Gear Tech

Canon has now made 150 million RF and EF lenses

Laid end-to-end, that’s enough glass to stretch virtually all around the world…

It’s fair to say that 2020 was a challenging year for all the camera brands but 2021 has started with a big announcement from Canon, as the camera brand celebrated a milestone in production, with the 150 millionth lens rolling off the production line.

The massive figure of 150 million includes lenses using both the EF mount found on the brand’s range of DSLRs and the newer RF mount, found on Canon’s mirrorless cameras such as the R5 and R6. In fact Canon, who must be pretty good at keeping track of these records, explained the 150th million lens made was actually an RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM telephoto zoom lens.

What’s perhaps more astonishing is that production of the first EF lens only started back in 1987, with Canon passing the 10-million-unit mark in 1995, the 50-million-unit threshold in 2009 and the 100 million mark in April 2014 – that 34 years in total to produce 150 million lenses!

The Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x was the world’s first interchangeable SLR super-telephoto zoom lens to employ an internal extender.

In the announcement, Canon offered up some interesting information, including the fact that if the lenses were laid end-to-end, all of the RF and EF lenses Canon has manufactured thus far would measure approximately 12,450 km in length, which is nearly equivalent to the Earth’s diameter, which measures approximately 12,742 km.

Since 1987, Canon has also managed to rack up a number of world firsts that should be of interest to lens fans. For example; the EF300mm f/2.8L USM (launched in 1987) was the world’s first optic to use a lens-based ultrasonic motor while the EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS was the world’s first use of image stabilisation in a lens and this was way back in 1995.

Most of Canon’s latest lenses have been for the mirrorless RF mount, which are compatible with cameras like the R5 and RP.

Today’s Canon shooters can choose from 118 different optics plus lens extenders in the range for their EF, EF-S and RF mount cameras and more recently in 2011, Canon released the EF8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, which was the world’s first interchangeable SLR fisheye lens to deliver both 180-degree diagonal angle of view and 180-degree circular fisheye. Lastly, the EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x was the world’s first interchangeable SLR super-telephoto zoom lens to employ an internal extender when it was released in 2013.