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The 250 CFi lens is basically the same lens with some updates as the 250 C series Sonnar that was introduced in 1957.
All lens elements from the 250CFi will fit the C lens that was made about 50 years earlier.
The 250 F(E) lens is a newer design according to Tessar or 4 lens principle.
Both these lenses perform well even at full aperture. Stopped down the F(E) lens is marginally better.
For most applications this will not show.
What are you after?
A Super Achromat is a better lens than the Sonnar 250 or the Tessar 250.
Better as in better colour rendering less flare in extreme situations.
The question is are those qualities worth 4-7 times the price for a Sonnar or Tessar lens to you ?
Blowupster is right, if 180 mm suits your purpose it is a very good lens.
A more recent design than both the Sonnar and the Tessar.
CFE and CFi versions are improved lenses mostly concerning handling with a redesigned helicoid, locking PC socket and improved long life mainspring.
Optical improvements are limited to better anti reflection coating inside the barrel.
I was wondering which one would be the best compromise between price & optical performances because the 250 f/5.6 CFi, the 250 f/4 FE and even the 250 f/5.6 CF Superachromat are within the same range of price on the used market ($1,500 to $2,000 in mint/mint- condition, the Superachromat being in the upper level...).
Of course, as I own a 203 FE, my dream lens would be the 250 f/5.6 CFE Superachromat... But it is rare on the used market and highly priced when offered... Guess what?... I missed one 2 years ago here in Paris at a well-known seller specialized in medium format. It was in mint- condition and at 1,400 Euros!!!... Yep, 1,400 Euros!! I wanted to think about it and it was gone the day after I saw it (and touched it...)
Anyway, I own a 180 f/4 CFE... Yes, it is a wonderful lens but would like to add a longer focal lens to it.
If longer and better is what you are after your best choice is a Super Achromat.
C and CF give about the same results.
With a 203 FE body the CF is the best choice.
A good Super Acromat will demand more than 2000 USD.
Hi, all - my understanding of the last generation of superachromats (250 and 350 CFE) is that the lenses used special glass, with all elements hand-matched and individually documented for optimum performance. The glass supposedly also included elements that made fabrication very difficult. Hence, the big price tags. The attached CZ datasheets give more detail. There is also a Hassy datasheet for a 250 SA CFi (not attached, but available on the Hasselblad website).