75 years of optics

MORE THAN 75 YEARS
OF OPTICAL INNOVATION

In 1936, Canon introduced its very first camera, the Hansa 35mm. In those early days of our history, few could have imagined the enormous breadth and scope of breakthroughs our engineers would realize over the following decades. Collected here are some of our most important milestones, ranging from optical innovations that revolutionized the cinema and broadcast industries, to advancements in the most fundamental aspects of lens technology.

1936

Canon introduces its first production 35mm camera, the 35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Rangefinder Camera.

1946

In 1946, Canon introduced the S2 35mm rangefinder camera, available with either the (Canon) Serenar 50mm f/3.5 or 50mm f/2 lens.

1947

The Precision Optical Industry Co., Ltd., changes its name to Canon Camera Co., Ltd.,

1951

Canon releases the Serenar 50mm f/1.8" lens, which substantially reduced flare.

1958

Canon introduces the first BCTV lens, the Field Zoom IF-1, featuring a 6.7x zoom range—the highest available in television broadcasting at the time.

1959

The Canonflex, Canon’s first single-lens reflex camera, is introduced.

1961

The 50mm f/0.95 was was developed for the Canon 7 rangefinder camera, and had the largest maximum aperture of any photographic lens available at that time.

1964

Canon releases the 8mm Cine Zoom 512 movie camera, equipped with a bright f/1.2 zoom lens and a spring drive mechanism.

1965

The Scoopic 16 was the world’s first 16mm movie camera with a built-in zoom lens. Although designed primarily for news gathering, the camera became popular for a wide range of applications.

1968

The FL55mm f/1.2 was Canon's first ultra fast lens utilizing aspheric elements. This technology virtually eliminates aspherical aberration and curvature of field resulting in extremely high sharpness
from corner to corner.

1969

The Canon FL-F300mm f/5.6 was the world's first interchangeable lens with artificial fluoride (CaF2) elements which virtually eliminated chromatic aberration.

1971

As part of the introduction of 16 new FD-series lenses, the FD55mm f/1.2 AL makes Canon the first company in the world to market an interchangeable SLR lens featuring an aspherical lens element.

1973

Canon wins a Scientific or Technical (Class III) Academy Award® for development of the Canon Macro Zoom Lens for 35mm
motion picture photography.

1977

Canon wins a Scientific or Technical (Class III) Academy Award® for K-35 super-speed motion picture lenses.

1979

Canon introduces its first lens-shutter 35mm autofocus camera, the
AF35M (Autoboy).

1987

Canon celebrates its 50th anniversary by releasing the innovative EOS 650 autofocus SLR camera and the accessible, super high-speed autofocus EF lens series.

1995

The EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is launched, the world’s first interchangeable SLR lens with an image stabilizer.

1996

Canon wins a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award® for "Implementation of Lens Technology to Achieve Compatibility
with CCD Sensor."

1998

The DIGISUPER 25 xs broadcasting lens for high-definition television is introduced.

1999

A new line of Canon EF L-series lenses with image stabilization is released.

2001

Canon develops the Multi-Layered Diffractive Optical Element, drastically improving imaging performance and reducing the weight and length of lens systems featuring the technology.

2002

Canon introduces the EOS-1Ds, a full-featured 11.1 MP digital SLR with a CMOS sensor.

2003

The DIGISUPER 100 XS broadcasting lens, featuring the world’s highest zoom lens range,
is introduced.

2005

Canon receives a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award® for lens technology developments for solid state imagers and cameras in high definition formats.

2005

Canon introduces the EOS 5D, a 12.8 MP DSLR and the first full-frame camera with a standard body size.

2006

Canon delivers one of the world’s largest fluorite lenses for use at a major U.S.
astrophysical observatory.

2008

Canon introduces the follow-up to the EOS 5D, the EOS 5D Mark II, a 21.1 MP DSLR with a full-frame CMOS sensor, and the first camera of its kind to offer 1080p video recording.

2009

Hybrid IS, a new image stabilizer technology that optimally compensates for both angle camera shake and shift camera shake, is introduced.

2011

Canon enters the motion picture production industry with the launch of the Cinema EOS System of cinema cameras and lenses.

2011

Canon announces the CN-E 14.5-60mm wide-angle cinema zoom lens and the CN-E 30-300mm telephoto cinema zoom lens, the company's first 4K-ready PL mount zoom lenses.

2011

Canon introduces additional cinema zooms in both PL and EF mounts, and cinema primes in EF mount configurations, expanding the creative options for cinematographers using Canon Cinema EOS cameras.

2012

Canon releases the EOS-1D C, the world’s first 4K DSLR cinema camera.

2013

Dual Pixel CMOS phase-detection autofocus is featured in the EOS 70D camera, allowing for dramatically improved AF performance during Live View
and video shooting.