My Sony Rant …
First of all let me start by saying I absolutely love my Sony A7II. It is a modern marvel of technology packed into a small camera body that yields incredible and amazing images. Although almost every camera has room for improvement, I can honestly say I think my A7II will suffice and meet my needs for the foreseeable future without the urge to upgrade. I have also owned the original A7, A7R and A7S. As you may have guessed by now, I am a bit of a Sony fan boy to some extent and don’t try to hide it. Just throw a Zeiss lens on the camera and you are sailing with freedom and joy you cannot get from the monster DSLR’s.
As most can images, it’s not all roses and sunshine. Sony has come a long way in just a few years with the development of cameras and technology the competition has failed to capitalize on. So much so that Leica will be introducing a new camera very soon that will be a competitor to the RX1. After seeing that camera first hand it is clear that Sony has forced the competition to venture into unknown territory and mimic what Sony has been doing for years. Just wait till you see it. However, having said that, Sony has some serious gaps in their support and customer service which needs to mature to a professional level.
When I purchased my A7II back in January directly online from Sony, I was in camera heaven. However, nothing can deflate your spirits like a broken camera and shortly after my purchase, with less than 500 clicks on the camera, I noticed a problem. The front dial was pretty much dead. It would not change the values for aperture on any lens. Yes I tested, reset and reassigned dial functions. Any function the front dial had to perform it did not. As you can image, I was pretty bummed about this. But heck, the camera was just over a month old and still under warranty. So I called Sony, spoke to someone in the Philippines and managed to get a case open for repair. I was told that Sony no longer repaired cameras and I had to send it to Precision Camera in Connecticut. Well, this was strike one as far as I am concerned. One facility that handles many different manufactures di d not give me the warm fuzzy feel I was looking for. Needless to say, I sent them the camera via priority mail at my expense on March 11th. The Camera arrived, sat there for a few days before it was entered into the system and shipped back to me on March the 24th. Communication was poor and no details on the repair were provided. However the camera did arrive in working order.
Fast forward to May and guess what, turned on the A7II only to find the exact same problem I experienced before. The front dial was once again inoperable. This time, I called Sony asking for a replacement camera rather than another repair since the camera is so new. I was told that Sony’s policy is to repair the camera and not replace it. Furthermore, having to deal with a generic customer support department that deals with all sorts of products is not very encouraging. I asked for the case to be escalated to a manager and was told there is no process for such a request. Instead, I was told a customer support agent would contact me within 48 hours. As you can imagine, my confidence level in Sony customer support is dropping really fast. As a longtime member of NPS (Nikon Professional Services) I have been spoiled with the dedicated level of support and attention given to an NPS member.
Although the Big names like Nikon and Canon could learn a thing or two about innovation from Sony. It is also clear that Sony can learn a thing or two about customer service from Nikon or Canon. Attending to the customer needs and getting a problem fixed the first time goes a long way in the industry.
At this time I continue to use the Sony cameras with great joy and results. I also know that until Sony matures in customer service, a failure can lead to unnecessary inconveniences for the photographer.
On the plus sides, most of the gear is inexpensive and available in many stores which make for easy and quick temporary replacement if desperately needed.
4 days later, I finally received a call from Sony regarding the issue with the A7II. The customer service representative informed me that they had no cameras in the warehouse to replace my defective A72. Instead, they offered a full refund in the form of a check which would take up to 4 weeks for me to receive. At this point, I have returned the camera to Sony and am waiting for the refund check. In the meantime, I am using a friends A7II until my check comes in which I will apply towards the purchase of a replacement body.