Why is the 42.5 F/1.2 $1600 when the Fuji 56mm F/1.2 is only $1000?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
eastvillager
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Re: Why is the 42.5 F/1.2 $1600 when the Fuji 56mm F/1.2 is only $1000?
In reply to BeaverTerror, 4 months ago

Cause it's a ripoff. Buy the Nikon D800 (36MP, Full Frame) with a 85 F1.8. It will cost $3200 and blow away both of these.

BeaverTerror wrote:

I'm a long time M43 user and have been with the format pretty much since the beginning. I'm a bicycle tourist and mountaineer. I dumped my Nikon gear for M43 because weight is an important consideration for my uses. Over the years I've taken tens of thousands of photographs with a number of M43 bodies and lenses.

I had been waiting for the 42.5 F/1.2 lens ever since it was announced over a year ago. I looked forward to having a large aperture portrait lens for taking top-down photos of climbers from above. I expected the lens to be expensive, but $1600 is absurd. M43 lenses have always been expensive for what they are. I understand that Canon and Nikon have larger economies of scale which enables them to sell lenses at cheaper prices, and perhaps the design/production/distribution overhead is much more significant than the weight of glass needed to cover larger format sensors. I'm also happy to pay a premium as an early adopter of a new system. There is an argument to be made about paying a price for miniaturization, a weak argument I think, because we're not talking about expensive nano scale manufacturing of silicone circuitry, we are talking about grinding a lens of 40mm diameter as opposed to 60mm diameter: hardly ground breaking technology.

Be that as it may, I would have been happy to pay $1200 for the 42.5mm lens. This $1600 price had me do some research though: the new Fuji XT-1 has finally improved on Fuji's focus performance to the point where this is no longer a consideration for my uses. The Fuji 56mm F/1.2 lens, equivalent in field of view to the Panasonic 42.5mm and identical in aperture, is only $1000. M43 is a more mature system than Fuji's X-mount, so there is no argument for high early adoption cost. The Fuji lens also has to cover a larger APS-C image circle. The Fuji lens is 20 grams lighter and 60% cheaper than the Panasonic lens! The Panasonic lens is stabilized whereas the Fuji lens is not, but as even the cheapest kit lenses sold these days have image stabilization, I fail to see how this is worth a 60% price increase. The Fuji lens won't hit the market for another couple of months, but early reports indicate it is a well built, sharp lens.

I'm due for a body upgrade. The Fuji XT-1 is $100 cheaper than the Olympus EM-1, body only. The Fuji again does not have image stabilization, but is a larger sensor camera and claws back some advantage here. Fuji's APS-C sensor is 60% larger in area than a M43 sensor and gathers that amount of additional light at the same aperture, resulting in a corresponding noise advantage. Indeed, this is reflected in the studio comparisons available. This is not enough to make up for the 3 stops of stabilization on the EM-1 though.

Let's summarize the numbers:

Olympus EM-1 with 42.5mm F/1.2 lens: 497g + 425g = 922g $1400 + $1600 = $3000

Fujifilm XT-1 with 56mm F/1.2 lens: 440g + 405g = 845g $1300 + $1000 = $2300

In the years since the introduction of the X-mount, Fuji has produced a sensible range of large aperture primes in the wide, normal, and protrait lengths. Fuji will release a constant F/4, 15-36mm full frame equivalent ultra-wide zoom this spring. Fuji has a super-tele zoom planned for 2015, but with its larger sensor, it will never rival the Panasonic 100-300mm in size and weight.

I'm contemplating keeping the 100-300mm and one M43 body, selling all my other M43 gear, and moving to Fuji. Can anyone offer a compelling reason for why I shouldn't switch?

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