Last week Canon announced a Service Center installed upgrade to their uber-popular EOS 5d Mark II and EOS 7d DSLR’s.  The upgrade replaces the existing mode dial located on the top left of both cameras with a new locking mode dial released by a convenient center release button.

 

Last week Canon announced a Service Center installed upgrade to their uber-popular EOS 5d Mark II and EOS 7d DSLR’s.  The upgrade replaces the existing mode dial located on the top left of both cameras with a new locking mode dial released by a convenient center release button.

 

Introduction           

Why?  Professionals used to the solid and well designed 1d series bodies can immediately tell you.  It is considered a professional feature to be able to ‘lock-down’ your settings so you needn’t be bothered with checking your settings when you should be taking pictures, or worse.. that you don’t end up taking a series of important pictures (think sports events, weddings, news journalism) before realizing your camera was in the wrong mode or using the wrong settings.  And not just wrong, settings chosen inadvertently for you by the action of a mode dial brushing up against your jeans or the AF switch on your lens being moved to MF by the neck strap.  When I work a wedding friends are often surprised to see my cameras and lenses sporting big thick pieces of gaffers tape making sure these settings are impossible to move without my express intent. 

It really does happen more often than you’d imagine.  But it only happens a few times before you realize you’d better take preventative action before blowing an assignment.  My favorite 24-70mm F2.8L USM lens is a great example, the ‘easy to position’ AF/MF switch I’m sure Canon considered a feature, is so easily moved you can end up with it in the MF position by accident several times during the same wedding! Subsequent lenses have a slightly redesigned switch which is worlds of improvement, but until Canon replaces this excellent lens you’ll see mine with big pieces of gaffers tape preventing accident movement. 

Does your mode dial move?  It depends on you.  More specifically it depends on how you use and specifically how you carry your camera.  For some I’m sure this isn’t an issue at all.  For me, I often let my arm hang down my side with camera in hand when not in use.  When walking through crowds my arm will go up behind my back with the camera, shielding the camera with my body from bumping into people.  This causes the mode dial to brush against the fabric of my pants which often moves the dial.  You might not have this problem, but those of you who do know exactly what I mean.  And the problem is common enough for Canon to have corrected their newest models and designed this upgrade for some of the older models. 

 

Canon Service Center Bangkok

They know me.  I don’t know how else to put it.  As a CPS (Canon Professional Services) member who isn’t afraid to speak up, and contact Canon Japan if necessary, they try very hard to provide the best service.  But I wanted to know what kind of experience a normal consumer would have with Canon Service Center Bangkok so I asked a friend to take it in under their name and have the camera totally serviced and the locking mode dial upgrade installed.  

This is their address and contact information:

 

Head Office

Canon Marketing (Thailand) Co.,Ltd

179/34-45 Bangkok City Tower,

9th-10th Fl. South Sathorn Road, Thungmahamek,

Sathorn, Bangkok 10120

Tel : 0-2344-9999

Fax : 0-2344-9961

E-mail : cmt-info@cmt.canon.co.th

Business Hours : Monday - Friday from 08.15am. to 05.15pm.

(closed on public holidays)

BTS : Chong Nonsee

 

Head Office, Canon Service Center Bangkok

 

On first contact by phone she was told we didn’t have the right model for the upgrade.  Eh?  Calling back and asking to talk with a supervisor revealed the first person we talked to was mistaken about both the upgrade and the camera model.  The upgrade was indeed available.  Asked how long it would take she was told she’d need to leave the camera overnight. 

The next morning at 815am when they open she was there with my EOS 5d Mark II and requested a complete servicing (cleaning the outside, mirror box, and sensor) and the locking mode dial upgrade.  She was told it would take 5 days because of their backlog, customers before her. 

