Canon today celebrates the cumulative production milestone of 30 million interchangeable EF lenses, in less than twenty years since the launch of Canon’s EOS camera system and the EF lens mount.

Press Release:

Canon’s 30 millionth EF lens

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 19 January, 2006: Canon today celebrates the cumulative production milestone of 30 million interchangeable EF lenses, in less than twenty years since the launch of Canon’s EOS camera system and the EF lens mount. Indicative of the accelerating popularity of SLR photography, 10 million EF lenses have been produced in the last five years.

The EF lens mount revolutionised SLR photography in 1987 by replacing mechanical links between camera and lens with electronic contacts and providing for an internal auto focus motor. Even with continued development and evolution of focus systems, Image Stabilizer technologies, lens element materials science, weather sealing and design, the EF mount remains consistent. Every EF lens is compatible with every EOS camera ever produced, including all new digital EOS cameras .

“This milestone is symbolic of our strength in lens research, design and manufacture. These are core competencies for Canon,” remarked Mogens Jensen, head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. “Lens expertise gives us a strategic advantage in almost every field in which we compete and is fundamental to our current success in the digital SLR market.”

Unequalled range

There are more than 50 current model EF lenses, with focal lengths ranging from 14mm to 600mm and a range of specialist macro, tilt/shift, fisheye and Image Stabilizer models. Professional photographers are catered for with 22 current model L series EF lenses. With special optical elements, build quality and weather sealing, the L series represents the pinnacle of Canon’s lens operability, imaging performance and weather resistance. More than 70% of registered professional photographers at the Athens Olympics shot on EOS .

Heritage of precision optics

The 30 million EF lens milestone adds to the millions of FD lenses produced prior to 1987, replaced with the EF mount introduction. It complements the tens of millions of Canon compact camera and camcorder lenses, and wide range of Canon broadcast lenses favoured for their image fidelity by the film and television industries.

World firsts

  • The history of Canon lens development is described by a string of world-first technologies. These include:First commercialisation in 1987 of the Ultrasonic Motor (USM) for use in interchangeable SLR camera lenses. Now employed in the majority of EF lenses, USM provides high-speed, near-silent auto focus with good holding torque for accurate, rapid-response stopping with no overshoot.
  • First appearance of an aspherical lens element in an interchangeable SLR lens, introduced to eliminate the spherical aberrations that soften the image quality of conventional lenses.
  • First introduction of fluorite, UD (Ultra-dispersion) and Super UD lens elements in interchangeable SLR lenses in order to correct chromatic aberrations.
  • First interchangeable lens to incorporate an Image Stabilizer (IS). Converted into shutter speed, the effect of Canon’s latest IS is to allow for handheld photography at about three stops less, with no perceptible increase in image blur. IS is now incorporated into twelve current model EF lenses.
  • First and still the only company in the world to incorporate a diffractive optical (DO) element into an interchangeable SLR lens. Using diffraction rather than refraction as the primary means of focusing light, Canon’s EF400mm f/4 DO IS USM and EF70-300 f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM lenses produce outstanding image quality, yet are significantly lighter and smaller than similarly specified conventional lenses.
  • First 10x zoom (EF35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM)
  • Longest focal length at largest aperture (EF1200mm f/5.6L USM)

The EF lens evolution

Matching advances in camera technology, EF lenses continue to evolve. Lens element shaping and Super Spectra coatings are employed to suppress and prevent the effect of reflections off digital camera sensors. The EF-S lens mount has been developed to take advantage of the compact sensor size of cameras such as the EOS 350D and EOS 20D, paving the way for a new range of compact, lightweight and high image quality lenses.