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Distagon 60mm f35


Active Member
A while ago I posted a question about CF versus CB 60mm Distagon preferences, which was very well answered.

BUT, this is my dilemma: I have the opportunity to buy either a CB 60mm or a CF 60mm - but both are in exactly the same condition (mint) in every way; both are exactly the same price

So, what do memebers think is the optimal choice - the CF or the CB? Which do you think is likely to hold the better value over time?

Now, I know they are optically the same; I do not use a focal plane shutter body (and am unlikely to in the medium term, and the use of a CB on a focal plane shutter body is not insurmountable any way); I have a CFE 80mm and like the ergonomics very much; I have 5 other CF lenses and like their ergonomics a lot; If I prefer any model's ergonomics I suppose its the CFi/CFE due to the more prominent rubber control rings.

So, which would you shoot for?

Thanks for your thoughts and time.
in exactly the same condition (mint) in every way; both are exactly the same price>


Under those circumstances CF. You may find a focal plane camera someday.



As you are dreaming of a 203FE , go for the CF lens . Definately .
I have this lens , and i love it . And i have already used it on my 203FE .
Many thanks Gilbert and Jurgen.

It seems that the two real points of differentiation between the 2 lenses are: 1. focal plane shutter compatible; 2. interior enhanced coating. And, 2 out of 2 users feel the former difference overrides the latter.

So, that's what I'll do! Why else ask for advice! And the CF was always where my head was taking me, so it's nice to have that confirmation.

Many thanks for your trouble.

...oh and by the way. I was loaned a C version of the 60mm Distagon (in beautiful condition), which I thought would let me firm up my view of the AOV and other attributes of a 60mm - as it has. beautiful lens and so friendly to compose with on the run.

While I love the "DOF tweesers", the ergonomics of this lens are generally a "pig". Horrible pulling in that nasty EV coupling device; annoying that the shutter speed and aperture move around each other a bit; awful narrow focus ring so close to the body. Also it would then be my only non-Bay 60 filter mount.

I definitely could not live with a C version even at the far lower cost (and the glass on this one is truly like new)!
To confirm a confirmed decision : -) I'd go CF also.

A final thought is demonstrated by the fact that three dedicated Hasselblad users council you to go CF ... which means the resale value or ease of resale, is higher than the CB version. One should always keep that in mind, all other things being equal.
Reading your comments about the 60mm C T* version , i can only admit to what you say . I had that lens , and sold it exactly because of the reasons you mention . Now all my lenses have BAY60 and BAY70 . This makes life with hoods and filters much easier .
To make things exciting again, i'd go for the CB version.

The only reason not to, would be if you were planning to use the lens on a focal plane shutterHasselblad, and would mind the lack of instant return mirror.
The CB lenses, by the way, are compatible with focal plane shutters. Just like the C lenses are/were.

The CF is not "a better lens". Optically, it is the same. The mount, however, has been improved to make the CB lens.
That would make the CB the better lens, wouldn't it?
Thanks Jerry, Jurgen and Marc for your confirmation.

And of course thanks to QG for making life a bit more exciting.
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments - optically the same; improved mount and improved interior coating generally mean an improved lens. And yes, I understand that CB is focal plane shutter compatible but just that it's not totally 100% compatible / functional.

I see the CFE/CFi/CB lens mount benefits on my CFE 80mm. But, since I usually use CF lenses and they are 100% compatible / functional with focal plane shutter bodies (and one day I may get lucky enough to get a 203FE or the like) at the same price for same condition I might as well default to the CF. But if I was offered the CB at a lower (significant enough) price that may induce me to go that way.

Thanks to you all again for sharing your experiences.
Here is my take on this issue:

1. I am a Contax 645 user with a MAM-1 adapter
2. I am a digital back user (the anti-glare is essential here)

f(x) = 1 + 2 = CB

3. I am a Hasselblad user (the 200 series are quite affordable now so don't think you will not use it if you already have the film magazine and accessories already. The experience of using a 203 FE and a 205 FCC or TCC is a great one).
4. I am only using film and not digital back (though you can improve the glare with really careful shading method)

f(x) = 3 + 4 = CF

I do not worry about the resale value here since the market has drop to a point that the value is not likely to be able to drop any further especially given what kind of optics is out there in the medium format. If you look at these lens you are only paying for a fraction of what it costs folks like myself who bought them brand new back in the day. In fact I belief these lens will continue to rise as more digital back users come into the market. Just look around you and you see folks adapting Hasselblad Carl Zeiss lens to all kind of camera even the latest trend to Mamiya and the Aptus back.

