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Canon Inc.

legal form Kabushiki-gaisha
(joint stock company)
ISIN JP3242800005
founding August 10, 1937
Seat Ōta , Tokyo , Japan
management Fujio Mitarai ( Chairman & CEO )
Number of employees 196,968 (December 31, 2012)
sales 3.479 trillion Yen (2012)
22.34 billion euros (rate: December 31, 2012 )
Branch electronics

Corporate headquarters in Tokyo
Canon Germany headquarters in Krefeld

Canon ( Japanese キ ヤ ノ ン 株式会社 , Kiyanon kabushiki-gaisha ) is a Japanese company based in Tokyo , which was founded in 1937 under the name Seikikōgaku kenkyūsho (Japanese 精 機 光學 研究所 , Laboratory for Optical Precision Instruments or Precision Optical Industry Co. Ltd. ) was founded by Yoshida Goro , Uchida Saburo and the doctor Takeshi Mitarai . Canon is the world market leader in the sale of digital cameras with a market share of 45.4 percent (2019).


The company name (company) Canon ( キ ヤ ノ ン ), which was registered on June 26, 1935, is probably derived from the name of the first camera prototype "Kwanon", which was named after the Buddhist Bodhisattva of Mercy Kannon .

The original aim of the company was to produce inexpensive replicas of the then technically leading 35mm cameras from Leica and Contax .

Canon brought an MSX home computer onto the market in 1983 with the Canon V-20 .

In fiscal 2008, Canon suffered its first drop in earnings in nine years as a result of the global economic crisis and the rapid rise in the yen. The 2008 profit fell by 36.7% to 309.15 billion yen. Sales fell by 8.6% to 4.1 trillion. Yen.

With the takeover of the printer manufacturer Océ on November 16, 2009 Canon aims to become the world market leader in the printer industry.


The share is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, where it is listed in the TOPIX and Nikkei 225 . The stock is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange .

Product range

Canon is now the largest camera manufacturer in the world. However, the company also offers many products in the field of digital imaging , which includes scanners and printers, among others . The manufacturer also sells video cameras, binoculars, microfilm readers (Canon 100) as well as fax and copier machines. For some years now, the product range has been supplemented by products such as mask adjusters and steppers for semiconductor production as well as solar collectors . Canon and the US manufacturer of 3D printers , 3D Systems, have been working together since 2014 . The cooperation includes the sales and support of the 3D printers from 3D Systems. In November 2015, the company announced that, in addition to Great Britain, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries, it would also be selling 3D Systems from 3D Systems in Germany from January 2015. At the Expo 2015 in Milan , Canon also announced that it would present the prototype of its own 3D printer.

Canon is also a major supplier of diagnostic imaging products following the acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems in 2016. Systems for computed tomography , X-ray machines , magnetic resonance tomographs and ultrasound machines are offered in this division .

Analog 35mm cameras

The beginnings


By June 1934, the first prototypes under the name Kwanon were developed and presented, which formally strongly resembled the Leica  I. Existing copies are now traded at prices between 30,000 and 40,000 euros. In February 1936 Canon launched the "Hansa Canon" for 275 yen. From 1939 the Leica replicas Canon S, J, NS and JS completed the range. In the beginning Canon did not produce its own optical glasses; The lenses required for the first cameras were supplied by Nippon Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Nippon Kogaku KK for short), later NIKON Corporation, and built into the cameras under the name NIKKOR. The production of our own optics (SERENAR optics) for Canon cameras only began in 1947.

