Why I am dropping Sony E Mount from my PRO kit

Featured Monday, 14 March 2016 11:04

It all comes down to SERVICE.

For many types of my work the gear itself is suitable for me - The sensors are quality. The images and video are outstanding. For other work I have never used them (rough conditions, tricky focus). But with service like this - I just can't use them at all.

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22 comments

  • Comment Link Keith Spillett Monday, 14 March 2016 16:17 posted by Keith Spillett

    As a pro with over 40 years experience, I tend to take issue with what does and doesn't constitute pro gear. I happen to have very small hands for a 6 ft man, so tend to choose smaller camera bodies, which do NOT necessarily come under the description of 'pro'. I shoot RAW all the time, so this isn't a particular problem for me. Also, as I don't tend to work in war zones or particularly adverse conditions, I don't need a lot of what the top of the range pro gear offers. Strangely enough, the only kit I've needed to have serviced due to faults have been lenses, both Nikon and Canon, which I've had fixed in London by Fixation, who are brilliant, and have a very quick turn around. Also they offer the advantage of just being able to walk in off the street, and will service ANY Nikon or Canon kit without question, irrespective of whether it carries a pro tag or not. They will also perform sensor cleaning on any make of camera.

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  • Comment Link Nick Schreger Monday, 14 March 2016 17:24 posted by Nick Schreger

    I couldn't agree more. I hope Fujifilm will come up with something similar since I switched from Canon and also need to rely heavily on a working support. Not that I had anything go south severyly in the past but Murphy never sleeps and CPS was just brilliant.

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  • Comment Link Pubilius Monday, 14 March 2016 19:00 posted by Pubilius

    Pro Services should be based on the equipment you invested with the company, not your business model. If two people both spent the same amount of money on high end goods, why should one be treated as an elitist and the other a doormat? The company should not care what paperwork I've filed with some bureaucratic government office.

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  • Comment Link Michael Morris Monday, 14 March 2016 22:43 posted by Michael Morris

    I have been a Nikon shooter for many years. I have experimented with Leica, Olympus, Fujifilm, and have settled on Sony A7R and A7Rii for my travel cameras. The image quality is every bit as good as my D800E in a much smaller package. I recently had an issue with my less than 6 month old A7Rii. The anti reflective coating on the back screen started to degrade. This was under a screen protector so I am not really sure how this happened. In the US, I sent the camera to Precision Camera Repair in Connecticut. They checked the camera in almost immediately. When the camera went to repair department a "Delay" message appeared in the camera's status. After about a week I contacted them. They told me the repair would be approximately $520. This is just to replace the outer cover on the back screen. There was nothing actually wrong with the camera other than the AR coating scratches. I authorized them to do the repair despite the excessive cost. Another 2 weeks went by and the status was still "Delayed". During this time I called them and emailed them almost daily. They did not answer the phone or return my emails. Finally after about two weeks of this, I got through and they claimed my credit card was denied. We straightened this out which took another day or two. To their credit, they did an amazing job repairing the camera. They completely cleaned and recalibrated the camera. They packed up the camera and returned it to me overnight as I paid the up charge. Their packaging was the absolute best I have ever seen. Personally, I think I was charged too much for this repair. Had they done it in a more timely manner and responded to my phone calls and emails, I would have been happy to pay the charge.

    I will probably apply for the Pro Service from Sony. As an eye surgeon, I do not make my living as a photographer, but I have better and more equipment than most pro photographers. I am very serious about my photography. By Nikon's Pro definition, I would not qualify even though I have the quantity of equipment required. I have no issues with paying extra for first class service, my time is my most valuable asset.

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  • Comment Link dave Monday, 14 March 2016 23:31 posted by dave

    I shoot Sony (a65, a77, a99) but will slowly migrate over to Pentax (K-1) as soon as it is available...because of the outstanding customer support

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  • Comment Link Ray Schwartz Tuesday, 15 March 2016 01:44 posted by Ray Schwartz

    I have to agree 100%, Buying a product is easy, keeping it working is more important.

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  • Comment Link Grant S. Tuesday, 15 March 2016 01:48 posted by Grant S.

