When the C.I first appeared in early 1915, its good handling and powerful 110 kW (150 hp) Benz Bz.III engine gave it an edge over most Allied aircraft.
During development of the type, successively more powerful engines were fitted, culminating in the 130 kW (180 hp) Argus As III which allowed the final version of the C.Ia to achieve 140 km/h (87 mph) at sea level with an operational ceiling of 3,000 m (9,840 ft).
A dual-control variant, designated the C.Ib, was built as a trainer aircraft by Mercur Flugzeugbau.
Improvements to the C.I resulted in the Albatros C.III which became the most prolific of the Albatros C-types.
Two-seat reconnaissance aircraft.
First production version.
Improved version powered by more powerful Argus As III engine, built by BFW and by LFG.
Dual-control training version built by Mercur Flugzeugbau.