Canon Inc. is a Japanese company specializing in optical and image capture and reproduction products, including photography, video, copiers and printers. Its headquarters are located in Tokyo and it is currently one of the leaders in the photo and optical industry.
The company was founded in 1937 by Takeshi Mitarai, Goro Yoshida, Saburo Uchida and Takeo Maeda, under the name Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory. Its original purpose was research to improve and develop the quality of cameras.
In June 1934 the first Canon camera, the Kwanon, was created, named after Kuan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. In 1935 the company changed its name to Canon in order to reflect a more modern image. In 1987 they launched their EOS line of cameras, which stands for "electro-optical system" and is named after the Greek goddess EOS, or the goddess of the dawn. This system meant a total detachment from manual focusing and gave entry to ultrasonic focusing and optical stabilization, both of which were introduced by Canon into the world of reflex photography and became a standard in professional and high-speed photography.
Although it annoyed conservative users who saw their old manual-focus optics become incompatible, when their ultrasonic focus patent expired, many of their competitors followed suit and adopted Canon's ultrasonic focus.
Despite being a manufacturer of a wide variety of electronic equipment, its reputation lies in its contribution to the world of photography and its pioneering role in full frame digital photography since 2002, with the introduction of the Canon 1Ds.
Canon has also entered the digital display market by partnering with Toshiba, developing and manufacturing flat TVs based on SED, a new display technology.
Although it now specialises in mainly optical products, it is also remembered for its contributions to the world of typewriters in the decades after the Second World War.
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