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Lens Shock Testing

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In regards to an email comment from a reader on the right side softness with the Sony 35mm f/1.4 Distagon test lens (bad sample) and possible issues from shipping, I asked Zeiss about whether lenses could “go bad” in transit, e.g., while if dropped off the UPS truck.

Obviously, that specific question is not one that Zeiss or any other company can directly address for any particular lens or scenario described in email, but there are protocols for durability.

Protocols for testing shock to a lens

Here, note that the “dedicated box” would also be inside a shipping box, further reducing g-force issues. It seems rather unlikely that a lens could “go bad” by being shipped via UPS or FedEx, especially if no signs whatsoever are seen of any crushing of the box. Hence my feeling that the bad sample I received came that way from the factory.

We run tests of lenses in shipping conditions to check the design of the dedicated box.

The lens should withstand the following “torture” without an issue:

  • Endurance shocks: 10 g / 6 ms ; 1000 shocks per axis and direction ; Standard: ISO 9022 Series -3 -31 -01
  • Bouncing: 1.1 g ; 10 min per side / total of 60 min; Standard: ISO 9022 Series -3 -34 -02
  • Free fall: 1.0 m drop height, 2 times per side; Standard: ISO 9022 Series -3 -33 -06

We do not run tests with Zeiss-branded products which are distributed by SONY, but they certainly apply similar standards.

Of course this can never guarantee to 100% that nothing harmful can happen to the product.


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