Brief History of Canon Cameras
1933. Goro Yoshida and his brother-in-law, Sabura Uchida, founded the Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory. The goal: to make cameras to compete with the most advanced German models of the day. 1934. Japan's first domestically-made 35mm focal-plane shutter camera, the "Kwanon' -- named after the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
1935. "Canon" trademark registered.
1935. Hansa Canon cameras offered for sale at half the price of a Leica.
1961. The Canonet introduces EE camera.
1963. 1 millionth Canonet shipped.
1965. The Demi EE 17 follows in the footsteps of the Demi, Color Demi, Demi S, Demi C, and Demi Rapid, all half-frame (i.e. 24x17 mm instead of 24x36 mm film area) cameras introduced to compete with Eastman Kodak's Instamatic cameras. This is the first "serious" camera that got me interested in photography. It was so easy and intuitive to use and it worked well. Of course, back then, most pictures were B&W and we learned to develop and print our own pictures. The bathroom substituted for a darkroom and many a night, my father banged on the door wondering when I would be finished and out of there so the family could take their showers. 1969. Canon, inc. established.
1971. Canon F-1 debuts. The rivalry between Nikon and Canon starts as to which camera, the Nikon F2 or the Canon F1, is the best professional SLR camera. Both had their fans and both developed their own system of lenses and equipments. While Nikon cemented its hold on photo reporters, Canon concentrated on wild life photographers. 1976. In April 1976, Canon introduced the first microcomputer embedded camera, the Canon AE-1. The Automatic Exposure Control in the AE-1 meant that beginner and amateur photographers could now take good pictures with a SLR at an affordable price [Editor's note: Sounds familiar?]. The AE-1 proved to be so successful that Canon effectively captured the amateur photographer's market segment and has continued to do so to this time. The first time I knew that Canon had started to win this market is when I saw my college friend who knew nothing about photography buy one to take with him to University. From then on, many beginner photographers kept asking me if -- no, kept telling me that -- Canon was a good brand to buy. 1979. Canon introduces a fully automatic auto-focus compact camera, the AF35M. Even back then, Canon engineers were thinking of how to make photography easier for the masses. This has proved to be an enormously successful strategy, tapping into a new market segment heretofore ignored by other camera manufacturers which were more attuned to pleasing the advanced amateur and professional market segments. 1987. The EOS650, an auto-focus SLR camera, debuts, signalling a major shift in Canon's SLR startegy toward incorporating leading-edge technology into its SLR cameras. Instead of constantly competing with other SLR cameras in features, Canon sought to lead the pack by stepping out into unknown territory, exploring future technologies and incorporating them into its SLR cameras. 1989. The EOS-1 debuts. When I first saw the EOS-1 I was stunned! Canon had dared to redesign the conventional rectangular body by giving it curves. Except that the Canon designer did it with taste and originality. Since then, others have tried to give their cameras more rounded shapes but I think they don't quite succeed as well as Canon does with its EOS models. 1992. The EOS5 is introduced as the world's first camera with eye-controlled auto-focus.
1993. The Rebel models hit the market, again signalling a trend toward satisfying the mass market. 1994. The EOS-1N becomes Canon's flagship SLR camera.
1995. Canon unveils the world's first zoom lens with image stabilization features. 1995. Canon enters the digital camera era with the EOS DCS3. 1995. The SURESHOT DEL SOL is the world's first fully solar-powered camera. 1996. The ELPH model is born, ushering a...
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