With the growth of uncooled infrared imaging in the consumer market, the balance between cost implications and performance criteria in the objective lens must be examined carefully. The increased availability of consumer-grade, long-wave infrared cameras is related to a decrease in military usage but it is also due to the decreasing costs of the cameras themselves. This has also driven up demand for low-cost, long-wave objectives that can resolve smaller pixels while maintaining high performance. Smaller pixels are traditionally associated with high cost objectives because of higher resolution requirements but, with careful consideration of all the requirements and proper selection of materials, costs can be moderated. This paper examines the cost/performance trade-off implications associated with optical and mechanical requirements of long-wave infrared objectives. Optical performance, f-number, field of view, distortion, focus range and thermal range all affect the cost of the objective. Because raw lens material cost is often the most expensive item in the construction, selection of the material as well as the shape of the lens while maintaining acceptable performance and cost targets were explored. As a result of these considerations, a low-cost, lightweight, well-performing objective was successfully designed, manufactured and tested.