Why that Canon lens costs $5,500
Canon offers an online tour of its lens manufacturing and assembly plant, letting everyone appreciate just why those high-end lenses are so pricey.
Newcomers to the digital SLR camera realm have no shortage of opportunities for sticker shock. Take, for example, Canon's , a 15-inch, 8.5-pound telephoto.
It costs about $5,500.
That's more than five times what I got when I sold my not-too-shabby car a while back.
But there's a reason that sticker is so high besides Canon's desire to transfer my salary to its coffers. Those suckers are expensive to make. Or at least that's the impression I got from watching an artful online propaganda video from Canon: the Virtual Lens Plant tour.
The lens consists of 17 optical elements, two of them ultra-low-dispersion glass and one of them a fluorite crystal to reduce chromatic aberrations. On the video, you can watch a pile go through any number of stamping, grinding, polishing, testing and hand-assembly steps to become the lens.
When I saw the technology that goes into the lens and its construction--and inferred some of the research money already spent--it did make the price seem not quite so astronomical. Of course, I'm not going to stop wishing I could get one for one-tenth the price.