September 01, 2014, 10:03:51 PM

Author Topic: Big price jumps on new lenses... are they pushing into MF and Leica territory?  (Read 1775 times)

heavybarrel

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I'm sure everyone has noticed that the new lenses from Canon are coming with huge jumps in price. The 70-200 f/2.8 II was like $700 more than it's predecessor and the 24-70 II is basically twice as much! L lenses were never cheap... $1200 for a lens is ridiculous to the vast majority of people out there lol... but they were never quite up there with stuff like Leica and Zeiss.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Canon announced that it's new 35mm f/1.4 II is going to be $3000. I just hope it's going to be as amazing as a Summilux.

So is Canon separating the L line from enthusiast users with $2000-$4000 lenses that can go head to head with the good stuff from Leica (and others... just using it as an example)?

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jrista

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I'm sure everyone has noticed that the new lenses from Canon are coming with huge jumps in price. The 70-200 f/2.8 II was like $700 more than it's predecessor and the 24-70 II is basically twice as much! L lenses were never cheap... $1200 for a lens is ridiculous to the vast majority of people out there lol... but they were never quite up there with stuff like Leica and Zeiss.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Canon announced that it's new 35mm f/1.4 II is going to be $3000. I just hope it's going to be as amazing as a Summilux.

Are you comparing the most recent prices of the "predecessors" to the current prices of newly released lenses, or the original list prices? And if you are indeed comparing original list prices of the predecessors to current prices of newly released lenses, have you taken the rate of inflation into account (i.e. inflation-adjusting prior lenses list prices to "today" dollars)?

Sadly, the vaunted dollar is apparently a depreciable item in and of itself, and it has recognizably less buying power today than it did only a few years ago, let alone a decade ago. All things being equal, the prices are not that much more expensive, and in some cases (particularly in the case of street prices) may actually be cheaper today.

Taking the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS and its recent Mark II successor as an example:

Mark I @ $1700 ~ 2001 = $1700 list
Mark II @ $2500 ~ 2010 = $2500 list (current street @ $2000)

If we account for inflation (CPI only, barring any other cost inflators, such as inflation in raw materials costs...particularly metals, manufacturing and/or shipping difficulties, etc.), USD$1700 ca. 2001 ~= USD$2200 ca. 2011, so a current street price of $2000 and even an original list price of $2500 when you factor in other cost inflators (of which there have been far more than enough to account for the difference of $300 in inflation-adjusted list prices) is pretty much dead-on...the original and its successor have not really changed in price, its more that our dollars are less valuable today than they were in 2001.

Quote
So is Canon separating the L line from enthusiast users with $2000-$4000 lenses that can go head to head with the good stuff from Leica (and others... just using it as an example)?

In spite of the dollar inflation stuff from above, I'll happily state that Canon is definitely upping the bar on IQ. Comparing MTF charts (diagrams that depict lens sharpness from center to edge) of new Canon L series lenses with their predecessors shows considerable, sometimes astonishing, improvement in resolution. In the case of the 600mm L II and 500mm L II lenses, at least according to the MTF's generated by Canon, the improvement in resolution is stunning, and effectively makes both lenses "perfect" or "diffraction limited" lenses...almost as close as you can get to mathematically/theoretically ideal. The new 24-70 L II, and even the 70-200 L II, show marked improvements in resolution. That would all be necessary if Canon hopes to keep increasing megapixels (which, if the rumors are true, might result in a 45mp FF sensor that would literally push the limits of even resolution powerhouses like the new 24-70 L II.)

Canon has also really started pushing the envelope with their multicoatings as well. When testing wide-angle lenses in one of my first L-series lens purchases, I compared the 16-35mm L, 16-35mm L II, and 17-40mm L. Of the three, I chose teh 16-35mm L II, in significant part because it handles flare much better than its predecessor or the 17-40, and considerably better than comparable lenses by Zeiss and Leica.

So in answer to your last line, yes...even in inflation-adjusted price consistency (i.e. no real change in price in a normalized price field where all dollars in any year have the same buying power)...Canon is starting to make lenses that can go head-to-head with stuff from "the big boys" like Leica (which are often just Zeiss lenses), Zeiss themselves, etc.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 02:20:43 AM by jrista »
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briansquibb

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I'm sure everyone has noticed that the new lenses from Canon are coming with huge jumps in price. The 70-200 f/2.8 II was like $700 more than it's predecessor and the 24-70 II is basically twice as much! L lenses were never cheap... $1200 for a lens is ridiculous to the vast majority of people out there lol... but they were never quite up there with stuff like Leica and Zeiss.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Canon announced that it's new 35mm f/1.4 II is going to be $3000. I just hope it's going to be as amazing as a Summilux.

