Canon has just celebrated an astonishing milestone: it has now produced its 150th millionth EF / RF lens.
Production of EF lenses began in March 1987, with the original launch of the EOS SLR system. The RF lens line was introduced in October 2018, with the launch of the Canon EOS R – and the 150 millionth lens to roll off the production line was the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM, in January 2021.
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Churning out 150 million lenses in 37 years is enormously impressive. To put that into some sort of context, it equates to over eight lenses produced every minute for approaching four decades.
To put it into more dramatic context, if you laid all of those 150 million lenses end to end, they would measure approximately 7,736 miles – which is nearly enough to wrap around planet Earth, whose diameter is around 7,917 miles.
Indeed, if you factor in all the lenses Canon has ever made, the total length would far exceed the Earth's diameter. After all, this is only counting EF and RF lenses; there's also 1959's R mount, 1964's FL mount, 1971's FD mount, 2003's EF-S mount, and 2012's EF-M mount.
Still, hitting 150 million lenses with just 2 mounts is a monumental achievement. The EF and RF lineup comprises a total of 118 models – though going forward, Canon told us that its focus is on the RF mount, and there will be no new EF lenses unless the market demands it (and, after 37 years, Canon already makes virtually every EF lens you could possibly want).
Canon began production of EF lenses at its Utsunomiya plant in Japan, about 70 miles north of Tokyo. Since then manufacturing has expanded to three other facilities in southern Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia.