and are often the first prime you get when you buy a compatible camera.

    You need to go to 400$ approximately to find some other fast primes (like 85 mm f/1.8, 50 mm f/1.4 and so on).

    Now if we take what's available in micro 4/3, with AF, faster than f/2 (so Sigma lenses, Pana 14 mm and Oly 17 mm f/2.8 do not qualify):
    - Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7: 385$
    - Olympus 25 mm f/1.8: 400$
    - Olympus 45 mm f/1.8: 400$
    All other primes are 500$ and more.

    That's 3 times the price of Canon or Nikon 50 mm f/1.8, more than twice the price of Pentax and Sony.

    I'm not discussing the quality of the lenses or saying that they are overpriced.
    I'm wondering why there isn't any cheap 25 mm f/1.8, all plastic, around a 150$ price range?

    Is it because:
    - it's a choice made by Panasonic & Olympus? (they may prefer building higher quality, more expensive lenses)
    - the 24x36 lenses are not quite old and produced at high numbers, and that their cost is now very low?
    - it would me more difficult to conceive a cheap 50 mm for mirrorless systems?
    - ???
  2. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    Scale of production pushes the CaNikon lenses down in price, the Sony and Pentax lenses have a long production history so all design costs have been covered. Both Olympus and Panasonic designs are relatively new in the general scheme of things, I would reason on the Oly becoming more affordable in time the Nikon G 50mm is £160 so unless you have one of the higher bodies is not that cheep. Look how much the normals are for the Sony mirror less bodies as well or the Fujis, they are not cheep too.
  3. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Also, the designs of 50 and 35mm lenses have been around for a while. The shorter register distance also has an issue in the design. People want small lenses, with fast AF, which are being designed from the ground up.
  4. Canon 50mm f/1.8 is a crappy build, noisy focusing, plastic mount, slow AF unit designed back in the 80s. It was actually better built in the 80s... it had a metal mount and better plastics. As already mentioned, all the design costs have been covered by the long production history.

    Its certainly has its place but not a product to gauge against.
  5. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    Olympus and Panasonic recover a lot of their costs through lens purchases. I think dslr makers move a whole lot more prime lenses.

    Sigma has a few very nice primes in the M43 size for reasonable prices.
  6. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Sigma lenses were not made for m43, so they are quite big and the aperture is somewhat limited.
  7. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Yes, that's what I wondered if this was a technical problem, or just an economical one.
  8. Serhan

    Serhan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 7, 2011
    From Sigma CEO dpreview interview:

  9. Conrad

    Conrad Mu-43 Veteran

    Let me ask you the counter question: do you think you could make money with a cheap so-so prime?
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Because for some unknown reason Sigma stuck at F2.8, and Panasonic and Olympus know they'll be getting their money whatever stupid price ticket they stick on their lenses.
  11. Serhan

    Serhan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 7, 2011
    Because they design these lenses for their Sigma dp cameras, not for Sony, Oly, etc. Again I don't know how good their 2.8 lenses for video. I bought them for Sony, but I didn't use much when I have faster lenses. Again from same interview:

    So they are not investing in mirrorless yet...

  12. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    my thoughts would be the M43 market did not really start out to be a prime lens type market more a kit lens market IMHO that is why basic kit lens can be had really cheap instead
  13. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Using the scales of production argument and taking into account Panasonic and Olympus have lens manufacturing facilities in cheap labor markets, how is it Nikon is able to produce the Nikon 1 18.5mm 1/.8 lens (50mm equiv. with 2.7x crop sensor) for under $200? I could understand the 20mm 1.7 lens being a bit more expensive since it's made in Japan, but I have a feeling Olympus is gouging it's customers a bit with the 25mm 1.8 selling for $399 USD.
  14. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Samyang appears to be doing it....
  15. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Everyone is different, but I wouldn't buy a $180 mediocre prime with the quality of a kit zoom if I can get a truly excellent 20 or 25 for less than $400.
  16. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    And the Pentax Q Standard prime is $199 USD...
  17. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Not familiar with the Pentax Q glass, but I'm presuming it's rock solid. The Nikon 18.5mm is just as good as the Pan 20mm 1.7 and focuses quicker!
  18. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have noticed almost all of the m4/3 lenses come out a bit higher than what they end up selling for in 6 months or so. The higher the quality of the lens and/or the more desirable the focal length means the "introductory" price is higher. Also on the Panasonics the Leica name adds a surcharge or at least it seems that way to me.

    I do agree there are some technical reasons for prices being higher on many m4/3 lenses as have already been discussed.

    Yes and no. Optically the SamYang lenses are great. They are however less complex optical formulas - they concentrate on the IQ and don't worry much about size/weight - their lenses are bigger than other brands. Their lens bodies are well built but maybe not as good as the best from name brands but better than the average kit lens. One area where SamYang does cut costs is no AF or electronics{except for Nikon mount which usually cost a bit more}. They have said they are going to introduce some AF lenses in the near future however.
  19. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    The Nikon 35/1.8G and 50/1.8G are vastly better than the kits lenses.

    It is Olympus that has no problem charging $300 for the decidedly mediocre 17/2.8 which is in fact no better than the kit 14-42s.
    • Like Like x 3
  20. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    It's because they're different lenses. A 20/25mm is more complex to build than a 50. Look at Canikon. As the lenses get wider they get more expensive.

    • Like Like x 1
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