So is Canon separating the L line from enthusiast users with $2000-$4000 lenses that can go head to head with the good stuff from Leica (and others... just using it as an example)?

Are you comparing the most recent prices of the "predecessors" to the current prices of newly released lenses, or the original list prices? And if you are indeed comparing original list prices of the predecessors to current prices of newly released lenses, have you taken the rate of inflation into account (i.e. inflation-adjusting prior lenses list prices to "today" dollars)?

Sadly, the vaunted dollar is apparently a depreciable item in and of itself, and it has recognizably less buying power today than it did only a few years ago, let alone a decade ago. All things being equal, the prices are not that much more expensive, and in some cases (particularly in the case of street prices) may actually be cheaper today.

Taking the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS and its recent Mark II successor as an example:

Mark I @ $1700 ~ 2001 = $1700 list
Mark II @ $2500 ~ 2010 = $2500 list (current street @ $2000)

If we account for inflation (CPI only, barring any other cost inflators, such as inflation in raw materials costs...particularly metals, manufacturing and/or shipping difficulties, etc.), USD$1700 ca. 2001 ~= USD$2200 ca. 2011, so a current street price of $2000 and even an original list price of $2500 when you factor in other cost inflators (of which there have been far more than enough to account for the difference of $300 in inflation-adjusted list prices) is pretty much dead-on...the original and its successor have not really changed in price, its more that our dollars are less valuable today than they were in 2001.

+1 Too true, why is it that so few people understand that the Canon price is not the street price

dr croubie

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To keep using Leica and Zeiss as unfortunate examples, how much of their price comes from quality, how much from the extra-costs of small-scale production, and how much premium just to put the 'leica' badge on the front?

Canon is a much bigger company, they get a lot cheaper marginal-cost from mass-production than a smaller company like Leica. And yet their lenses tend to be more expensive for the same length than Nikkors.

Nikon produce less lenses than canon too, so they should also be more expensive, why are nikons (generally) cheaper than canons? Quality, and the associated extra manufacturing costs? (that fluorite element ain't cheap). But Nikon also have some new fandangled high-tech extra-cost techs like Nano crystal coating that bump up the cost too.
Can canon get away with higher margins on lenses because we've all been told that white lens + red ring is worth a price premium?


Kind of sounds like apple vs samsung vs kindles. Pretty much all cost the same per unit to build, and yet what's more expensive? Who can get away with the higher margins, because their ad-campaigns have told us that it's cool to have one of these devices?

Can zeiss and Leica get away with higher margins because they have an inherent 'cool' factor, or perception of quality? Ok, even if they are actually higher-quality than your standard ef-s zoom, is it worth that much extra price? They've both done very well targetting the upper ends of the market, the money-no-object deep-pockets consumer. Zeiss just announced $4bil revenue on 12% increased sales last year, so they're definitely doing something right (and i know that includes a lot more than just camera lenses).


Back to OP, yes, lenses are getting more expensive. Even adjusting for inflation, it's gonna be about the same, give or take depending on which lens you use as an example. But they've got a long way to go before really encroaching on leica.
B+H prices:
50mm f/2.5 summilux M-mount, $1500. Nifty fifty: $107
35/75/90mm f/2.5 $1900
And they're slower than the canon versions, and that's the cheapest 4 in the list.
Furthermore:
35mm f/2.0 $3200. EF 35/2 $330
50mm f/1.4 $4000. EF 50/1.4 $380
24mm f/1.4 $7000. EF 24/1.4L $1700
50mm f/0.95 $11000. EF 50/1.2L $1500

Unfortunately, the only way around this is competition. I may have mentioned before, I love my Samyang 35/1.4. It's as sharp as the zeiss, and craps all over the canon L in the corners, for 1/4 as much of the price (I paid half again because it was used). Certainly, the build quality isn't the same as zeiss or the L, it's not sealed and there's no AF. But if it makes canon sit up and think that they might be losing sales to a small korean manufacturer, then you can bet that the 35L II is going to have to be a lot sharper and/or compete a bit better on price (seeing as AF and sealing are already features that it has over both the zeiss and samyang). So even if you never use their lenses, you should always be thankful of the samyangs, the sigmas, tokinas, and tamrons of the world, or you really would be paying leica money for your next L...
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