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aladyforty Dec 14, 2004 6:30 AM

I have noticed that camera lenses can have the exact same distance etc yet have totally different prices, for instance why would my 90-300 lens cost almost four times less than the


Canon EF 75-300mm f4.0-5.6 IS USMThey both go to 300mm and have the same F4 to 5.6 stats. I hate to sound really stupid but why such a big price difference?

Freefly Dec 14, 2004 7:49 AM

Quality!! Nothing more, nothing less. As with most things in life, there is usually a choice, one to suit each level of differing budget and requirements. With IS USM lenses, you are in effect paying for the technological research and development. These "Extras" may suit the needs of certain individuals over others, and for people just starting out with lower budgets, these are things that one can go without for the time being. The half a stop and extra 15mm on the shorter end counts for a lot too!

USM is good for nature or weddingphotographers, where stealth is of utmost importance. IS is good for photographers that need that extra stability where light is in short supply or unobtainable! For the "L" series of Canon lenses, you have all of this plus the absolute best quality in glass manufacturing, leading to a more rewarding image (If used well!). With photography, I am a stern believer of "you get what you pay for!". Although the best quality isnt always what is needed to get the most stunning of pictures. It just helps when you have sharpness right up to the edges of the frame. To be honest, depending on the person taking the pic, it isnt always possible to determine the difference between lenses unless you look long and hard!

At the weekend I took some interior shots at a party with my EOS 20d and 70-200 2.8 L IS USM at ISO 800 and no flash. The results were amazing and I am absolutley sure that under these circumstances, an inferior set-up would not have produced the same quality! The IS and extra stop on this lens, adds about 50% more to the cost!

Just my 2c worth! (Or 2p as I am English!).

aladyforty Dec 14, 2004 8:19 AM

Thanks for the reply, Im just amazed at some of the prices:!:Looks like my budget only allows for the cheaper lenses for now:-)

perdendosi Dec 14, 2004 8:39 AM

Indeed. As an uber-amateur who's trying to take good, interesting, pictures (and who doesn't have a budget to spend on $1000+ [USD] lenses) I have to agree about the prices. But I think you do get what you pay for. With my Digital Rebel package I got on eBay, I received a 70-200 2.8 USM L lens. At first I hated it -- big and bulky -- but after taking a few shots with it, I can really tell the difference between it and my 18-55 EF-S kit lens and the 100-300 Phoenix "extra value" lens that also came with the camera. I think, though, that the consensus here is to wait and save for the higher quality lenses rather than buy a large number of cheap lenses. I was going to sell my 70-200 L, but I think I've scrapped that idea. Even if I could get almost $1000 USD for the lens, whatever I'd replace it with would just be inferior--not be a sharp, fast, or consistent throughout the whole range of focal lengths and through the frame of each shot itself. So, I will wait, and save, for better lenses. ::sigh::

eric s Dec 14, 2004 9:17 AM

This question goes along with how people rate lenses on sharpness alone. There are so many aspects to a lens that it will amaze you. I've written about them here before, so I'll be quick.

Quality of the lenses, number of lens elements, the number of multi-coated lenses, how much (or hopefully less) lens flare there is, how much chromatic aboration you get, how much distortion there is (warping verticles), how well built it is, how well weather sealed it is.

How well it performs at what fstops. One of the things I got when I paid the big bucks and got the 600mm f4 was that it is really amazingly sharp at f4. Normally lenses start out ok, get better til around f8 and then get worse. This starts out good, gets better around f8 and then gets slightly worse. I need this because I need to shoot at f4 some times... and so some of that extreme cost gets me that.

There are two schools of though about lenses. If you don't have the lens, you won't get the picture so holding out for a "good" lens means you miss pictures. The point is to get out, take pictures, and have fun! On the other hand, if you are as picky as I am... then taking slightly blurry pictures because you don't have the fstop you need or they turn out not as sharp as you want because the lens isn't as good... then the lens is actually working against your enjoyment.

So I view it as a personal choice that fits you. For me, I'm a perfectionist. So buying cheap lenses would drive me batty, so I don't do it. On the other hand, this means that I don't buy many lenses... that I have to really justify the lens before I buy it. I want the Canon 180 Macro, but its around $1,200. I can't justify that right now, so I haven't purchased it. I probably will eventually, but not yet.

Does that make sense?


aladyforty Dec 14, 2004 4:01 PM

makes sense to me, Im just trying to get together some lenses so I have a variety to play with up until the day I can afford some better ones. I guess having a DSLR means you really have to try and get some different lenses or you may as well have stuck with a pro-sumer camera.

eric s Dec 14, 2004 6:20 PM

Sigma makes some good lenses that are cheaper than Canon (they also make duds.) They might still be more expensive than you want, but you could try that route.

Depending on what you photograph, you don't always need things like USM/HMS... while faster AF is nice, it isn't always required. That would save you some money.


Drew Dec 18, 2004 9:27 AM

the used lens market has oppertunities to save money and still get better glass, as opposed to buying new. this is an option i enjoy with my Nikon F4 as it can use pretty much any nikon F mount lens ever made. up to and including the very latest offerings. As with anything used you need to do a little research and often can find reviews online of specific lenses that have been popular or filled a specific nich`. this is a route id use with new lenses also. as there are likely to be reviews out in print and internet on anything new from the major lens makers. theres one last thing to consider,. its "whats in a name?" brand name lenses will add more value to your camera outfit on resale. that being said. i think most brand name lenses/ like nikon or canon. will have better construction and better photographic results, than the more inexpensive versions made by sigma,tokina,vivitar, and all others not mentioned. But there are quite a few of these off brand lenses that are quite good and some even better than the host brand lens. many offer "PRO" level lenses as do the host brands. and some are bargains and some are duds, :roll: all are almost always findable on the web, reviews from at least a couple sources should be considered, as so much in photagraphy is subjective. and theres alot of brand preferance out there, even in the photo mag reviews.

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