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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Kwanon's 80th anniversary

Canon is commemorating the 80th anniversary of their first camera, the Kwanon.

Produced as a prototype in 1934, the Kwanon was Japan’s first 35mm focal-plane-shutter camera. It was the culmination of the dreams of engineers who wanted to catch up with Europe, the leading presence in the camera industry at the time.

The engineers who created the camera decided to name it after Kwannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, hoping the deity would share her benevolence as they pursued their dream to produce the world’s finest camera. The camera’s lens, called Kasyapa—after Mahakasyapa, a disciple of Buddha—also took its name from Buddhism. Additionally, the top portion of the camera body featured an engraving depicting the thousand-arm Kwannon.

In 1936, two years after the birth of the Kwanon and following much trial and error, Canon launched the Hansa Canon,  its first commercial 35mm focal-plane-shutter camera. The rest, as they say, is history.

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