What's in a name? The Canon Rebel XS was literally called "Friendly" in Japan!

Canon EOS Rebel XS camera with lens
(Image credit: Canon)

What's in a name? When it comes to the Canon Rebel XS, maybe not much. Or in Europe, where it was called the EOS 1000D. In Japan, however, the name was much more significant: Canon EOS F – and the F stood for "Family" and "Friendly".

Released back in 2008, the Canon Rebel XS was a great little camera, but it didn't wear its heart on its sleeve in quite the same way as the Kiss F did – and that feels like a bit of a shame, to me. 

Okay, I concede that calling a camera "Kiss" probably isn't going to fly in the States – which was why Canon's entry-level cameras were called "Rebel" instead. But Canon Rebel XS tells me nothing, while a camera that's literally called "Family" or "Friendly" tells me everything I need to know about who it's for! 

This is something Canon does, periodically, and not just in Japan. The suffix "a", for example, has always indicated that a camera is specifically designed for astrophotography (such as the Canon EOS Ra in 2021, the 60Da in 2010 and the 20Da in 2005). 

Then you've got something like the Canon EOS RP, launched in 2019, where the P stood for "Popular" (which, as Canon clarified to me, meant "for everybody"). Again, it's a handy shorthand that explains who the camera is aimed at – which was especially helpful at a time when Canon's EOS lineup, with three different formats, was feeling a bit confusing.

Contrast this to, for example, Sony. As I've opined before, its line of ZV vlogging cameras (again, more colorfully named "Vlogcam" in Japan) is the epitome of confusion. There's the ZV-1, ZV-1 II, ZV-1F, ZV-E1, ZV-E10… and honestly, I have no clue how to differentiate them without looking them all up. A cute little naming convention would be so very helpful!

Before becoming OM System, Olympus was terrible for this as well. Take the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV – a brilliant camera, but what the heck does the name even mean to the average person? Most people would run out of breath and pass out, trying to say that name out loud in a camera store! 

Gimme a Canon PowerShot Zoom, or an Instax Pal, or a Polaroid Go, or any other camera whose name gives me a clue what it does (and doesn't have a ridiculous code number in there)!

(Image credit: Canon)

Take a look at the best Canon cameras, which includes some of the best DSLRs and best mirrorless cameras

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.