Among lens makers, Sigma is a brand famous the world over. They’ve been in the news recently for their February 8th announcement of the 46 megapixel DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merril models, but this article is actually about an experience I had with them late last year.

My SLR is a Canon model, but the lens I use is Sigma’s 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM. I was extremely happy with the speed of the auto-focus and the zoom and didn’t have a bad thing to say about this handy tool, but one day in the middle of December last year, it suddenly stopped working.

I had no idea what the problem was. On the camera’s display, it indicated that there was a bad connection. I tried reconnecting it, but that didn’t work. There didn’t seem to be any external damage, and I’d only been using it for about two months, so it was still brand new. And yet, it just wasn’t working. Perhaps the lens had been jostled without my having realized it, but in any event, it was completely dead.

The store said, “Next year at the earliest,” but not Sigma!
I use this camera extensively both for work and play, so being without it is a real problem. I rushed off to the shop to have it checked, but they said they would have to send it off to the manufacturer to be repaired and that they couldn’t offer a temporary replacement. It would take at least a month and wouldn’t be returned until after the new year. I needed the camera for professional work and private events over the holidays, so that just wasn’t going to work for me.

The staff suggested that I take the lens back to Sigma directly, as they might be able to help me more speedily. It would have been OK to ship it to Sigma’s head office in Kanagawa Prefecture, but that seemed like a waste of time. If I could get it back even one day earlier, it would be worth the drive out there, so off I went.

The office is located in Kawasaki City’s Asao Ward. It’s rather far from the nearest station, but visitors are treated to tranquil views on their way. I entered the huge lobby, filled with Sigma employees industriously going about their business, and approached a long counter like you would find in a bank. I explained my problem to the receptionist and someone appeared right away to help me.

Friendly customer service, and gifts too!
The staff member led me to a table in the lobby and got me set up with some hot tea. That lovely women gave my lens a quick inspection and said they would do a detailed breakdown and perform the necessary repairs. It might have been rude, but I was in a bit of a panic and desperately asked whether they could fix it by Christmas. Sigma’s representative assured me that they would have it back to me as soon as was humanly possible.

That would have been enough to satisfy me, but she also insisted that I take some gifts home with me. I got a lens cleaner bearing the company’s logo and their original 2012 calendar. But Sigma’s commitment to customer service didn’t end there…

Repaired in record time!
I was told that the soonest they would probably be able to return it would be in 10 days, but I actually got my lens back just five days later! Talk about speedy. I was so glad I’d taken the trouble to go out to Sigma’s office. It really saved my bacon.

Thanks to Sigma’s excellent service, I had my camera back in working order with plenty of time to spare before Christmas with my family. The nightmare scenario I had been dreading, where my wife screamed at me, “It’s Christmas and you don’t have the camera?! What’s wrong with you?”, was avoided and we were able to enjoy a peaceful holiday together.

Thank you, Sigma! I was truly impressed with your customer service.

My beloved lens

The tasteful and chic Sigma lobby

The lens cleaner I received

Sigma's 2012 calendar, which is not available to purchase

It's full of pictures taken with Sigma lenses

Thank you, Sigma!

[ Read in Japanese ]