How Number Superstitions Affect Camera Model Numberings

Here’s a bit of camera/culture trivia for this beautiful Friday: Did you know that Japanese culture and many East Asian cultures dislike the number 4? Check out the above screenshot from the Wikipedia page on the Canon PowerShot G line of cameras. Notice how Canon never released a PowerShot G4.

The article even states,

Canon did not release a G4 (probably because number 4 is considered unlucky in Japan) […]

For this reason, we probably won’t ever see a Canon 4D released by Canon. Will Nikon announce a D4 in their flagship line? Don’t know yet. It would be quite interesting if they skipped over it like Canon did with the G4, since everyone is expecting the next camera to be the D4.

The fear of the number 4, called Tetraphobia, is due to the fact that 4, when pronounced, sounds like the word for death in many East Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean).

When I visited China for a few weeks earlier this summer, I found that most elevators in high-rise buildings I encountered had floor numberings like this:

Wacky huh? No one wants to say, “I live on death floor”.

Well, that’s all for this installment of “PetaPixel’s random trivia”. If in fact Nikon jumps to the D5 in their flagship line, you can say you read it first here on PetaPixel! (I don’t think they will though, since they didn’t shy away from the number in other lines).

P.S. The fear of the number 13 (as found in many Western countries) is known as “triskaidekaphobia“.

Update: Another example from the comments: the S3 IS jumps to the S5 IS:

  • Wildbrookie

    They also went from S3IS to S5IS……

  • Jen Xi

    Notice how Panasonic skipped LX4 as well.

  • Guest

    There’s no S4 Pro from Fuji but S3 Pro and S5 Pro.

  • Guest

    Nikon might just skip ahead and go for the D7…

  • No_frill

    In Korea rather than put label a floor with a 4 they will put an F

  • Tim McCormack

    Fantastic! I’ve been wondering about the missing Powershot S4.

  • Jock

    Nikon will have gone backwards if they object to releasing a D4, what with having sold an F4 as their top-of-the-line model not too long ago…

  • bbq

    nikon didn’t shun the number 4 in F4 in their pro line of film cameras.

  • Salz

    Yep, but the Leica clone was named D-LUX 4. OK, Leica is a German manufacturer but this camera is still a Panasonic.

    Back to Canon: in the G-Series they skipped the 8 too. There was never a G8. Well, 4 + 4 is 8. But there was a Digital Ixus 40 and a Ixus 430.

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  • Rex

    What a load of rubbish, the Canon EOS 550d is called the Digital Rebel Kiss 4 in Japan

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  • Zak Henry

    I wonder what is on floor zero in China? Or is there some other superstition involved with zero?

  • guest

    In japan it’s because four is “shi” o “yon”, and the verb to die is “shi-nu”, so they avoid that naming.

  • Jeringmail-harborfreight

    In the Netherlands, Floor “0” is the ground floor. In elevators, you see 4,3,2,1,0,-1,-2 etc. They probably think 4,3,2,1,G,B1,B2 etc. is quaint when they go to the US!

  • Frank Lee Roberts

    Fuji Did it in the Fuji Pro Line Many years ago…went from S3 to the S5.