35 years of EOS! Canon celebrate a major milestone next month

Canon EOS systems
(Image credit: Canon)

Next month Canon celebrates 35 years since the launch of the EOS series, which now includes a range of DSLRs, mirrorless cameras and RF, EF and EF-S lenses plus various accessories. Since the inception of the EOS series, camera technology has advanced rapidly and Canon has made some of the most impressive cameras of the last three decades. 

Canon debuted the EOS system in March 1987 with the launch of the Canon EOS 650 single-lens reflex camera, and its most recent release was the mirrorless Canon EOS R3 – a system that couldn’t be more different. Since the EOS 650 Canon has released more than 80 cameras in the EOS range, including the revolutionary Canon D30 (the first digital camera), the high-speed Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, the perennially popular Canon EOS M50 Mark II, and the groundbreaking Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6.

• Read more: Best Canon cameras

The Canon EOS 650 is a 35mm SLR released on 02 March 1987, but it was discontinued just two years later (Image credit: Canon)

If you’ve always wondered what the EOS means, it stands for Electro Optical System. No it’s not an ode to the Marvel supervillain, but rather a nod to the Greek Goddess of Dawn, Eos, signaling a new era for Canon. 

Throughout the Eighties and Nineties, Canon focused on concepts that included high-speed, ease-of-use cameras and received high praise for its innovative technologies. The release of the Canon EOS-1 in 1989 marked the start of its line of cameras aimed at professionals, while the lightweight, compact EOS Kiss (also known as EOS Rebel XS and EOS 500) signaled a break into the consumer market. 

In the 2000s the popularity of digital cameras continued to increase, by which time Canon was well underway developing its EOS range. By September 2005 Canon had launched the original Canon EOS 5D, which went on to become one of the most popular series of professional cameras (even though Canon doesn't actually consider it a pro model) and now, 17 years later, people are still buying the Canon EOS 5D IV.

The Canon EOS D30 was the first digital camera Canon released in the EOS range – it only had a 3MP APS-C sensor, yet it was advanced for its time (Image credit: Canon)

Although Canon was a little slow to join the full-frame mirrorless market, the release of the Canon EOS R  in 2018 indicated yet another change in the company’s main focus. Just two years later, the manufacturer launched what might be the single best cameras it’s ever made in the form of the EOS R5 – and most recently the video-focused version, the Canon EOS R5 C.

Since 2003, Canon has dominated the digital interchangeable lens camera market, boasting the number 1 share for 18 years. As technology advances, Canon is sure to be on the frontline of new developments, creating systems that benefit from faster processors, more intelligent autofocus and even better video capabilities. 

Read more:

Best Canon lenses
Best Canon RF lenses
Best full-frame cameras

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.