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Whats the difference between a Makro 120 mm CFe and CFi?


New Member
Im after a macro lens for my Hasselblad 503CW. What is the difference between a Makro 120mm CFe and CFi?
Also, i have seen a Makro CF 120mm listed. How does this differ also?
Difference between C/CF/CFE/CFi

The first generation lenses for the 500 series Hasselblad cameras were called "C" lenses after the name of the shutter : Compur.

These lenses were superceded by CF lenses in 1982 and later for some focal lengths.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 you as user of a 500 series body there is no difference between a CFE or a CFi version of the 120 Makro Planar.
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 many buyers to choose CB lenses.
Production and supply of CB lenses stopped after a couple of years.
Here's a Mystery...

I've been doing some research and have come up with a mystery...

The lens area of Zeiss' site shows the CF and CFi 120 Makros as having identical, but significantly poorer MTF than the CFE version of this lens.

I double-checked the V area of Hasselblad's site, and they show the CFi as having the same MTF performance as Zeiss shows of the CFE. (I've attached a screen shot of Zeiss' CFi 120 MTF and Hasselblad's CFi 120 MTF.) As you can see, there's a bit of disagreement here...

All datasheets show exactly the same optical formula--I'd not have expected to see such a dramatic difference from simply improving internal flocking etc. In fact, I'm at a loss to explain any difference in the MTF's at all, let alone a discrepency for the same CFi lens (unless someone has simply posted the wrong graph).

Anyone have an idea?

(Zeiss' CFi 120 PDF was too large to attach, but you can see it here.)

Best regards,


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I have checked The CZ information on the CF and later CFi/CFE versions.

Large differences do not make sense as all versions concern the same design with the same glass.
All lenses have the same glass elements with the exception of the rare 120 CB lens.
That lens has a different front element.

The 120 Makro Planar shows nearly a full circle: from CF to CFi to CFE and back to CFi again.
CZ stopped production of versions with databus.
The 80 mm CFE was the last to see this happen and is now available as 80 mm CFi.
All lenses have the same glass elements with the exception of the rare 120 CB lens.
That lens has a different front element.

Can you please expain the differences between the glass elements of the 120CB and 120CFi/CFE?

I always thought they are exactly the same...

On I found that statement:

"The Makro-Planar CB 4/120 is optically the same as CF 4/120 or current CFi 4/120. However, in a shutter mount without the "F" mode, i.e for use on the focal plane shutter cameras of the 200 series. It has so far been available only in a few selected markets, and then usually as part of a package.

Regards Torbjorn Eriksson Customer Relations VHAB Sweden"

BTW: What does "rare" mean? Do you have any number at hand? How many of those were made?

Cheers, Zwicko
The volume of all CB lenses was quite low.
In fact many buyers did not go for the small reduction in price but ordered
CF(E/i) lenses instead.
The 120 CB was mostly sold in Asian markets.
I do not have exact information about the volume.
My estimate is less than 300 120 CB lenses were produced.
One of those 120 CB's is part of my collection.

I do not expect the front lens to be much different because the rest of the glass is the same.
Still CZ states a different partnumber for the front lens of a 120 CB.
polypal, thank you very much.

BTW: Where is my earlier post?

Cheers, Zwicko

No idea!
The post in this thread was not numbered other than post "0".
That is strange and only happens when a post is considered spam.
Of course your first post should be numbered "1".
Maybe write it again?
Not so strange!

New posters are not permitted to upload posts containing links.
This is done to prevent spam.
Most spam does not reach the forum but is manually removed by moderators and administrators.
Your first post contained a link and was therefore delayed.
Linking is allowed for links that contain information useful for other readers and posters.

Links to sites where images are the subject will be removed without prior notice.
Pictures can be uploaded instead.
This prevents the forum becoming "Swiss cheese" with nothing but holes in it.

Links to ebay auctions are also removed regardless whether they are in the classified section
or in the topic section of this forum.

Forum moderator.
Thank you for your clarification/explanation...
The link was the problem... Didn´t know that.
But I must admit it makes perfectly sense not to allow first time posters to post links.

Cheers, Zwicko