Having experienced Thai business practices many times before I’d expected this and prepared her so she knew what to do.  She smiled and asked to speak with a supervisor.  When the supervisor came she explained that she talked to Ms. Xxxx  and produced the name of the person she talked with, the date and time of day, and the number. She explained that she was told it would take “overnight” and had made plans based on this information.  The supervisor tried the “but we’ve taken in so many more cameras since your call” routine, but she just smiled and asked to speak with HIS supervisor.  This was all it took, he now offered to have it ready the next day as promised. 

The next day she received a text message at 3pm saying it was ready for pickup.  Total charges came to baht 2840, baht 400 for the servicing and 2255 for the upgrade and 185.85 in VAT charges. 


In Use

The service center delivers the camera in a bubble wrap bag, placed in a nice Canon bag.  Unwrapping the camera I immediately noticed it looked brand new!  Months of sweat and dirt which had worked its way into the crack and crevices and caked on the rubber wrapped body had all been restored to new condition. 

The locking mode dial looks as it should, like it came from the factory.  The detents are fairly strong and you can depress the center locking button with relative ease, but not too easily.  One hand operation is certainly possible and the way I’ll use it most of the time. 

Having carried it around a few days like I normally do, the switch stayed in position as you’d expect.  One major improvement for sure! 

I should write a bit about how they cleaned the sensor.  Canon Service Center Bangkok is the only service center I know who refuses to ‘wet clean’ a sensor.  This is rarely necessary, but when it is there is no other way to get the sensor clean.  What they do here, is nothing more than using the Giotti Rocket Blower to blow the dust off the sensor.  This gets most of it, but it’s far from a comprehensive cleaning. 

 

I should write a bit about how they cleaned the sensor.  Canon Service Center Bangkok is the only service center I know who refuses to ‘wet clean’ a sensor.  This is rarely necessary, but when it is there is no other way to get the sensor clean.  What they do here, is nothing more than using the Giotti Rocket Blower to blow the dust off the sensor.  This gets most of it, but it’s far from a comprehensive cleaning.

 

Having been through this with them on numerous occasions before I didn’t even bother to contact them, I simply cleaned it properly myself.  The equipment and training to do this properly is beyond the casual DIYer, so exercise caution before doing it yourself.  I’d recommend taking your Canon to the Nikon Service Center for a proper sensor cleaning! 

It should also be mentioned that while my previous generation cameras required frequent sensor cleaning, sometimes as often as weekly, my newer 5d Mark II rarely requires sensor cleaning, sometimes going for as long as 3-4 months between cleanings.  The new vibration system built into the newer cameras really works well. 

 

Summary 

Overall the experience was good.  In some ways the Canon Service Center Bangkok is much better than your typical Thai business model, but when it comes to customer service and their unwilling to honor the information promised over the phone, they have a lot of room for improvement.  It’s sad the Thai customer service concept is present to such a strong degree. 

The actual work performed, with the exception of their sensor policy, was top notch.  I feel comfortable leaving my professional gear in their hands.  The times I’ve talked to their technicians in person I’ve found them to be knowledgeable and more than willing to listen to my concerns.  No complaints in this department. 

My complaints have always been and continue to be the lack of training and poor attitudes of the receptionists staff you must deal with to leave and pick up your camera.  As a matter of routine they remove your body cap and walk around with your cameras sensor exposed to the environment and then scowl at you when you insist they not do this.  It’s not that they handle your gear roughly or without care, it’s that they do so without the proper training or experience.  I absolutely insist they not touch my professional gear.  I deliver it packed in a hard case and insist only the technicians open the case.  To facilitate the paperwork I have a list of serial numbers prepared which they’ll need to complete the forms. 

They tell you a rote list of best case scenarios over the phone, but when you arrive in person it’s often different.  It shouldn’t be.  When a customer feels it necessary to ask to speak to a supervisor this means they’re already not happy with the service or issue.  The supervisor needs to arrive on scene with this in mind, and not the protection of their staff.  Professionalism is all I ask for. 

Overall I’m very happy with the servicing, pricing, and new locking mode dial upgrade.  I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Canon Service Center Bangkok.