From Manual Focus to Autofocus - Canon Celebrates 80 Million EF Lenses since 1987

Up until the 1980s, if you wanted a Single Lens Reflex Camera, you used Manual Focus Lenses with it. Canon SLR models at that time used a very successful manual focus lens mount named FD, which was introduced in 1971 with the Canon F-1 to replace an older Canon FL mount. This lens system was hugely popular with both Professional Photographers and Amateur SLR users and was a great commercial success for Canon.

Then, in the early 1980s, Camera Manufacturers began experimenting with a new technology called Autofocus. For example, Pentax introduced a camera in 1981 witih a Focus Assist Feature along with a lens with an internal motor inside. Then, Canon introduced several FD Mount Lenses with Autofocus built in, along with a new T80 Camera designed to use them. Nikon introduced a new F3AF camera in 1983 with a couple of very interesting Autofocus Lenses. Olympus responded with a Zuiko AF Zoom Lens offering.

Minolta took a different approach and designed a new, fully electronic lens mount with no backwards compatibility with their older MC/MD mount cameras with the introduction of the Maxxum 7000 AF SLR in 1985, along with a variety of new Autofocus lenses that worked with it. At that time, the Focus Drive for the lenses was still mechanical, using a motor inside of the camera body.

Then, Canon did something revolutionary and introduced their EF (Electro-Focus) Lens mount in March of 1987, with all communications between the camera and lens taking place between Electrical Contacts, with no mechanical levers or plungers, with an electrical motor in the lens to allow for moving the optical elements needed to provide focus adjustments. A new EOS 650 SLR camera was introduced at the time same, incorporating a Microprocessor in the Camera to allow for precision control of the new EF Lenses.

The design approach Canon decided to use with their new EF Lens System with only electrical connections needed between the camera body and lens has proven to be hugely successful, and we've seen many new features introduced in EF lenses over the years, including sophisticated Ultrasonic Motors to allow for faster and quieter Autofocus, as well as advanced Image Stabilization Systems to allow a user to shoot at much slower shutter speeds without blur from camera shake. Currently, there are over 76 Different Lenses in the Canon EF lens lineup, produced in four different production facilities.

Today, thanks to the bold decision that Canon made by introducing an innovative new EF Lens Mount and EOS Camera System in 1987, Canon is celebrating the production of over 80 Million EF Lenses, as the 80 Millionth EF Lens was produced on August 3, 2012.

See the Canon Press Release Below.



LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., August 21, 2012 -- Canon Inc. today announced the achievement of a new EF lens-manufacturing milestone with the production of the company's 80-millionth EF lens on August 3, 2012. Production of EF lenses surpassed the 10-million mark in 1995, doubling to 20 million units in 2001. After reaching the 30 million unit milestone in 2006, Canon celebrated the production of its 40-millionth lens in 2008. Owing to the rapid spread of the EOS Digital series of SLR cameras, production for Canon's EF lenses then gained momentum to reach the 50 million unit milestone in 2009, followed by the 60 million mark in January 2011 and the 70 million mark in October of the same year. Now, just over nine months later, the EF lens series has reached the 80 million mark on August 3, 2012, adding a distinguished achievement to the 25th anniversary of the launch of Canon's EOS system.

Canon's EF lens series was first introduced together with the EOS SLR camera system in March 1987, and over the years has led the industry through the incorporation of a number of innovative technologies, including a number of world's firsts such as the Ultrasonic Motor (USM) for use in lenses, Image Stabilizer (IS), a multi-layered diffractive optical (DO) element, and Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) anti-reflection technology. Also, since last year, the EF series newly added the EF Cinema Lens series for digital cinematography and the EF-M series for interchangeable lens cameras. As a result, Canon's current EF lens lineup is comprised of 76 models. In 1987, production of interchangeable EF lenses for Canon EOS-series AF (autofocus) single-lens reflex cameras began at the company's Utsunomiya Plant. Since then, it has expanded to a total of four production facilities including Canon Inc., Taiwan; Canon Opto (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.; and Oita Canon Inc. in Japan.

Canon will continue to refine its diverse imaging technologies based on its core optical technologies. The Company strives to produce exceptional and reliable lenses and cameras that cater to the varying needs of photographers--from first-time users to advanced amateurs and professionals--while also contributing to expanding the culture of photographic and video imaging.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $45.6 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents registered in 2011† and is one of Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies in 2012. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting