Why lenses cost money

Why do expensive lenses cost so much? I was asked this several times in today’s courses.

It’s simple. Expensive lenses are worth it – because they:

  • Have better quality, clearer optical glass, for better resolving power and sharpness and less aberration.
  • Were designed better, with elements added for less distortion.
  • Are mechanically better. For instance, cheaper zoom lenses will drop when you lower them; costlier lenses do not display this annoying behaviour. And mounts are metal, materials are better.
  • Have more features, like IS/VR.
  • Above all, are faster – i.e. they have lower “F-numbers”, meaning more of that optical glass.

That’s why it is worth buying better lenses. Better lenses are always worth it since they, unlike the camera, always contribute to the quality of your photo.

A consumer lens is a 3.5-5.6 zoom, while a pro lens is an f/2.8 zoom or a prime that goes down as low as f/1.2, or more usually f/1.4. Today’s advice: it’s very much worth investing in these!

Michael's lenses

Michael's lenses

Not all at once – add a few primes, a fast telephoto zoom, and a wide, in any order you like. The lens is more important than the camera!


2 thoughts on “Why lenses cost money

  1. Hi Michael.

    I’m curious. You have both a 24-70 f2.8 and a 16-35 f2.8
    Do you use the 24-70 when you wish to use a single camera for an event shoot?
    Do you use the 16-35 primarily for non human subjects on a full frame camera?

    Typically, when I shoot an event, I use my 16-35 on a 1.6 crop camera for wide people shots, staying closer to the 35mm end and 70-200 on a full frame body.

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