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Planar CB 80mm vs CFE 80mm experiences anyone



(My first posting on this forum!

Greetings everyone!

I have finally stepped into the Hasselblad world, having purchased a s/h 501CM/A645/Planar CB 80mm kit off Ebay. As excited as I am about having gotten my hands on a Hassy at last, I am aware that the Planar CB lens is a budget model, and reputedly somewhat inferior to its CFE counterpart. Now, I'm curious if there are any people on this forum who have any personal knowledge/experience on how the CB lens is holding up against the CFE? Is there a noticeable difference between the two? Or are we talking about a mostly academic difference?

Any input on this would be much appreciated!


Bergen, Norway
I don't have any personal experience with the CB lens, but what I know is that the CB lens is identical to the CFi lens except the shutter is an older version not made of the lighter alloy that the CFi/CFE uses.
The CB series of lenses was a limited series in which Zeiss eliminated some of the features that many photographers didn't use, in order to provide a slightly less expensive product. Most of the optical designs are the same, but not all. CB lenses do not have the "F" setting on the shutter speed dial. This means that when CB lenses are used on the focal plane shutter cameras that the shutter in the lens must be used. Also, CB lenses do not have the Nivarox mainspring that the CFi and CFE lenses boast. The Nivarox mainspring is supposed to have 3X the life of the previous designs (not an issue for most of us!). The CB lenses use the same mainspring that is used in the CF lenses. The CB lenses really never caught on because most photographers viewed it as a "budget" lens and opted for the CFi and CFE versions. Personally, I love my 80mm CB and prefer it to the CF version, which I also own. The CB has a locking sync cord recepticle and I just prefer the ergonomics of the CB. Optically, I believe they are the same -- at least I've never seen a difference. Enjoy your new Hasselblad! Your next purchase should be Ernst Wildi's excellent book "The Hasselblad Manual". It has answers for everything. I've been shooting with Hasselblads for a long time, but I never fail to learn something everytime I pick up his book. They are usually available on eBAy... I believe the 5th edition is the latest.
> If you look at the detailed information from ZEISS you will =20 > find , that the CB 2,8/80mm has 6 lenses and the CF 2,8/80mm has 7 lenses . If this fact has a great influence to the image quality , i =20 dont know .
The same Zeiss supplied MTF graphs for both lenses.
According to those, the CB is indeed the lesser of the two.
Simple really - optically there is NO difference. A couple of non-optical features were deleted to cut cost and enable an entry level / student lens as well as one for bundling discounted hardware packaging.

All of this info is readily available on Hasselblad's web site. Ditto what Eric said.

That's not right. Optically, they are different designs.
They differ, for instance, in the number of elements.
And as a result, in optical performance.

Now some people say the difference in performance is neglible. And that may be true (depends a lot on your standards too).
But optically different they are!
They are different designs. I had both lenses. However, the CB lenses do have some of the features of the later CFi and CFE lenses.

But in the scheme of things shooting with a so called budget Zeiss lens is step up from just about any top lens from someone else ; -)
Thanks QG - my apologies to Eirik - I stand corrected. I understood that the optics were not different just the "barrel" features differed with some features "cut down" and some features built into the CFi/E lenses.

I, myself never considered buying CB lenses as (from a longer term retained value standpoint) I have felt that owning mainstream CF/CFi/CFE lenses is a better choice.
...oops. Not starting out well today!! My last post should have read "Thanks Qnu...". Again, my apologies.
You know, Simonpg,

"Thanks QG" would actually be better than "Thanks Qnu".
"QG" are my initials, while "Qnu" is just a login name.

Not that i mind either way.
Well - I have to thank you all for the input on my posting here.
It does indeed seem that the CB carries with it a mixed bag of opinions. However, since it is my first Hasselblad lens, I choose to stay loyal to the point of disloyalty.
For all it's worth, my Hasselblad is my first camera purchase that has turned in to a love affair! Anyone here who's been in my shoes?

Cheers Marc. Do you think that was due to reliability, everlasting design appeal or just consistent performance?
Is your question referring to the cameras or the women Simon?

; -)

I'll assume it's a camera question. I've used Hasselblad cameras off-and-on for 30 years. I've always formed attachments to gear based on results not convenience. Reliability is a given.

I keep the gear (and keep adding to it) because any annual audit I do of my work reveals that many of the top shots were Hasselblad shots followed by Leica M shots ... even though a majority of the entire body of my work is done with other cameras & lenses. For ex&le, I also use a Contax 645 usually with a Kodak ProBack. I've never come to love that camera system like I do the Hasselblads. I keep the Contax because of the AF Zeiss lenses, 1/4000th shutter speed, and ability to use Hasselblad lenses on it via the MAM adapter. Now that digital back makers have produced a near 645 sized, 22 meg sensor, the Contax has been given a new lease on life and I've secured a second body to assure the future since Kyocera has abandoned the brand. But that's a logical business decision.

Frankly, I simply love the tactile feel of a Hasselblad. My own personal history of excellent results (annual audits) and that tactile feel inspires confidence. So, it's as much a subjective and emotional attachment as it is a logically defensible point of view... AKA, "Love Affair".
I'm with you on that Marc - the feel and function inspires confidence and never gets in the road of concentrating on the creative intent.

The tool provides a great feeling of comfort and confidence allowing the mind to focus on the subject at hand and creation of a desirable image.

Oh, but actually my question was about the women in your life!!
.... just kidding!
I`m surprised with the opinions on the CB lenses here.
I am no expert on them but it appeared to me they are more a wanted item and demand more dollars to buy, simply because they are less available,a good modern looking lens, with optics many BELIEVE to be up there with the CFE and CFI and superior to the CF.
If they were a cheaper lens why would a drool machine such as the 501 cm be released with these as standard rather than the CF lens on it?.
Besides...I just bought one!.
From what I have read (never used) in general one would have no concern about CB lens performances like you say.

But unlike your comments, there are some (few) differences to their "brothers" (except of course for the 160mm as it has no "brother") in some cases. The optical design of the 160mm is not a match for the optical design of the 150mm. The others use the same optical designs as their brothers. So one should look into the very specific optical and non optical differences where and if they exist to be sure you get what you hope to get or understand what you are not getting to be sure it matters not to you and your use of the lens.

But unlike the 160mm, the differences are generally in non optical features a user may not need anyway - see other threads here where the specific differences are discussed. Sure there is money to be saved in CB versions if they suit your purpose.

It was all the same a rather silly idea of Hasselblad to introduce a "budget" range with generally the same optical performance - it is just illogical for such a brand that attracts those seeking superlative quality. Hence the short lifespan of CB lenses.
The 80/2.CB is a fine optic, but limited functionality lens. If one will maintain use on the basic CM camera then it is a decent alternative.

But time marches on, and as many professional photographers expand their Hasselblad systems, the short-comings of the CB lenses becomes more apparent.

The 80/2.8 CFE is the 80 to own as it features the data bus contacts for use on 200 series focal plane cameras ... and communicates with the H1 and H2 cameras when mounted on a CFV adapter ... another impact of the digital age.