My Experience with Sony PRO Support

150308FE 35mm F2.8 ZAILCE-5100-781

Sony Imaging PRO Support is a brand new premium care program for professional Sony photographers. It is growing and learning from industry practices on how to best support the Sony professional photographer community.

As such, Sony has a set of requirements for photographers in order to be a part of the PRO Support group:

– A minimum of 2 Sony Alpha Full-Frame interchangeable lens cameras
– A minimum of 3 Sony ZEISS and/or G series lenses
– Be an active professional photographer (self-employed or an employee of a professional imaging business/organization)
– Provide professional work samples
– Provide membership fee payment

– So what do you get once you are in the PRO Support program?
– Dedicated support by phone or email seven-days-a-week
– Speedy repair turnaround time–free shipping both ways
– Repair loans
– Discounts on out-of-warranty repairs
– (and my favorite) Product evaluation

Being part of the PRO Support program since it was in a limited beta release, I have been able to experience most of these features.

Cleanings.160521FE 35mm F1.4 ZAILCE-7RM295-4

First, the cleanings. I tend to photograph in some pretty sticky environments. While I do my best to shield my equipment from salt spray and the humidity, I realize I am not working in a vacuum. With winds and constant exposure to the elements, my sensor will get dirty. I can clean the camera sensor myself (pretty risky for me–especially after late night editing sessions and too much caffeine), get my local camera shop to clean it for me (at about $50 for each camera), or so send my gear in for free and get it cleaned.

You get three shipped cleanings annually.

Camera repair.  150316FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSSILCE-7R-2

The first experience I had with the camera repair was about a year ago–during the limited beta release I mentioned earlier.

As I am with my cameras nearly everyday in many types of situations, accidents are bound to occur. My personal experience with them started when I broke my Sony a6000. These cameras are strong, but not strong enough to survive a fall from my cabinet (that’s what the Sony TX-30 is for, apparently). I called up the private support number (which is  not advertised publicly, as it’s only for PRO Support members) and was on hold for a minute before a friendly Sony Senior product specialist picked up on the other end. Within minutes of the call, I was provided with a pre-paid FedEx shipping label and guidelines for the camera shipment. After carefully packaging the camera, I dropped it off to my nearby FedEx shipping center. After checking the tracking the next day–I was surprised that it already made it across the country and was delivered to Precision Camera.

Unfortunately, at this early state of the PRO Support program, my experience was not as fast. This had more to do with the supply chain than it did with the performance of the Precision Camera team (I guess the Sony a6000 is a popular camera 😉 ). The day after they received my camera, I received an email saying that the shop didn’t have spare parts for the type of repair my camera. They also offered a replacement camera that I could use in the meantime. As I’ve got a few other cameras to shoot with in the meantime, I decline on borrowing another camera. After a few more days, the Sony PRO Support team again offered another camera to borrow. Again, I declined.

Then the following week, I received an email with a tracking number. Parts came in and my camera was being shipped to me. The very next day, the camera was delivered in full working order.

My second experience with the repair was executed considerably faster? How fast? I needed a display repair on my Sony a7RII and six business days later, I had the repaired unit in my hands–that includes shipping across the country–twice! It looks like the dedicated team at Precision Camera that specifically handles PRO Support members worked out some of the previous kinks they had the year before!

Renting.160112E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSSILCE-510036-6

So this feature is awesome and one of my favorite things about the PRO Support program. Essentially what happens is I send the PRO Support team an email and ask if I could try out some brand new lens I am interested in. That’s it. Within a few days, expect it at your doorstep (assuming, of course, you are there to sign for it).

The first time I did this was with the 35mm f1.4 Zeiss lens. I could not wait to test this lens out–and test it I did. I went everywhere with that lens. All types of lighting conditions and environments.The few weeks with that lens was amazing. After my time with that lens, I had to ship it back to Lens Rentals–but not without ordering my very own copy.

160129FE 35mm F1.4 ZAILCE-7RM241-19If you are curious about acquiring Sony gear and just want to see how it performs first, this is definitely an excellent way to go.

I rented several e-mount lenses, including the Zeiss 16-70 (provide link), the G 18-105, and the FE 28mm f2, and the corresponding adapters. Once I was able to test how they perform, I made my decision to purchase them.

Renting goes through Lens Rentals and they ship it quickly. It also applies to more than lenses. It works with camera bodies, as well. You can try out battery grips, A-mount to E-mount adapters, and monitors. You can rent the items for two weeks at a time based on availability.

As I write this, I am waiting on the Sony RX1RII to borrow–ready to do it all over again and make a more educated decision on my gear purchases.

The team behind Sony PRO Support photographers are far more than support professionals. They know the gear and are also photographers, themselves.
There’s so much more to the PRO Support program and it’s awesome to see how they continue to grow and listen to their customers to better the service.160622FE 28mm F2ILCE-7RM2103

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