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View Poll Results: Which lenses wobble
None all my Zeiss lenses are rock solid 148 54.01%
18mm f/4 1 0.36%
21mm f/2.8 10 3.65%
21mm f/4.5 0 0%
25mm f/2.8 21 7.66%
28mm f/2.8 23 8.39%
35mm f/2 21 7.66%
35mm f/2.8 8 2.92%
50mm f/1.5 22 8.03%
50mm f/2 37 13.50%
85mm f/2 3 1.09%
85mm f/4 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 274. You may not vote on this poll

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Zeiss ZM lens wobble issues
Old 11-12-2010   #1
FrozenInTime
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Zeiss ZM lens wobble issues

Just how common is Zeiss wobble ?

I had hoped that things had improved with the newer lenses, but after just one week with a 35mm C-Biogon, I noticed that it had wobble between the lens mount and focus ring.

The lens is going back for exchange.

The poll is : check which lenses have/have had mechanical reliability issues.
( sorry no room for a 15mm button in the pole - but at $4600 I hope it's been okay)

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Old 11-12-2010   #2
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A while ago I had a 21mm f/2.8 and a 50mm f/2 : I sold them both, but the 21mm f/2.8 was looser than I cared for.
There are a few threads on RFF mentioning issues with the 50mm f/2, 35mm f/2 and 25mm f/2.8.

My 18mm f/4 is rock solid after two years and improved my confidence in Zeiss lenses no end.
When I started thinking about compact travel lenses, I had hoped the build and design quality was improving as new lenses were introduced.

The 35 f/2.8 was a disappointment.
The 85mm f/4 is looking okay so far.
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Old 11-12-2010   #3
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My 35/2.8 is tight as a drum. Rock-solid.
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Old 11-12-2010   #4
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I've seen plenty of Leica lenses with this issues, as well as plenty of other manufacturers so lets not forget that this is not exactly a 'Zeiss only' issue, but an issue the OP is bringing up 'about' Zeiss on this occasion.
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Old 11-12-2010   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicashot View Post
I've seen plenty of Leica lenses with this issues, as well as plenty of other manufacturers so lets not forget that this is not exactly a 'Zeiss only' issue, but an issue the OP is bringing up 'about' Zeiss on this occasion.
I've never seen (or had) a Leica lens with this issue in all the years I've been using, buying and selling Leica lenses.

That's not to say it doesn't exist, but your comment that "plenty of Leica lenses" have this issue does surprise me.

John
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Old 11-12-2010   #6
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I've never seen (or had) a Leica lens with this issue in all the years I've been using, buying and selling Leica lenses.

That's not to say it doesn't exist, but your comment that "plenty of Leica lenses" have this issue does surprise me.

John
When I first got into Leica and was buying my very first body and lens, I ordered a 50mm tabbed summicron, used, and it looked perfect...bot a mark on it, but the barrel wobbled. I sent it back. So, I have seen one Leica lens do it. I also saw a Konica 90mm M-Hexanon do it also.
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Old 11-12-2010   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
When I first got into Leica and was buying my very first body and lens, I ordered a 50mm tabbed summicron, used, and it looked perfect...bot a mark on it, but the barrel wobbled. I sent it back. So, I have seen one Leica lens do it. I also saw a Konica 90mm M-Hexanon do it also.
Like I said Chris, I'm surprised and have never seen it any of the lenses I've owned, used, bought or sold.

Do you have any other Leica lenses and do any of them exhibit 'wobble'?

John
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Old 11-12-2010   #8
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Like I said Chris, I'm surprised and have never seen it any of the lenses I've owned, used, bought or sold.

Do you have any other Leica lenses and do any of them exhibit 'wobble'?

John
I do have one Leica lens and have owned a couple more that I sold. None o them wobbled.
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Old 11-13-2010   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horosu View Post
I recevied the new Summilux 35/1.4 ASPH FLE just last week.

Well, when shaking the lens one can hear something rattle inside the lens. I didn't know if this was normal, but the lens was also plainly wrong calibrated (it backfocused a lot), so I sent it in for repair.

Was very dissappointed to put down 5000 USD and have such issues out of the box.

None of my Zeiss lenses (bought new or second-hand) developed wobble, rattle and all of them were perfectly calibrated.

Just to put things into perspective...


