See the Sony service horror stories.
Some good news (for a small segment of Sony owners) is that Sony has a Pro service program. The bad news is that very few Sony owners qualify:
Applicant must be a full-time, self-employed individual, or an employee of a professional imaging business, who plays a direct role in the creation of moving or still images for third parties on a professional basis.
Applicant must own no less than two (2) Sony Alpha Full Frame Interchangeable Lens Cameras and three (3) Sony Zeiss and/or G series lenses. Applicant must provide verification of the above requirements, including web page URL and/or description of professional work. Upon application approval, an email invitation will be sent to join the Program.
It’s good that this program exists, but there is a chasm between this program and the Sony service horror stories meted out to most Sony owners. I don’t qualify on the gear basis myself, and I’m not in the mood to spend another $8K or so on a 2nd body and three Sony lenses in order to do so.
I tried submitting the form at Sony (unqualified as I am, to see their response), but their Submit button does not work, so it’s a mystery how to apply. Maybe it does not work with Apple Safari.
UPDATE: shortly after writing this I was contacted by Sony:
... I came across your blog and want to reach out to you and introduce myself and want to resolve any issue you might have with joining the pro support program. Attached is the application, please fill it out, save it and send it to me via this email address. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Also, I was going thru your thread on Sony reliability and service. May I request your assistance and would like to reach out to the following individual and get more info so I can assist them as well....
DIGLLOYD: well, this is heartening, and credit given where due—nice. I am always willing to aid any company that does the right thing, and this is encouraging. As always, I report the good and the bad regardless and never will that change.
I have responded in two ways, first by thanking the representative and sending the Pro Support form in, and second by offering to forward the email of any of the readers quoted in the thread on Sony reliability and service (with their permission, I always ask first for such things).
Mark H writes:
I have read complaints about Sony service and feel compelled to put in my two cents worth.
First, I am not doubting anyone who has complained.
However, I have been a member of Sony Pro Service since it’s beginning. I have been a news photographer for nearly 40 years.
I have three bodies (A7II, A7r and A7s).
I have used their service twice. Most recently, I got my A7s body back from Precision Camera repair today.
This past Wednesday night I noticed that there was an auto cleaning problem. It was after hours for Precision. I sent an email detailing the problem and didn’t expect to hear from them until the next day.
Instead, I heard back in less than an hour and received a mailing label to send the body to them via Fedex next day delivery.
On Thursday, I packed the body and sent it to Precision via Fedex.
Today, I got the body back from Precision via Fedex.
Not only had they replaced the board, main control and the cpu iC, they had cleaned it inside and out, and recalibrated and aligned the autofocus. My cost, nothing. It was still under warranty.
I pay $100 a year for the pro service. You get three free cleanings, discounts on out of warranty repair and loaners if they can’t turn it around in three working days.
The quickness was just the same when I sent my A7r back for repair much earlier this year. From my point of view, this is a no-brainer for those who quailfy.
I have never used Canon’s repair service except when the event is big enough that both Nikon and Canon have repair onsite. But I have years of experience with Nikon - I manage equipment for an entire staff of photojournalists.
At its best, the quality of repair is no better than Precision. At its worst, well…
But I have never seen the quickness of repair that I get from Sony. With Nikon, waiting for return has been at least two weeks and in some rare cases, months.
I’ll stick with the Sony service any day.
DIGLLOYD: sounds terrific. But how many ordinary users are allowed to join Sony Pro Service? None, going by the terms (working full time photographer).