Why Is the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens So Expensive?

The Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM is one of the company's best lenses, but of course, with that quality comes a hefty price tag. This fun video takes a look at the wide angle zoom lens and answers just what makes it so expensive. 

Coming to you from ZY Productions, this great video takes a look at the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens and why it's such an expensive piece of glass. The 16-35mm is part of the "holy trinity" of f/2.8 zooms, which many photographers (such as those shooting weddings) rely on to give them the versatility of a zoom lens and the relatively good light-gathering power of an f/2.8 lens, all combined with the best levels of sharpness, focusing speed and accuarcy, and durability available in a zoom. Whereas the second version of the lens had mixed reviews when it came to its levels of sharpness, particularly in the corners, the latest iteration has received mostly glowing evaluations. As you might imagine, all of this doesn't come cheaply, but for some photographers, having such a lens in their kit is a necessity. Check out the video above for more on the lens. 

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Xander Cesari's picture


[Cries in Sony]

$2,000 is not expensive for most photographer's and the new iPhone's cost $1,300 and I see poor people with those all the time. Now a days you can easily finance photography gear and when you consider the resale value, equipment really isn't very expensive at all and often cheaper than renting it over and over. Plus when you buy used off craigslist like I do, and can negotiate well like I can, sometimes you buy gear for less than what you can resell it for someday. I have made money on buying, using then reselling gear this way a few times over the years!

Xander Cesari's picture

That's how I've bought almost all of my Sony gear. I was just making the point that right now on B&H the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 is $300 cheaper than the Sony version. Though judging from the video title I guess the MSRP is the same? Or was at one point.

Also, your point about reselling does make me think that a lot of people with DSLR gear collections are going to be disappointed if they try to sell them in a few years and the demand has drastically decreased due to new mounts.

If this kid keeps up with the Youtube videos, he will soon be able to afford all of these lenses! You get $2 per 1,000 views before any sponsorships, etc. However I almost always disagree with the point of these videos as pro-level lenses have always been expensive and when you take into consideration inflation and income increases, you realize lenses really have not gone up at all. In fact once those caveats are taken into account some lenses are less expensive than they once were.

cameramanDop Shanghai Hong Kong's picture

For sure! The price of a product has not much to do if this product is the only one to give you the result you get paid for.
If it's too expensive for you, you are not charging enough! (or using the wrong tool for the assigned job)

It is not expensive, it is just not for you...

Justin Punio's picture

It will make its money back though

at least his english is good. kai's buddy lok has such a heavy accent, I cant understand half of what he says