Canon: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 1)



Canon is the largest camera manufacturer in the world, but little do we really know about the historic Japanese company. Here are 15 things you didn’t know about it. Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon!

Number Fifteen: It’s Named After a Goddess

Founded in 1933 as “Precision Optical Industry Co. Ltd”, the company soon produced its first camera prototype, the Kwannon, which owes its name to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Optical Industry decided to coin a simpler transliteration of the Japanese name as their new business name.

Number Fourteen: Its First Logo Was a Picture of the Goddess

Directly co-related to its Buddhist name, Canon’s first logo featured an image of Kwannon, which was engraved on the top plate. The Goddess of Mercy was supposed to have 11 faces and 1,000 hands. In Canon’s rendition, Kwannon has 16 arms and it’s sitting on a lotus flower.

Number Thirteen: It Started as a Leica Copy

The company was established by a movie camera repairman, who wanted to introduce European-style cameras into Japan. Leica, the leading camera manufacturer at the time, was his biggest inspiration. Allegedly, he tore a Leica camera apart and was baffled by what he saw: “I was surprised that when these inexpensive materials were put together into a camera, it demanded an exorbitant price. This made me angry’.

Number Twelve: It’s an Eco-Friendly Compay

In 2007, Canon was top of the list of most climate-friendly companies in the world. Canon Group executives pride themselves in creating products which feature eco-friendly technologies that have a reduced environmental impact.

Number Eleven: Cameras Aren’t their Biggest Source of Revenue

Canon works with a variety of products, from cameras to calculators. It’s the business machines segment of the company that brings the most profit to the company, not the cameras. In 2007, office equipment (such as copiers, printers and scanners) accounted for 65% of the brand’s total revenue. The cameras segment, on the other hand, generated only 26% for that year’s earnings.

Number Ten: It’s the #73 Most Valuable Brand

According to Forbes, Canon’s $49.8 million network comes 73rd on the list of the world’s top 100 most valuable brands. Apple and Microsoft are on the first and second position respectively. Its main competitor, Nikon, doesn’t appear on the list.

Number Nine: Canon and Nikon Weren’t Always Rivals

Nikon was founded two decades before its opponent jumped into the photographic scene, but they only produced optical lenses. Canon’s first production model, the Hansa Canon, included Nikon’s Nikkor lens; it was a perfect combination of Nikon’s impeccable lens, and Canon’s state-of-the-art body. Canon continued to use Nikkor lenses until 1948.

Number Eight: It’s the Most Popular DSLR on Flickr

Analytics provided by photographic website Flickr show that Canon was the most used camera among SLR users on the website in 2015. Nikon and Sony fall far behind Canon on the chart, while Apple takes the first position on the overall graph, which includes point-and-shoot, mobile phones and all other types of cameras. Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

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