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

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
BeaverTerror
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Why is the 42.5 F/1.2 $1600 when the Fuji 56mm F/1.2 is only $1000?
6 months ago

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?

Martin.au
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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, 6 months ago

Why is the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS $2700, but the 70-200 f2.8 only $1650? Shouldn't the IS basically be free?

I expect it's simply a case of getting what you pay for.

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lighthunter80
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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, 6 months ago

Ask Panasonic and not us. Just don't buy it.

I'd rather buy the 56/1.2 but have no body to mount it on unfortunately.

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BeaverTerror
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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 Martin.au, 6 months ago

Martin.au wrote:

Why is the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS $2700, but the 70-200 f2.8 only $1650? Shouldn't the IS basically be free?

I expect it's simply a case of getting what you pay for.

The better question is: why is this lens $150 more expensive than the Canon 70-200 f2.8, which is a 3lb lens with 18 elements in 15 groups, covering a full frame image area. You're suggesting that this is justified by the inclusion of IS? The Panasonic 14-42 F/3.5-5.6 has image stabilization, and it sells for $169.

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lighthunter80
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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 Martin.au, 6 months ago

Martin.au wrote:

Why is the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS $2700, but the 70-200 f2.8 only $1650? Shouldn't the IS basically be free?

They are two different lenses and years of development between both if you refer to the latest 2.8 IS II version versus the old non-IS version which is perhaps since the 1990s on the market.

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Jim Salvas
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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, 6 months ago

You have a lot if words in your post, but I don't see the one which most explains the price: "Leica."

It costs more to have that name on anything.

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Jim Salvas

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BeaverTerror
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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, 6 months ago

I've made an Excel spreadsheet comparing similar Fuji and M43 lenses. This isn't a comprehensive list of lenses available, just the lenses I am interested in. I have included the full frame equivalent focal length and apertures. I don't want to get into an argument about aperture equivalencies in depth of field or exposure. I understand that F/1.2 is F/1.2 no matter what sensor size you're using. Nevertheless, at the same aperture, the total amount of light hitting a M43 sensor is less than that hitting an APS-C sensor, due to the smaller area of the sensor. The aperture values indicate the total amount of light hitting the sensor, taking into account the differing sensor sizes, and give an idea of the type of noise performance that can be expected from that sensor/lense combination.

We can see that the Fuji is more expensive at the wide zoom and 35mm equivalent lengths. M43 is more expensive at the 85mm equivalent length. The 50 and tele zoom prices are similar. The tele zooms are not really a perfect comparison because they are of very different equivalent focal lengths. They represent the current available offerings from each system. They are the same price. Fuji will ever replace M43 in the telephoto length for me. Removing the tele zoom from consideration, we can see that for $100 less in the total cost of the body plus four lenses, the Fuji delivers equal or faster apertures with a larger sensor, but with no image stabilization except in the wide zoom where it is not really needed. Fuji's larger format sensor means you can shoot it at a higher ISO and faster shutter speed, but this difference isn't enough to catch up to Olympus' 3 stop IS.

It really comes down to how much the user's application includes hand held low light shooting. If you're a daylight outdoor photographer like myself (mountaineering), you'll be reaching for a ND filter anyway.

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JOrmsby
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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, 6 months ago

I couldn't agree more.

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Martin.au
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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 lighthunter80, 6 months ago

lighthunter80 wrote:

Martin.au wrote:

Why is the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS $2700, but the 70-200 f2.8 only $1650? Shouldn't the IS basically be free?

They are two different lenses and years of development between both if you refer to the latest 2.8 IS II version versus the old non-IS version which is perhaps since the 1990s on the market.

Ok, 70-200 f4 IS $1500, 70-200 f4 $900.

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Martin.au
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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, 6 months ago

So go buy the Fuji.

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Robiro
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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, 6 months ago

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?

So I guess you will have to buy the Oly 45mm f1.8 instead...

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Great Bustard
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Presumably...
In reply to BeaverTerror, 6 months ago

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?

...because some one, or a team of people, working at Panasonic and Fuji felt that their asking prices would maximize profit.  Why they chose different prices could be for any number of reasons based on any number of considerations.

Ideally, we would like to think that the Panasonic 42.5 / 1.2 is a significantly superior lens to the Fuji 56 / 1.2, and that's why it costs more.  On the other hand, perhaps Fuji is selling their lens even at a loss to try to draw more people into their system.

The bottom line is that we don't, and won't, know.

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Pic Man
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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, 6 months ago

Fuji offer amazing lenses and there system is starting to fill out nicely. For me who is really only only interested in ultra to wide to 90mm (ff equivalent) they offer the lenses that I'd want. Perhaps if I was starting now I might go for that system. They don't really offer cheaper alternatives. I have a 14mm f2.5 and oly 45mm f1.8 which is a nice small cheapish combo that I couldn't get with fuji.

Pick your poison and I chose mine a while ago before fuji had much in the way of choice. I thought about changing but in the end it's a hobby and cost is important. Having said that I actually really like what I have so I'm fine with the choice I've made.

I agree about the panasonic 42.5 being too expensive, if it was the same price as the fuji I would buy it.

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Cafe Racer
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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, 6 months ago

The LEICA branding is likely to be the main reason it costs more. There's a strong possibility that it will hold it's value more than the Fuji in the long term because of the Leica badge, but I do agree it's expensive.

