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This article contains Japanese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of kanji and kana.
Canon Inc.
Type Public
TYO: 7751
Founded Tokyo, Japan (10 August 1937)
Headquarters Ōta, Tokyo, Japan
Area served Worldwide
Key people Fujio Mitarai, Chairman & CEO
Tsuneji Uchida, President & COO
Industry Digital imaging
Products Print and document solutions
photographic equipment including printers
SLR cameras. Binoculars
IT imaging equipment.
Revenue ¥3.209 trillion
Net income 131.647 billion Yen 2009
Employees 166,980 (2008)[1]

Canon Inc. (キヤノン株式会社 Kyanon Kabushiki Gaisha?, TYO: 7751, NYSECAJ) is a Japanese multinational corporation that specializes in the manufacture of imaging and optical products, including cameras, photocopiers, steppers and computer printers. Its headquarters are located in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan.[2]


Company milestones

‘Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory’ is the predecessor of Canon Inc. and was founded in Tokyo in 1937 by Takeshi Mitarai, Goro Yoshida, Saburo Uchida and Takeo Maeda.

1934 logo depicting the Bodhisattva Kwan'on.

1930s - 60s

  • 1933 - 1936 : ‘The Kwanon’[3], Japan’s first 35 mm focal plane-shutter camera, was produced in prototype form.
  • 1940: An indirect X-ray camera, also a first for Japan, is developed.
  • 1947: The company is renamed Canon Camera Co., Inc.
  • 1958: A field zoom lens for television broadcasting is introduced.
  • 1959: The world’s first camcorder with a zoom lens, ‘Reflex Zoom 8’ and the Canonflex is introduced.
  • 1961: Canon creates an outstanding Rangefinder camera, the Canon 7, and the Canon lens 50mm 1:0.95 in a special bayonet mount.
  • 1964: ‘Canola 130’, the first Japanese made 10-key calculator is introduced. It was a substantial improvement on the design of the British Bell-Punch company that introduced the first fully electronic calculator two years earlier with the Sumlock Anita Mark 8 unit.
  • 1965: Introduces the Canon Pellix, an SLR camera with a semi-transparent stationary mirror that enables taking pictures through the mirror.
  • 1969: The company’s name is changed to Canon Inc.

1970s – 00s

  • 1971: The F-1, a top-end SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera, and FD lenses are introduced.
  • 1976: AE-1 launched, the world’s first camera with an embedded micro-computer.
  • 1985: The world’s first Inkjet printer using Bubble Jet technology is introduced.
  • 1987: Introduction of Canon Electro-Optical System (EOS). EOS is also the name of a goddess of the dawn. The EOS 650 autofocus SLR camera is introduced and the Canon Foundation is established.
  • 1988: Canon introduces 'Kyosei philosophy'[4].
  • 1989: The EOS RT is unvealed. This is the world's first AF SLR with a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror .
  • 1992: The EOS 5, the first-ever camera with eye-controlled AF is launched.
  • 1995: Introduces the first commercially available SLR lens with internal image stabilization, the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. The EOS-1N RS the world's fastest AF SLR camera with a continuous shooting speed of 10 fps at the time. Based on the EOS-1N, the EOS-1N RS has a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror with a hard coat.
  • 1996: The ELPH (America) IXUS (Europe), a pocket-sized camera with the Advanced Photo System, is introduced.
    1997: Canon enters the digital video camcorder market.
  • 2002: Mr Fujio Mitarai, President and CEO of Canon Inc., is named one of the world’s top 25 managers by BusinessWeek.
  • 2003: The world’s first portable digital X-ray system is used to reconstruct the face of an Egyptian mummy believed to be Queen Nefertiti.
  • 2004: The XEED SX50 LCD projector is introduced.
  • 2005: Canon’s first high-definition video camcorder is introduced.
  • 2007: Canon Europe’s 50th anniversary.
  • 2009: Acquisition of Océ

Today, the company produces digital compact and SLR cameras, printers and analog and digital copiers for the office, including its line of imageRUNNER and imagePRESS digital multifunctional devices.

In 2008, Canon was awarded over 2000 patents in the U.S.; it regularly places in the top five in total patents for the year.