Horea
I discovered a while ago that some lenses sound like something is free inside when you shake them a bit. I think it has something to do with the aperture blades or mechanism but this is just a wild guess.
Of course yours could be a totally different story related with the focus issue.
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no way
Old 11-13-2010   #10
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no way

Quote:
Originally Posted by horosu View Post
I recevied the new Summilux 35/1.4 ASPH FLE just last week.

Well, when shaking the lens one can hear something rattle inside the lens. I didn't know if this was normal, but the lens was also plainly wrong calibrated (it backfocused a lot), so I sent it in for repair.

Was very dissappointed to put down 5000 USD and have such issues out of the box.

None of my Zeiss lenses (bought new or second-hand) developed wobble, rattle and all of them were perfectly calibrated.

Just to put things into perspective...

Horea
This lens should have ZERO wobble. The test sample I received from Leica has zero movement and seemed better built than the previous model.
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Old 11-12-2010   #11
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I have had two ZM lenses: 50 mm 2,0 and 25 mm 2,8. The 50 mm 2,0 did wobble, but I could not see any bad effects on files or prints. Quite on the contrary. Sharpness and contrast was high and very even over the surface. In this respect; far better than my Leica Noctilux - which is neither sharp with rather low contrast and with hefty distortion. The latter cost 5 times as much as the ZM.

I regret that I sold these lenses. First, because they produced excellent results with my M8. Second; because I destroyed much of my reputation on the small 2.hand market of M-lenses here in Norway. I was not aware of the wobble before after I had sold it and got a lot of pepper because of it.

My Canon 28-70 mm 2,8L did also wobble. I gave it away to my nephew. He repaired it. I then bought a 24-28 mm 2,8L 2.hand. It wobbled too! I had it repaired for 20 $ at the Canon here in Oslo. These heavy Canon zooms are very prone to wobbling, I was told at the Canon service center. It is an easy and cheap thing to fix. The hassle for many of us here in Europe is that customs might demand that we pay VAT one more time, claiming it is a new product, and all that. So, it is not only a matter of sending it to the factory to have them repaired.
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Old 11-12-2010   #12
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I have 3 ZM lenses, the 18, 21/4.5, and the 25/2.8. All are stellar lenses, but my 25 has a really bad case of the wobbles, and "squeels" when you focus it. It definitely needs attention. The lubricant has all but dried out. My other ZM lenses are fine. I haven't had this issue at all with my CV or Leitz lenses and some of the latter are over 30 years old.
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Old 11-12-2010   #13
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I wonder how much of these wobble issues are simply an optical retaining nut getting a bit loose, and could be solved with just a spanner wrench?
I had such an issue on a summicron-c 40mm back from a fresh CLA...
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Old 11-12-2010   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanmich View Post
I wonder how much of these wobble issues are simply an optical retaining nut getting a bit loose, and could be solved with just a spanner wrench?
I had such an issue on a summicron-c 40mm back from a fresh CLA...
That's the thing: there is wobble and wobble.

(a) retaining ring is loose - very easy fix, and I consider this quite normal when the lens travels with you a bit. I had that with a 40 Summicron-C and a 35/2.5 Color Skopar. Usually optics are not affected at all. At least one case of a wobbling ZM 25/2.8 on RFF was fixable like this.

(b) optical cylinder start separating. I had that with a 50/1.5 Nokton, and it can happen also at least to the 35/1.7 Ultron, 35/1.2 Nokton, 50/2 Planar and 35/2 Biogon. To fix, you have to take off the front element to reach internal screws that need tightening and nail polish. Not so pleasant, and possible change of optical collimation.

(c) glued lens elements that start falling apart. That's the worst since not easily fixable yourself. The 35/2 v4 (Bokeh King) is known for this. Why glue was used instead of retaining rings is a miracle to me.

Roland.

Last edited by ferider : 11-12-2010 at 11:58.
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Old 11-25-2014   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
That's the thing: there is wobble and wobble.

(a) retaining ring is loose - very easy fix, and I consider this quite normal when the lens travels with you a bit. I had that with a 40 Summicron-C and a 35/2.5 Color Skopar. Usually optics are not affected at all. At least one case of a wobbling ZM 25/2.8 on RFF was fixable like this.

(b) optical cylinder start separating. I had that with a 50/1.5 Nokton, and it can happen also at least to the 35/1.7 Ultron, 35/1.2 Nokton, 50/2 Planar and 35/2 Biogon. To fix, you have to take off the front element to reach internal screws that need tightening and nail polish. Not so pleasant, and possible change of optical collimation.

