There’s no denying that for the professional photographer, support of gear is nearly as important as the gear itself. Countless photographers have been saved by the repair and loan services of the various professional support programs. When I worked in the media centers of the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics, I watched as a stream of photographers came to the Canon and Nikon CPS and NPS (respectively) mobile centers to have services performed ranging from sensor cleaning to focus adjustments to repairing damage from accidentally dropped equipment.
If you happen to be at an event where the professional services are on site, you can see a group of highly trained workers bent over, magnifying glasses perched atop their heads, manipulating gear with precise movements of tiny tools. For most photographers, though, the professional services divisions remain out of sight, standing by to help whenever a still or video camera repair need arises.
Canon shooters living in proximity to some of the major hubs of photo and video activity like New York City, Los Angeles and other metropolitan hubs have access to repair facilities, where they can walk in and drop off gear to be repaired, and can interact directly with the professional services.
Standing in the middle of an industrial park in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, just a short car ride from downtown Manhattan and a stone’s throw from the Meadowlands sporting complex (home of the Giants and Jets), is the home of one of Canon’s Canon Professional Services centers. After relocating to this new location, Canon extended me an invitation to visit the facility and see where cameras, video cameras and lenses go to get repairs. The proximity to the Meadowlands and to New York City means that the center sees a good amount of broadcast video equipment come through the doors, though the center is large enough to handle that traffic, plus any walk-in customers.
Inside the lobby of a large, but nondescript office building (make a right turn after the main doors, if you come) is the reception area to a much larger, behind-the-scenes facility. CPS members and other Canon shooters can simply walk in—with no reservations I might add—to get a number of repairs and cleaning services. A waiting room for CPS members has electricity and WiFi, and in the main reception area is an array of Canon cameras and lenses for evaluation. The center isn’t just open to CPS members—any Canon photographer can bring their gear here to have it serviced.
CPS Platinum members now get next-day service on their gear, and that means CPS Gold has been upgraded to two-day service. Non-CPS members can get their gear serviced in 5-7 days. Drop off your repairs and hang out in the lobby or the CPS waiting area for the techs to diagnose your issues, sign off on the repair and come back when the gear is good-to-go.
The facility behind the reception area is, as you might expect, fastidious and quiet, with rows of benches and technicians quietly working with blowers, screwdrivers and an array of specialized tools. Each station has a computer that has access to all of Canon’s technical documents for repair, allowing techs to troubleshoot and repair anything that lands on their bench.
Surrounding the repair benches are an array of cabinets with the most commonly needed parts for each of the currently shipping cameras.
Around the perimeter of the room is a set of testing equipment for lenses and camera bodies. Black curtains allow the technicians to close off a room to test gear without ambient light interfering. Several larger rooms have test benches on rails, allowing them to test lenses of any focal length by moving the test platform closer or farther from a set of test charts. Due to the proprietary nature of some of the tests, much of the gear was covered with a black tarp. I imagine that yet-to-be-announced Canon cameras were hiding under the black cloth.
One of the techs was working on upgrading a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with the Canon Log hardware upgrade, and I was told that users have been sending their cameras in for this upgrade, even if Log support isn’t needed in their workflow.
I was told that I could ask technicians any questions I wanted, but they were so quiet and focused that it seemed bad form to interrupt them to ask them about the repairs they were completing.
There is not, honestly, a lot of flourish to report on in a facility like this, and that’s a good sign. A clean, quiet and efficient repair center is what any professional customer wants backing up the gear they make their livelihood with. If there were something noteworthy here, it would be a bad sign.
The Lyndhurst facility is located at 125 Chubb Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071, and is available for any Canon shooter.