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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Canon Service Center Showroom and Gallery in Ginza

キャノン・サービス・センター 銀座

Canon is Japan's biggest camera maker and has a wide support network. I visited the Canon Service Center in Tokyo's Ginza district today, as my camera had developed a problem with lens retraction.
The service center is on the second floor of a facility that includes the Canon Gallery and the Canon Showroom.

Canon Service Center lobby, Ginza, Tokyo. Japan.
Canon Service Center lobby, Ginza, Tokyo
A touchscreen device at the entrance issued me a number after I had selected the purpose of my visit ("Repair") and the kind of camera to be repaired (a compact). There were about a dozen other people sitting waiting, and about half a dozen people manning the long counter. I browsed with interest some pamphlets for photography seminars run by Canon on topics such as exposure, shooting in RAW. ocean photography, and more. However, they are probably not much use if you don't understand Japanese, and they were by no means free. I was called up after only 5 minutes.

Ticket-issuing machine, Canon Service Center, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan.
Ticket-issuing machine
I speak Japanese, so had no problems. There was a non-Japanese talking to a couple of staff members further along the counter, and I noticed that between them they managed to communicate in adequate English to attend to the guy's needs.

My problem was noted and documented, I was asked how I would like the camera returned (I selected courier) and, because it was still under guarantee, that was it. He said I would get the camera back, with a replaced lens, by the 21st, i.e., two weeks from now.

Waiting room and reception, Canon Service Center, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan.
Waiting room and reception, Canon Service Center, Ginza
That took all of 5 minutes, so I was out of there in a total of 10 minutes. By then I noticed the room was already empty of other customers.

I still had plenty of time on my hands, so wandered down to the showroom I had seen on my way there. The Canon showroom in Ginza is a large space dominated by an encompassing circular arrangement. In the center is a platform of variously shaped and colored objects that serve as the focal point for people testing out the scores of cameras on the bench around the circumference.

Canon Showroom, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan.
Canon Showroom, Ginza, Tokyo
Every recent Canon camera is available for hands-on testing here, indicating the level of trust Canon has in their customers, as these fully functional cameras represent a lot of money!

Inside the Canon Showroom, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan.
Inside the Canon Showroom, Ginza, Tokyo
Yet, a camera is only as good as its lens, so there is also a large cabinet of lenses against a wall near the back corner. In many cases, camera lenses are more expensive than the camera body, so the cabinet is securely locked, but with a sign saying to approach a staff member if you would like to try one out. They ranged in size from those you could hold in one hand, to those at the bottom that looked as if you'd need at least three hands to safely manage and maneuver them.

Whereas the most expensive Canon camera body at the moment, the EOS-1D X, costs around USD5,000, the most expensive lens, the EF 800 mm f/5.6L IS USM. costs USD13,000!

Camera lenses, Canon Showroom, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan.
Camera lenses, Canon Showroom, Ginza, Tokyo

It was interesting for someone like me who has only ever owned compact cameras to try putting a digital single-lens reflex camera through its paces. A nice thing about Canon is that if you've used one model, the control layout is close enough on all models to make figuring out the basics not too difficult. The arrangement in the middle of the room made for a great focal point on which to try the various lenses, functions and viewfinders, as I zoomed in on them bigger, faster and more clearly than I'd ever experienced before, and enjoyed the sophisticated sensation of shutter buttons capable of multiple shots per second.

Finally I browsed the wall display of example photobooks that people had created via the Canon Photopresso service. This is a social networking cum sales service for getting followers, creating photobooks from your own photos and making them available for sale to the general public. Any sales generated, via the Photopresso website, earn royalties for the photographer. They were glossy, nicely finished, and definitely more fun and memorable than browsing an online slideshow.

Canon Gallery, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan.
Canon Gallery, Ginza, Tokyo
After 15 minutes in the showroom, I went through to the other side of the building, to the Canon Gallery.

Like any gallery, the exhibition changes regularly, and this time it featured the work of Ken Tsurusaki, who is a keen fisherman and, as such, takes aquatic photographs. This exhibition was called Tamagawa: Nature in Tokyo, with scenes both above and below water, of the Tamagawa River that runs through Tokyo's Ota ward, and the wildlife in and around it.

"Tamagawa" exhibition, Canon Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.
"Tamagawa" exhibition, Canon Gallery, Tokyo
It's going to be a somewhat lonely week or two with my Canon (a PowerShot GX1 Mark II). I rely on it mainly for photos for the JapanVisitor Google+ page, mainly the very popular collections: "Kawaii ne!" (translated as "Cute, isn't it!") and more serious but yet-to-find-its-feet "Tokyoites." I'll just have to use my iPhone6 in the meantime and hope for the best!

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