Monday, March 06, 2006
Kwanon (the original Canon Camera)
I have been a devoted Canon Camera user ever since my purchase of the venerable AE-1 35mm SLR when it first came out in 1976. For fellow Canon afficionados, here is a great site that chronicles the entire history of the camera company.
The company was founded by Saburo Uchida (1899 - 1982) and Takeo Maeda (1909 - 1975), who called their prototype camera the Kwanon (after the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy). The prototype was never marketed, however, and the name "Kwanon" was soon changed to "Canon," which means "standard for judgement or biblical scriptures." The first official camera release by the new company, the Hansa Canon, was released in 1935.
Here is the announcement, as it appeared in the October 1935 issue of the Asahi Camera: "Hansa Canon camera… Canon is a Leica imitation made in Japan. Although some influence of Contax is found, the majority of its features are modeled after the Leica. The dimensions of the camera are 13.5cm x 6.8cm x 4.5cm, while its weight is approximately 650g. It uses a special magazine and the lens is Nippon Kogaku’s Nikkor 50mm f/3.5. The lens is removable… The viewfinder is a box-type, and is designed to pop up to a specified position by pressing a button on the back. 275 yen with a snapshooting case included."
Highlights of this impressive sight include separate histories of film cameras, digital cameras, and an overview of the entire design process. Here is the Museum Site Map.