In the following 25 years, mainly 35mm rangefinder cameras and associated lenses (Leica screw thread) dominated the offer. With the Canon-V, the typical "Canon design" developed from 1956, which was decisive until the 1990s. Canon was the only manufacturer of 35mm rangefinder cameras with interchangeable lenses to equip the cameras with a quick release lever, film rewind crank, hinged rear panel and (from 1961) built-in exposure meter. Other models were the Canon VT (with quick release lever in the base cover), Canon VI (with adjustable viewfinder magnification), Canon-P and Canon-7, which competed with the best rangefinder cameras from Leitz and Nikon. In the early 1960s, excellent and compact lenses were also developed, which were still produced as FL and FD lenses , for example the 1.8 / 85, 1.4 / 50 or 2.0 / 35. At a time when color films had sensitivity between 10 and 25 ASA, the Japanese manufacturers Zunow, Nikon and Canon started a prestigious race for the fastest lenses. Most famous was the brightest normal lens 0.95 / 50 ever built in series, which only fit the Canon-7. Canon's 35mm rangefinder cameras were discontinued around 1968. The market for sophisticated amateur and professional cameras now called for single-lens reflex cameras . Canon meanwhile also produced film cameras, small automatic cameras and desktop computers .

F series

Canon FTb QL
Canon F1 (2nd version)
Canon new F-1

The F-series SLR cameras, which were introduced with the Canon FX in April 1964, heralded Canon's triumphant advance. With the FT QL (QL = Quick Load), a greatly simplified film insertion was introduced in March 1966, in which one no longer had to laboriously thread the 35mm film . The film only had to be inserted and pulled out to a mark. After the rear wall was closed, the film was automatically continued by manual tensioning, as is known from today's motorized cameras. This well-functioning QL system did not catch on for the time being and was only offered in the FT, FTb, TL and Pellix models. The core and successful models of the F-series are the F-1 / n, the F-1 New, the FT, their further development, the FTb, and the EF.

The top and professional model F-1 was available in a total of three versions: the F-1 introduced in 1971, the 1976 slightly revised F-1n and finally the F-1 New, built from 1981 to 1988/1992 . In all versions, both the viewfinder (five models) and the focusing screens (13 models) were interchangeable; apart from the FD lenses, however, the accessories between the F-1 / F-1n and F-1 New are not compatible.

The F-1 models were also available with motorized film transport. A special feature is the "rapid-fire camera" F-1 presented at the Photokina Cologne in September 1972 with four to nine frames per second, which has a membrane mirror that does not swing up because it is designed as a partially transparent mirror. This means that the photographer can always keep a moving object in the viewfinder. The camera cost around 3000 DM at the time and was only supplied to professional photographers to order.

The standard viewfinder of the F-1 (old) enabled a tracking measurement. In addition to the special viewfinder for sports photographers (this made it possible to view the viewfinder from a distance of up to 60 mm without holding the camera directly to the eye, so that one could observe the entire scene outside the viewfinder image) and the viewfinder (popular with studio photographers), was therefore The AE automatic viewfinder, which turned the camera into an automatic shutter camera, was particularly popular. Automatic timing is not possible with the F-1 (old).

In the basic state of the Canon F-1 New , tracking measurement was also built in. Automatic timing could be implemented by attaching the AE-FN automatic viewfinder, and automatic aperture by attaching the "Motor Drive FN".

Various special models of the F-1 were also produced, for example for the Olympic Games in 1976, 1980 and 1984 and for Canon's 50th anniversary. There was also a special model for the US Army.

F-Series models: FX, FP, Pellix, FT QL, Pellix QL, TL QL, F-1, F-1n, FTb QL, FTb-N QL, EF, TX, TLb, New F-1.

A series

Canon AT1
Canon A1
Canon AE1 Program - black
Canon AL1
Canon AV1

In April 1976 Canon launched the AE-1 with automatic shutter control, the first model of the A-series, which should revolutionize previous camera technology, because it was the first camera whose exposure program was controlled by a CPU. This made it the first fully electronic SLR camera. The A-1 , which appeared in April 1978, is still considered a milestone in camera technology today. It had five automatic programs, including an automatic program that sets the time and aperture fully automatically. The time-aperture ratio calculated by the camera was displayed digitally in the viewfinder window for the first time. The brightness of this display also adapted to the lighting conditions. In conjunction with the associated motor, it can record up to 5 images / second - a value that was only exceeded by the F-1 in FD times.

1981 followed with the "AE-1 Program" the successor of the AE-1, which in addition to the Canon-typical shutter automatic now also offered a program automatic. Their viewfinder ads were also now electronic. While the AE-1 still had a measuring needle, the “AE-1 Program” displayed the automatically set aperture values ​​with an LED. The alphanumeric display of time and aperture was reserved for the top model A-1.

