Canon's current collection of EF and RF lenses for both still and cinema cameras. Click to enlarge.

Canon has announced it reached the ‘significant milestone’ of producing its 150-millionth interchangeable (EF and RF) lens in January 2021. In its press release celebrating the achievement, Canon says the lucky number 150,000,000 was an RF 70–200mm F2.8 L IS USM telephoto zoom lens.

It was back in 1987 when Canon produced the first EF lens for its EOS-series AF (Autofocus) single-lens reflex film camera system at the company’s Utsunomiya Plant in the Tochigi Prefecture of Japan. Since then, Canon has opened up three other manufacturing facilities, ‘including Canon Inc., Taiwan; Canon Opto (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.; and Oita Canon Inc. in southern Japan.’

Canon's Utsunomiya lens plant in the Tochigi Prefecture of Japan.

From that first lens, it took only eight years to reach the 10-million-unit mark in 1995. It would take another 14 years to hit the 50-million-unit mark in 2009 and just five years after that to double its output to 100-million units. Now, six years later, the company has hit the 150-million-unit mark. For context, Canon says that if you laid down every EF and RF lens its produced to date, the line ‘would measure approximately 7,736 miles in length — nearly equivalent to the Earth’s diameter, which measures approximately 7,917 miles.’

Canon also uses the press release to note ‘world’s first’ features many of its EF and RF lenses have brought over the years (note many of the 'firsts' have footnotes that disclaim how the title was determined).

It’s not just lenses Canon is putting out at an impeccable pace, either. Back in October 2019, Canon announced it had produced its 100-millionth EOS series interchangeable lens camera.

Canon hasn’t divulged how many of the 150 million are the new RF mount lenses, but it’s safe to say Canon’s new mirrorless glass has quite a while before it even begins to eclipse the numbers of Canon’s EF/EF-S lenses.