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Dead Sony 16-35mm f/4. Sony farms out warranty service in USA.

Paul David

Member
I would like to warn everybody about the lack of factory warranty service. As I think it's important to put as much pressure on Sony as possible, I also shared my experience with Lloyd Chambers, who helped to expose the shutter vibration problem of the A7r. diglloyd: Reader Experience and Concerns: Sony Service and Reliability.

I recently was in Iceland, where the temperatures were close to 32° F (0 ° C). I had purchased a Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens, which I thoroughly tested before the trip. The lens immediately and consistently exhibited the following behavior when used outdoors, where it was always used in the manual focus mode: After a few minutes of use, when attempting to focus I would hear a “clunk” and the lens would go out of focus. At times it would make a high-pitch whining noise. Once this happened it was impossible to focus until the power was turned off and back on, at which time it would work for a minute or two before doing the same thing. This was not an intermittent problem, but happened every day during 10 days of use.

When returning I called Sony, and was informed they no longer had their own warranty service. The only option was to send the lens to Precision Camera in Enfield, CT. Precision’s web site shows that they service multiple brands. The lens was sent to them with a clear explanation that the lens only malfunctioned at temperatures around 32° F. The lens was returned with a note “Checks out OK.” They stated they cleaned it. I called and asked if it was tested at 32° F, since it always has worked normally at room temperatures and consistently failed when cold. The person answering the phone had no idea. Furthermore, she refused to transfer me to a technician, supervisor, or anyone with technical knowledge.

I then called Sony, who said I could send it back to Precision, but had no idea if they could test it at temperatures in which it failed. Furthermore Sony would not transfer me to any supervisor or anyone with any technical knowledge. Eventually the situation was settled after multiple calls to customer service by Sony taking back the lens and refunding the purchase price.

I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience with Sony "service" - or lack thereof. How can we consider adding to our Sony system it the products can't be reliably serviced?

-Paul
 
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Malina DZ

Member
Thank you for sharing your experience Paul. I never had to deal with Sony tech support and service with my old gear, so can't say anything good or bad.
Just want to point out for everyone that most of the Sony stores have been closed with just a few primary locations in Cali, NY & TX left: http://store.sony.com/-cms-page.sony.store.listing

I wonder how their promised photography Pro support is developing. Haven't seen any feedback yet in spite of many pros switching to Sony.
 

serhan

New member
I used the old repair service. I read that they were shipping from TX to Mexico to fix the lenses eg there was not much feedback on the repairs either. My 50mm 1.8 OSS was making a big noise (most probably OSS) and they replaced it with another refurbished one with 3 months warranty which matched to my leftover warranty period.

I saw more problems with Precision camera and also the price of some repairs as posted by R. Cicala of Lensrentals:
Tearing Down the Sony 24-70 f/4 ZA OSS Vario Tessar

Sony was supposed to start the pro program, but they are more subcontracting the warranty to the third party repair centers like small camera manufacturers like Ricoh is doing... Hopefully they will improve their service..
 

Paul David

Member
The link shows EXACTLY the script Sony used with me.

BTW, I wouldn't qualify for Pro service. I have been doing fine art photography for years, from the days of 35mm and 4x5 to now where I often use a PhaseOne IQ180 system. Despite the fact that I'm not paid for my work, I think I deserve to be treated to professional level service if I buy professional grade products.

Paul
 

ryc

New member
As much as I love my cameras, I may drop Sony because of the outsourcing of repairs and poor customer service.
 

Paul David

Member
Paul, were you able to test the lens at 32 F after the "repair"
Not in San Jose, California. I would need to be inside a giant refrigerator. And it is highly unlikely that Precision Camera could test it under the conditions in which it consistently failed.

It would be insane to test it on another international photo trip under conditions in which it failed 100% of the time!

-Paul
 
V

Vivek

Guest
Have you tried contacting Zeiss? FWIW, the lens does sport a blue label!
 

uhoh7

New member
Sony has both a "bad rap" and alot of serious issues that are real. I shot their video cameras professionally for a decade and had many dealings with Laredo and other outlets. I started shooting stills with the Nex-5. The tiny format and lens flexibility won me over.

The A7r/A7 was a dream camera until I realized how serious the filter stack issue really was. I marvel at the patience of many users searching for great UWA performance. I moved to M9 and had my A7 filter stack reduced.

I've watched as lens after new lens has been introduced and shot by my friends on the forums--many much better shooters than me.

What I've heard form the beginning is serious quality issues with the glass. De-centered lenses are very common. If yours is good of course the issue is moot.