Proposed gTLD

On March 16, 2010, Canon announced they were beginning an attempt to acquire a new .canon generic top-level domain.[5]

Origins of company name

The original Digital IXUS

The name Canon began in 1934 with a prototype for Japan’s first-ever 35 mm camera with a focal plane shutter. It was named 'Kwanon'[6] by Goro Yoshida after the Buddhist bodhisattva Guan Yin.


Canon is a manufacturer of business and consumer imaging products which includes printers, scanners, binoculars, compact digital cameras, film and digital SLR cameras, and lenses.

The Business Solutions division offers print and document solutions for small and medium businesses, large corporations and governments. These include multi-functional printers, black and white and color office printers, large format printers, scanners, black and white and color production printers, as well as software to support these products.

Lesser known Canon products include medical, optical and broadcast products, including ophthalmic and x-ray devices, broadcast lenses, semiconductors, digital microfilm scanners, and Handy Terminal Solutions.

Laser printers

For many years, Canon were the principal makers of the print-engines found in industry-standard laser printers. The first models of Apple LaserWriter, and the equivalent products made by HP, used the Canon LBP-CX engine. The next models (LaserWriter II series, LaserJet II series) used the Canon LBP-SX engine. Later models used the Canon LBP-LX, LBP-EX, LBP-PX engines and many other Canon print engines.

Between printer models based on the same Canon print engine, many parts (such as toner cartridges, fuser units, roller assemblies) are interchangeable.

Canon laser printers use cartridges.

Inkjet printers


Digital cameras

A Canon EOS camera: the EOS 50D

Canon has been manufacturing and distributing digital cameras since 1984, starting with the RC-701. The RC series was followed by the PowerShot and Digital IXUS series of digital cameras. Canon also developed the EOS series of digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) which includes high-end professional models.

See main articles:
Canon PowerShot
Canon PowerShot G series
Canon Digital IXUS
Canon EOS


Canon has manufactured high-quality scanners for use with home computers for many years; they also make flatbed scanners, film scanners, and document scanners. The Canon Canoscan 8800F is, as of 2009, one of the most popular devices for scanning photographs and transparencies.[citation needed]


Canon introduced two MSX home computer models in 1983, the V-10 and the V-20. Both offered just the minimum range of the MSX standards without any additional features. The V-20 was able to receive photos from the T90 Canon camera with the Data Memory Back T90 expansion.

See main article: Canon V-20

Company structure

Canon has regional headquarters in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Japan, Asia and Oceania. Canon in Europe is split into Canon Europa NV (based in the Netherlands) and Canon Europe Ltd (based in London). Both make up the European headquarters for Canon.

Canon corporate headquarter building
Canon corporate headquarter building distant view

Environmental activities

A report by the environmental organization Clean Air-Cool Planet puts Canon at the top of a list of 56 companies the survey conducted on climate-friendly companies.[7]

Canon has also launched three new calculators in Europe, called "Green Calculators", which are produced in part from recycled Canon copiers.[8]

The company has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy in Europe, named ‘Green is just a shade of blue’. The strategy places emphasis on green issues being ‘a small part of the bigger, bluer picture’, and therefore gives equal importance to other areas, including ethics, attitudes, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, education, science and social welfare.

The Canon Group has an environmental charter which looks at ‘offering products with a lower environmental burden through improvements in resource efficiency, while eliminating anti-social activities that threaten the health and safety of mankind and the environment.’[9]

In 2008 Canon donated financial support to help the estimated 5 million people displaced by the earthquake that hit China’s Sichuan province in May 2008.[10]

1million RMB was donated to the Red Cross Society of China shortly after the earthquake. Canon Inc, Japan, soon followed with a donation of RMB10 million.[10]


In Europe


Canon was the sponsor of the English Football League, with a deal from 1983 to 1986. Canon has sponsored Champions League and other UEFA tournaments as either an official sponsor or a supplier of imaging equipment. The company also sponsored the World Cup tournaments from 1978 to 1998.[11]

The company sponsored the UEFA Cup final matches from 2006/07 to the 2008/09, and the UEFA Super Cup matches in 2007 and 2008, and most recently, sponsored the UEFA EURO 2008 football tournament.

