Canon Professional Services - The Best Tool for Photographers

Canon Professional Services - The Best Tool for Photographers

The Canon/Nikon debate is a Ford vs. Chevy debate for trucks, and a Coke vs. Pepsi debate for sodas. Both systems have their advantages, and their flaws (Come on Canon...make a 14-24mm already!). However, Canon, in my opinion, separates itself with one tool, the Canon Professional Services program.

 

What Is It?

If you own enough equipment from Canon, they’ll offer for you to join their professional services program. The program itself has 3 different tiers in which you can join, each with its own set of qualifications (that are fairly easy to meet). The tiers are broken down into Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Bennys
It's pretty easy to join the program in the Silver entry level, however, the benefits really begin to hit at the Gold and Platinum membership levels. Because of this, I highly recommend going straight to the Gold level membership, as it includes all the the features within the CPS program.

 

The Features

I recently renewed my Gold membership at WPPI, so I received a new package from Canon as a result. Within the package I received from Canon, I got the following items.

CPS-1CPS-2 
CPS Camera Strap
The CPS Strap provided by Canon is a vast improvement over the straps included with their cameras. Unlike their standard strap, the CPS camera strap is padded, and the curve within the strap makes it very comfortable to wear. I, like many photographers, use a third party strap as it is, so this camera strap has no real use for me. But the straps, because of their quality, or some reason unknown to me, sell new on eBay for around $70-$75, which makes the $100 annual fee far more bearable.

 

Lens Caps
They're identical to what you'd receive if you bought a new camera body or lens from Canon. Moving on...

 

EF Lens Work Book
This book is wonderful for anyone who is interested in learning the ins and outs of Canon's lens lineup. Every lens that is currently in production is featured in the book, with bright visuals, and often, examples of each lenses capabilities. The book itself is hardcover, and over 200 pages explaining everything you'd want to know about the lenses Canon has available. Everything from the weight, to the coating used on the glass is covered in this book. Also, if this book has no use for you, it can easily be sold on eBay for $15-$25, though I'd recommend holding on to it as a coffee table book.

CPS-3
 

Clean and Check Cards
One of the more valuable things within the packet you receive is the Clean and Check cards. These allow you to send your lenses or camera body into Canon to be professionally cleaned and serviced. The last time I had this done, Canon provided my camera with a new focusing screen, free of charge. This service is great, as its professionally done (instead of a simple blast from a rocket blower) and often costs upwards of a hundred dollars if done at a Canon retailer. Also, Canon often offers free cleaning of your equipment at different photography expos throughout the year to CPS members.

 

20% off Canon Workshops and Seminars
Personally, I've never used this feature within the CPS services, however I have no doubt that it is useful. Canon sponsors some of the best photographers in the world, who all offer their guidance within the CPS online portal. Classes are often cheap, and the 20% off just further cuts the cost of that.

 

CPS Pin & Membership  Card
Eh, just throw this stuff in the trash, as I assume you probably won't use it anyway.

 

Equipment Evaluation Loan
This is perhaps the best tool within the CPS program. Canon will lend you Camera bodies, Lenses, Flashes or whatever you'd need free of charge (minus shipping and handling). This is exceptionally useful if you often find yourself renting equipment from online vendors, as they'll have deadlines for returning, and will charge you extra for long term rentals. However, its worth noting that while Canon does offer this service for free, there are limits to the equipment you can borrow, and the time you can borrow it for. (Sorry video guys, no 1D-C's for you). A full list of potential rentals is available by clicking here.

 

Discounted & Rush Repairs
Another useful tool for CPS members is the discounted and rush repairs. Nikon, often takes weeks for specialty fixes on their camera gear, and do not offer a service that provides a timeline for returns. With Canon CPS, they are able to guarantee a 3 day turn around (for Gold members, 2 Days for Platinum members) with a discount of 30%-60% of the cost. Aside from this wonderful service, Canon also offers loaners for the time that you're without a camera.

 

How to Enroll

Canon Professional Services is incredibly simple to enroll in. If you've been registering your gear with Canon, enrollment will take only seconds. In order to be eligible for Gold or Platinum memberships, you must reach an allocated amount of points for the equipment you have registered. Pro cameras range from 4-10 points, and lenses range from 2-8. Personally, I've been able to reach 56 points, which is nearly triple the amount needed in order to obtain Gold membership, so reaching 20 should not be much of a problem. To enroll into the program simply click here.

Upon registering, Canon will send you your packet of information, usually within 3 business days. This will include everything you see above, as well as rush shipping labels, in case you do need to send some of your equipment in for repairs.

