Canon Inc. is a Japanese multinational corporation headquartered in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, specializing in optical, imaging, and industrial products, such as lenses, cameras, medical equipment, scanners, printers, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
Canon has a primary listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the TOPIX Core30 and Nikkei 225 index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
1937 to 1970
The origins of Canon date back to the founding of Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory in Japan in 1937 by Takeshi Mitarai, Goro Yoshida, Saburo Uchida and Takeo Maeda. During its early years the company did not have any facilities to produce its own optical glass, and its first cameras incorporated Nikkor lenses from Nippon Kogaku K.K. (the later Nikon Corporation).
Between 1933 and 1936 'The Kwanon', a copy of the Leica design, Japan's first 35 mm focal-plane-shutter camera, was developed in prototype form. In 1940 Canon developed Japan's first indirect X-ray camera. Canon introduced a field zoom lens for television broadcasting in 1958 and in 1959 introduced the Reflex Zoom 8, the world's first movie camera with a zoom lens, and the Canonflex.
In 1961 Canon introduced the Rangefinder camera, Canon 7, and 50mm 1:0.95 lens in a special bayonet mount. In 1964 Canon introduced the 'Canola 130', the first Japanese made 10-key calculator, a substantial improvement on the design of the British Bell Punch company, which introduced the first fully electronic calculator two years earlier with the Sumlock Anita Mark 8 unit. In 1965 Canon introduced the Canon Pellix, a single lens reflex (SLR) camera with a semi-transparent stationary mirror which enabled the taking of pictures through the mirror.
1970 to 2009
In 1971, Canon introduced the Canon F-1, a high-end SLR camera, and the FD lens range. In 1976, Canon launched the Canon AE-1, the world's first camera with an embedded micro-computer.
In 1982, "Wildlife as Canon Sees It" print ads first appeared in National Geographic magazine. Canon introduced their Inkjet printer using bubble-jet technology in 1985. (1 year after HP) Canon introduced Canon Electro-Optical System (EOS) in 1987, named after the goddess of the dawn. Canon EOS 650 autofocus SLR camera is introduced. Also in 1987, the Canon Foundation was established. In 1988, Canon introduced 'Kyosei philosophy'. The EOS 1 Flagship Professional SLR line was launched in 1989. In the same year the EOS RT, the world's first AF SLR with a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror, was unveiled.
In 1992, Canon launched the Canon EOS 5, the first-ever camera with eye-controlled AF, and the PowerShot 600, its first digital camera. In 1995, Canon introduced the first commercially available SLR lens with internal image stabilization, Canon EF 75-300mm lens f/4-5.6 IS USM. Canon EOS-RS was the world's fastest AF SLR camera with a continuous shooting speed of 10 frame/s at the time. Based on the EOS-1N, the EOS-1N RS has a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror with a hard coat. In 1996, Canon introduced a pocket-sized digital camera with the Advanced Photo System, named ELPH in America and IXUS in Europe. Canon entered the digital video camcorder market in 1997.
In 2004, Canon introduced the XEED SX50 LCD projector. Canon introduced its first high-definition camcorder in 2005.
In November 2009, Canon made a €730 million (US$1.1 billion) all-cash offer for the Dutch printer maker Océ. Canon had acquired majority ownership of Océ by March 2010, and completed the acquisition of 100% of shares in Océ by the end of 2011.
2010 to present
In 2010, Canon acquired Tereck Office Solutions, Inc.
On 16 March 2010, Canon announced that it was seeking to acquire a new .canon generic top-level domain, acquiring it in February 2015 and using it for the first time on its global website in May 2016.
In the third quarter of 2012, Canon's global market share in the sale of printers, copiers and multifunction devices was 20.90%.
In early 2013, Canon USA moved into a new US$500 million headquarters in Melville, New York.
In February 2014, Canon announced it would acquire Texas-based Molecular Imprints Inc., a developer of nanoprint lithography systems, for an amount speculated to be around US$98 million.
On 13 June 2014, Canon announced it had acquired Danish IP Surveillance VMS software company Milestone Systems. Milestone provides open-platform software to allow video management from various vendors in a single interface; therefore the company will operate as a separate entity.
On 10 February 2015, Canon announced that it had intentions to buy Swedish Security Camera maker Axis Communications for US$2.83 billion. On 23 February 2015, Axis Communications reacted to this news and confirmed that it had received a purchase proposal from Canon. The purchase was effectively completed in April 2015.
On 24 April 2015, Canon Europe announced it had acquired the London-based family photo sharing startup Lifecake.
In November 2015, Canon USA filed lawsuits against a number of camera gear retailers in an attempt to stop the sale of gray market camera gear. Retailers include Get It Digital, All New Shop and F&E Trading.
In March 2016, Canon acquired Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation for US$5.9 billion.
On 28 March 2017, Canon Europe announced it had acquired the London-based printing startup Kite.
On 2 April 2019, Canon introduces two new UHDgc 2/3-inch Portable Zoom Lenses designed For 4K UHD Broadcast Cameras.
In July 2020, Canon recorded its first ever quarterly loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In September 2020, Fujitsu announced that it will provide Canon with a Fujitsu Supercomputer PRIMEHPC FX1000 unit, to assist with its no-prototype development manufacturing initiative.
In January 2021 Canon decided that it would no longer invest in cameras for the CES 2021, instead of allowing customers to take pictures from space.