Personally, I own 1 + 2 and therefore definite would pick the CB version.
Well I have had the CF 60mm Distagon for many weeks now and have run 3 or 4 rolls behind it. I remain convinced that this is one superb lens in every respect. It was well worth the long hunt and has quickly proven to be a distinctly different lens to my 50mm, to my eyes and in my hands.

The CARL ZEISS DISTAGON CF3,5/60 wil become my standard lens , when using the CFV digital back . This is due to the crop factor of 1.5 and i will take my first test shots with that lens , when the back has arrived . I was promised , it will be next week . I am very excited .
Well then Jurgen, we will be expecting some great results - especially since you will be using the superb 60mm's sweet spot exclusively on the CFV back!

Given Marc Williams' enormous enthusiasm for this back, you can always blame him should you have any difficulties with it!

I'm sure from what I have read elsewhere it is superb - excited you should be!
My apologies for what will be a rather convoluted post, but at present I have run into the same dilemma as Simon: choosing a CB 60 over a CF in roughly the same shape and price -- albeit, the CF is $50 US higher.

What muddies the waters for me is that I recently had a chance to check-out a KEH bargain rated CF and found it wanting: compared side-by-side against a CFI 50, the finder views the 60 provided were rather dull and comparatively soft. Mind you, the body on which the 60 was mounted had a PM5 prism, and the body on which the 50 was mounted had a PM45 (both bodies have Acute Matte D screens). My understanding is that both prisms are relatively equal performance-wise -- or are they?

What muddies the waters further is that the CF 60 I tried out was quite well-used -- to the degree that the edges of the synch shaft are rounded and somewhat scored. As such, the softness may have been the result of poor mating with the body; another possibility is that the lens elements may be misaligned. Corresponding supposition and a poor test lens aside, my understanding is that the 50 and 60 are equally sharp, the latter possibly more so -- is this true?

I actually like the angle of view provided by the 60 (it will complement my 100 quite well I think), and its smaller footprint makes it better suited as a walk-around lens than the 50. Is the CB longer or shorter than the CF?

I am leaning towards the CB, particularly since I have no foreseeable need to ever acquiring a 2XX body: apart from the 'F' capability, is there any other compelling reason(s) to choose a CF over the CB?

But first things first, is the 60 lens design equal or better than the 50 in respect of sharpness and/or contrast?
"is there any other compelling reason(s) to choose a CF over the CB?"


In fact, the CB has all (or was it most?) of the improvements that put the "i" in CFi.

Thanks for the quick response: that is what I figured and placed an order for the CB pending the return of the CF lens mentioned.

I am curious as to what the answers would be to any/all of the other questions that I asked -- in large part a matter of curiosity, but the answers may not prove of value to myself but to others as well.
Let's see...

The prisms are indeed relatively equal in performance, so they would not be to blame.

Both 50 mm FLE and 60 mm lenses are very, very close in performance, with the 50 mm FLE being a tiny bit better perhaps in the center, used wide open. Stop them down a bit, and the difference is gone.

That difference in performance between the lenses however is so small that you would not be able to see it in the viewfinder.

The CB and CF version of the 60 mm lens are equal in physical length too.
The 60 mm lens is shorther than the 50 mm lens.
Wayne. I found that I had to be very patient to get a good CF 60mm. I got lucky on eBay and got a literally unused one in the box and plastic wrapped still - not even a finger print on the barrel. It seems that CF 60mm are hard to get because of a mix of not as many made as other focal lengths and owners see them as "keepers". I watched KEH for 6 months and never saw a relatively "good" CF or CB 60mm.

But, I am delighted with it - to my eyes it is razor sharp and image quality wide open is excellent. I also have the CF 50mm FLE and cannot see any image quality difference - on trannies; in the viewfinder or in prints.

And like QG says the CB is every bit as good optically - no difference.

Good hunting.