Why Are Cameras So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Fletcher Crawford

Fletcher Crawford is a 20-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

If you have been interested in photography, one of the first things you would likely invest in is a camera. With a wide variety of camera brands available, you may have been looking at high-quality camera brands.

If you saw the prices of cameras, you might be wondering why cameras are so expensive. I did the research, and here is what I learned!

Why Are Cameras So Expensive?


1. The Brand Name

Firstly, one of the main reasons a camera is expensive is the brand since some camera brands are very pricy.

For instance, Mamiya Leaf and Hasselblad cameras are extremely expensive camera brands since their cameras can easily cost over $20,000.

However, these brands are also highly notable since they have rich histories, so people are willing to pay for the brand name.

Additionally, the brand often influences how much a buyer is willing to spend on an item since people are more willing to spend on branded items.

Therefore, expensive brands like Hasselblad and Mamiya Leaf can be priced so high since there is a market willing to pay for their cameras.

2. Sensor

Cameras can be very expensive when they have big sensors that produce better photos.

That said, this is because large camera sensors can capture more light and detail in photos while blurring the background.

However, creating a larger sensor in a camera is pricy since the manufacturer will require more materials to make a bigger sensor.

Also, there is a risk factor while making camera sensors since a minor defect in one pixel can ruin the whole sensor, so manufacturers have to factor in the costs of the risk.

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3. Cost Of Materials

Any camera that features high-quality materials will often be more expensive than other brands.

For example, Hasselblad cameras have a body made of aluminum and titanium, which are pricier than the materials used for cheaper cameras.

4. Labor Costs

A lot of labor is involved in making a camera, especially if the camera is handcrafted.

For example, some cameras mostly built in an automated assembly line are cheaper since they require less workforce.

Also, there are other costs of labor to consider when deciding on the price of a camera.

For instance, the camera company will have to hire people to source the materials, transport the cameras, etc.

5. Weatherproofing

Not all cameras can handle harsh weather since the cameras are not equipped to deal with heat, humidity, dampness, etc.

Therefore, any camera, such as a DSLR, that has been built to withstand weather changes by being weatherproofed tends to be more expensive.

This is because the camera would be equipped with stronger, sturdier materials that are more resistant to rust, corrosion, etc.

Also, most people who use weatherproofed cameras often use them for business, such as large media companies, making them more willing to pay for expensive cameras.

6. Technical Research

6. Technical Research

While most cameras have a basic design plan, all camera companies look for ways to improve their design to make customers want to buy the latest one.

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As such, camera companies must hire technical research teams to improve the current camera design and make new cameras.

Normally, the people hired to be on technical research teams have a lot of experience in the field, which the camera companies will have to compensate them for.

7. Auto-Focus

Cameras with auto-focus features are more expensive, especially since the camera will make it easier for the photographer to take a clearer photo.

Also, cameras with auto-focus are pricier because auto-focus is only achieved through adding more sensors to the camera.

Implementing more sensors into the cameras is costly, which is why you often find auto-focus features in expensive DSLR cameras.

8. Handcrafted

Certain cameras are handcrafted, which takes a lot more workforce and talent compared to cameras in an automated assembly line.

For instance, Leica cameras are expensive since they are made by hand, which gives the Leica camera high control standards that will last for many years.

Whenever a product is handmade, you are essentially paying for the employee that had to spend hours making it.

9. Complete Set

Not all the cameras you buy come as a ready set since some manufacturers may only sell certain parts of the camera.

For instance, some manufacturers will sell the camera’s body as is, which means you would have to buy the camera lens separately.

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Therefore, any camera that comes as a complete set will be more expensive since you will be buying all the camera parts as a bundle.

10. Low Production Volumes

Some camera brands choose to be exclusive, meaning they only produce a certain number of cameras a year, so they may also hike up the price.

For instance, Hasselblad only produces 10,000 cameras a year to ensure quality and manage the high labor costs.

However, since Hasselblad only produces a limited amount of cameras each year, Hasselblad can make its cameras more expensive since the cameras are in high demand.

11. Larger Sensors

Most cameras’ worth is dependent on the size of the sensors since sensors determine the quality of the photos.

Whenever a camera has a larger sensor, the photos will be much clearer, but larger sensors mean that the camera will also be more expensive.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Hasselblad cameras are so expensive, why disposable cameras are so expensive, and why iPads are so expensive.

Conclusion

Typically, the materials used to create a camera and the sensors’ size make a camera expensive.

Also, the camera brand and the labor costs to manufacture the camera will add to the total price.

Author

  • Fletcher Crawford is a 15-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

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