    New T-shirt slogan.."I really pound my gear" ;)

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  • Comment Link Lynn Karie Tuesday, 15 March 2016 03:54 posted by Lynn Karie

    Well done, Matt. I was with Sony several years ago and waited for them to upgrade their professional grade gear the whole time many other professionals that used Sony were doing the same and we were writing and almost begging Sony to introduce more professional quality gear.
    I ultimately switched to Canon due to issues that you state and others.
    Loved the Minolta/Sony glass, always will, but at the time Sony just had no interest in
    keeping those of us that had bought, heavily into Sony gear.
    I fear this is a pattern with Sony as they just don't have the experience of keeping and maintaining professional clientele that really depend on Gear and Service.
    I was skeptical and hopeful when Sony had purchased the Photography Section of Minolta. I and others that had Minolta gear
    were hoping that Sony had the fore sight to keep and cultivate the experienced Minolta crew to guide and grow Sony.
    It has been a slow and painful process that not all of us were willing to maintain, so Matt, and others that are going through this, I feel your pain.
    It's tough to really appreciate and find gear that works for the most part only to have to move on for various reasons.
    Good for you for putting yourself out there and giving good information and personal experience to people that could really use it.
    Thanks again for you candor.

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  • Comment Link Mark Keohane Tuesday, 15 March 2016 08:20 posted by Mark Keohane

    Hey Matt; similar issue with a Lumix LX100 here in the UK. First one had a hair or fibre on the sensor - this is a non-interchangeable model. Took it in to the store and it went off to Panasonic's appointed repairers. Came back after about 2-3 weeks with new spots on the sensor. Went back in, came back and they were gone but there was a new one; it was very small and only noticeable if shooting large expanses of blue sky with a small aperture. Eventually the scroll wheel on the back failed so i took it in for the sensor problem, the scroll wheel and also an issue with the rear LCD. Third time in now within the one year warranty period. After about a month's to-ing and fro-ing the store finally managed to persuade Panasonic to give me a new one. (Which I then dropped in the street the first time I used it; fortunately scratched but otherwise undamaged.)

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  • Comment Link Kurt Pleavin Tuesday, 15 March 2016 10:09 posted by Kurt Pleavin

    @Nick, Fujifilm are busy working on a Medium Format as they believe their APSC performs to the standard of a Full Frame.

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  • Comment Link hector luis spinelli Tuesday, 15 March 2016 15:12 posted by hector luis spinelli

    Excellent report Matt

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  • Comment Link Alan Tuesday, 15 March 2016 22:51 posted by Alan

    My professional experience with Sony in Switzerland is perhaps similar to Matt's. Sony Switzerland does not repair the A7 series photographic products they sell. They farm it out to a service partner who initially estimates an extortionate price (approximating the retail price) for repair, irrespective of the defect involved. They then offer to change your camera or lens for a replacement which is not new, has no service history and essentially voids Sony's garantee commitments and the customers legal right of ownership.

    I have sent two FE lenses via the photographic shop where I bought them to Sony Switzerland for repair. The first lens (sent last year) was simply replaced after three weeks waiting with a refurbished lens with a different serial number loosely stuck on the lens barrel and a large bill, without detailing what was wrong with my lens. I did not accept this and the shop replaced it themselves with a demo lens. The second lens was sent this year to Sony and I was informed via the shop three weeks later the repair would cost almost the same as the recommended retail price. I asked for a cost and item breakdown of what was involved with the repair and was told this would take ten days to prepare. After another two weeks without hearing anything the shop was told Sony could not repair my lens and the shop again offered to replace it new for an administrative fee. Sony then stated that I (my company) could apply for membership of their professional support programme in Switzerland. Unfortunately the website application form stated clearly that one has to be a resident of Germany. When the Swiss Sony Representive was informed of his error he stated that the Sony service provider is currently training two technicians in France to handle repairs for the Swiss market.

    I can only praise the shop where I purchase my photographic equipment for outstanding customer service. Although the Sony A7 products are terrific innovations Sony negates their use by providing in this market an absolutely abysmal customer engagement/service.

