Canon introduced the EOS 650 35mm camera in 1987. Since then, the company has produced over 70 million cameras (as of February 5, 2014).
That’s an astounding number of interchangeable lens cameras. Perhaps even more astounding is the fact that Canon has sold roughly 100 million lenses for those cameras over the same time period. While Canon hasn’t officially declared it produced that many lenses yet, I expect that announcement to come in the next few weeks. Canon reached the 90 million lens mark in May 2013 and it seems that Canon is cranking out 10 million lenses every 8-9 months.
The ratio of cameras to lenses is something I’m sure Canon wishes it could improve upon. Given that serious photographers (both pro and amateur) often own several lenses for their system, this revelation of the number of EOS bodies purchased in comparison to lenses means that the overwhelming majority of Canon EOS owners only have the kit lens to go along with their camera.
And that just seems rather sad to me. There are so many great lenses out there that make the DSLR experience so much more enjoyable – even the cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens can add so much more flexibility to the system. (Of course, cameras can be purchased as the body only, but I’d be willing to be that the kits outsell the bodies at least 10-to-1.)
Of course, this lopsided ratio doesn’t only apply to Canon. It’s just that Canon gave us some numbers to go by. I’m sure other brands experience the same sales experience.
Canon Press Release
MELVILLE, N.Y., February 5, 2014 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced its parent company, Canon Inc., has reached a new camera-manufacturing milestone as combined production of the company’s film and digital EOS-series interchangeable-lens cameras surpassed the 70-million mark on February 5th.
Production of Canon EOS SLR cameras began in 1987 with the EOS 650 35mm SLR Camera, at Canon Inc.’s Fukushima Plant (now Fukushima Canon Inc.), and later moving to such production bases as Oita Canon Inc. and Canon Inc., Taiwan. Following the introduction of digital SLR cameras in the early 2000s, production of the EOS-series cameras rapidly increased, surpassing the 60-million-unit mark in October 2012 and now, approximately one year and four months later, reaching the 70-million-unit threshold.
EOS, which stands for “Electro Optical System,” also carries the name of the Greek goddess of the dawn. Introduced in March 1987 as a new generation of AF SLR cameras, EOS cameras were the world’s first to incorporate an electronic mount system enabling complete electronic control not only between the lens and body, but throughout the entire camera system.
Based on the key concepts of high-speed and ease of use the EOS-series 35mm SLR cameras, including the top-of-the-line professional-model EOS-1 camera released in 1989 and the popular compact, lightweight EOS Rebel introduced in 1990, continued to incorporate innovative technologies and gained acceptance from a wide range of users. As digital SLR cameras gained increasing popularity starting in 2000, Canon developed advanced technologies such as its proprietary CMOS sensors and high-performance DIGIC digital image processors, as well as an extensive lineup of EF lenses, in an effort to fulfill the company’s key concepts of high-speed, ease of use, and high image quality. Currently, Canon offers a broad product lineup that helps serve the needs of users of all skill levels.
Among the new Canon cameras that contributed to the realization of the 70-million-unit production milestone are the EOS 70D, featuring innovative Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, and the EOS Rebel SL1, the world’s smallest and lightest digital SLR camera*, which combines a ground-breaking compact, lightweight body design with advanced basic performance.
EF lenses for Canon EOS-series interchangeable-lens cameras are also on track to realize a major milestone as cumulative production is scheduled to pass the 100-million-unit mark in 2014.
Based on its core optical technologies, Canon will continue to refine its diverse imaging technologies while striving to produce superb and reliable lenses and cameras that cater to the varying needs of photographers – from first time users to advanced amateurs and professionals – while contributing to expanding the culture of photographic and video imaging.
Jim Kendall says
Another reason that the sales of lenses seems to be relatively lower than might be expected, is that people often times are buying camera bodies & utilizing lenses that they already own, & are sharing those lenses among 2 or more cameras. I know for a fact that is what I’m doing.
Or, maybe just maybe Canon sold less lenses because people buy excellent third party lenses?
Pan Jurek says
Canon makes great lenses but the prices are not so great. They are way too expensive. Third party lenses are the way to go.
Ralph Conway says
Since I started into the EOS system I used two analog and 6 digital bodies (I started to shoot Canon EOS late in the 90s). 6 EOS bodies where bought new. Within this time I purchased three third party and 9 EF lenses (6 of them where purchased new, too – one of them as a kit togetehrer with one body. The remaining three where used lenses).
So in my case the EOS lens/body ratio is 1:1
As a big Canon fan and a enthousiast of photo gear in general I wish to to congratulate Canon for this success. A Canon lens will last a live time (I even use the Canon FD lenses on a cheap Sony Nex 3) and the DLSR’s (in general) are like computers, they beginning to get old fashion the moment you walk out of the store. Digital photography is still developing rapidly and sometimes it is hard not willing to buy the newest model.
I like Canon so much for the fact they build camera’s for everybody. I like there products because they are reliable, simply good stuff. I used to like Canon for there creativity to make an concept that was a success with millions of people. I think for example of the Canonet.
But that creativity is long ago, nowadays they seemed to lost that creativity. Now Sony shines in that respect, Sigma doing wonderful things, with lenses ánd Foveon sensors.
Canon still gives you quality products, but I must say that there new lenses are way to expensive. Outside there workhorses of DLSR’s they disappoint me, where Fuji comes with a x100, Sony with there RX100 and Sigma with there Merrill camera’s. Those are camera’s you simply want to have, they are begging you to buy them. That’s where the creativity is at the moment.
I still am a Canon man, but only with there DLSR’s, they seem to lost a lot of ground with there lenses and on new concepts it is very very quit.