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Canon Cameras-The History And The Struggle
By Sam Ammouri
From Rangefinder to Single Lens Reflex Cameras
The Start Of Cnnon
History of 35mm rangefinder cameras started with the introduction of “Kwanon,” and ended with the “7S” (series 7) in April 1965. The “7S”camera was developed in line with the concept of “V” series cameras that originated from the “VT” model released in August 1956 and went through the “P (Populaire)” camera in 1959. These rangefinder cameras were replaced by 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) cameras.
First Canon SLR camera was the “Canonflex,” introduced in May 1959. With subsequent advances in SLR camera technology, SLR lenses also evolved, from R-series lenses to FL-series lenses, which incorporated a fully automatic aperture control mechanism. And with this progress, debuting along with FL-lens technology, was the “FX” camera, introduced in April 1964, which featured a built-in CdS exposure meter, ushering in the era of TTL (Through the Lens) metering with the launch of such successive cameras as the PELLIX and FTQL.
The Introduction of Canonet Camera
Introduced in January 1961, the “Canonet” camera became a record-breaking hit. This 35mm lens-shutter camera invited a good deal of criticism from the competitors complaining that the price was too low. In fact, its sales were so astronomical and its customer acceptance so overwhelming that the February 6, 1961 issue of “Shukan Bunshun (a popular weekly magazine)” covered the sensation in the article entitled “Go To Hell!! Canonet.”
Entrance To 8mm Cinecamera Field
The Canon’s first 8mm film cinecamera (movie camera) “Canon Cine 8T” was introduced in November 1956. In this year, development of zoom lens started concurrently, culminating in the release of the “Canon Cinezoom 512” in June 1964. The “Canon Cinezoom 512” which had a bright zoom lens with an f/1.2 maximum aperture and incorporated a spring drive mechanism. Users who enjoyed movie making, considered it a masterpiece, far ahead of all rival products.
The Birth of Canon Inc.
In the 1960s, Canon started diversifying into the business machines field, including electronic calculators and copying machines. The time had arrived when the company had to renew the image that it was solely a producer of cameras. With the stated objective that the company should become the comprehensive manufacturer of imaging and information processing equipment, the name of the company was changed to Canon Inc. on March 1, 1969
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