(c) glued lens elements that start falling apart. That's the worst since not easily fixable yourself. The 35/2 v4 (Bokeh King) is known for this. Why glue was used instead of retaining rings is a miracle to me.

Roland.
Also (d) helicoid grease is dried up, and non-super-precision-machined helicoid key is now loose in its slot.

This is an issue with Japanese lenses, which seem to have bigger key tolerances that Leica lenses. It's can be there on Leica lenses. I've seen it on Summarits. How much you encounter it is also a function of helicoid extension. But in most cases, this is an annoying but mostly harmless lateral movement.

I don't hit (a) very much, and (b) is very common on older SLR lenses (but there, it's just taking off the beauty ring to access those screws).

Dante
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Old 11-12-2010   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanmich View Post
I wonder how much of these wobble issues are simply an optical retaining nut getting a bit loose, and could be solved with just a spanner wrench?
I had such an issue on a summicron-c 40mm back from a fresh CLA...
On the Canon lenses they changed a plastic ring which tightened the construction. I have heard that it is something similar that is being done with the ZM lenses. It is a cheap fix.
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Old 11-12-2010   #17
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Bought an 28 2.8 on the bay and sent it back. My 50 2 and 25 2.8 have no problems.
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Old 11-12-2010   #18
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25/2.8 - solid
28/2.8 - solid
35/2.8 - solid
35/2 - slight play in focus ring, repaired well by zeiss
50/1.5 - solid
50/2 - tight focus ring, repaired well by zeiss

leitz 35/2 v4 - needed tightening twice in ~ 2 yrs, aperture ring still too loose for my taste
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Old 11-12-2010   #19
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Only ZM I have is 35/2.8. And that lens is super solid with no wobble, no nothin'.
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Old 11-12-2010   #20
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I have had my 25/2.8 get the wobble twice, both times it was the retaining ring/nut. Easy fix but annoying.

Why do I put up with it? The lens is superb from a performance perspective.
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Old 11-12-2010   #21
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My 50mm Planar is rock solid.
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Old 11-12-2010   #22
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I currently have six Leica lenses and they all perfect. Mechanically, no faults whatsoever. These lenses are built to outlast me.
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Old 11-12-2010   #23
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I have had a few Leica R lenses with wobble. But never Leica M's with wobble.
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Old 11-12-2010   #24
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I'm using zm planar with significant wobble for a few years
I've bought it second hand in this state and no deterioration noticed
and I cannot see any troubles with sharpness wide open and/or stopped down
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Old 11-12-2010   #25
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my 35/2 has no wobble but it has slight play in the focus ring.
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Old 04-29-2011   #26
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I just received a mint used chrome 50/2 that is flawless in operation, no wobble, no stiffness. In fact, it is even better than my 35 Summicron..
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Old 11-12-2010   #27
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can someone explain the wobble in simple terms? my 50/2 planar's focus ring has some play, is that the wobble?
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Old 11-12-2010   #28
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In my case I can pull in and out on the focus mount of the lens and there is movement between the lens mount and the focus ring.
So I can wobble the lens front from side to side, and everything moves except the part of the lens screwed to the M-mount bayonet.
There is enough movement to be seen by eye and to make a clacking noise.
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Old 11-12-2010   #29
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My 25mm and 35mm Biogons are solid.

My 50mm Planar has just a tiny bit of focus ring play.

