I absolutely agree on variation between examples of lenses, especially as you say when wear and tear is introduced. Lens rentals blog has published work on that which shows clearly sample variation. What I question is wether that variation is more than, excepting abused glass , the difference between an "old C non T* lens and a newer CF T* for example. The contrast and flare difference would I would think (an opinion backed up by no facts whatsoever) be greater than batch variation between CFs.
On charging, please see my earlier post with an example of that practice, for all I know he may be the only one doing that though.
For the OP:
More difficult when distance buying but the lenses can be dated as follows:
You can tell the age of C and C T* lenses from the three or four digit code marked in red on the lens rear barrel. It can be found by focusing the lens to its closest focusing setting and, from the rear, looking inside the barrel.
The last two numbers indicate the month and the remaining one or two numbers indicate the year when 1957 has been added to it.
Therefore a lens with the code 2104 would have been manufactured in April 1978.
The newer CF lenses use a different code system which is found in the same location as the C lenses and is usually in red.
It consists of a one letter and two number code. The letter represents the month with "A" being January "B" February etc. And the following two numbers are the last two digits of the year in reverse.
Therefore a lens with the code H98 would have been manufactured in August 1989.
You may find lenses with more than one code. I understand if returned to the factory for major work, element replacement for example, the work date code would be added.
The lens serial numbers bear no relation to the manufacture date.
I have heard that some portrait photographers actually prefer the C lenses without the T* coatings. They are said to be less contrasty and produce a more subtle tonal quality for skin.
I would simply decide to standardize on all B50 or B60 lenses to minimize filter and hood hassles. Obviously, the B60 are the later lenses.
I think I would agree with that statement. I did see variation in the images from lenses viewed through a collimator and once in a while I might see a lens that would take your breath away for it's sharpness and contrast. Of course what you see in a piece of test equipment and the way the lens performs in the field can be two different things but feedback from customers confirmed that these lenses that appeared so good in test did in fact also give great results. Most testing would be done with the lens wide open whereas in the field the majority of photographers would stop down, to see a lens' true performance check at different apertures.
Originally Posted by Chris Livsey
Thanks for the insight. Nothing beats experience.
I did have to send a ZM Biogon 35mm f2 (Voigtlander build) back to Zeiss because of "rough" focussing. They replaced the helical and in the report re-collimated the lens. That is one I will not sell, it was good before but now is brilliant, and that's without test charts.
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There is no comparision between the lens you sent back and the hasselblad lenses. In a build quality class all there own.
Get whichever you can get your hands on. If ya want a later version, just sell the one you have. Ive never lost more the 20$ on selling hasselblad gear.
Indeed, I was pointing out that there is variation in performance between lenses of the same model. The 35mm Biogon was collimated by Zeiss and it was greatly improved in performance. I implied no connection between this range of lenses and the Zeiss for Hasselblad.
Originally Posted by cjbecker