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Company History – Canon


The Japanese corporation Canon, Inc. has always been a very renowned name when it comes to manufacturing of imaging and optical products. Being headquartered in the capital city of Tokyo, Canon has been known to manufacture products like cameras, lenses, printers, scanners, photocopiers and camcorders. Even as it continues to be among the largest companies in Japan, Canon has also been the leader in the worldwide market for cameras, closely followed by its rival Nikon. The company is known for its constant innovation in the field of optical products.

Founding and early years  

Canon’s origins date back to the year 1937, when it was called the Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory. Initially, the company did have the facilities to allow it produce lenses, so it used Nikkor lenses produced by Nikon in its first cameras.

Around 1936, Canon released a prototype of Japan’s first 35mm focal plane-shutter camera. This was followed by the country’s first indirect X-ray camera in 1940. The company also introduced a field zoom lens that was meant for television broadcasting, in 1958. And further, by 1965, the company had also released the Canon Pellix, which was a single lens reflex camera.

The middle years (1971-2009)

The first product of this era was the F-1, a high-end SLR camera. Canon also launched the FD lens range around this time. The world’s first shooter with an embedded microcomputer was introduced in the year 1976 and was called the AE-1. Using bubble jet technology, the company introduced the world’s first inkjet printer. This happened in 1985.

Canon then gave birth to the popularly known Electro-Optical System (EOS) two years later and released the first camera in its lineup, the EOS 650. The EOS 1 Flagship Professional made way in 1989. The same year also witnessed the launch of the EOS RT, which was the world’s first auto focus SLR.

1995 saw the introduction of commercially available SLR lenses and by the following year, the company had released a pocket-sized lineup of digital cameras. This was called the ELPH or IXUS. Following this, Canon also forayed in to the digital camcorder market.

2000 – till date

The company’s first HD camcorder was released in 2005. By then, the optical giant has also launched its series of XEED LCD projectors.

The company has also been noted for a number of acquisitions in this time, such as Oce, Molecular Imprints, Milestone Systems and Axis Communications. In early 2016, the company also owned Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation.