I've read many posts about the stiff zoom ring and the noisey, loose feeling focus ring. From all the responses to these questions, "it's normal" is the same answer. My 24-70 is only 6 months old and has the noisey, loose feeling focus ring. When I was last at Canon Service, I brought in the lens and was told that these issues are all normal. Luckily, my zoom ring is smooth throughout the focal range. Welcome to the world of the 24-70mm.