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Canon information and a brief history

Canon is a Japanese multinational corporation producing and selling optical and imaging products, like photo cameras, lenses, flashes, medical equipments, printers, scanners, projectors and some industrial equipment. Its name comes from the Japanese word Kwannon/Kwanon that indicates the Buddhist "bodhisattva" (a person that has reached enlightment but for compassion with mankind keeps on being submitted to reincarnation). 

It was founded in 1937 as "Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory" in Japan and was the company to build the first 35mm camera with focal-plane shutter, the first indirect X-ray camera, the first movie camera with a zoom lens and other technological innovations in this field.

From 1984 Canon has been manufacturing digital cameras and is one of the major world producers of photographic and video gear, both professional and personal/consumer.

Like Nikon, it was a bit late with respect to Sony in starting production of full frame mirrorless cameras from last quarter of 2018.

Canon lens abbreviations

Some of the tags Canon uses in its lenses are the following ones:

  • EF: Electro Focus, it's the generic tag that indicates that the lens can be used on all EOS cameras, both analog and digital, both with sensor full-frame or APS-C sized sensors (but not mirrorless! See EF-M).
  • EF-SElectro Focus - Small, similar to EF but restricted to cameras with APS-C sized sensor (and not mirrorless).
  • EF-MElectro Focus - Mirrorless, similar to EF but restricted to digital mirrorless cameras that have APS-C sized sensors but have a different mount than those for EF-S. See all mounts in our lens mount list section.
  • L: Luxury, identifies professional lenses.
  • IS: Image Stabilizer, with vibration compensation.
  • STM: with Stepper Motor for auto-focus.
  • TS-E: with Tilt and Shift capabilities.
  • USM: with UltraSonic Motor auto-focus motor.
Product TypeModels in Production / Total
Models: 49 , in production variants: 17 ,  discontinued variants: 32
Models: 59 , in production variants: 45 ,  discontinued variants: 14
Models: 3 , in production variants: 2 ,  discontinued variants: 1