Certainly the cost of a chef's knife can range from modest to astronomical. I've learned during my time in kitchens budget, preference, skill, edge retention, metal composition, and frankly ego plays into the selection of a good knife. With thinner blades, I find you have more control, flexibility, and depending upon lateral flex of the steel, one's skill may need to increase with regard to control and finesse. I was gifted a 7" Shun Santoku that required a good deal of love to bring it back to serviceability. After having the edge re-profiled, using a multi-step process on Japanese water stones and then 4 strop levels; I was able to bring the edge back to literally "hair-popping" sharp. I use it daily in my home kitchen and couldn't be more pleased.
As stated, in the end, preference of the user and task at hand really drive the type of blade selected. I look forward to scoring an Usuba (one sided traditional hand-forged Japanese blade: generally only for the right handed individual). I used a chef friend's Shun Usuba - she got so sharp I ended up getting cut with a very light tap of the blade against the bottom of thumb (NOT a smart move using a 170mm knife for paring something!): okay dumb move and what a joy to use the knife.
I cook mostly vegetable based dishes so for me Santoku and/or Nakiri style blades work really well as all around tools even when prepping meat dishes. Add to the mix a super sharp well designed paring knife and you're in good stead for just about all kitchen duties.