Dennis Hissink : March 15th 2007 - 19:00 CET
Canon anniversary : Besides being present at the PMA 2007 show, held in Las Vegas, where Canon are exposing their impressively large assortment of image products, this year is a memorable year for Canon. The very first Canon camera, the Canon S, was born exactly 70 years ago. In the years thereafter Canon experienced a successful epoch with innovative image solutions and a strong presence on the photo market. During the switch from analogue to digital, Canon knew how to keep their market position and even enhanced their business to take up a dominant position, for both amateur and professional market. Pure nostalgia came to me when I saw the following cameras showcased at the Canon booth during the last PMA 2007 event. |
The Canon S camera employed a unique pop-up viewfinder and seems to be build during the summer of 1945. At that day cameras were produced at about one per day. "Seiki Kogaku" (Precision Optical) began in 1934 with several "Kwannon" prototypes, then followed with the "Hansa Canon" during 1935-1940. The model S was the second production camera. These early cameras used a proprietary lens mount and rangefinder assembly.
Canon Serenar 50mm f/3.5 lens
The earliest Canon cameras were fitted with optics supplied by Nippon Kogaku, but by 1945 Canon had acquired its own optical production facilities. Developed and produced in-house, the first lens to see the light of the day was the Serenar 50mm f/3.5. Serenar means "Clear", symbolizing the clarity that the development team was aiming for.
Canon IIB camera
The Canon IIB was derived from the previous model S II adding a unique finder adjustment to match focal length. The last camera to display "Canon Camera Company Ltd." About 14,000 units were build. Perhaps the most important camera ever made by Canon because of the unique 3-mode finder system which made it competitive with the German Leica cameras, and established Canon as a technology leader.
The Canon IV Sb2 is the successor to the IV Sb and had an aura of top quality and precision. After the shutter was released, the shutter speed index mark on the fast shutter speed dial indicated the shutter speed. On the dial, the shutter speed settings increased in two-fold increments, making it easy to use. The base of the film advance knob also had a reminder for the film's number of obtainable exposures. The IV-series peaked with the Canon IV Sb and IV Sb2. It was Canon Camera's golden age. Along with the Nikon S, these two cameras demonstrated Japan's prowess in camera technology. 1959 was the year of the Canonflex. The top-class 35mm camera market gradually shifted from rangefinder cameras to single-lens reflex cameras because SLRs could handle close-ups, photomicrography, duplication work, and other applications without being constrained by the limits of rangefinder camera lenses. The Canonflex is significant not only because it was Canon's first SLR camera, but also because it introduced an original, high-quality breechlock lens mount. The lens flange ring was turned to lock the lens onto the camera flange's bayonet lugs. The lens flange and camera flange did not rub against each other, thus preventing wear. The camera used Super-Canomatic lenses which had fast, fully-automatic diaphragma.
Canonet and Canon FL-F 300mm f/5.6 SCC Telephoto lens
In 1961 Canon introduced the famous Canonet, Canon's first intermediate-clas, lens-shutter 35mm camera. The camera had an EE (Electric Eye) feature which enabled shutter speed-priority autoexposure. All you had to do was press the shutter button. The camera industry went into an uproar learning that Canon, maker of high-end cameras, was to introduce a mid-class 35mm camera with a fast f/1.9 lens for less than 20,000 yen. However, the Canonet safely went to market in January 1961. A week's worth of stock was sold out in only two hours. It was the start of the Canonet boom. A million Canonets were sold over the next two and a half years. In 1969 Canon launched the world's first interchangeable lens for SLR cameras that used artificial fluorite lens elements to thoroughly suppress chromatic aberration, which is a limitation for super telephoto lenses. The lens was the Canon FL-F 300mm f/5.6 SCC Telephoto lens. "F" in the name stands for "Fluorite".
After five years and a large investment in money ald labor, the top-of-the-line 35mm Canon F-1 system was born. The Canon F-1 camera was built to endure 100,000 picture-taking cycles, temperatures ranging from -30 to 60° Celsius, and 90% humidity. Being a highly durable and reliable camera, the Canon F-1 gained many followers including the professional photographers. The camera was manufactured and sold for then years, with a minor revision in 1976.
Canon AE-1 SLR camera
The Canon AE-1 was the world's first electronic SLR with microprocessor control. The EA-1 camera was also the first 35mm camera to be aggressively promoted with TV advertising, using the slogan "So advanced…. It's simple." In 1979, Automated assembly techniques in Canon's Fukushima factory produced over five million of these cameras compared to only 16,000 of the original Canonflex sold 17 years earlier.
Canon Sure Shot AF35M
Three years later Canon introduced the first automatic focus camera, the Sure Shot. Nearly one million Canon Sure Shot AF35M cameras were sold in North America alone. This camera generated many competitive models from other makers, and together they saved the 35mm film format from obsolescence. Canon's advertising strategy of giving the camera a "name" instead of a model number started an industry-wide trend.
