Canon Inc. (キヤノン株式会社) Kiyanon kabushiki-gaisha is a Japanese multinational corporation specialized in the manufacture of imaging and optical products, including cameras, camcorders, photocopiers, steppers, computer printers and medical equipment. Its headquarters are located in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan.
The company was originally named Seikikōgaku kenkyūsho (jap. 精機光學研究所, Precision Optical Industry Co. Ltd.). In 1934 it produced the Kwanon, a prototype for Japan’s first-ever 35 mm camera with a focal plane based shutter. In 1947 the company name was changed to Canon.
1937 to 1970
The origins of Canon date back to the founding of Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory in Tokyo in 1937 by Takeshi Mitarai, Goro Yoshida, Saburo Uchida and Takeo Maeda. During its early years the company did not have any facilities to produce its own optical glass, and its first cameras incorporated Nikkor lenses from Nippon Kogaku K.K. (the later Nikon Corporation).
Between 1933 and 1936 ‘The Kwanon’, a copy of the Leica design, Japan’s first 35 mm focal plane-shutter camera, was developed in prototype form. In 1940 Canon developed Japan's first indirect X-ray camera. The company was renamed Canon Camera Co., Inc. in 1947. Canon introduced a field zoom lens for television broadcasting in 1958 and in 1959 introduced the Reflex Zoom 8, the world’s first movie camera with a zoom lens, and the Canonflex.
In 1961 Canon introduced the Rangefinder camera, Canon 7, and 50mm 1:0.95 lens in a special bayonet mount. In 1964 Canon introduced 'Canola 130', the first Japanese made 10-key calculator, a substantial improvement on the design of the British Bell Punch company, which introduced the first fully electronic calculator two years earlier with the Sumlock Anita Mark 8 unit. In 1965 Canon introduced the Canon Pellix, an SLR camera with a semi-transparent stationary mirror which enables taking pictures through the mirror. The company's name was changed to Canon Inc in 1969.
1970 to 2010
In 1971 Canon introduced the F-1, a top-end SLR (single lens reflex) camera, and the FD lens range. In 1976 Canon launched the AE-1, the world’s first camera with an embedded micro-computer.
In 1982 "Wildlife as Canon Sees It" print ads first appeared in National Geographic magazine. Canon introduced the world’s first Inkjet printer using bubble jet technology in 1985. Canon introduced Canon Electro-Optical System (EOS) in 1987, named after the goddess of the dawn. EOS 650 autofocus SLR camera is introduced. Also in 1987 the Canon Foundation was established. In 1988 Canon introduced 'Kyosei philosophy'. The EOS 1 Flagship Professional SLR line was launched in 1989. In the same year the EOS RT, the world's first AF SLR with a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror, was unveiled.
In 1992 Canon launched the EOS 5, the first-ever camera with eye-controlled AF. In the same year Canon introduced its first digital camera, the PowerShot 600. In 1995 Canon introduced the first commercially available SLR lens with internal image stabilization, EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. EOS-1N RS, the world's fastest AF SLR camera with a continuous shooting speed of 10 frame/s at the time. Based on the EOS-1N, the EOS-1N RS has a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror with a hard coat. In 1996 Canon introduced a pocket-sized digital camera with the Advanced Photo System, named ELPH in America and IXUS in Europe. Canon enters the digital video camcorder market in 1997.
In 2004 Canon introduced the XEED SX50 LCD projector. Canon introduced its first high-definition video camcorder in 2005. Canon acquiresd Océ in 2009.