History of Canon and Nikon


CAd. of Kwanon camera
Canon’s original camera was cold “Kwanon” which was made by Mr. Goro Yoshida and put ads on magazines…but it did not arrive to market. This ad. means….

Submarine….I-1
Air plane…..Type 92
Camera…..Kwanon        All best of the world !!

Imports which we can’t re-export is waste for our valuable resource .


Canon and Nikon…they are known as 2 major camera company for many years.

But their beginning were quite different.

Nikon was established in 1917 by Mitsubishi conglomerate, which was one of the biggest conglomerate in Japan those days to supply optical equipments to Navy.
They were nearly 100% specialized to military equipments.

I said “almost”….what is the rest?

Believe it or not…Nikon was supplying lens to Canon!! That was the first consumer product for Nikon.

Canon was first started by movie camera repair person “Goro Yoshida” in 1933. He was quite good at repair and what he did was…completely disassemble brand-new Leica or Contax and thought He could make at least Leica camera.

Contax was way too complicated to copy it and Mr.Yoshida decided to make Leica by himself.
As reality, there are lots of Leica copies in this world, but not many Contax copies.

He completely disassemble Leica…then took each parts to watch shop(Seiko), Optimists, craftsman…or etc and told them to make exactly the same stuff.

Then, he started as a company with his brother in low…but there was a problem. He could handle mechanical part…but not the optical part.
As you know there are so many different optical glass in this world and it is impossible to guess which to use.

Mr.Yoshida did stay only 1 year and after that, his brother in low who was the business partner took over the company
and He asked Nikon to make Lens and rangefinder system.

How did Nikon…the huge company accept the small offer from Canon which was small and even did not have product at that time?

Because Nikon was big…but they did not have any consumer products at that time and that was what they really wanted.

While Nikon was developing lens for Canon, they learned how to make camera.

After the WW2, Japan was completely disarmed and this also mean to there was no more business for Nikon. Nikon I
Nikon I…Nikon’s 1st camera. It has Contax style, but shutter was Leica style.


They laid off 96% of the employees and kept only 1500 people to make camera after the war.

Canon hired lots of those engineer to develop their own lens.

Also that was the time they started to conflict each other and ended up Nikon to stop supplying anything to Canon.

Canon was following Leica style…but Nikon was Contax style. That was how Canon and Nikon has been always opposite each other.

One started from a part of huge conglomerate with government support, the other started by a private repair man. One started as Lens company and the other was Camera company….Even now, they are completely opposite each other

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