7 January 2009

50 years? Is it that long already?!

Back in 1987, Canon gave us the EOS system. It was a major departure from their lens mount to a new design - The Electro Optical System. That's 22 years ago now, and they've just reached another milestone - 50 years of SLR cameras.

They started in 1959 with the Canonflex SLR camera. Before that, it was range finders that were the mainstay of the Canon line, starting with the Kwanon (of which there is only one known surviving example) designed to compete with the German offerings by the likes of Leica. The Kwanon was in fact essentially a copy of the Leica II with square edges rather than rounded ones.

It's not just 50 years of SLR cameras though - as impressive as that is. In that time they've sold over 50million SLR cameras. In fact, it wasn't long ago they celebrated 40million lenses, and at the rate they're winging their way out of the factory, I wouldn't be surprised to see 50million lenses appear in the not too distant future.

So, congratulations on reaching this milestone Canon, here's to the next 50years.

As an aside to this, it's amazing to think that in 50years of making SLR cameras, they still broadly look the same as they've always done. In fact, SLRs don't look a huge amount different to rangefinders. So, will cameras still look broadly the same in 50years time? Hit the comments with your thoughts on how it will develop. And, in the style of this post from Joe McNally, feel free to tell us what you'd like to see in future Canon cameras!

Canon Official Press Release below:
United Kingdom / Republic of Ireland, 06 January, 2009: Canon today announces a milestone with the 50th anniversary of Canon SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. Canon has been building and selling SLR cameras since the launch of the Canon Flex in May 1959. Today, Canon SLR cameras have been accepted as the benchmark standard for amateur and professional photograph and, to date, over 50 million Canon SLRs have been sold worldwide.

The EOS series was born in 1987 with the EOS 650 and the EF-series (Electrofocus) lens system where the camera and lens communicate through electrical contacts rather than mechanically, as was previously the case. The EOS series and EF lenses have proved incredibly popular with more than 40million EF lenses sold worldwide. Incredibly, 10 million of these have been produced within the last 3 years, thanks to the most radical change in photography and the biggest boom – the move from film to digital.

It was the debut of the EOS 300D in September 2003 that really shook things up. The EOS 300D was the first affordable digital SLR aimed at general consumers and it took the world by storm while professional EOS-1 series cameras and EF lens are chosen by the majority of the world’s news and sports photographers.

And Canon continues to innovate to this day. The new EOS 5D Mark II is the first camera to record Full HD movies and opens a multitude of new possibilities for photojournalists and news photographers. Through ongoing investment in research and development and by listening to its users, Canon will continue to offer photographers the very best tools available and lead the image culture for the next 50 years.


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