Sony has launched a 'Pro Support' program with the aim of offering professional photographers the levels of support available from the big DSLR makers. The move presumably comes to help persuade pros to consider switching to the company's SLT and mirrorless camera systems. The program, called Sony Imaging PRO Support, provides 'superior support' so that professionals can 'ensure their Digital Imaging products are always ready'.

Sony Pro Support users will receive dedicated phone and email support lines to meet their needs, along with a three-day repair turnaround time. Professionals will also receive invitations to special events, along with evaluation loaners, so that new products can be tested before deciding to purchase them.

There are hardware requirements to join the program - members must own a minimum of two Sony Alpha full-frame interchangeable lens cameras and at least three Sony Zeiss or G series lenses. Members must also show that they are an active professional photographer by providing work samples. Additionally, a special invitation from Sony Electronics is required, as is an annual $100 a year membership fee.

Nikon and Canon already offer Professional Services, with support resources dedicated to photographers using high end equipment. Sony's lack of a similar support program has been seen as a stumbling block in the company's bid to attract pros to its full frame cameras. Establishing this Pro Support program is a clear answer to this criticism.