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Thread: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

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    Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hi all,

    Thanks to an offer I couldn't refuse I've owned a 50c digital back for a few weeks now, and overall am very happy with it!

    This substantial upgrade did however poke a big fat finger at my inadequate lens collection. I vividly remember when I got the CFV-II (the 16MP back) about 6 years ago, I was absolutely astounded at how crisp and rich in contrast and sharp the images looked. That was of course due to the near perfect matching of the pixel size (12 microns from memory) with the optical system. My fear when upgrading now to the 50c back was that the 5 micron size pixels would be recording at a far too high resolution. It turns out that for some of my lenses this is true, but for others, it isn't.

    So I've started weeding out the bad and upgrading the essential. In summary, the CFi 30mm and CFi 180mm provide excellent image sharpness and crispness with this back, almost as good as that first back did. I further own the CFi 120mm (mediocre), CF 80mm (bad), CF 50mm (so so), the way old Synchro-Compur 250mm (not as bad as I feared) and the 500mm Apo-Tessar (surprisingly quite good!).

    But out of all of those lenses, the 50mm is really the one I use the most so am wondering whether I'd get better images by upgrading to the CFi. Has anyone done a comparison of the 50mm CF vs CFi? The Zeiss documentation seems to indicate that their MTFs are identical. Is that true?

    Cheers

    - Balt

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hi Balt

    I just checked the MTF for myself, and found some major changes in design. Just take a look at the 40 periods line. They got a pretty equal shape, but the 50 cfi curves are much "higher".
    I own the 50 cfi and prove that the lens performs quite good on a digital back with smaller pixels.
    But one real good choice on the wide end is the 40 mm CFE IF. This lens got a crazy high resolution. Even while used on an mft camera like the Lumix GH2.

    Regards,
    Pascal

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hasselblad say : "CFi and CFE lenses feature a list of improvements on the basic CF lenses that together produce an increase in image quality, reliability and convenience in operation. They include:"

    * new internal design and new anti-reflection materials reducing stray light and enhancing the image contrast
    * improved design and a new main spring extending life expectancy and increasing precision
    * PC-socket with positive lock
    * redesigned focusing mechanism
    * reinforced rear bayonet
    * front bayonet in durable non-metallic material
    * new external design for comfort and style

    They do not mention any optical changes that would account for mtf differences. Are you looking at CF non FLE versus CFi FLE MTFs ?

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Pascal, I'm confused. The two MTFs I'm comparing are downloaded from the hasselbladhistorical.eu site, one is the CF and one the CFi lens. The two MTFs for all line pairs are identical. They also don't mention any changes in the updated features list, like Chris states.

    Can you show me which MTF curves you're looking at?

    Cheers

    - Balt

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    The 50/4 Distagon was introduced somewhen in the 60s if I´m correct. First as a so called "chrome" lens, then with black barrel and T* from the early 70s on. Like all Hasselblad 500 lenses, the optics were fitted into the CF-barrel from 1982 on. In 1990 the optical design changed and a floating element was added. The lens was build like this until the late 90s, when the barrel changed to CFi without any optical changes. So you have 50/4 CF 1982-1990, CF FLE 1990-1998, CFi FLE from 1998 onwards. The great change was in 1990, CFi design brought only marginal improvements, notably stray light suppression, but no optical changes.

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by bindermuehle View Post
    Pascal, I'm confused. The two MTFs I'm comparing are downloaded from the hasselbladhistorical.eu site, one is the CF and one the CFi lens. The two MTFs for all line pairs are identical. They also don't mention any changes in the updated features list, like Chris states.

    Can you show me which MTF curves you're looking at?

