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News & Insight

Canon Granted 3rd Most US Patents in 2016

By Bing Putney on January 20th 2017

Despite the rise of mirrorless options from Sony, Olympus and Panasonic, and the continued rivalry from Nikon, Canon maintains the top spot in terms of market share in the photo world. When you combine this dominance with their video, industrial, medical and printer divisions, you quickly realize just how massive Canon is as a company.

As a testament to their size, and continued research and development, last year Canon was granted the third most patents by the US patent office, a whopping 3,665, only trailing IBM and Samsung. This is the 31st consecutive year that Canon has been in the top 5 in this category. Canon was also 3rd on the list in 2015, with 4,134 patents.

For a bit of reference, Google was 5th on the list, Sony was 10th, Apple was 11th, and Fujifilm was 48th with a paltry 699 patents.

How will Canon’s impressive portfolio of patents translate into new and exciting camera gear? Your guess is as good as mine. Last year we saw the introduction of dual pixel raw technology in the 5D Mark IV, allowing us to adjust focus in post… sort of. They also introduced the EOS M5, their most recent attempt at a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Perhaps a few of those new patents are for more M mount lenses.

[REWIND: Canon 5D Mark IV Official Review | Gear Talk Episode 13]

The full list of the top 50 companies in terms of patents granted can be found here.

About

Bing is a professional portrait and on-set still photographer who lives in Los Angeles, and frequently travels the world to explore new and interesting cultures and pastries.

Website: bingputneyphotography.com
Instagram: @bingputney

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mark Forwood

    Switching to the ADC on the 1dxMk2 and 5dmkiv were an evolution for Canon that, to this point, has yielded favorable results. There is no imperial evidence to suggest it’s anything but the correct future pathway for its product line.
    From a karheting perspective- I couldn’t agree more with Adam, “As any form of market share trend has shown, they don’t need to be the best with sensors, they just need the most compelling value proposition. Their service, breadth of offerings, lens portfolio and clever proprietary tech (DPAF comes to mind) keeps their customers pretty faithful.”
    Canon’s ability to provide quality at diverse consumer levels is imperative…..a divergence of more features and continued excellence in the industry must be essential for Canon and their functional benchmarking and assessments.

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  2. Josh Leavitt

    I’m hoping at least one of their patents translates into a revolutionary more efficient, less expensive manufacturing process for CMOS sensors. Demand is expected to increase significantly for CMOS sensors in the short-mid term thanks to the proliferation of dual-sensor camera phones, self-driving cars, and drone vehicles.

    I keep dreaming about a 6D Mark II with a 24MP sensor that starts at $799 MSRP. If cost savings like that trickled into the full frame and APS-C markets, digital cameras could see a huge boost in sales.

    But that’s just a dream. I’m a cynical guy, so I’m really just expecting the entire point-and-shoot, and amateur/enthusiast APS-C market to collapse in a few years thanks to the advances in smartphone camera technology.

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  3. David Hodgins

    I’d like to see them step up their sensor game. I think their glass is competitive, their bodies (for stills anyway) are competitive, but just about everyone else is knocking them down in the sensor department. I’d also like to see them bring out some solid primes for the M system. I think there is a great deal of unrealized potential there.

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    • adam sanford

      David, re: sensors, they switched to on-chip ADC with the 1DX2 and 5D4, which eliminated the biggest problem with their sensor performance.

      As any form of market share trend has shown, they don’t need to be the best with sensors, they just need the most compelling value proposition. Their service, breadth of offerings, lens portfolio and clever proprietary tech (DPAF comes to mind) keeps their customers pretty faithful.

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