argh! why are these lenses so expensive?? I recently installed a new engine in a friends S10. We paid $2100 for a brand new GM 2.2L engine, NEW, from the local GM dealership. Think of how much metal, engineering, etc is in an engine. For the price of ONE lens, we could buy three new engines!
I do not understand :-/ The time to precision-grind glass? Umm...
LOL, I still want one!
Optical glass (high clarity glass) is not a cheap thing, and there's a lot of glass in these things!
Soon we will see lenses being sold by weight by karats if this glass will keep getting so expensive... or maybe this are the signs of something called monopoly, price fixing between very few players?
The economics of the markets for super-telephoto lenses and car engines are very different.
I suspect that there is not much demand elasticity in the market for super-telephoto lenses - the people who buy them are, mostly, people who have to have them for their work, pretty much regardless of price. That means that if Canon decreased the price, there would be no corresponding increase in demand. Similarly, if Canon increase the price, there is little or no decrease in demand.
As you also imply, Nikon is literally the only other game in town, so there is no real competition. For most users of super-telephoto lenses, jumping ship from Canon to Nikon or Nikon to Canon is not really an option, so Canon and Nikon don't really represent competition to each other. The only potential for real competition is from Sigma and friends, who haven't yet convinced professionals of the quality of their lenses.
Thus, there is no pressure on Canon to price competitively. In fact, there is a lot of incentive for Canon and Nikon to mirror each other's behaviour - notice that I did not say "collude". Even without active behind-the-scenes collusion, Canon and Nikon will closely track each other's behaviour and will only make a break when there is a real strategic advantage to be gained. It's a bit like the tactics employed in cycle racing.