    Cheers

    - Balt
    I just take a second look at the MTF curves direct from zeiss.com Download Center | ZEISS International and found a sheet for a 50 mm CF (FLE-design/with the second focus ring). http://www.zeiss.com/content/dam/Pho...f_104908_e.pdf
    This one is identical to the CFi lens. But i got a second datasheet in my archive for the non FLE (without the second focus ring) 50 mm CF lens. That is the one I took. Here is the download link: http://kabraxis.de/samples/getdpi/di...er non FLE.pdf

    Regards and thanks for the hint, now i got both datashett in my archive :-)
    Pascal

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Salut Pascal,

    ok, thanks for that. I have the 50mm CF FLE, so based on that I suspect that I'd gain very minimally only by upgrading to the CFi. If I had the old non FLE one, then yes, the upgrade would make a big difference.

    Cheers

    - Balt

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hi,

    Here is a real world image from my Distagon 50/4 FLE CF:
    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...s/Distagon_50/

    And here are some test images at f/4, f/8 and f/16:
    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...t/Distagon_50/


    I have the 40/4 CF, 50/4 CF, 80/2.8CFe, 120/4 CFi and 180/4 CFi and had also a couple of Sonnar 150/4.

    Essentially, I am quite happy with all the lenses. Regarding the 120/4 I would remark that it is a macro lens. When used at infinity it has significant field curvature. The image here shot at f/4 illustrates it quite well. But it is probably very sharp at close range, which it is intended for.

    Zeiss says that the Macro Planar 120/4 is preferred for subjects smaller than one meter across, while the Planar 100/3.5 is better for larger objects.

    The FVC 50c you got is more critical than my P45+, as yours has smaller pixels.

    Here is a good page with MTF data: http://www.hasselbladhistorical.eu/HW/HWLds.aspx

    And of course this one: http://www.zeiss.com/content/dam/Pho...downloadcenter

    The purported improvements from CF to CFi are not about optics but more about reducing internal reflections and different mechanical construction. More plastic used on the CFi/CFE but they are said to be more robust.

    Best regards
    Erik



    Quote Originally Posted by bindermuehle View Post
    Salut Pascal,

    ok, thanks for that. I have the 50mm CF FLE, so based on that I suspect that I'd gain very minimally only by upgrading to the CFi. If I had the old non FLE one, then yes, the upgrade would make a big difference.

    Cheers

    - Balt
    Last edited by ErikKaffehr; 20th March 2015 at 22:15.

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Erik,
    could you please share some experience on how the 80mm compares to the 120mm and maybe the 180mm when used in the close range at various f-stops (about 0,5-5m)?. How is your experience with the 50 FLE in this regard? The MTF data do only cover the infinity performance and I´m looking to add one lens or two to the 180mm I already have, so having some first-hand experience would be great!

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slixtiesix View Post
    Erik,
    could you please share some experience on how the 80mm compares to the 120mm and maybe the 180mm when used in the close range at various f-stops (about 0,5-5m)?. How is your experience with the 50 FLE in this regard? The MTF data do only cover the infinity performance and I´m looking to add one lens or two to the 180mm I already have, so having some first-hand experience would be great!
    The CF (and variants) were designed/optimised for infinity (except of course the 120 Makro) so comparison using other lenses at close range places them at a disadvantage to the 120.
    The H series, I know you are using V series but out of interest, are optimised more for closer, studio, work and not for infinity. Again you may not be interested in the H series but will fid much of interest on the V series in this article.

    http://press.hasselblad.com/media/12..._of_lenses.pdf

    In particular look at the 250mm SA how it improves at infinity where the HC 210 which may not be as good overall but is consistent across the focus range.


    I don't own the 180mm but the 120 (I have CFi) is better close up than the 80mm I have CF, what a surprise, but the 100mm CF is the killer lens.

    On film I can't split the H and CF 80mm lenses, both on H body using CF adapter.
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    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hi,

    I will run a couple of tests but it will take a few days.

    Best regards
    Erik


    Quote Originally Posted by Slixtiesix View Post
    Erik,
    could you please share some experience on how the 80mm compares to the 120mm and maybe the 180mm when used in the close range at various f-stops (about 0,5-5m)?. How is your experience with the 50 FLE in this regard? The MTF data do only cover the infinity performance and I´m looking to add one lens or two to the 180mm I already have, so having some first-hand experience would be great!

