i have to complete you in one point:
While the optic design remained the same, there are some different versions of the Sonnar 2,8/85.
1. The origin >mage in West Germany< Type, which i like most. The barrel totaly of metall, the scales engraved, diameter and design like most E55 lenses.
2. With the fabrication in Japan >made in Japan<, there came the barrel, known until now. Aperture ring of "plastic", printed aperture scale (like 1,7/50, 3,5/100). Broader focus ring and slightly less diameter.
May be, also the aperture mechanism was redesigned to fit the coming MM requirements (less weight and spring tension). The lens weight is about 30 gr. less the older type.
3. Then the actual MM type >made in japan<. Like type 2., but MM equipment with newer aperture mechanism.
4. The last series. Like 3., but manufactured in Germany with the introduction of aria body, engraved >made in Germany<, when IÂ´m right.
After twenty years with CONTAX and other systems of different formats, I think the little Sonnar 2,8/85 is one of the finest and most usefull lenses I owned. It convinced me even with extension tubes. The viewfinder ist actually brighter than with the Sonnar 3,5/100 and the focusing helix (?) ist flater, what I prefer. Wonderful lens for landscape and travel. Optical performance even with 1,4/85.
By the way, one of my three Type 1. Sonnar >made in Germany" is to be sold. One in use and one in spare should be enough for me.
There was an ">made in Germany< with MM" on e-bay. As I know, this never existet and Contax/Zeiss refused mechanichal modification from AE to MM because of the expenditure. For landscape, portrait, nature,... MM is of no interest in my opinion.
I like your forum, will you soon scann the MTF of the never sold Apo Tele Tessar 5,6/500 and 8/800, I send you?
regards, Stefan Irmler