The Canon T90 was a professional SLR camera with built-in 5 fps motor drive, "Advanced-Through-the-lens" flash system, 1/250 second flash sync speed, and 3 exposure metering patterns, and fully automatic or manual exposure control. The Speedlite 300 TL flash pioneered "Second Curtain Sync" and automatic daylight fill-flash. The futuristic body design was inspired by Italian designer Luigi Colani.
Canon EOS 650
IN 1987, Canon's first EOS camera had the latest technologies including a super microcomputer and a Canon-developed BASIS sensor for high-precision autofocus. Each EF lens has its own optimum built-in motor for autofocusing, and only electronic signals are exchanged between the lens and camera body. The high-precision Ultrasonic Motor (USM) was also developed successfully. The Canon EOS 650 camera marked the beginning of a new and unique series of AF SLR cameras.
In 1989, the EOS-1 was Canon's first professional AF SLR. The AF sensor was four times more sensitive than the BASIS sensor used in the EOS 650, enabling the camera to autofocus in light conditions as lowe as EV -1. The EOS-1 also featured the world's first cross-type AF sensor to improve subject recognition and enhance precision.
Canon EOS DCS 3c
The Canon EOS DCS 3c marked in 1995 Canon's entry into the professional digital camera market. The Canon EOS 3c combined the EOS-1N camera body with a custom made version of Kodak's digital back, allowing photographers to enhance their investment in Canon's EOS system and EF lenses. The Canon EOS DCS 3c featured a 1.3 million pixel CCD images sensor and had twice the buffer memory of its nearest competitor. Images were stored on removable PCMCIA cards.
Canon IXUS and Canon PowerShot 600
In 1996 Canon made two major steps towards successful new products; first the creating of the first IXUS or ELPH model. This was the world's smallest autofocus zoom compact camera at the time. The camera incorporated a 24-48mm zoom lens with hybrid autofocusing. The exterior was made of stainless steel alloy for a luxury touch, and it featured a classic "box and circle" design. Another major step was Canon's first consumer-grade digital camera. The Canon PowerShot 600 featured a high-resolution lens and a 570,000 pixel CCD image sensor.
Canon PowerShot G1
Three years later Canon launched the PowerShot G1 camera. The Canon PowerShot G1 featured a 3.3 million pixel CCD, a 3x optical zoom lens, and a wide exposure-sensitivity range including an ISO 50 setting. A new RAW mode preserved maximum image quality without degradation and achieved superlative color reproduction.
Canon EOS D30
In 2000 Canon launched the Canon EOS D30. The Canon D30 was the first all-Canon digital SLR camera. It featured a large area 3.25 million pixel CMOS image sensor developed by Canon. The Canon EOS D30 was the world's first DSLR to be priced blow $3000. The Canon EOS 30D was a major step into a long range of consumer DSLR cameras.
It is already five years ago when Canon launched their first full-frame digital SLR camera. The Canon EOS-1Ds was developed primarily for studio photographers, who demand the highest image quality. It featured a newly developed CMOS sensor (11.1 Megapixels, 35.8 x 23.8 mm). The Canon 1Ds enabled users to fully utilize the angles of view offered by the entire range of Canon EF lenses, permitting unrestricted lens performance on par with current 35mm SLR cameras. In 2003 Canon made another major step by launching the Canon EOS Digital Rebel for entry-level users to be priced less than $1,000 with a zoom lens. This DSLR camera was a price break-through and achieved a number 1 market share in the DSLR category.
Canon PowerShot S1 IS
The Canon PowerShot S1 IS was the first PowerShot digital camera with the ability to record VGA movies at 30 frames per second, and it was the second PowerShot model after the Pro90 IS to incorporate a 10x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization. The Canon S1 IS also employed Canon's high-speed, low noise Ultrasonic Motor, the world's first lens-based USM, to minimize noise associated with zooming.
Canon EOS 5D
The Canon EOS 5D meets the needs of advanced amateur and professional photographers seeking a high-performance digital SLR camera that is smaller, lighter and more affordable than professional models. Featuring a 12.8 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, the EOS 5D is noted for its low noise and rich color.
Canon EOS 1D Mark III
After 20 years of a successful EOS series of cameras Canon celebrates the 20th anniversary of its EOS single-lens reflex camera system by introducing the Canon EOS 1D Mark III, the world's fastest digital SLR camera. The Canon EOS 1D Mark III features significant improvements in all major performance categories. Highlights include10 fps image capture with a new 10.0 Megapixel CMOS sensor, dual DIGIC III image processors, a Live View mode, EOS integrated Cleaning System, a new 45-point Area AF system and many improvements to image quality, durability and reliability.