The men behind the cameras: Canon gives a rare insight into how your EOS SLR was designed


posted Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 7:12 PM EDT


Have you ever wondered how your DSLR was designed? As it celebrates the 25th anniversary of its flagship EOS-1 series of film and digital SLRs, Canon has pulled back the curtain and given us a peek into the world of camera design, publishing an interview with two rather influential men in the company's Research and Development Centre.

Yoshiaki Sugiyama has been with Canon since 1978, and as an SLR, lens and accessory designer back in the 1980s, he influenced products including the Canon AL-1, F-1 High Speed, T80, T90, EOS 650, EOS 620, and EOS-1. His colleague, Tsunemasa Ohara, was in charge of autofocus design for Canon's EOS-series film cameras, including the EOS-1 series cameras, and he went on to head up the team responsible for developing Canon's EOS digital SLRs as well.

Image courtesy of Canon.

You can read the interview with Sugiyama-san here, including thoughts on the evolution of the EOS series and camera ergonomics in general, what goes into designiing a new camera model and selecting the appropriate materials. He also speaks to how photographers have changed over the years, and how they affect camera design, discusses which camera he personally feels to be the most groundbreaking Canon product, and talks about some of the challenges he's faced in his career.

The interview with Ohara-san, meanwhile, is on a separate page, and looks at technical aspects of the EOS-1 series specifically. Topics for discussion include the concept and vision for the 1-series, Canon's relationship with pros and how it integrates their feedback into new models. He also discusses the possibilities for future advancements in the EOS-1 series, and talks about the technologies he sees as the most influential and significant.

Image courtesy of Canon.

Both interviews make for quite interesting reading and the accompanying 24-image gallery has some great behind-the-scenes imagery showing various development concepts for the 1-series. Photos of some of the final products are also provided, and it's very interesting to compare the two, seeing which concepts made it into the final products and which didn't -- for example, the side-by-side, vertical control dials for aperture and shutter speed which can be seen in one concept drawing. The full two-part interview can be found on Canon's website.