Prime L vs Zoom L (why does zoom cost more?)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by prodigy2k7, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In this case im talking about
    EF 70-200 F/4L USM ($560)

    Why is it so cheap?

    Wouldnt it seem reasonable for this lens to be cheaper? It probably has less glass, same aperture, both USM right?

    EF 17-40mm F/4L USM ($650)

    Is the 70-200 just an older lens or what?
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Neither one of those is a prime. I believe MSRP is based on a profit margin over production cost with the R&D factored in.
     
  3. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    oh ya sorry, i originally was doing 50mm but i forgot the 50mm F/1.2L has a very large aperture, forgot to change title, wanted to compare two lenses with same aperture
     
  4. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    It's probably because Canon sells a lot more of the 70-200's than they do the 17-40 (just guessing) which means they can sell the 70-200's at a cheaper price since they're making it up on volume.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Without inside information, it's very hard to know why & how Canon (and most companies) set their prices.

    The 70-200mm F4 L is a great bargain of a lens...(from what I've heard) the image quality is on par with just about any zoom lens and the price is very reasonable for that type of quality. It's quite possible that it's price is a result of Canon having four different 70-200mm lenses in the line up; 70-200 F4, 70-200 F4 IS, 70-200 F2.8 and the 70-200 F2.8 IS.

    The 70-40mm F4 L doesn't have that level of competition within the line up but there is the 16-35mm F2.8 L and the EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS. The 17-40mm F4 L is also considered a very good deal for L quality glass.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Assuming that the % profit margin is constant between the two.

    - Economies of scale
    - Number of elements in set groups
    - Design of elements (Aspherical etc)
    - R&D placed into the design of lens.
    - Cost of housing
    - Materials (silicon lenses vs Calcium Flouride)
    - Coating process
    - Assembly difficulty (since many L lenses are hand assembled)

    The list does go on.
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I could imagine, that an ultrawide zoom is harder to construct than a tele zoom lens to get the same image quality. Tolerances are much tighter at 17mm than at 170mm.


    Also, for L lenses, both are pretty cheap.

    the 17-40 is VERY good value for money. In ultrawide you do not need those wide apertures that urgent, so f/4 is very decent.

    It is my second cheapest lens, but still one of my favourites.
     
  8. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    I think those are all factors but I think #1 there is 90% of it if it's anything like electronics or automobile manufacturing. I guess it's what the market will bare mostly.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Normally I'd agree, but I wonder if that still applies quite as much to hand assembled items.
    It is a clear winner though in a production line where larger quantities of one product mean less manual intervention with the equipment.
     
  10. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Hmm excellent point! I don't know exactly. If it's assembled here in Japan workers are paid $7~$8 an hour to start - plus benefits and OT. Crew leaders and managerial staffers get $2,500 ~ $3,000 /mo. There wouldn't be more than one or two of them I suspect - in a lens factory. This makes me wonder about the cost profiling of lens manufacturing. I'm guessing largest slice is the power consumption used in the lens grinding processes. Each piece of glass is worked on by one machine for hours - or at least I know this to be true for larger diameter lenses 6" and over.

    Interesting topic though!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  11. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    EF-S 17-55 f/2.8IS for over $1000 ... EF-S and non-L !!!
    And users love it.

    I think Canon tosses some 10 sided die to decide pricing.
     
  12. Kajuah

    Kajuah TPF Noob!

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    I don't know about those two lenses (thought it was weird since neither of them are prime, too) but to answer you're original question prime lenses are less expensive because they don't have the fancy gadgetry that zoom lenses do and they generally aren't as in demand as zoom are (everyone owns a zoom, how many people own a prime?; only people who know what they're doing and trust they don't need the reach!:D).
     

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