With the AL-1 QF (QF = Quick-Focus) introduced in March 1982, a forerunner of the autofocus was introduced. There were three light-emitting diodes in the viewfinder window, two red ones in the form of arrows pointing to the left and right and a round green one in the middle. The red light-emitting diodes indicated the necessary direction of rotation of the lens, the green lighted up when the focus was correct. At the same time, the slice image indicator and the microprism ring on the focusing screen were omitted.

Other models of the A-series were the fully manual AT-1, in which the time and aperture had to be adjusted using a wedge and measuring needle in the viewfinder, and the AV-1, the only time machine in the Canon range of that time, but with manual setting or correction of the exposure was only possible with a lot of effort (e.g. by adjusting the ISO values).

A-series models: AE-1 , AT-1, A-1 , AV-1, AE-1 Program, AL-1.

Special features of the F and A series

The amateur model of the professional F-1 camera, the EF, also had an automatic shutter function and the interesting hybrid shutter: The short times of up to 1 / 2s are created mechanically, the long shutter times electronically. Like its predecessor, the F-1, the F-1N was a professional model with a modular design. The viewfinder attachments were interchangeable and, depending on the viewfinder or motor drive used, the camera has tracking measurement, time and / or aperture automatic. She was considered the challenger to the Nikon F3, which she can hold a candle to, but it was only with the EOS autofocus series (especially with the EOS-1 model) that Canon was able to penetrate more professional areas and outperform Nikon.

Canon's F and A series are considered to be very robust. Even the first models of the F-series, meanwhile 40 years old, still work without any problems today and show no signs of wear. With the older models of the purely mechanical F-series, however, the power supply for the light meter is a problem today, as this is provided by 1.35-volt mercury batteries, which are no longer allowed to be sold. An exception is the EF, which, due to the complex power supply for the light meter, can also be operated with easily available 1.5-volt alkaline batteries. With the FTb you can get around by using a 1.5-volt battery and reducing the film speed to a quarter of the specified ASA value (instead of 200, set 50, instead of 800, set 200 ASA, etc.). You can determine whether this or a similar setting correction also applies to the other models in the F series by comparing the exposure setting with a second camera. Like the models in the A series, the F-1 NEW is operated with 6-volt batteries, which are also commercially available without mercury. With the A series, if the camera is rarely used, what is known as “whooping cough” or “asthma” often occurs, which is noticeable by a squeaking or whistling noise when the camera is triggered. The reason for this is a resinified mirror brake. Repair instructions for this problem can be found on the Internet.

T series

Canon T90 with FD 1.2 / 50 mm

In March 1983, the T-series was introduced with the T-50 . These cameras also had no autofocus, but already had a built-in motor drive, so the FD lenses of the F and A series could still be used on this series. The T-Series was set using digital displays on the body and in the viewfinder. The setting was made by push buttons.

The T-70 took on the role of the A-1 as the top camera for the committed amateur and also offered a built-in winder (i.e. a motor lift) that automatically transported the film. It offers four automatic programs:

  1. Normal program: aperture and exposure time are set according to the lighting situation. If an exposure time of 1/60 s or longer is required for correct exposure, a warning appears in the viewfinder.
  2. Teleprogram: This program prefers short exposure times. Warning in the viewfinder for exposure times of 1/125 s or longer.
  3. Wide-angle program: This program prefers small apertures for a large depth of field. Warning in the viewfinder for exposure times from 1/30 s.
  4. Shutter automatic: the exposure time is preselected manually and the program selects the appropriate aperture.

The different automatic programs can be used with all FD lenses that fit the camera, e.g. B. "Teleprogram" does not mean that only telephoto lenses can be used with this program.

In addition, in contrast to the T-50, the T-70 can also be set manually.

In addition to center-weighted integral measurement, this camera also offers selective measurement with measurement value storage (very practical, e.g. for backlit photos). The exposure times range from 2 s to 1/1000 s. With the data back wall specially developed for the T-70, exposure times of up to around 24 hours are possible, along with other interesting functions. In addition, with the “Canon Speedlite 277T” there is an optimally adapted flash for this model.