I recently done a 'PRIME LENS BATTLE' on my blog comparing prices of lenses from 5 mirrorless camera brands across 3 focal lengths; 35mm, 50mm and 85-90mm equiv. FUJI came out the MOST EXPENSIVE, Samsung the cheapest.

http://mrfindlayphoto.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/mirrorless-camera-prime-lens-battle.html

If you're thinking about moving to Fuji it's worth looking at the total cost of the switch to see if it does in fact work out cheaper. That's assuming you're going to buy more than a body and 1 lens.

I would imagine it would cost you more than the $400 lens price difference to switch your whole system, but you may have already convinced yourself that you MUST HAVE that very tempting new Fuji camera and lens!!

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Moti
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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 Jim Salvas, 6 months ago

Jim Salvas wrote:

You have a lot if words in your post, but I don't see the one which most explains the price: "Leica."

It costs more to have that name on anything.

Indeed, but it is irrelevant in this case. Oly is not Leica and not much of their products price has anything to do with the brand compared to Fuji.

Moti

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lighthunter80
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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 Martin.au, 6 months ago

Martin.au wrote:

lighthunter80 wrote:

Martin.au wrote:

Why is the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS $2700, but the 70-200 f2.8 only $1650? Shouldn't the IS basically be free?

They are two different lenses and years of development between both if you refer to the latest 2.8 IS II version versus the old non-IS version which is perhaps since the 1990s on the market.

Ok, 70-200 f4 IS $1500, 70-200 f4 $900.

Again, these are two different constructions and not simple the same lens with and without IS. I am not saying there is no mark up in price for IS at all but it is far less than you think it might be.

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ironcam
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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 lighthunter80, 6 months ago

lighthunter80 wrote:

Martin.au wrote:

lighthunter80 wrote:

Martin.au wrote:

Why is the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS $2700, but the 70-200 f2.8 only $1650? Shouldn't the IS basically be free?

They are two different lenses and years of development between both if you refer to the latest 2.8 IS II version versus the old non-IS version which is perhaps since the 1990s on the market.

Ok, 70-200 f4 IS $1500, 70-200 f4 $900.

Again, these are two different constructions and not simple the same lens with and without IS. I am not saying there is no mark up in price for IS at all but it is far less than you think it might be.

Can you give technical reasons why you think implementing IS in a lense this class is far cheaper than we think?

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Ulric
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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 lighthunter80, 6 months ago

lighthunter80 wrote:

Martin.au wrote:

lighthunter80 wrote:

Martin.au wrote:

Why is the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS $2700, but the 70-200 f2.8 only $1650? Shouldn't the IS basically be free?

They are two different lenses and years of development between both if you refer to the latest 2.8 IS II version versus the old non-IS version which is perhaps since the 1990s on the market.

Ok, 70-200 f4 IS $1500, 70-200 f4 $900.

Again, these are two different constructions and not simple the same lens with and without IS. I am not saying there is no mark up in price for IS at all but it is far less than you think it might be.

Well, the Panasonic and Fujifilm lenses are also different constructions, so Martin's question still stands.

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exdeejjjaaaa
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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, 6 months ago

BeaverTerror wrote:

I'm a bicycle tourist and mountaineer. I dumped my Nikon gear for M43 because weight is an important consideration for my uses.

I looked forward to having a large aperture portrait lens for taking top-down photos of climbers from above.

dude, you just have GAS - you can perfectly take top down photos of your fellow climbers w/ the light 45/1.8 and save some weight for other things... but if your GAS is so itching then just get Fuji and quit whining.

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CharlesB58
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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, 6 months ago

Lenses are not priced by size or weight or stats: they are priced based on various factors.

Number one on that list for the Panasonic is that it was designed in conjunction with Leica. That alone accounts for at least 10% to 20% of a price increase for Panasonic 4/3 and m4/3 lenses.

Why?

Because in all likelihood, the design and build of the lens is such that it will be sharp across the frame, even wide open. Leica designs are like that. I doubt the Fuji design will match the overall performance of the Panasonic. That remains to be seen based on testing of course.

Second is the OIS-yes, that can add to the cost of a lens, and the price can go up per lens according to the design. The OIS in a kit lens may be a basic unit, while that in a lens such as the 42.5 f1.2 may be a much higher quality. (Besides, comparing lenses to kit lenses for pricing is a flawed comparison, as the kit lens is just that-part of a kit that is meant to make a minimal profit on the lens).

Third, quality of construction (materials, tolerances) and resultant durability and performance. Why did my ZD 14-54 Mk1 cost as much as the combined price of both lenses for my E520 kit? In part because it is weather sealed, much more durable construction and more refined in how it handles. Metal mount, beefier construction overall, the zoom ring is much smoother than on the kit lenses. A variety of things that many people don't always appreciate.

Years ago I wondered why a "simple rangefinder" like the Leica M3 could cost so much more than my Nikon F2AS flagship model. The difference in capabilities of the two cameras was pronounced. Then I tried out a M3 and could see why: smoothness of operation and an impression that the camera would be operating flawlessly 100 years from now. That consideration in light of the fact that the F2AS was an outstanding camera, making something like the Canon AE1 look like a junky toy when it came to feel and smoothness of operation.

Even something as simple as using 4 screws and a metal retaining ring for a lens element vs 3 screws and a plastic ring adds up in the price of a lens. I've seen two lenses of identical focal length and aperture, but quite different prices,  opened up by a tech. The cheap lens virtually fell apart once he slid the inner assembly out of the lens barrel: it was pretty much just held together by the fiction of the retaining rings. The more expensive lens was held together by a series of bushings and screws, ensuring that things such as temperature changes and the shock of impact, or even focusing,  would not cause elements to be knocked out of alignment.

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