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Sony is one of the most popular camera brands, thanks to its high-quality full-frame and mirrorless cameras. Even if the Sony camera bodies work better when paired with the equivalently high-quality Sony lenses, these lenses tend to be more expensive than other brands. So, why are Sony lenses so expensive?
Why Are Sony Lenses So Expensive?
The main reason Sony lenses are so expensive is the investment Sony, in partnership with Zeiss, makes in researching and developing complex and sophisticated lenses. The precision in manufacturing and the high-quality raw materials used in development also increases the price. As a result, Sony lenses can perform better than other brands’ lenses of the same specs.
Keeping in mind that Sony camera bodies are also expensive, Sony believes anyone willing to spend on such a camera body must be willing to spend on a high-end lens. Although the prices of Sony lenses also vary with the lens’s specs, the main factors that contribute to their high prices include:
Sophisticated Optical Design
Keeping in mind that the work of a camera lens is to manipulate and focus the light getting through it before it reaches the camera sensor, there is more to the design than the general specs of aperture and focal length.
For instance, most of these lenses are of professional quality with sophisticated optical elements and formulas that help to reduce chromatic aberration and distortions in a wide range of lighting and shooting conditions. Usually, this complex design makes these lenses more expensive than lenses of the same specs.
High-Quality Coating Elements
One of the most challenging issues when shooting interior photos with nonuniform lighting, like when the windows are open, is flare and ghosting. It can also be challenging to shoot glass and reflective subjects due to the surface reflections.
Usually, different lenses feature different coating elements that help reduce flare and ghosting when shooting reflective subjects or in backlit situations. Some of the commonly used elements include low-dispersion and aspherical elements.
In contrast, most Sony lenses feature more advanced elements such as extra-low dispersion and fluorite elements to improve contrast, image sharpness, and reduce internal reflection. However, these elements cost more than the standard ones, making these lenses more expensive.
Fast and Accurate Autofocus Performance
Unlike the manual focus, where you will need to turn and adjust the focus ring to focus on the main subject, the lens’s autofocus is an advanced technology that helps the lens to detect the main subject and automatically focus on it.
However, different lens brands use different autofocus technology, and their performance varies. For instance, the Nikon uses the Silent Wave motor to achieve fast and near-silent autofocus. In contrast, the Canon uses the Ultrasonic Motor or the Stepper Motor technology for its autofocus systems.
On the other hand, Sony uses the Fast Hybrid Autofocus system, which is a more advanced autofocus mechanism. This system is smart and fast enough to track a moving subject, making these lenses ideal for sports and wildlife photography. However, this system increases the price of these lenses.
Besides the lens’s optical design, the physical build quality varies across brands and models. For instance, some lenses feature a plastic construction while others feature an all-metal construction. Some of the build quality attributes that make Sony lenses expensive include:
- Weather sealing: Weather sealing means the lens is proof of dust and moisture, allowing you to use it in trying conditions. Most of these lenses are weather sealed and can work in dusty conditions and extreme humidity.
- Weight: Although the weight of a lens primarily depends on its construction materials, the complex design makes these lenses heavier than other lenses of the same construction materials. Usually, this makes the lens more stable when using a tripod setup. However, this can be a downside if shooting handheld for an extended time.
- Sturdy design: Usually, the sturdiness of the lens depends on the construction materials. Most of these lenses are sturdy enough to withstand occasional bumps and accidental falls.
Do Sony Lenses Undergo Quality Assurance Checks?
Yes, these lenses are tested by Zeiss and undergo quality assurance checks. Usually, the lens needs to meet different quality thresholds, depending on whether they are consumer or professional variants.
Are All Sony Lenses Expensive?
Not all of these lenses can be considered expensive. Usually, the lens price varies with the lens focal length, optical design, and the maximum wide aperture. That means some of these lenses are cheaper than other brands depending on the specs. For instance, a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens can be more expensive than a Sony 50mm f/5.6.
Although Sony lenses are generally expensive, they offer value for money due to their high-quality optical design and physical construction. Most of these lenses are also compact and lightweight. However, the lens price still varies depending on the lens’s specs.