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Build quality of Carl Zeiss N 24-85


New Member
Hello to everybody on this forum!

I work for some years with Contax/Zeiss MF equipement. The AX teached me how to use AF for good and now I wanted to try a "real" (read "conventional") AF camera. Fortunatly, there is the N1, so I could stay with Contax/Zeiss. This camera works great for me and I find myself using it more and more. I bought a used 24-85mm lens which is great concerning its optical quality.
But there is one point which bothers me a bit and this point is the reason for posting this thread.
I noticed that the front lens tube is a bit wobbly. Especially when fully extended (at 85mm) I can move the front lens tube by about 0.5mm against the rest of the lens (perdendicular to the optical axis). This mechanical play can be seen more clearly in the direction of the guiding rails of the lens tube (that means up/down instead of left/right wobbling). None of my friends has this lens and there is no Contax dealer next to me.
So, if you happen to have this lens, could you try how much play your lens has and tell me about it. From this I can deduce if it would be a good advice to send it to Kyocera for Service.

Thank you in advance,


Hello Frank,

I have the same camera/lens combination and I also have that slight 'flex' in my front lens tube. Maybe it is all normal...but why not check it with Kyocera just to make sure. Mine still has about 3 years of US warranty on it; now would be a good time to know!




Well-Known Member
Ah! Ha! Frank has the answer in his grasp already!

For "real" AF and non-wobbly lenses stick to your AX and AE or MM lenses

Cheers, Bob



I also had wobbly front tube on both VS24-85mm s&les that I owned. I was told it's normal by some Kyocera technician in New Jersey. (I don't know how that can be normal though, since it appears that front element moves off optical axis when you move it up or down)

I personally found it to be annoying, but I'm not sure if there is any visible effect on the image quality.



Active Member
>>I also had wobbly front tube on both VS24-85mm s&les that I owned.<<

My MF 28-85 VS does the same thing. It's used a lot and it has loosened up since new. I was told it could be adjusted, but probably isn't worth it. I can see no difference in the photos, although you'd think there would be with the from elements moving like that. Jeff


New Member
Thank you everybody !!

Obviously, some of you made the same observation as myself. Though it seems to be a normal "feature" of this lens, I will follow Vincents advice and send it to Kyocera for a check. Maybe, this way I get ride of the annoying lens creep, too.
BTW, I discussed the issue with the german service department of Zeiss and they told me that they are not responsible for the N lenses. All N and G lenses will be serviced by Kyocera itself. That surely doesn't mean they are second class but it may be an interesting information anyway.




The N lenses are made by Kyocera, not by Zeiss. The only thing that is Zeiss about these lenses is the glass. As the problem is not in the glass but in the mechanics, it is Kyocera's obligation to have a look at it.

Good luck!

Regards, Vincent


Well-Known Member

My C/Y glass can be serviced by Oberkochen, and the front barrels don't wobble: that's two reasons to avoid the N system :)

BTW, most of my (auto-focus) Canon lenses wobble, and I understand it's a normal property. Doesn't affect image sharpness, but sure feels cheap.


Well-Known Member
> My 24-85 lens does NOT wobble. Nor do any of my other N mount lenses.

My lovely 100 3.5 cy mount lens did develop a wobble, which was repaired for a cost of $40.00.



Well-Known Member
My 24-85 lens does NOT wobble, it is over two years old now. I have sent it to Contax service department to have the zoom ring tighten last summer.

I have no idea who exactly produces the Contax AF lenses. All the boxes of my three N zooms and four C645 lenses are the same, printed "Carl Zeiss", no reference of the brand Contax nor Kyocera. Only said Made In Japan. They also come with the generic quality inspection card from Zeiss printed in German.

My guess is they are manufactured my kyocera with Zeiss design.

But who cares, they are good and well built. Way more expensive if they were made in Germany.