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    That´s very kind Erik, much appreciated

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hi,

    Some results, on a small 75x100 cm test target with 80/100/120/180 lenses


    All test samples (startting from f/4 to f/22)
    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...s/SmallTarget/

    Quick and dirty comparison at f/8:

    Center (full size: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...get/Center.png )


    Upper Left Corner (full size: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...LeftCorner.png )


    Best regards
    Erik
    Quote Originally Posted by ErikKaffehr View Post
    Hi,

    I will run a couple of tests but it will take a few days.

    Best regards
    Erik
    Last edited by ErikKaffehr; 3rd April 2015 at 13:26.

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Erik,
    thank you so much for this detailed test! You did a great service not only to me but to all users of the V-system I think. I´ve never seen something like that anywhere else on the net, at least for the closest focussing distance.

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hi,

    Thanks for feedback. I was hoping to do some more testing at longer range, but the church I wanted to shoot in was closed today, so I may need to look for some other suitable subject for medium range shots.

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by Slixtiesix View Post
    Erik,
    thank you so much for this detailed test! You did a great service not only to me but to all users of the V-system I think. I´ve never seen something like that anywhere else on the net, at least for the closest focussing distance.

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Old thread revival alert!

    Since getting a CFV50c back in Fall of 2016, I have been slowly upgrading some of my more key lenses from CF to CFi / CFe as the V system has now become my primary one for a lot commercial and fine art work.

    Thus far I have upgraded to a 60 CFi, 80 CFe, 100 CFi, 180 CFi and they all show minor to moderate optical improvements with the 50c back over their CF counterparts. I have held off on the 50 CFi due to it being B70 vs all my other lenses being B60 ( except for the 40 & 350 of course ) but I am now aware of the B70 to B60 step down ring it actually came with that can be found once and awhile used so I am re-thinking getting the lens.

    Aside from optical improvements that vary from lens to lens, I do like having the most up to date versions of these lenses as means of promoting system longevity so I am wondering if anyone has any up to date thoughts on going from a 50 CF / FLE to the CFi version.

    Thanks and long live Hasselblad!

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    The 50mm CF/FLE and CFi/FLE are optically identical. The CFi/CFE lenses supposedly benefit from more effective light baffles and a smoother focusing mechanism - do you notice an improvement in contrast with the CFE/i over CF lenses? I previously used a 50 CF/FLE on a 60 Mp full format back, but ultimately sold it off due to field curvature that rendered the edges of the frame a bit too soft for my liking (the lens was quite sharp in the center, however). This may be less of an issue on the crop sensor back. Mind you, field curvature can be used to one's advantage to pull foreground objects into focus, but at the end of the day it wasn't for me. Still, I have a nice 36"-wide print hanging in my house that was shot with this lens....

    John

    Quote Originally Posted by Ai_Print View Post
    Old thread revival alert!

    Since getting a CFV50c back in Fall of 2016, I have been slowly upgrading some of my more key lenses from CF to CFi / CFe as the V system has now become my primary one for a lot commercial and fine art work.

    Thus far I have upgraded to a 60 CFi, 80 CFe, 100 CFi, 180 CFi and they all show minor to moderate optical improvements with the 50c back over their CF counterparts. I have held off on the 50 CFi due to it being B70 vs all my other lenses being B60 ( except for the 40 & 350 of course ) but I am now aware of the B70 to B60 step down ring it actually came with that can be found once and awhile used so I am re-thinking getting the lens.

    Aside from optical improvements that vary from lens to lens, I do like having the most up to date versions of these lenses as means of promoting system longevity so I am wondering if anyone has any up to date thoughts on going from a 50 CF / FLE to the CFi version.