Now warranties are being farmed out? It's a very spare warranty to begin with. My dealings with laredo in the past were just as arcane as any story I've heard form Leica NJ.

My personal bottomline: considering the quality, Sony is an even worse "deal" than Leica. You might have to pay more at the door for Leica, but the party is harder and longer, and there are more interesting people inside [meaning the glass options].

But that feeling may be because I did buy my A7 new. Considering a perfect used one can be found for 700USD, and modded to near M240 performance with RF glass for another 400, well, it's quite a camera :)
 

RiversPhoto

New member
I recently had the opposite experience with Sony Pro Support. My shutter button broke off on my A7s (possibly caused by experimenting with a glued on extended shutter button...) and I called Sony. They had an email to me in hours with the shipping info and prepaid FedEx to Precision. Repairs were done in 24 hours with the camera sensor cleaned and all functions checked. The camera was sent back overnight and I had the camera ready for my next video project.

After dealing with Leica USA in New Jersey, and the local Washington, DC Leica boutique, this was amazing service.
 

ryc

New member
Update 5/21/2015

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.
 

Jim DE

New member
Precision Camera Repair is the worst... there are many such threads on the web and the main reason I went on their Pro Service Program. Don't let the first qualification form scare you ... contact this programs director direct she is very professional and will listen to your needs.

Sadly we are seeing thread of other camera companies in the USA also using Precision Camera for their warranty work as well so packing up camp and going to another brand here in the USA may just mean more of the same issue.

I have written several letters to executive level Sony Electronics Division employees and hyper linked thread discussing the amount of dissatisfaction their customers are experiencing with this outsourced repair process. Their Laredo TX facility was excellent.... if this Pro Program doesn't fix my repair issues with Precision's SOP of poor service I have told them all I too will look for other cameras to use even if I dislike their level of technology more. To me service after the sale is everything and should never be outsourced where the company loses it's direct control over this procedure.

If quick excellent service is the status quo under the Pro Program then the $100 per year charge is a bargain to me just for the peace of mind.....
 

Guy Mancuso

Administrator, Instructor
Okay short story but Nikon is no better. Awhile ago Tempe Camera repair was servicing Nikon for many years and out of the blue they pulled all parts and service from all the repair shops across the U.S. They took everything in house raised there rates and screwed the end user and all those vendors which many are mom and pop stores that lost a ton of income. I lost a lot of respect for them when this happened. Now I'm not talking about Pro service as Nikon and Canon always did a good job of that but sometimes I would walk into Tempe camera with a Nikon issue and they would fix it on the spot for me. As a Pro that was fantastic . All gone now

I'm not saying there is nothing that goes wrong far from it and I hate reading the horror stories been there myself . I had two M8 take a 6 month vacation in Solms. So been there have the T shirt but if something will fail than it usually does and there is poor service everywhere.
 

stephengilbert

Active member
I think it's worth mentioning that the "Precision Camera" referred to here is not the same as "Precision Camera Works," the Arca Swiss repair place in Illinois.
 

AmandaC

New member
Hello Paul David,

My name is Amanda Coppersmith, I work for Sony Electronics social media team. I completely empathize with your frustrations and definitely want to make sure this is being handled accordingly. Did the representative that you were speaking to provide you with a reference number (example: E12345678)? If so, please send that information to me in a private message. I will look into this further and see if there's anything else I can do to help out from my end.

Have a wonderful day!

-Amanda
 

jaree

Member
+1. Sony may have farmed out service, but Leica's in-house service is no better. Probably worse.

Leica service has gone downhill fast. I am still waiting to get an estimate for a lens that was dropped off personally at Leica NJ office on Feb 25th 2015. After THREE months this company cannot even provide me an estimate as to how much and how long will it take to do a simple CLA service. The stock answer is that the lens has been sent to Germany and they will advise. And then I have three more items that are waiting to repaired for 3 months now in their German service center.

No experience with Sony and hope I don't have to deal with them. I love the Sony A7, but now hesitate to buy new stuff because of all these stories. Buying used after a few months or renting makes sense to me.

Is there any camera company today that actually cares for folks who are not pros, but still spend a lot of money on their products? Some 6 odd years back Nikon replaced the sensor on my small P&S camera for free even though it was outside warranty. It was done in a week's time with no questions asked. Small service, but a big gesture and they won my business for years. Not sure how Nikon's service is today.

After dealing with Leica USA in New Jersey, and the local Washington, DC Leica boutique, this was amazing service.
 
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