 

Conclusion

Sony, Pentax, and Olympus offer a program similar to this, however my experience with them is nonexistent (Thank you to Jason from the comments for the find). Nikon offers a program called Nikon Professional Services, but shares virtually no information on the program via their website. If you do shoot Canon, I believe Canon Professional Services is a must have program to be enrolled in. Between the repairs, equipment loans and the beautiful camera strap, CPS has shown appreciation towards its photographers that is unrivaled by their competition.

 

 

PSA : I'm not endorsed, sponsored or paid by Canon in anyway whatsoever. I simply learned that some Canon photographers were still unaware of the CPS program during WPPI, and decided to write this article about it to inform others.

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75 Comments

Previous comments

Hey Brian, maybe when your job is about reporting things to people, they won't give a shiiii when you fuck up royally too (Aka not doing ANY fact checking when you also have no idea what you're talking about).

Jenn Zeller's picture

Zach-

I had no idea this existed and I shoot with solely Canon equipment. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Tim O'Bryan's picture

"CPS Pin & Membership card - Eh just throw this stuff in the trash..."

haha... my thoughts exactly! "What?! lets get rid of this rubbish" ;)

I've been an FStoppers reader since day one of this site. Stories like this do nothing but damage the credibility of the staff and all the people that work on FStoppers. To mention that CPS is great and Nikon doesn't provide you with enough information about NPS just makes you, and unfortunately, the rest of the staff appear lazy and uninformed. It isn't the reader or Nikon's job to inform you about a story that you're writing. To say my experience with NPS has been nothing short of stellar would be a massive understatement.

My studio was broken into on New Year's Eve of this year. Approximately $60,000 worth of equipment, including over $40,000 worth of pro Nikon gear was stolen. Within 48 hours I received a D3S, D700, 200mm f/2, 70-200mm f/2.8, and 24-70mm f/2.8 from NPS to use while my insurance company got everything sorted out. They would've sent a D800 as well, but they were all loaned out at the time. It's March18th and I still have all the NPS gear on loan. It cost me only the shipping and they're not even bothered about the length of time I've had it. NPS has all the serial numbers on my stolen gear so if anything ever gets sent in for repair I'll be notified immediately.

When the D800 was brand new and I wanted to test one out I had it in my hands in 3 days. Not because I needed one. I didn't have one on pre-order. I didn't even buy it. I just wanted to try it out. Remember when the D4 was released? Again, I waited 3 days. If a new body or lens is being released and I want to buy one I just call NPS and tell them I'm buying it from my local shop. Let's say that local shop only receives 5 of the item. NPS calls them and tells them, "You're getting 5 of these. The first one belongs to this guy." Now that shop has 4 others to sell. What happens when the next NPS person calls? You guessed it! NPS tells the shop, "The second one is to be held for this second NPS guy." Now they have 3 to sell to the general public. That kind of service costs me $0 per year. I'm a nobody photographer in a small town in a "flyover state." I can't imagine what kind of amazing service they provide to their big name guys.

While at ImagingUSA this year I was able to talk with people at NPS - while they cleaned my only non-stolen camera body for free - about my concerns regarding a solution Nikon made a while back involving barcode scanners to manipulate metadata in image files. They weren't able to answer my question exactly on the spot because it was really old technology - that Canon is now promoting as new in their 7D Studio body - even though the guy was outrageously knowledgeable. They called a lead engineer that evening and had an answer for me the next day. Not bad for a free service.

The problem I hear from my CPS friends is this: If all it takes to get top-priority is $500 and a little bit of gear practically everyone is a Platinum CPS member. Who gets priority if everyone is in the priority line?

Nikon does a fantastic job taking care of its pros. I chuckle and subtly shake my head every time I see a CPS strap.

"To mention that CPS is great and Nikon doesn't provide you with enough
information about NPS just makes you, and unfortunately, the rest of the
staff appear lazy and uninformed. It isn't the reader or Nikon's job to
inform you about a story that you're writing"

Completely agreed Boom, between this, and corey calling porn stars "hideous" and having "deep dark holes in their souls", in his own freaking article, I think Fstoppers has just turned into amateur hour.

It's very, very sad. Awesome anecdotes about NPS though, I've only heard good things as well.

It's a surprise someone who knows "a photographer who had a button stick 3 different times with his D700" isn't very knowledgeable about NPS. What an absolute shocker.

As well as this pro knowing a grand total of one person who had ever used NPS, for such a silly , noobsauce issue.

