@ Sargs, re lens elements
There's a truthy grain in what you say:
"The reflection of light at each of the many interfaces between different optical media (air, glass, plastic) seriously degraded the contrast and color saturation of early lenses, zoom lenses in particular..."
"The introduction many years ago of optical coatings, and advances in coating technology over the years, have resulted in major improvements, and modern high-quality zoom lenses give images of quite acceptable contrast, although zoom lenses with many elements will transmit less light than lenses made with fewer elements (all other factors such as aperture, focal length, and coatings being equal)." [from Wikipedia]
So in a nutshell, simpler = better if circumstances permit, agreed, but in most situations the pros outweigh the cons.