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Canon: Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera EOS-1D X


History of Canon: From Japan to the World, from Cameras to Diversification


Canon is a major Japanese electronics manufacturer. The company has expanded its business widely over the years and current products include imaging products such as cameras and camcorders, office appliances such as printers, industrial products, and medical devices. 


Canon started out as Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory, founded in 1933.  The founders were determined to enter the camera market, which was dominated by European brands at the time, with high-quality cameras made in Japan. In 1935, the company’s very first product, the Hansa Canon, was developed. It was Japan’s first 35 mm focal-plane-shutter camera. By 1955, the company had already set its eyes on internationalization; it began by opening its first overseas branch office in New York, USA. The company then expanded into the European market, and continued to successfully pursue the global market. Currently, nearly 80% of Canon’s gross revenue comes from outside of Japan.


Canon has also worked to actively diversify its business. Starting with the development and sales of high-quality cameras, the company quickly broadened its business by introducing, shortly after its establishment, Japan’s first indirect X-ray camera. In 1964, Canon developed the world’s first 10-key electronic calculator, signaling its advance into the office appliance industry.


Here, we showcase Canon’s latest camera model. Cameras represent the starting point for Canon, and they have maintained their position as the company’s core product throughout its global expansion and business diversification.


The Essence of Canon’s Technology: High-Quality Cameras for Professional Use


At the time of its invention, the camera was a luxury product. By contrast, today cameras are ubiquitous among the general public and their functionality has diversified as well. Canon develops and markets various general-purpose cameras, including compact digital cameras, for the casual user. However, it is the company’s cameras for professional use that are the best representation of just how outstanding Canon’s luxury camera manufacturing technology—the starting point for the company—remains today. One such camera, the EOS-1D X, is the very latest in Canon’s professional range of digital SLR cameras.


EOS-1 is a series of high-quality digital SLR cameras for professional use that has been developed and marketed since 1989.  The shooting environments and subjects that professional photographers work with can differ vastly from those of the general user. Therefore, the EOS-1 series is made to endure all conceivable conditions of use, able to withstand temperatures ranging from a freezing -30˚C to a scalding 60˚C. The series model with the highest image quality, the EOS-1Ds, was introduced to the market in 2002. Canon later combined the EOS-1Ds with another line, the EOS-1D, to produce the brand new EOS-1D X.


EOS-1D X: A Premium Camera Answering the Advanced Needs of Professional Photographers


The primary characteristics of the EOS-1D X are its outstanding light-gathering efficiency and functionality allowing high-speed continuous shooting at high resolution. The pixel size of the new CMOS sensor inside the EOS-1D X is 6.95 microns, larger than that of the sensor inside the EOS-1D Mark IV (5.7 microns), for example. A larger pixel size allows for a larger area for gathering light, leading to the improvement of color reproduction.  In addition, despite the large screen size of the 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor, Canon succeeded in using gapless micro lenses on the sensor.  Advances in gapless micro lens technology have allowed Canon to overcome the challenge of applying this technology to 35 mm full-frame sensors. Micro lenses are designed to maximize the light-gathering efficiency of all areas of the sensor from the center to the edges, no matter what the incident angle of the light.


High-speed continuous shooting is made possible by the Dual DIGIC 5+ processors. The new DIGIC 5+ image processors, mounted inside the EOS-1D X, have increased processing power and are capable of processing images about 6 times faster than previous DIGIC 4 processors. By combining two DIGIC 5+ processors, the processing power is increased about 17-fold, allowing for 12-fps continuous shooting (or 14-fps in Super High Speed mode).


The EOS-1D X possesses not only a higher image-processing speed, but also an improved image-processing algorithm. Canon has worked extensively on the algorithm to reduce effectively the noise that is associated with shooting, especially at high ISO sensitivity. Incidentally, the ISO sensitivity of the EOS-1D X can go as high as 204,800.


In addition to its outstanding performance, the EOS-1D X comes with many other advanced image-processing and operational features. These include chromatic aberration correction, focus correction, the ability to shoot multiple exposures, and a new compression type within the video codec. The EOS-1D X truly is Canon’s flagship digital SLR camera, loaded with the company’s latest technologies.


Furthermore, the exterior of the EOS-1D X is designed with the user in mind.  Buttons are carefully laid out for more intuitive operation, and the body is constructed to be highly durable. Whether in sports photography, photojournalism, or studio photography, the EOS-1D X is a product that answers the nuanced needs of professional cameramen.

3 August, 2012

About the author
Hiromi Jitsukata is a reporter for Japanest NIPPON
(Canon INC.)