Canon has long been loved by amateurs and professionals alike for its diverse range of high-quality compact and SLR cameras. The Japanese company produces a whole bucketful of imaging and optical tech, including camcorders, photocopiers, steppers and computer printers, but you'll probably be most familiar with either its IXUS or PowerShot range of digital snappers.
The firm was originally called Kwanon, after the Buddhist bodhisattva -- that's "enlightened being" to you and us -- Guan Yin. It only said konnichiwa to the commonly recognised name Canon in 1947. In 1998, Canon adopted the corporate philosophy of kyosei, which stands for, "All people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future".
Canon has always been at the forefront of producing innovative photographic technology, including the world's first camcorder with a zoom lens. It unveiled its first digital camera, the PowerShot 600, in 1992.
Canon has a long-standing reputation for producing top-notch snappers, so it will come as no surprise to discover that the IXUS 230HS was CNET UK's favourite digital camera of 2011. More recently, the pro-level EOS 5D Mark III drew a stunning five-star review, as did the more affordable PowerShot G1 X.