"Sharp" lenses Cost Much More. Why?

Started Nov 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
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"Sharp" lenses Cost Much More. Why?
Nov 8, 2012

Realizing that it's probably due to a combination of factors, will someone with some knowledge on the matter please weigh-in about why it is that truly sharp lenses are so much more expensive? As an uninformed observer, it seems like there would be automated processes that allow for sufficiently tight enough tolerances so that lens production costs could be relatively similar across a product range. Perhaps that IS the case and there are sharper (and much more expensive) lenses on purpose mostly just for business reasons. Take Sigma as an example. It can't cost more to produce those $150 to $300 lenses than they sell for. At least I doubt they have "loss leaders" in their product line.

Of course, higher grade glass stock is quite a bit more expensive but really - orders of magnitude? Telescope grade apochromatic flourite glass isn't used in most cases (I don't think). Maybe there must still be some significant additional labor involved in the creation of better glass? I recall several years ago getting a Meade catalog and it gave a nice overview of some of the production involved in creating their telescopes. I was a bit surprised to see how much manual fit/figuring and polishing they do. I've tried searching for a nice "whitepaper-ish" overview of camera lens production online and haven't come up with much.

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