    Thanks and long live Hasselblad!
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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by jng View Post
    The CFi/CFE lenses supposedly benefit from more effective light baffles and a smoother focusing mechanism - do you notice an improvement in contrast with the CFE/i over CF lenses? I previously used a 50 CF/FLE on a 60 Mp full format back, but ultimately sold it off due to field curvature that rendered the edges of the frame a bit too soft for my liking (the lens was quite sharp in the center, however).

    All of them seem to have a bit more color saturation and contrast in which the latter makes them appear a touch sharper. I had heard somewhere that the 50 CFi was a new optical design??

    Color me uninformed, but I assume when you say 60MP full frame back for the V system ( IQ260 ) you mean 645 format, not 6x6?

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    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hi,

    It seems there are two variants of the 50/4 CF. The 50/4 CF which has ugly MTF data and the 50/4 CF FLE which has much better MTF. The FLE lenses have a third focusing ring.


    This is the old one:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And this is the new one:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The two images are screen copies from a google search, I don't have the credits.

    The new one is a significant improvement. The difference between the FLE variants is cosmetical.

    I had used a Distagon 50/4 CF FLE for a couple of years. It can be seen as great or so-so, depending on your definition of 'great' and 'so-so'.

    Here is one image shot with the Distagon 50/4 CF FLE:
    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...s/Distagon_50/

    And here is a test shot at f/4, f/8 and f/16:
    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...t/Distagon_50/

    This one shows some different crops from the Distagon 50/4 CF FE:
    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar...agon50Details/

    All those images are on a P45+, 39 MP, 1.1X crop 6-8 micron pixel pitch.

    Best regards
    Erik

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Not exactly on topic, but I compared the 50/4 CFi to the HC50-II on a H4D-50 a while back (real world captures, no scientific test charts here). Without any post processing the CFi capture showed more contrast, sharpness was on par with the H lens in the center and up to 2/3 of the image circle, in the extreme corners the lens was a bit softer and showed some CA which could be easily removed in Phocus. I do like the Zeiss' glass rendering more than that of the H lenses, but that's just me...

    Regards, Udo
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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Erik, correct & I have the CF / FLE three ring version, I consider it to be a great lens even with the 50c back.

    I am just on a fast track to upgrading as many lenses as I can since the price differences between CF and CFi lenses seem to be at an all time low and the latter have enough non-optical improvements to make it sort of worthwhile.

    In any case, your tests are really appreciated and quite interesting, so thanks for that!

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    As Erik pointed out, the CF and Cfi FLE lenses share the same optical design. It's interesting that you see noticeably more saturation and contrast with the CFE/i lenses - all of a sudden I think my wife needs to worry about our bank account as most of my lenses are CF's!

    Yes I'm shooting with a 40 x 54 mm sensor (actually an IQ160).

    John

    Quote Originally Posted by Ai_Print View Post
    All of them seem to have a bit more color saturation and contrast in which the latter makes them appear a touch sharper. I had heard somewhere that the 50 CFi was a new optical design??

    Color me uninformed, but I assume when you say 60MP full frame back for the V system ( IQ260 ) you mean 645 format, not 6x6?

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by jng View Post
    As Erik pointed out, the CF and Cfi FLE lenses share the same optical design. It's interesting that you see noticeably more saturation and contrast with the CFE/i lenses - all of a sudden I think my wife needs to worry about our bank account as most of my lenses are CF's!
    It's really just a small amount, so close most would not notice. I probably ought to wait on swapping the 50 anyway since my wife and I are buying a larger home that I can have a large darkroom and studio in, maybe a few months down the road I'll do it. Swapping the 40 and 350 is what I am dreading, it will likely be over $10k for those two, if I ever do them at all.

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    The 40 IF CFE is a gem - a different optical formula compared to the other 40mm lenses in the V system lineup and a huge step up in resolution (although at the expense of some added distortion). I find that it renders beautifully.

