Opinion: 80mm CF v CFi v CFE comparison

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by leica ron, May 18, 2006.

  1. Out of the three latest 'C' type Hasselblad V-series lenses, are
    there any good optical reasons why a CF can't perform as well as a
    CFi or a CFE ?

    I suppose that I'm asking 'is the price difference between a CF and a
    CFi/CFE worth it ?'

    Thanks for your opinions !

  2. Ron,<br><br>What CFi 80 mm lens? ;-)<br><br>The short answer is "no", as far as optical performance is concerned.<br>The CFE lens has seen some changes in several things, and it really is up to you to put a value on those.
  3. I use the latest 80mm CFE as well as a silver bodied T* 80mm C.

    I can't see any difference between them in terms of actual results, however the C is prettier where as the CFE has smoother focusing! I don't think you'll be missing out on anything with a CF.
  4. Any difference betwteen the two wold be a function of the film back and/or the body alignment. Optically they are the same.

    Heck, I can't see any difference bewteen my 1959 6 element 80mm Planar and my 7 element 80mm T* F Planar in 11x11 prints.
  5. I'm with Anthony: for app. $350, you can get a clean 80mm C T* Planar which will take as sharp a photo as you are capable of creating!!
  6. Thanks for the responses guys,

    The reason I'm asking is because I'm thinking of getting another 80mm, I already have a CF.

    My girlfriend has started to do family portraits and when she needs MF I've said she can use my 500c/m, but not my 501c/m ;-)

    So either I buy myself a newer 80mm like a CFE (used of course) and let her use the CF or I buy her a C T* and keep the CF with the 501c/m.

  7. You're going to let your girlfriend use your 'blad? Must be serious!
  8. Do not get a CT lens, they are too difficult to focus. The CF is easier, and the CFE even more, they changed the focusing barrel.
  9. Hello Ron,
    If your budget will allow, there are a number of reasons why a CFi or CFE would be a better choice.

    1) CFi & CFE lenses have many improvements which are genuinely worthwhile,
    a) they benifit from a newly designed mainspring which is made from "Nivarox" and is expected to remain reliable three times longer than the springs used in "C" and "CF" lenses.
    b) Focusing is extremely smooth and fast thanks to a newly designed " low friction" ring, I have used all versions and CFi/CFE lenses are simply miles ahead in terms of ease of focusing and speed.
    c) the flash connector has been redesigned with a cable locking device which I have found virtually impossible to unintentionally remove the sync cable from.
    d) the interior behind the lens elements has been opened up and given better coatings to greatly reduce light reflections on the interior surface.
    e) the rear lens mount has been made from a single piece of specially treated metal so as to make it more durable and able to withstand the heaviest of use.
    f) The lens scale has been made easier to read, through the use of more distinctive letters and numbers.

    2) CFE lenses are equipped with "data bus" connections - which are gold plated electronic connections for use with the built in metering systems of the 200 series cameras, thus allowing "open aperture metering" with these cameras, a "C" or "CF" lens would require the use of "stopped down metering". These electronic connections are of course only useful with 200 series cameras but all of the other improvements apply to 500 series cameras as well.

    At the end of the day, it comes down to what you can afford, but in my opinion a CFi or CFE lens would make a better long term purchase as both have many improvements over the earlier designs and should perform reliably for longer, require less servicing ( saving ᆪ / $ ) and be repairable for a long time to come.

    Here in the UK, a secondhand mint CFE lens sells for about ᆪ150 - ᆪ200 ( ᆪ1 = $1.85 ) more than a similar condition CF lens, well worth the extra money for the improvements on offer.

    Another option and one for serious consideration if you have a 500 series body is a "CB" lens, these are identical to CFi lenses except they do not have an "F" setting as they were designed to be used with 500 series cameras. The current secondhand price of a "CB" lens in the UK is about the same as a similar condition "CF" lens ( now we're talking ! ) around ᆪ350 - ᆪ400 for a mint example. If you can get a mint "CB" lens for "CF" money then go for it, it will be well worth it.
  10. Hi again Ron ( and everyone else ),
    I'm using a UK keyboard so the "pound sterling" symbol is appearing as a ? on the site. Where you see a ? in my response it is meant to be "pound sterling".

    Kind regards Simon
  11. Simon, just to be clear on the pluses and minuses, the 80mm CB lens is not optically the
    same as the other contemporary 80 planars mentioned and might be considered inferior
    optically to those. Same with the 150mm CB. It's the 60mm CB which is choice in this
  12. Just for clarity's sake, Tariq meant the "160 mm" CB lens, not "150 mm".<br>;-)
  13. Thanks, I did mean the 160 CB.
  14. Tariq,
    You are correct in stating that a "CB" lens is different optically to a "CF" lens, the "CB" lens has 6 elements and the "CF" has 7. However having used both I personally cannot see any real difference in resulting prints, the "CB" lens series was brought out to make it attractive to photographers entering the Hasselblad system for the first time, they provide the photographer with "Carl Zeiss" quality at a "favourable price level". The range may be cheaper but Zeiss will not cut corners in terms of optical quality, their reputation is built on the quality of their product and the "CB" range is no exception, as in the words of Mr Ernst Wildi..."they produce an image sharpness that is completely up to Hasselblad standards". As I own a 203FE I bought a CFE lens because the databus connections are very useful to me, if I owned a 500 series body and was on a budget then I would be more than happy with a "CB" lens for the results are still superb, it is much faster to focus than a "CF" lens, has the same F2.8 aperture and 0.9m close focus as a "CF" and has most of the improvements that the CFi/CFE lenses have. In the end it comes down to personal choice and budget, we have a saying in the UK that is..." you pay your money - you take your choice", if budget is not a problem then I would advise "CFi/CFE", if it is and Ron can obtain a "CB" for similar money to a "CF" then my personal opinion would be "CB" every time, if on the other hand "CF" lenses in the U.S. are considerably cheaper than "CB" lenses ( in the UK they are about the same ) then buy a "CF" as it is still a great lens. I hope this helps you Ron, kind regards Simon.
  15. Simon,<br><br>The sad thing about the CB-episode was that Zeiss did indeed (at the bequest of Hasselblad) cut corners in terms of optical quality.<br>It was a deplorable marketing strategy (that failed miserably), trying to make the reputation of both Hasselblad and Zeiss ("the potential on the trade mark") work to make money selling lesser items.<br>Part of the strategy was to let people know they would indeed not get the same high quality (but, hey, it was cheaper, wasn't it? And you got to use Zeiss and Hasselblad, so what is there not to want?), so once people had 'bought into' the system, they would still want to get the better stuff (i.e. spend more money again) later.<br>So Zeiss made sure we knew the CB lenses were not quite it (the other, regular Zeiss lenses, so they said, were too good...), and that we knew it was not their but Hasselblad's idea (which it indeed was. That is: the idea of the then owners, a group of investment bankers with no interest in photography and the high quality tools photographers like to use). Zeiss even said they had adviced against the CB line of lenses (but they made and marketed them anyhow...).
  16. I have both the CB and CF versions of the 80mm Planar and cannot see the difference between them looking at 16MP digital images at 100%. If there is optical inferiority with the CB, I can't see it.
  17. Larry, keep in mind you are only using the central part of the lens if our using a digital
    back. From what others have said, the slight differences in quality show up towards the
    edges of a 6x6 frame which would account for your expereince.

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