I often hear this question: why do lenses cost so much? And why are fast lenses even more expensive?
There are several very good reasons for this.
- Lenses contain very expensive, high-quality optical glass. The more glass, the more cost. The faster a lens, the more glass (that is what “fast” means: a larger opening): ergo, the higher that cost.
- Today’s lenses contain sophisticated electronics. See my 16-35 f/2.8 lens below, a while ago after I, um, dropped it. Twice.
- Economies of scale: of course a more popular lens has lower cost, because it sells more (look at the popular 50mm f/1.8 lenses).
Here’s that lens of mine:
The good news: as I have said here many times, lenses are an investment. They are more important to your picture than the camera, and they retain their value, often for decades.
TIP: go to the online Canon Museum and go to the Virtual Lens Plant to see a very interesting series of videos about lens manufacture.