Canon Europe was also an official sponsor of the MTN Africa Cup of Nations 2008 in Ghana and the Russian Premier Football League.[12]


Canon Europe is sponsor of Paris Fashion Week and principle sponsor of London and Milan Fashion Weeks.[13]

The Red Cross

Since 2006 Canon has been helping the Red Cross provide support to thirteen Red Cross National Societies across Europe, with focus on youth projects. Support from Canon includes financial contributions and donations of imaging equipment; including cameras, copying machines and digital radiography devices, as well as volunteer activities.[14]


Canon Europe has been a WWF Conservation Partner since 1998. The company provides funding to WWF's global conservation work to aid its environmental practices.

Since 2007, WWF and Canon have been working on a Polar Bear Tracking Programme and 'Canon Kids' Zone' children’s microsite. The WWF-Canon Polar Bear Tracking Programme tracks the movements of polar bears in the Arctic through radio collars placed around the bears’ necks. Their positions are transmitted to scientists for investigation on how climate change is affecting them.[15]

The WWF-Canon Kids’ Zone is a microsite that teaches children across Europe about the environmental threats faced by the polar bear. It also helps them to understand how saving power at home and becoming more energy efficient can help save the polar bear from extinction.

World Press Photo

Canon Europe has been a partner of World Press Photo for sixteen years. World Press Photo promotes the professional standards in photography; organises the largest international contest for professional photojournalists and acts as a worldwide platform for press photography.[16]

Formula One

Canon Europe was involved in sponsorship of Formula One from 1985-1993, (primarily as title sponsor of Williams F1), and again from 2001–2004. Canon Singapore sponsored Brawn GP for the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix as well as being the title sponsor for the races from 2008 until 2012.

They have also sponsored the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Quebec.

In Canada

Canon was the official camera sponsor & provider of Montreal's Olympics Games in 1976


Canon USA has a number of sponsorships, including: National Football League, PGA TOUR, LPGA TOUR, New York Yankees, United States Open Tennis Tournament, The American Junior Golf Association's Canon Cup, Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge Eisenhower Park Lakeside Theatre Summer Concert Series.[17]

Canon Virginia, located in Newport News, Virginia, is a 24-year-old sister company of Canon USA. Formed in 1985, CVI has two large manufacturing warehouses, the newest unveiled in 2008. In these two warehouses, CVI is provides manufacturing for Canon copiers, printers, and cartridges. They also provide reverse manufacturing services for Canon copiers, printers, and cameras. Interestingly, CVI also houses camera repair services for Canon brand digital cameras (both EOS Digital and Powershot), as well as video cameras. CVI's goal is to be responsible for 50% of Canon camera repairs by January 2010.

Since opening their doors to outside business in 2005, Canon Virginia has become the contract manufacturer of choice for a major business computing company, tooled multi-cavity molds for manufacturers large and small, and signed reverse-logistics contracts.

In Oceania

Canon Australia sponsors the Canon Australian Professional Photography Awards (Canon APPA) as well as Rugby and numerous other causes in New Zealand.[18]

See also


External links

Simple English







Canon Inc.

Type Public (TYO: 7751, NYSE: CAJ)
Founded Tokyo, Japan (10 August 1937)
Headquarters Ōta, Tokyo, Japan
Key people Fujio Mitarai, Chairman & CEO
Tsuneji Uchida, President & COO
Industry Imaging
Products Print and document solutions, photographic equipment including printers, scanners and digital and SLR cameras. Binoculars, calculators and medical, optical, broadcast and IT imaging equipment.
Revenue 4,481,346 million Yen (FY 2007)
Employees 23,429 (2008)[1]

Canon Inc. (キヤノン株式会社 Kyanon Kabushiki Gaisha?, TYO: 7751, NYSE: CAJ) is a Japanese company that makes imaging and optical products. These include cameras, film, image scanners and computer printers. The company was started in 1937.



Canon began as the Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory. In 1934, the first Japanese 35mm focal plane-shutter camera prototype was made. It was called the "Kwanon". In the next few years, Canon became very important in creating new camera products and making them better.

Today, Canon creates everything from digital cameras and camcorders to laser printers and film.

Name origins

The name Canon came from the company's first 35 mm camera. It was named "Kwanon" after the Buddhist goddess of mercy.


Canon is now an international company. Canon has buildings in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the South Seas.


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