@ ZachSutton "A sticking button is not a specialty repair in my eyes..."

And you would know, because you've actually replaced a stuck button? You are intimately familiar with what it may entail even replacing a little button on a modern DSLR? DO YOU?

Rhetorically, of course, just like your article, you have no idea what's going on here, or how to fix a DSLR "button" if your life depended on it.

I tell ya, if the same button gets stuck after two different repairs, your "Pro" buddy is doing it wrong.

Biff Stephens's picture

I liked the article, I for one have had great service with CPS (US), multiple cleanings via coupon and 2 fixes, one for 233.00 (USM replace on an 11 year old 100-400) and a 222.00 (complete body replacement of a 5DmkIII body) They sent me the paper work to sign for a loner for the 5D but then a day later I got my camera.

I don't have any experience with Nikon or others but it does seem that Canon lays it out a bit for what you get and the point system makes it easier for a non-profesional to be part of it.

The really funny thing about the article is up until now I view Fstoppers to be a very Nikon centric. I thought most of the writers shot Nikon and loved them. I still came back and I still read. Nice to see they are an equal opportunity blog or whatever you call them.

Morning folks. Does anyone know the limitations on borrowing equipment? Tehre are a few things I will praobly buy but want to try. But what stops me from "borrowing" an 800mm lens every month?

Your wallet will be your biggest limitation.

Unless I'm reading this wrong I would only pay for shipping. While not exactly cheap the aforementioned 800mm would cost $500 for 4 days from lens rentals including shipping. I could have the same lens from Canon for up to 2 weeks for just shipping (I'm sure insurance figures in here somewhere, but not $500

love canon

love canon pro services.. so fast and easy

I would have agreed to the positive comments about CPS but the level of services has appeared to have changed. First, the packet you get when you first join is nice, but it's a one time thing. Renewal costs the same, but you get the offered services. Second, the clean and check according to the rep at the front desk is an "external clean" where they clean what is directly visible. The "check" involves them taking a picture and seeing if it looks ok. I imagine its the standard graphic type of lines, letters, etc that can be purchased for less than $5 at any camera shop. If they have to look at anything inside, they start charging what i consider a fair amount of money. To get what I was always considering a "check and clean" costs a little less than $200 for a 5D MkII and a little more than $200 for a 5D MkIII. I guess I did get my discount for CPS membership, but to have a full check/focus adjustment for the two cameras and a 50mm F1.2, and 100mm macro which I was having focus issues, totaled about $1000. This is just for what I had assumed was the basic service which I thought would be free. In addition, I asked that they complete it within the 3 days as part of the Gold Membership, but they didn't complete for 6 days and did not call me. I cancelled a shoot for other reasons, otherwise I would have had to test the policy of having free loaners, but I was warned by the rep, that it was for only a few items and depended on what they had.

I'm not sure of what was the change, but I first noticed a difference in service when I accidentally damaged a 100mm f1.2. The initial estimate was around $300, but after the the 3 days I was called and told it would be closer to $1300 with my discount. I asked to increase my membership, as I just renewed right before the repair, but they said they would not pro-rate my membership and I'd have to buy an entirely new membership.

I'm not sure if there was a change as my experience before these past 4 months was very positive, but I can see other than continuing membership has little value. The do have a policy that you can get membership at any time so I'd suggest you wait until you have a major repair and see if the membership cost is comparable to the discount. Perhaps the superficial clean and inspection of a standard lens check picture is worth the price to some, but you should be aware of what you are actually getting.

CPS is EXTREMELY UNPROFESSIONAL and poorly managed. It's complete chaos there. I've been a Platinum member for about two months. In these two months the following happened:

- they scratched up the front element of one of my $2,000+ lenses in the "annual maintenance" process. It looked like they must have dropped it (and hoped i wouldn't notice?)

- they sent back my flash gun broken alleging they repaired it, even though they didn't

- every single time I send something in, they send my gear back to the wrong address. Somebody in the NJ facility entered the wrong address for me (with several typos,) into a local computer system, and nobody at CPS knows how to delete it. Every time they send my gear back, it goes to that wrong address, and I have to call FedEx and CPS multiple times to correct their mistake. This causes a lot of headache and days of delays.

Yes, I called CPS about this a dozen times, and talked to several supervisors who always ensure me they'd sort things out. But they don't.

In short, this is the most chaotic, most poorly managed business I've ever dealt with.

Yes, no other brand offers such terrible, unprofessional service. This is indeed unparalleled. I had one experience with Sony in the past, and had no problems there.