In 1977, Nikon released the 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF which was the start of a revolution. It was the first of its kind, being fast enough to capture action under stadium lighting and practical enough to lug around. Previous super-telephoto lenses were either too large in size or too slow (aperture) to keep up. Ever since its release, it has been a race between Canon and Nikon to fulfill the needs of professional sports photographers in this lens category. Canon made its presence known with its 200mm f/1.8 and the 400mm f/2.8 lenses, also known as the big white lens.
From this point, Nikon and Canon have really been the two go-to companies for professional photographers. The simply provide the best tools for the jobs of wildlife, sports, portrait, landscape, wedding photographers and photojournalists. Providing the right tools isn’t everything though. When they need serviced, there needs to be a good support eco-system in place.
I’ve dealt with Canon’s repair program (Service & Support) on multiple occasions for several zooms as well as the regular cleaning of camera bodies and lenses. In my experience, they’ve been nothing short of amazing. If your gear is under warranty, there usually no questions asked for a clean & check. If the damage is your fault, then you foot the bill. Only once did I question a service, which was upon receiving a EF 24-70mm f/2.8 repair bill for a stuck zoom mechanism. The charge was $500, which was more than half of what I originally paid for the lens. Upon calling them up, the tech agreed to reduce it by $100. Why? Because I was a CPS Member.
If photography is your profession, and you have a bag full of Canon gear, you need to head on over to the Canon Professional Services website and sign up for their silver membership. It’s free when you meet certain criteria, which is owning a certain amount of equipment, and being able to claim photography as your full time job.
One of the best features about a CPS membership is its equipment log. You may already have a system for indexing your gear, but their web interface is nice. This allows you to store your camera body, lenses, and flash serial numbers for future use, which can come in handy if your gear ever gets stolen. As your camera writes the EXIF data to your photos, it includes the serial number. You can then use Stolen Camera Finder to track down images that have been taken with your gear, eventually leading you to the thief.
Moving beyond the Silver Membership, you have the Gold Membership, which is only $100 per year. The reason I chose this was that it includes a 30 percent discount on repairs as well as free service on two lenses or bodies. After a destination wedding, I tend to find sand in every little crevice of my most used lenses, which often times requires a professional cleaning. There are other perks involved with the Gold Membership too, but nothing that I use on a regular basis. The Platinum Membership comes in at $500, and is setup more for the professional sports or journalism photographer who needs quick loaner access and blazing fast repair times.