Canon Professional Services
Canon Professional Services is an annual subscription membership with some great benefits.
There are three levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum.
In order to join, you have to have a certain number of “points.” Each piece of Canon gear – body, lens, camcorder, speedlite, printer – is assigned a point amount by CPS. Not every piece of gear gets points. Typically, the better the gear, the more points it’s worth.
Add up your points, and you can join if you have enough points for any given level.
The Silver level is actually free to join, you just need 10 points. For example, a 7D is worth 5 points. The EF-S 15-85, which is a nice lens for the 7D is valued at 8 points. With just that basic gear, you can join the Silver level of the program.
Silver doesn’t get you much – an ID card, a pin, a member hotline, a little faster repair turnaround than the average Joe.
Gold level requires 20 points, still not too hard to reach, and costs $100 per year. Here’s where the benes get nice. In addition to items at the Silver level, you receive a nice book on Canon EF lenses, a body cap, a lens cap, a CPS logo’d neck strap – but the best benefit is three day turnaround on repairs, two free clean and checks (body or lens), a discount on repairs, and my favorite, the ability to borrow bodies or lenses for evaluation.
I am a member of the Gold level. I recently borrowed an 85L II to try out. You send CPS an email, they approve the loan and send you the lens. You have a week to try it out, and a deadline to return it by. Shipping to you is free, but you have to pay the freight back – and – I highly recommend insurance on it since you are responsible for damage if it occurs. Still, the $40 is shipping back is substantially less than renting the same lens from a rental house.
At the Gold level, you can only borrow each item twice during the lifetime of your membership – it’s meant for you to evaluate a lens, and CPS is hoping you will purchase your own copy.
The Platinum level is currently $500 per year and 50 points are required. In addition to the Gold level, you received six clean & checks per year, free shipping on repairs, a deeper repair discount, two day repair turnaround, priority on evaluation loans, possible gear loaners when your equipment is being repaired, and more. It’s best suited to pro level photogs who make their living from photography and have little tolerance for down time.
A week to evaluate a lens is hardly enough time when one is busy. But I did get to shoot a few frames around the yard. It’s been my experience that each lens new to me requires a bit of a learning curves, especially primes with fast apertures and no image stabilization. They also usually require some micro adjustment as well.
Here are some sample images I shot at f/1.2 and ISO 100. Extremely shallow depth of field, and bokeh that’s like melted butter.
In any event, Canon Professional Services is highly recommended.
NOTE: shortly after writing this piece, CPS announced some changes to their programs, once I review, I will post the new costs and benefits.