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Canon EOS system celebrates its 35th anniversary

March 2, 2022

Today, 2 March, marks the exact 35th anniversary of Canon’s launch of the its hugely successful EOS System. The legendary series includes EOS-series interchangeable-lens cameras and a highly diverse range of system accessories, such as interchangeable EF and RF lenses.

Canon’s EOS System made its debut on 2 March 1987 with the launch of the EOS 650 single-lens reflex (SLR) camera (pictured above). That date also saw the launch of  three lenses that heralded the debut of the Canon EF lens mount – the EF 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5, EF 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 and the EF 50mm f/1.8.

EOS System 35th anniversary logo

The Canon EOS System 35th anniversary logo

The name EOS is an acronym of ‘Electro-Optical System’ while also carrying the name of the Greek Goddess of the dawn. At launch, the EOS system was the world’s first fully electronic mount system, and it represented the dawn of a new generation of AF SLR cameras.

During the era of 35mm film cameras, EOS SLR cameras received high praise from a wide range of users for their innovative technologies and designs. These focused on Canon’s key concepts of high-speed and ease-of-use. During this period, the company launched the top-of-the-line professional model EOS-1 in 1989. With the introduction of the compact, lightweight EOS 500 in 1993, Canon expanded its user base to more consumer-orientated customers.

The pro EOS-1 SLR launched in 1989

The pro-spec EOS-1 film SLR launched in 1989

The rise of digital DSLRs

Following the introduction of the EOS D30 in 2000, with the rise and popularisation of digital SLR cameras in full swing, Canon developed innovative models such as the high-speed and high image quality, professional-oriented EOS-1D (2001), the EOS 300D (2003), which appealed to a broad user base, and the EOS 5D Mark II (2008), which featured Full HD 1080p video recording.

The groundbreaking EOS 5D Mark II with a 24mm lens

In 2008 the groundbreaking EOS 5D Mark II was the world’s first DSLR with Full HD video

In November 2011 Canon announced the Cinema EOS System, which transformed EOS video technology and marked Canon’s entry into the video production industry.

The Cinema EOS System was unveiled in November 2011 at a press event in Berlin, Germany

The Cinema EOS System was unveiled in November 2011 at a press event in Berlin, Germany

The R System

From there, Canon continued to develop equipment for an increasingly broad range of users. In 2018, the EOS R System was born from Canon’s desire to construct the optimal rear lens element diameter and shorter distance (back focus) for a Full-Frame image sensor.

The company followed up in 2020 with the EOS R5, the world’s first digital camera to feature 8K recording (1). In 2021, the EOS R3 was launched, featuring eye-control AF capability and the EOS VR System for recording VR content.

The EOS R3 features an eye-controlled AF system, a technology that has its roots in the 1990s

The EOS R3 features an eye-control AF system, a technology that has its roots in the 1990s

Enabling visual expression through still photography, video, and even VR content, the EOS system line-up currently comprises 21 EOS series cameras (2) and 104 RF and EF lenses (3). Further reinforcing the company’s long-running and expansive user base, Canon has maintained the world’s No.1 share (4) of digital interchangeable-lens cameras since 2003. That’s a total of 18 consecutive years.

Canon has said it, ‘will continue to refine its diverse imaging technologies based on its core optical technology to create an even more robust EOS System that meets the needs of an increasingly broad user base.’


Technical statistics notes:

(1) Among interchangeable-lens digital cameras available as of July 8, 2020.

(2) Includes five digital cinema cameras for video production. As of February 24, 2022.

(3) Includes 30 EF cinema lenses (EF and PL mount) and 4 lens extenders. As of February 24, 2022.

(4) Shares of unit sales. Based on Canon research.


Related articles:

Canon reveals full-frame 8K Cinema EOS R5 C camera

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III will be last flagship DSLR

Canon EOS R6 wins Camera of the Year in the Amateur Photographer Awards 2021

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