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Difference between C/CF/CFE/CFi


Active Member
The first generation lenses for the 500 series Hasselblad cameras were called "C" lenses after the name of the shutter : Compur.
The first C lenses were produced in 1956 a year before the 500C camera became available.
Starting in 1971 C lenses received an improved 6 layer coating called T*
All lenses are subcequently T* coated except superachromat versions.

C lenses were superceded by CF lenses in 1982 and later for some focal lengths.
The shutter was replaced by a Prontor one.
The F indicates these lenses can also be used with 200 series bodies that have a focal plane shutter.
To accomodate full functions of these cameras the Prontor shutter is not used when the lens is set to "F"
The lens stays open to allow viewing of the subject immediately after the picture is taken.
Winding the camera is not necessary. This is similar to any 35 mm SLR camera.

The CF series was improved in 1998.
Improved lenses were known as CFi models.
Improvements were: better anti reflection coating, different helicoid, better PC for flash or digital back and a new type mainspring to improve already very good reliability.

Some improved lenses also received data bus contacts for cameras of the 200 series that have built in light metering systems.
These lenses were known as CFE models.
Of course CFE lenses also function on 500 series bodies without the light measuring system.
Technically for 500 series bodies CFE and CFi lenses are the same.

To complicate matters some lenses are available now used as CF, CFE and CFi versions.

The 80 mm started life as a CF lens changed in 1998 into a CFE model and is now available as CFi lens.
Similar things happened to the 120 Makro Planar lens:
The lens started as CF changed over to CFi became a CFE and is now again available as CFi lens.
All CFE versions were dropped because the 200 series cameras were phased out in 2004.

For a user of a 500 series body there is no difference between a CFE or a CFi version.
Keep in mind the CF version is older and does not have the later improvements.
Still the CF is a very good lens.
The helicoid of the later lenses is ergonomically better although not everybody agrees on this.

Carl Zeiss also made an economy version of certain lenses.
These lenses are called CB and were available in four different focal lenghts: 60/80/120/160 mm.
Economy version as in 1700 euro against 1950 euro for the 80 mm lens.
Not a big difference and certainly not big enough to persuade buyers to buy CB lenses.
Production and supply of CB lenses stopped after a couple of years.

source: hasselbladinfo forum