The T-70 was very successful and has received several awards, including being rated “very good” by Stiftung Warentest in May 1985.

In the end, the T-90 was the last, but also the best-equipped model with the Canon FD bayonet. The T-90 can either do integral, selective or multi-spot metering, has a TTL automatic flash and achieves with its built-in motor a serial frame rate of 4.5 frames / second. With it, shutter speeds of up to 1/4000 of a second were possible. Her pioneering product design for the entire camera development comes from Luigi Colani .

There is also a suitable data backplane for the T-90, which extends the functionality of the camera.

The "Canon Speedlite 300TL" flash was specially tailored to the T-90.

In contrast to the high-tech T-90 camera is the T-60, the very last camera in the FD system, which came onto the market in the early 1990s. Canon had it produced by Cosina (like Nikon the FE10 / FM10 ), which meant that it lacked the typical charm of other Canon models: it is made entirely of plastic and does not make a particularly valuable impression. But it is still interesting because it is a pure time machine with all manual intervention options. In the FD system, however, it is only integrated via the bayonet, because it only has a normal standard X connection in the hot shoe, so that the special features of the Canon system flashes cannot be used. In addition, it has no connection option for a motor drive.

The T-80 is a special feature : it was Canon's first SLR camera with real autofocus. The prerequisite for this are special and rather misshapen lenses (AC 50 mm f / 1.8, AC 35–70 mm f / 3.5-4.5, AC 75–200 mm f / 4.5) that contain a focus motor and communicate with the camera via additional contacts. Nevertheless, the T-80 has the FD bayonet and is therefore fully compatible with all other manual FD and FL lenses.

T-series models: T-50, T-60, T-70, T-80, T-90


Canon EOS 500

With the EOS 650, Canon presented its first autofocus single-lens reflex camera with the completely new EF bayonet for 35mm format in March 1987 - two years after the competitor Minolta ; The autofocus motor of the Canon EF lenses is not in the housing, but in the lens; in September 1989 the almost silent ultrasonic motors (USM) were presented. With the EOS 1, Canon succeeded for the first time in catching up with the previously dominant Nikon cameras. Thanks to the faster USM superteles, Canon even became the leading brand among sports photographers within a few years. The name EOS stands for Electro-Optical System.

Models of the analog EOS series are: 650 QD, 620, 750 QD, 850, 600, 1, RT, 10, 700, 100 / Elan (USA), 1000F QD, 1000F, 1000N, 5, 500, Rebel X (USA ), 1N, 1N HS, 1N DP, 5000, 888 (Asia), 1N RS, 50, 50E, 500N, IX, IX7, 3, 3000, 88 (Asia), 300, 300 QD, 1V, 30, KISS III L (Japan), 3000N, 300V, 300X, 3000V, 30V, 33V, EF-M.

Digital cameras

Canon has been selling digital cameras since around 1984. The first camera available was the Canon RC-701 of the RC series. This was followed later by digital compact cameras from the PowerShot and Digital IXUS series, as well as the digital SLR cameras from the EOS Digital series.

In July 2012, Canon was the last well-known manufacturer of system cameras for private customers to offer the EOS M system, a mirrorless camera system with automatic distance adjustment and live view . While the competitors Nikon and Sony have largely stopped the development of digital SLR cameras or never had them in their range (Sony), Canon continues to rely on DSLR technology. Canon introduced the EOS R, its first mirrorless full-frame camera with the new RF bayonet, in September 2018 , but the APS-C range will continue to serve the EOS series with DSLRs. In 2019, the DSLR Canon EOS 90D, the then highest-resolution APS-C camera (32 megapixels), was launched.

See the main articles:
PowerShot G series
Digital IXUS
EOS digital

Video cameras

Hi8 - Canon E850 video camera

In addition to professional cameras and digital cameras, Canon also offers a range of digital video cameras for beginners in standard definition and high definition as well as for amateur filmmakers and for professional use.

