Why Are Fast Lenses More Expensive? (3 Reasons in 2021)

why are fast lenses more expensive

You might hear photographers talking about fast lenses. Now, what does that actually mean? A fast lens doesn’t mean the functional speed of the camera like autofocus speed or zooming speed then what does it concern and Why are Fast Lenses more Expensive? Yes! This is what we are going to talk about.

Why are Fast Lenses More Expensive?

Fast lenses are more expensive because their apertures are larger which gathers more light. Therefore, to focus on subjects in such a high exposure situation, they will need more glass and faster focusing motors with precise optics which makes these lenses expensive.

What is a Fast Lens?

A lens having a larger aperture or lower f-stop numbers is called a fast lens. The larger is the maximum aperture, the faster is the lens. A fast lens allows more light to enter through its larger aperture and hence capture more details and better low-light images.

When we talk about a lens, we generally describe it by focal length and its maximum aperture, for example, 50mm f/1.8 lens, 75mm f/2.8 lens, or 200mm f/2.0. The latter one is the aperture and it is referred to as f-stop or f-number. The smaller the f-stop value, the larger is the aperture and faster is the lens, and vice versa.

If you don’t know the aperture, it is the hole in the camera that allows light to enter the camera and hit the image sensor, after the shutter is clicked. So larger aperture will let more light in.

Why are Fast Lenses Expensive? (3 Reasons)

Some of the reasons why these fast lenses are so expensive are given below:

More High-Quality Glass Required

In a fast lens, the most noteworthy factor which costs the most is the mounting of physical glass inside the lens. The glass should be of high quality too as sharpness, chromatic aberration, and color saturation are directly dependent on it.

Apart from that, expensive lenses also give a premium look like metal vs plastic, smoother bokeh effect, USM autofocus, and OIS, etc. All of these premium features are not present on a cheap slower lens.

Faster Sensors or Motors are Required

In fast lenses, more light can enter through the aperture to take fast shots, and hence it is difficult for slower motors and sensors to work efficiently. Therefore, fast lenses have faster sensors and faster focusing motors which work efficiently in the given conditions.

Price Increase with Brand Name

Well, faster lenses have more high-quality glass, larger aperture, faster optical components, but that’s not all. Honestly, most of the increase in the price is because of the demand and brand names.

First of all, fast lenses have more demand and like every other accessory in the market, their price is also increased. Who would want a slower lens if a fast lens was available at the same price? No one right! Except for some professionals.

Secondly, these prices mostly depend on the brand. If you are looking for a lens in Nikon or Canon, you are going to find it two, three times more expensive than shopping from a comparatively smaller brand.

For example, if you are looking for a 700-200mm f/2.8, you will find the Sigma APO with the same specs for about $900 but with the same specs, the Nikon will sell the lens for $2200. Now, most of you will claim that Nikon is much better in one way or another, but is it so? (While comparing the price tags, are these differences worth that much?)

The Nikon or Canon just sells reputation which is enough for double the price. This is not something that fixes cameras and lenses. What if you are buying a smartphone? How much price difference would you find in Apple or Samsung compared to Xiaomi or Realmi? The same case is applied here too.

Why are fast lenses considered to be better?

Obviously, fast lenses are better because you are paying more. A fast lens not just only has a larger aperture but also has more to it. It has a more appealing design and more faster focusing motors along with high-quality mirrors which makes the lens efficient to direct the light into the image sensor.

Let Suppose, you have two lenses, and both have the same focal length but are different. Let’s say one has f/2.8 and the other has f/1.8. If you shoot a photo with both of them side by side, you will notice that the one having a larger aperture will capture the photo in 1/8 of a second, but the other one will take ¼ of a second.

Can you guess why one tool double the time to capture the same frame at the same time? Yeah, you got it! It’s because of the larger aperture that allows more light to enter and fall onto the image sensor and thus makes the process quicker.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is a Fast Lens Worth It?

Yes, a fast lens is better because it provides you more flexibility. With a faster, you can take more detailed and crisper lowlight photos and much smoother bokeh.

Do I Need a Fast Lens for Stars and Landscape Photography?

For landscapes, No, I don’t think so. For landscape or portraits, you don’t need a fast lens. A slower lens will just take a quarter of a second more than the fast lens, producing the same quality image. An f/4 works well for landscapes.

For stars milky way and moon photography, collectively called astrophotography, you do need a wider aperture and allow more light into the camera. It’s better to have an f/2.8 or wider aperture to shoot stars and the milky way.

Are more expensive lenses better?

Yes, expensive lenses are better, but Not necessarily. If you are paying more, you will get some benefits, better build quality, and some extra features, but the price is also dependent on the brand.

If you have two lenses having the same specs, one from Nikon and the other from Sigma, the Sigma lens is more often cheaper than half of the price of Nikon.

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Final Verdict

Now, I am ending my detailed post about the speed and cost of a fast lens. I hope, now you know why a fast lens is expensive. If you liked our post, share it with your friends and must go through the following trending posts.

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