    As for the 350 SA, it's a bit of a beast to carry around, not to mention the price!

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    I own both the CF/FLE 50 and the newer CFi 50. Both used primarily with the CFV-50c.

    As others have mentioned, they are optically identical. Although I slightly prefer the CFi, I confess I cannot really see the purported color/contrast benefits the newer lens is supposed to bring. I understand the theory behind it... better internal light control gives you those things. But I don't think they are significant enough to be measurable in the lighting scenarios photographers usually encounter.

    I think it's fair to say that either FLE 50 variant is an outstanding bit of glass. And both are exceptional with high-resolution digital backs.

    That said, who would begrudge a photographer from buying a new lens? ;-)

    Best of luck...

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jager View Post
    I own both the CF/FLE 50 and the newer CFi 50. Both used primarily with the CFV-50c.

    As others have mentioned, they are optically identical. Although I slightly prefer the CFi, I confess I cannot really see the purported color/contrast benefits the newer lens is supposed to bring. I understand the theory behind it... better internal light control gives you those things. But I don't think they are significant enough to be measurable in the lighting scenarios photographers usually encounter.

    I think it's fair to say that either FLE 50 variant is an outstanding bit of glass. And both are exceptional with high-resolution digital backs.

    That said, who would begrudge a photographer from buying a new lens? ;-)

    Best of luck...
    Thanks Jeff,

    I'll sit that one out for awhile, need to get into this house first and my current 50FLE is really quite good, B60 filters without a step down ring.

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    I'll give this thread yet another lease on life...

    I'm thinking of getting a 50mm FLE in either variation, CF or CFi.

    The links to images and references on Erik's site above don't appear to be working anymore, so I'd appreciate some pictures and more comments.

    I'm wanting to use the lens with both film and my Credo 60. I shoot mainly around the middle apertures, favouring f11, but sometimes like a more shallow DOF look. If money were no object I'd get the 40mm IF, but I'd rather save my money for a Rodenstock 40 HR-W to use on my Linhof so I can employ shifts, etc.

    Anyway, any more comments, observations, examples etc. to add to the above would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    TJV

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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    I'll give this thread yet another lease on life...

    I'm thinking of getting a 50mm FLE in either variation, CF or CFi.

    The links to images and references on Erik's site above don't appear to be working anymore, so I'd appreciate some pictures and more comments.

    I'm wanting to use the lens with both film and my Credo 60. I shoot mainly around the middle apertures, favouring f11, but sometimes like a more shallow DOF look. If money were no object I'd get the 40mm IF, but I'd rather save my money for a Rodenstock 40 HR-W to use on my Linhof so I can employ shifts, etc.

    Anyway, any more comments, observations, examples etc. to add to the above would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    TJV
    The 50 FLE is a no-brainer in my eyes. Very sharp - already at f4. Only downside may be to some the distance control ring (the FLE thing). I have no issues with it. I used in on film and now use it with the CFV-50c. I prefer the 50 CF FLE to the 40 CF FLE (not IF, which I do not know) for better sharpness, weight and filter size (bay 60).

    Regards
    Ivo
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    Re: Hasselblad CF 50mm vs. CFi 50mm lens?

    Hi,

    My experience is with 40/4 CF, 50/4 CF, 60/3.5 CF and 80/2.8 CFE.

    My take is really that the CFE/CFi lenses are about rational production. There is more plastics and more stamped metal parts.

    I have happened to have both the 120/4 CF and the 120/4 CFi and I have seen little benefits to the CFi, except that it was designed for more rational production.

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by Photon42 View Post
    The 50 FLE is a no-brainer in my eyes. Very sharp - already at f4. Only downside may be to some the distance control ring (the FLE thing). I have no issues with it. I used in on film and now use it with the CFV-50c. I prefer the 50 CF FLE to the 40 CF FLE (not IF, which I do not know) for better sharpness, weight and filter size (bay 60).

    Regards
    Ivo

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