The Kwanon camera prototype
The Kwanon symbol that was engraved into the top of the camera body
Canon Celebrates The 80th Anniversary Of The Company's First Camera - The Kwanon
MELVILLE, N.Y., September 2, 2014 - Canon U.S.A., the leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that its parent company, Canon Inc., is commemorating the 80th anniversary of Canon's first camera, the Kwanon. Marking Japan's first 35mm focal-plane-shutter camera, the Kwanon was produced in prototype form in 1934, the culmination of the dreams of engineers who wanted to catch up with Europe, the leading presence in the camera industry at the time.
The engineers who created the camera decided to name it after Kwannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, hoping the deity would share her benevolence as they pursued their dream to produce the world's finest camera. The camera's lens, called Kasyapa, was named after Mahakasyapa, a disciple of Buddha. Additionally, the top portion of the camera body featured an engraving depicting the thousand-armed Kwannon.
In 1936, two years after the birth of the Kwanon and following much trial and error, Canon launched the Hansa Canon,* its first commercial 35mm focal-plane-shutter camera, thus embarking on the Company's history as a camera manufacturer.
In 1959, Canon introduced its first single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, the Canonflex. Following, in 1961, was the Canonet, an immensely popular rangefinder camera that took the market by storm, selling out an entire week's worth of inventory in just two hours. The Company, after the success of the Canonflex and Canonet, continued to lead the industry with a range of popular camera models, such as the F-1, a top-of-the-line professional 35mm SLR camera introduced in 1971, and the AE-1, introduced in 1976, which was the world's first SLR camera equipped with a built-in microcomputer.
In 1987, following continued technological innovation, Canon launched the EOS 650, the world's first AF (autofocus) SLR camera to incorporate a fully electronic mount system. In 1995, EOS marked its entry into the digital era and the lineup continues evolving today. In 2012, the Company started to ship the Cinema EOS System, a lineup of professional digital cinematography cameras and lenses. The Cinema EOS System was created through the culmination of various technological innovations that are centered on the optical technologies developed since the Company's founding. Since its introduction, the Cinema EOS System has contributed to expanding the horizons of visual expression.
"Over the 80 years since the birth of the Kwanon camera prototype, Canon has continuously innovated to fulfill the Company's never-ending ambition to create the world's finest cameras," said Masaya Maeda, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Image Communication Products Operations at Canon Inc. "Leveraging the technologies and know-how it has acquired over its history, Canon will continue contributing to the development of the photographic and video imaging culture through its technologies and products designed to satisfy the expectations of our customers."
About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $36 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents granted in 2013† and is one of Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies in 2014. In 2013, Canon U.S.A. has received the PCMag.com Readers' Choice Award for Service and Reliability in the digital camera and printer categories for the tenth consecutive year, and for camcorders for the past three years. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. In 2014, the Canon Americas Headquarters secured LEED® Gold certification, a recognition for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance green buildings. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss and follow us on Twitter @CanonUSA. For media inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
† Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.
All referenced product names and other marks are trademarks of their respective owners.
* Made possible through the cooperation of Nippon Kogaku K.K. (present day Nikon Corporation). "Hansa" was the trademark of Omiya Photo Supply, a wholesaler of cameras and photo products. In accordance with a contractual obligation, it was engraved on the top of the camera.
The Kwanon camera prototype