The last few months have reshaped many industries due to the COVID-19 outbreak and one such industry where the impact has been overwhelming is the photography industry. With the lockdown being eased only a few weeks ago, most photographers have found themselves in a tight spot. With social distancing in place, wedding photographers have had a hard time coping, as have those working in any other commercial field of photography. To share some insight on how this has impacted the camera business, we spoke to Mukesh Srivastava, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony India who shared some very interesting insights into how the company has quickly pivoted
Srivastava, in conversation, noted that the lockdown, while severely impacting overall business for photographers, also brought out some very creative results. Many photographers around the world took the opportunity of being locked within the confines of their homes to create some marvellous photos using day-to-day items. One project saw a photographer create a body of work using vegetables to emulate foliage and forests while Lego figurines played the role of models. We even saw a shoot by Bangalore-based Guru Charan who shot images using a figure of the Hulk, doing average household chores. The series is titled “Hulk in Lockdown.”
With photographers getting creative and a lot of the world’s workforce turning to video conferencing, Srivastava revealed some interesting trends for the lockdown. The first is the growing sales of Sony’s Macro lens for their mirrorless camera system. The second is a surge in video conferencing and vlogging. In fact, Sony's Imaging Edge desktop app allows a vast range of their cameras to be used as webcams. However, it’s not just video conferencing that benefits from this, but vloggers too would be able to reap its benefits. In fact, the lockdown has increased Sony India’s focus on vloggers as many content creators who worked with a camera crew, are now having to resort to doing the shooting bits on their own. Thus, enabling the ability to shoot video on mirrorless cameras all the way from the A9 to the A6600 using a desktop software goes a long way in making things a lot more convenient.
While on the topic of convenience, we also touched upon the topic of service. What is a user supposed to do in case they need to get their camera serviced? So, for starters, Sony’s service centres are now operational in most cities, depending on the lockdown guidelines. When you visit a Sony service centre, the company has implemented a number of measures to ensure safety. A customer who does bring their camera in for service is required to wear a mask at all times, and hand sanitizer is provided to purify your hands before you interact with any person in the service centre. The staff and the engineers, besides having their temperatures checked multiple times daily, also have to wear gloves at all times. We asked Srivastava about how the company ensures removing any contamination from tainted cameras that come in. To this, he said that the engineers use gloves and a solvent to clean the outer surface of the cameras before taking it into the service area. Similarly, the camera body is sanitized after it's been worked on just before being handed over to the customer. We verified this process independently when we had to get our Sony A7 MarkIII camera bodies serviced. Lastly, the company also extended warranties on all camera bodies that expired within the lockdown period.
Last but not the least, Srivastava said that collaborating with a third-party to set up the online store was important to help Sony’s large offline dealer network get back into the business. The web store is not owned or run by Sony but has the brand’s endorsement for authenticity. Offline retailers can get their inventory listed on the platform, while orders would be fulfilled by the store nearest to the point of delivery. This, the brand hopes, will not only help the offline retail partners but also boost sales for the company.
While it was only a matter of time that Sony would get its sales network up and running, what was particularly impressive is the resumption of their service centre and the number of precautions the company has taken to stem the spread of the virus. If you’ve had your equipment just lying around for the last few months, a service may be required. Maybe you need the sensor cleaned. Maybe your camera was giving you trouble before the lockdown happened. If that is indeed the case, Sony has got you covered.
|Release Date:||12 Apr 2020|
Digit's resident camera nerd, (un)official product photographer and the Reviews Editor