Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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Why is it that MMF-1 / MMF-2 adapters (the ones that convert from 4/3 to Micro 4/3) are that expensive?! They seem to be at least $140 on eBay, $250 on Amazon!

Is this a way for Olympus to force you into buying new Micro 4/3 lenses? Or are they technically complicated to build? Isn't is just a metal ring and a bunch of contacts?

Are there cheaper alternatives out there?

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This is not unique to MMF adapters. It seems like the electrical macro rings are as expensive as these. I can't find any good explanation to why it is so, considering the difference between $10 set of passive rings and $140 for electrical ones is, well, the electrical connections. – ysap Jul 3 '11 at 15:02
@ysap - I see. Why do you write a comment instead of an answer? :) – ibz Jul 3 '11 at 17:10
Well, maybe b/c it does not really answer the question why? – ysap Jul 3 '11 at 17:27
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's partly because they can be. Yes, it is a bit of precision machining with tight tolerances, it is multi-part and multi-material by nature, but it's also the poster child for niche markets. It requires buyers who have a substantial investment in Four Thirds lenses (and by "substantial" I don't mean a huge collection -- just enough to make purchasing new lenses distasteful) and a Micro Four Thirds camera.

It's telling that other "names" in the adapter field, like Adaptimax and Bower, don't offer a 4/3-μ4/3 adapter; that's sort of a giveaway about the size of the potential market, isn't it? Given that the tooling, quality control, packaging, marketing and distribution are all non-trivial, it's not just a matter of weighing the materials and adding a reasonable mark-up. It costs money just to put the things in inventory, and if the low-enders aren't bothering, there's probably a reason for it: they can't make the things at a profit.

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I think it is similar as with electronic extension tubes for example. Why such simple thing made from anodized aluminum tube is relatively cheap and almost the same tube with a few electronic is more then 5 times more expensive?

For example, some time ago I was looking for Canon Eos (do not have any Canon camera now) extension tubes, there were some for less then 1000 CZK (about 50 USD) without electronics, while those with AF support for 3000-5000 CZK.

This is a problem of supply/demand. There are not so much users asking for such adapter, so there are not so many manufacturers. Then also the price is bigger as the competition is very weak.

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