Legria / Vixia series

Entry-level and amateur camcorders are sold by Canon under the name Legria in Europe and Vixia in America, which are the same models.

Standard definition cameras are part of the FS series , either with internal memory as in the 2011 model FS40 or with an external memory card in the model FS400.

High-definition cameras of the Legria / Vixia series are divided into entry -level models with the HF- R series , amateur filmmakers with the HF-M series and professional models with the HF-G and HF-S series . Canon offers models in both the R and M series with either an internal memory or an external memory card. This can be distinguished from the number of digits after the letter, whereby two digits (e.g. HF M41) generally mean that the model has an internal memory and three digits (e.g. HF M406) that the device only saves on external memory cards.

Professional series

In addition to the Legria / Vixia series, Canon also offers a Professional series. Devices of this series in high-definition recording quality are generally identified starting with an "X", standard definition devices starting with a "G".

Cinema EOS series

Canon EOS C300 film camera without lens

Canon offers a range of professional digital film cameras for interchangeable lenses, starting in late 2011 with the Canon EOS C300 , followed by the EOS C500 and EOS C100 and the Canon EOS-1D C in the following year . Unlike the other three models, the latter is not mirrorless, it is similar to the Canon EOS-1D X in many ways .

C100 , C300 and C500 have sensors in Super 35 format, the 1D C a full format sensor .

Since 2015, the successor models C100 mkII and C300 mkII have been gradually brought onto the market. In 2017 Canon released the C200 , which should close the gap between the entry-level model C100 and the C300 , and in 4K max. 50 images / second and in full HD up to 120 images / second.

The top model of the C series is the C700 , which can record up to 100 images / second in 4.5K, and is aimed at the professional sector at a price of over 30,000 EUR.

Canon also offers a variety of motion picture lenses for EF and Arri-PL lens mounts.

Camera accessories

Canon offered and still offers an extensive range of accessories for all camera series; these include the flash units with the brand name "Speedlite".


Canon has manufactured scanners for use on computers for many years. These include flatbed scanners , flatbed scanners with see-through units ( slide scanners ) and document scanners .

Printer and copier

Canon has been developing and producing copier systems (NP-1100) since 1970 and printing systems (Laser Printer LBP-10) since 1979. In 1987 Canon launched the CLC-1, a digital full-color copier system. With this copier system, banknotes were copied frequently and very successfully in the early 1990s, until in 1993 Canon implemented a self-blackening function as a countermeasure.

After taking over the manufacturer Océ in 2009, Canon and Océ brought the first digital printing system from joint development - the imagePRESS-C7010VPS series - onto the market. With the product and market shares from Océ, Canon closed a gap in its portfolio and can now also offer high-performance digital printing systems for the production printing sector.

The Océ VarioPrint® DP Line digital printing system jointly developed by Canon and Océ won the iF Product Design Award 2012 on March 19, 2012.

Canon V-10 / V-20

In 1983 Canon introduced two MSX home computers, the V-10 and the V-20 , which were technologically not particularly convincing. Without additional features, they only implemented the minimal scope of the MSX standard. Furthermore, a hardware extension was produced that could receive recording data such as aperture, exposure time or recording date from the data back of the Canon T90. Due to the standardization of MSX, the extension could also run on computers from other manufacturers.


Canon has been the market leader for digital cameras in Western Europe since 2002 . The record sales that the company has been generating since the turn of the millennium are primarily the result of the skyrocketing sales of digital cameras.

In 2003 Canon achieved record sales of 3,198 billion yen (around 24.1 billion euros; 2002: 2940 billion yen, around 22.2 billion euros). Operating profit was 454.4 billion yen (around 3.4 billion euros; 2002: 346.4 billion yen, 2.6 billion euros).

Also in 2003, Canon achieved market leadership for digital cameras in Japan for the first time in the company's history. With a market share of around 19%, Canon displaced the previous front runners and competitors Fuji Photo Film (14.9 percent) and Sony (15.3 percent).

In 2015 Canon generated 3800 billion yen (around 30.3 billion euros), the net profit was 220.2 billion yen (around 1.8 billion euros).

