Brief History of Canon Cameras1933. Goro Yoshida and his brother-in-law, Sabura Uchida, founded the PrecisionOptical Instruments Laboratory. The goal: to make cameras to compete with the most advanced German models of the day. 1934. Japans 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, ColorDemi, Demi S, Demi C, and Demi Rapid, all half-frame (i.e. 24x17mm instead of 24x36 mm film area) cameras introduced to competewith Eastman Kodaks Instamatic cameras. This is the first "serious"camera that got me interested in photography. It was so easy andintuitive to use and it worked well. Of course, back then, mostpictures were B&W and we learned to develop and print our ownpictures. The bathroom substituted for a darkroom and many a night, my father banged onthe door wondering when I would be finished and out of there so the family could take theirshowers.1969. Canon, inc. established.1971. Canon F-1 debuts. The rivalry between Nikon andCanon starts as to which camera, the Nikon F2 or the CanonF1, is the best professional SLR camera. Both had their fansand both developed their own system of lenses and
equipments. While Nikon cemented its hold on photo reporters, Canon concentrated on wildlife photographers.1976. In April 1976, Canon introduced the firstmicrocomputer embedded camera, the Canon AE-1. TheAutomatic Exposure Control in the AE-1 meant that beginnerand amateur photographers could now take good pictureswith a SLR at an affordable price [Editors note: Soundsfamiliar?]. The AE-1 proved to be so successful that Canoneffectively captured the amateur photographers marketsegment and has continued to do so to this time. The firsttime I knew that Canon had started to win this market is when I saw my college friend whoknew 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 agood 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 Canons 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-1I was stunned! Canon had dared to redesign the conventional rectangularbody by giving it curves. Except that the Canon designer did it with tasteand originality. Since then, others have tried to give their cameras morerounded shapes but I think they dont quite succeed as well as Canon doeswith its EOS models.1992. The EOS5 is introduced as the worldsfirst camera with eye-controlled auto-focus.1993. The Rebel models hit the market, again signalling a trend toward satisfying the massmarket.
1994. The EOS-1N becomes Canons flagship SLR camera.1995. Canon unveils the worlds first zoom lens with imagestabilization features.1995. Canon enters the digital camera era with the EOS DCS3.1995. The SURESHOT DEL SOL is the worlds first fully solar-powered camera.1996. The ELPH model is born, ushering a new era of good compactcamera design. The ELPH models support the new Advanced PhotoSystem which was developed jointly by five companies: Canon,Eastman Kodak, Fuji Photo Film, Minolta, and Nikon. APS allowssmaller cameras to be designed and totally eliminates film-loadingmistakes.1997. The Elph Jr. is ultra-light and ultra-thin which allows it toeasily fit into the front pocket of a jeans. When I was looking for acamera small enough to take anywhere, I found the Elph Jr. I cancarry it in my pocket all day and have it always ready for a snapshot.The Elph Jr. is the inspiration behind the Photoxels JeansPocket™Certified award.1998. The EOS-3 with 45-point area AF.1999. The PowerShot digital models are introduced.2000. The EOS D30 digital SLR camera features a 3 Megapixels CMOS sensor.2001. The EOS-1D digital SLR camera is introduced.2002. The EOS-1DS digital SLR camera features a 11.1 MegapixelsCMOS sensor that is full-frame, permitting the use of any Canon EF lens.Canon has successfully competed with the best camera manufacturers by incorporatingleading-edge technologies into its cameras, targeting the whole range from beginner toprofessional photographers, and introducing good design that effectively made camerasfashionable.
A modest beginning in a small roomIn 1933, a small laboratory dedicated to making high-quality cameras was set up in a simpleapartment room in the Roppongi area of Tokyo. At the time, all high-quality cameras wereEuropean with the majority coming from Germany.It was in this small room that young people with a big dream earnestly began their work onproducing a high-quality Japanese camera, marking the beginning of Canon.Through hard work and with an enterprising spirit, they eventually succeeded in building aprototype, which was named Kwanon after the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The following year,in 1935, Japans first-ever 35mm focal-planeshutter camera, the Hansa Canon, was born, alongwith the Canon brand.Striving for the worlds best cameraIn 1950, Canons first president, Takeshi Mitarai, went to America for the first time to attend aninternational trade fair. Having seen modern factories and a high standard of living first hand,upon his return, he built a fireproof factory of steel-reinforced concrete in the Shimomaruko areaof Tokyo, which he saw as essential for Canon to succeed in doing business with the world atlarge. Mitarai also made clear his respect for humanity by stressing the importance of the San-ji,or Three Selfs, spirit, the guiding principle for Canon employees. In 1955, Canon made its firststep into the global market with the opening of a U.S. office in New York City. In 1957, Canonset up its sole European distributor, Canon Europa, in Geneva, Switzerland. By 1967 exportsalready topped 50% of the companys total sales.The challenge of diversificationSoon after its founding, Canon was hard at work in 1941 on diversifying itself with theintroduction of Japans first indirect X-ray camera and other products. In the 1960s, the companytook further steps toward diversification by adding electrical, physical and chemical technologiesto its optical and precision technologies. In 1964, Canon entered the office equipment marketwith the debut of the worlds first 10-key electronic calculator. In 1967, the management slogan“cameras in the right hand, business machines in the left” was unveiled and in 1969 the companychanged its name from Canon Camera Co., Inc. to Canon Inc. Canon took on the challenge ofdeveloping Japans first plain-paper copying machine, which it introduced in 1970, and realizedfurther diversification from one challenging field to the next.Averting disaster with the Premier Company PlanBy 1970, Canon grew to 44.8 billion yen in sales and more than 5,000 employees. But hit bydollar and oil shocks, followed by problems with a defective electronic calculator displaycomponent in 1974, the company fell on hard times. In the first half of 1975, it failed to pay adividend for the first time since becoming a public company. In 1976, Canon unveiled itsPremier Company Plan, an ambitious strategy to transform Canon into an “excellent globalcompany” through such means as introducing a vertical business group onstitution and
establishing a horizontal development, production and sales system. The plan proposed highideals and pooled the strength of its employees, enabling the company to promptly recover.Canons second inaugurationCanon continued to grow under the Premier Company Plan.With the dawn of the personal computer age, Canon introduced to the world a series of productsnever before seen, among them a personal copying machine based on an all-in-one cartridgesystem, a laser printer with a semiconductor laser, and a Bubble Jet inkjet printer. Canon alsobegan promoting global production in earnest on the road to becoming an excellent globalcompany. Then, in 1988, the 51st anniversary of the companys founding, Canon announced itssecond inauguration and unveiled its corporate philosophy of kyosei, an unfamiliar term at thetime. It also began promoting such progressive and environmentally sound activities as tonercartridge recycling in addition to globalizing its development sites.The Excellent Global Corporation PlanCanon had developed unprecedented technologies and carefully nurtured them to create businessopportunities and products unrivaled by any other company. But by the mid-1990s, the businessdivision system that had been in place since the 1970s was showing signs of wear. Canon alsocarried debt of more than 840 billion yen, meaning the company needed to improve its financialconstitution if it was to carry out long-term R&D projects and launch new businesses. FujioMitarai became Canons 6th company president in 1995, and in 1996 the Excellent GlobalCorporation Plan was launched. Transforming the corporate mindset from partial to totaloptimization and from a focus on sales to a focus on profits, the new plan was the start of theinnovations that characterize todays Canon.