My 50mm Sonnar was just great until I banged it against a piece of furniture, then the optical unit became obviously wobbly and rattled when shaken. I took some test photos, and they looked pretty good, but I sent it in for service anyway. $245 later, it's solid as a rock again (as it should be!).
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Old 11-13-2010   #30
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I had a 25mm develop a wobble which Zeiss replaced as they said it wasn't economic to repair it, so I would assume that there may be different causes as I know others have fixed the problem by tightening the back of the lens, I tried myself to do this, but there was no looseness to tighten. i would assume also that most of these bad lenses will show up fairly quickly, and in the UK at least Zeiss cover the lenses for three years. Has anyone had their lens develop a wobble after a longer number of years?
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Old 11-13-2010   #31
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Not problen with ZM lenses but never gave it hard knocks or kept them long enough to tell. I did once get a Titanium 50 Summilux that appeared LN but the lens barrel had play or slight wobble within the mount and was returned for refund. I've also seen some slight play of the lens barrel within the focusing mount of several Leica lenses like the 90/2 pre-asph., 180/3.4 R and even a new 50 Summmicron M SE (special edition). I attribute some of this to the front heavy lens barrel causing play to develop.
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Old 11-13-2010   #32
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ZM lenses are modern lenses that have been made in recent years. They should not display any wobble. Comparing a ZM lens to Summicron DR is comparing lenses that are ages apart. Compare a ZM to the last version Summicron.
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Old 11-13-2010   #33
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Quote:
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ZM lenses are modern lenses that have been made in recent years. They should not display any wobble. Comparing a ZM lens to Summicron DR is comparing lenses that are ages apart. Compare a ZM to the last version Summicron.
The DR Summicron should be the reference in build quality for all other M lenses and manufacturers ...
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Old 11-13-2010   #34
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The DR Summicron should be the reference in build quality for all other M lenses and manufacturers ...
I think Raid meant that after 50 yrs even the very best constructed things can be worn, especially if used heavily. I've certainly seen old Leica lenses that were in bad mechanical shape. A current Summicron is still a VERY well made lens compared to most modern lenses and is more likely to be in perfect condition because its not as old as a DR.
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Old 11-13-2010   #35
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I think Raid meant that after 50 yrs even the very best constructed things can be worn, especially if used heavily. I've certainly seen old Leica lenses that were in bad mechanical shape. A current Summicron is still a VERY well made lens compared to most modern lenses and is more likely to be in perfect condition because its not as old as a DR.
This is what I meant.
In any experiment, you want to hold as many factors constant as possible. Age is such a factor.

If this thread is about reaching some useful conclusions on some new lenses, such as the ZM line of lenses, it is best if we compare lenses of similar vintages and prices.

Roland is right about the incredible craftmanship that went into the rigid Summicron and its DR cousin.
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Old 11-13-2010   #36
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The DR Summicron should be the reference in build quality for all other M lenses and manufacturers ...
It is understood, Roland, but after many years, "things" can happen with a lens.
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Old 11-13-2010   #37
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Not intending to cast aspersions at Zeiss generally, or engage in Leitz v Zeiss quality assurance debates, I would appreciate Zeiss management considering a no-cost or at least discounted repair of any of its ZM lenses that develop barrel wobble or focus ring play, regardless whether the lens is under warranty. I paid about $350 to have Zeiss address play in the focus rings of two ZMs. I don't think it's too much to ask that a focus ring be consistently damped and without play. It's certainly not too much to expect that barrel wobble not occur on relatively new lenses.
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Old 11-14-2010   #38
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Couldn't agree more. My lenses are no more than two years old, yet at least two have to go back. Naturally, they're out of warranty. I know I won't be paying $250-350 each to fix them - that's insanity. Two wobble and seem like the lube is displaced/missing in spots on the helicoid.

ZMs haven't been out that long in general - and having experience with my own and hearing that of others... There's no reason any of these lenses should be exhibiting this problem already.

I think Zeiss should repair any lenses sent in for this issue, as it's clearly a design or a manufacturing problem.

It's a shame, because optically - they're the bees knees.

I would try to contact Carl Zeiss directly. Here in Europe consumers are generally far better protected and a company like Carl Zeiss is used to stricter laws regarding rejects. That so many of us have been hit by this problem it is either a design flaw or a serious quality control issue. I feel strongly that Carl Zeiss has an obligation to help customers out free of charge, leaving the customer only with the transport cost to cover.
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Old 11-14-2010   #39
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I would try to contact Carl Zeiss directly. Here in Europe consumers are generally far better protected and a company like Carl Zeiss is used to stricter laws regarding rejects. That so many of us have been hit by this problem it is either a design flaw or a serious quality control issue. I feel strongly that Carl Zeiss has an obligation to help customers out free of charge, leaving the customer only with the transport cost to cover.
I contacted Zeiss-US. They would not cover the repairs - in my case, play in the focus ring - and charged fully for the work. I agree with you that Zeiss has an obligation, or should have one. The problem is that Zeiss does not agree with us
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Old 11-14-2010   #40
Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCTuomey View Post
I contacted Zeiss-US. They would not cover the repairs - in my case, play in the focus ring - and charged fully for the work. I agree with you that Zeiss has an obligation, or should have one. The problem is that Zeiss does not agree with us

Did you contact Carl Zeiss in Europe or in USA?
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