In March 2016, it was announced that Canon is acquiring Toshiba Medical Systems from Toshiba for around 5.3 billion euros. This is intended to significantly expand the medical technology area.

Canon Germany

In 1973 Canon Copylux GmbH was founded in Düsseldorf and one year later moved to Willich in the Münchheide industrial park . In 1990 Canon Copylux and Canon Computer Germany were merged to form Canon Germany GmbH . Canon has had a trading office in Krefeld since 1995 . On July 1, 2001, the camera division, which had previously been based in neighboring Willich, came on board with the former Euro-Photo GmbH (part of Canon since 1985).

As the first German branch was founded in 1972 in casting the Canon Giessen GmbH opened only European copier business. The production of new devices was stopped in 2008 and the Giessen location was converted to a service center. Repairs to digital compact cameras have been carried out there since January 2008. Copy systems are also reprocessed in Gießen. Since 2005, Canon's "Print-on-Demand" test laboratory has also been located in Giessen. In 2013, Océ Deutschland GmbH was merged with Canon Deutschland GmbH. In 2016, the German headquarters in Krefeld will be converted into a state-of-the-art communications center.

The company employs around 2,400 people.

Canon Austria

The Austrian branch was founded in 1975 with its headquarters in Vienna. In 1994 Canon CEE GmbH was spun off from the export department of Canon Austria GmbH and took over the export to the Central and Eastern European countries and founded subsidiaries and offices there.

Criticism of data protection

In 2004 Canon Deutschland GmbH received the negative Big Brother Award in the "Technology" category for embedding an invisible, then worldwide unique device identifier in all color copies of professional color laser copiers, so that each copy can be traced which device was used. In principle, it would therefore be possible to precisely encircle the author of an anonymous letter of protest or the producer of calls for demonstrations. The provision was apparently intended to protect against counterfeiting of banknotes, for which such devices are often used.

Web links

Commons : Canon  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Canon Historical Data (PDF; 54 kB) Retrieved on May 6, 2011.
  2. ^ A b Canon Camera Museum. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on September 23, 2015 ; Retrieved May 16, 2017 (American English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. 2019 Market Share Data Shows Canon and Sony Growing, Nikon Shrinking. Retrieved August 20, 2020 .
  4. Canon swallows printer builder Oce. In: . November 16, 2009, accessed February 22, 2015 .
  5. Repair instructions for the Canon "Whooping Cough" admin: Canon A1 - Repair of Canon A1 Squeak / Whooping Cough. In: June 27, 2012, accessed February 22, 2015 .
  6. DSLR-quality images at your fingertips: Canon launches the small and simple EOS M ,, accessed on November 3, 2015
  7. Tobias Költzsch: Canon introduces new mirrorless full-frame system camera. In: September 5, 2018, accessed September 5, 2018 .
  8. Canon 2011 Camcorder Brochure (PDF file; 10.97 MB)
  9. Canon brings the EOS C700 . In: Cameraman . September 1, 2016 ( [accessed October 23, 2017]).
  10. Every rag . In: Der Spiegel . No. 7 , 1991 ( online ).
  11. Black flowers . In: Der Spiegel . No. 13 , 1993 ( online ).
  12. Canon and Océ present the first digital printing system from joint development ( Memento from August 26, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), Canon Germany, March 22, 2011.
  13. iF product design award 2012 for Océ VarioPrint 135
  14. Canon Germany, Home - Canon Germany. Retrieved May 16, 2017 .
  15. ^ Canon: Canon: Investor Relations | Statements of Income. Retrieved March 19, 2017 (English).
  16. Update: Canon buys Toshiba Medical Systems • - Daily news from medicine, healthcare & information technology . In: - Daily current news from medicine, healthcare & information technology . March 17, 2016 ( [accessed March 19, 2017]).
  17. ^ Canon Giessen GmbH. Retrieved May 16, 2017 .
  18. About us - Canon Germany. (No longer available online.) April 21, 2009, archived from the original on May 27, 2017 ; accessed on May 16, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  19. Big Brother Award 2004 in the field of technology