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  • Comment Link Jimmy Walsh Tuesday, 15 March 2016 23:15 posted by Jimmy Walsh

    Matt,
    My experience with Sony support in Australia is similar to yours. I had a service issue with an A6000 which was drawn out over months. The Sony service rep repeatedly failed to respond to my emails. When she did respond, she didn't address the points that I had raised with her. I became so frustrated that I asked her, 'Are you a robot?' She didn't respond to this either. Ultimately this led to me ditching the A6000.

    There is absolutely no comparison with the service I've received from Nikon Australia. I have found them to be prompt, polite and the work is always completed to a high standard.

    I can only hope that Sony sits up and listens to this. Their rapid growth in the digital imaging sector will eventually fall if the service problems continue.

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  • Comment Link PJ Tuesday, 15 March 2016 23:26 posted by PJ

    well done, I shoot Sony, but this way of doing service won't give them much benefits. They already lost huge chunk of TV and other markets due to their behaviour and way of doing business. I was first to ditched Sony TV and move to Samsung, Sony Video and move to Panasonic.....due to heavy investment in A mount, I still have to stick to them in Imaging market. Their top management are rude, stubborn and really don't get the market - even in 21st Century. These days consumers are highly educated and have a choice, not like in 70-es when only few companies could really make good product.

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  • Comment Link John Smith Wednesday, 16 March 2016 00:09 posted by John Smith

    Sony has always been dodgy...even in the music industry.

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  • Comment Link Simon Wednesday, 16 March 2016 06:49 posted by Simon

    I do not find this surprising. I had a sony phone that had issue there support was hopeless, they claimed it was some thing I had done to the phone and did not want to help me and even argued with. Since then I refuse to buy any sony products. When I bought my latest TV I switched to Samsung. By the way Samsung support is fantastic, so far.

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  • Comment Link Alex Morean Wednesday, 16 March 2016 16:08 posted by Alex Morean

    I might be an idiot, but after having lots and lots of issues with Sony headphones, smartphones (2 of them) and a playstation that died on me within warranty but they refused to repair... I got an A7SII and this might actually be the last chance I give them as a brand...

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  • Comment Link Richard Brown Wednesday, 16 March 2016 19:48 posted by Richard Brown

    Matt that is sad to hear. I used Minolta equipment for years and was very pleased with it. I went with Nikon about 20 years ago and I liker them also. I was afraid when Sony bought Minolta thing would change and I guess they have.

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  • Comment Link G. Curt Fiedler Friday, 18 March 2016 01:19 posted by G. Curt Fiedler

    Not sure why you shoot Sony in outdoor, rugged environments in the first place. I don't think any of their lenses or bodies have weatherproofing.

    I've not had great service with Nikon USA, so I usually get my gear serviced with Nikon Japan when we are back with family there..

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  • Comment Link Johannes van Graan Friday, 18 March 2016 15:45 posted by Johannes van Graan

    In South Africa the non-existing service of Sony resulted in Sony camera gear and other products getting such poor name in the market that Sony withdrew completely from this country in 2015.

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  • Comment Link Andrew Monday, 21 March 2016 00:07 posted by Andrew

    I had a Sony action cam (HDR-AS15) it came with the underwater housing. Bought it one week before a 20 day Galapagos Island trip.
    When I returned to Australia to view the footage I nearly emptied my stomach. After weeks back and forth to a "Sony Centre" and numerous emails back and forth to Sony, they never apologised, reimbursed, or gave for free the FLAT DOOR underwater housing that shoots CLEAR video instead of the underwater housing that comes with the camera that shoots BLURRY video / stills. What did the underwater housing dept do on the day they released that Sh#t item look the other way when the production line spewed them out. AHHHRRRRGGGG Never again Sony ever !!!!

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  • Comment Link Bernard Saturday, 26 March 2016 13:22 posted by Bernard

    It's incredible to read all those issues all over the world ; Australia, USA, Switzerland, South Africa... I shoot Canon with no pro gears (500D, 600D, 70D) and I live in Belgium, a little country. So when I have an issue, no need to call by phone, I send it to after-sale in France (1 day by post, 5 Canon official repair laboratories), they call me to confirm the issue, the same day they send me a mail with the cost repair estimation and if I say "yes", 10 days later. my little no-pro gear is back. What a pity for a professional to get an issue with Sony !

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