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Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Lomo LC-A and Olympus Stylus Epic

Panasonic LX-3. It has been all over the world with me.


film- Contax G1 (not G2, never ever)

film- OM4

digi- GF1, M8 (finally cheap enough, i.e., still expensive but depreciation no worse than new Canikon)

olympus XA, leica M8, nikkormat FTN


The Ricoh GX-100. In my case, always with the EVF and the lens hood/shade attached. Certainly small, fits my hands excellently, and controls and customizeability second to none. Image quality at low ISO's is excellent.

I bought the Ricoh as a 'traveling camera', but it became much more. Before that camera, I was a good advanced amateur photographer, with a number of varied photos I was happy with and the occasional paying gig. With the Ricoh I found a theme/subject matter to work with consistently and began to build a coherent body of work. My first gallery show was all shot with the Ricoh.

Panasonic GF1

I have a Canon S90 as my second camera (my other is a Nikon D300). The small size is just great; I can wear in on my belt. I took it on a trip to China and took about 50% of my pictures with it because I had it with me and people are not intimidated by it when being photographed. The one vey handy feature is the programable dial that surrounds the lens which can be used to easily and quickly change exposure compensation or ISO settings.

Canon S90, small, photos look pretty good in low light. I love my 7D more, but I can't bring that with me.
Also, I love the camera on my iPhone 4. It is finally good enough to get the sense of what is going on, and it is so easy to share.
I have often take a bunch of photos of something pretty with my 7D, and then taken one or two with my iPhone just show I can so how cool it is before I get home, import, edit, resize, email.

Love might be a little "strong" but the Olympus Stylus Epic was a wonderful small film camera, and now, digital, the Canon G9 is my usual tool of choice; and though it has gone through 2 new iterations, i still prefer the G9. My sample shows it's use; it is scuffed, dented, scratched and scarred, but works well.


Olympus XA. Has a real rangefinder, reasonably fast 35mm lens, quite, slips in a pocket, and doesn't cost much on the used market. Usually goes with me on non photo walks.

I have a few XA2s which are nice, but the XA is my favorite small film camera.

I can't help with the Mike-centric nature of the list: the small camera that I love is my Zeiss Ikon, typically with the 35/2 mounted to it, both of which were the subject of excellent reviews here. Sure, there are a bunch of digital cameras around the house, but 'love' comes from a long-term relationship, which digital simply doesn't do.

The Contax T3.

Solid, capable, a beautiful object, and equipped with a wonderful lens.

I sometimes look over ebay auctions for Contax gear and lament the fact the Kyocera/Contax/Zeiss project went the way of the dodo. Goodness did they turn out some lovely pieces of equipment.

My favorite is the Olympus OM-1n. My dad had one when I was a kid. When I started my first photography class in high school I borrowed an OM-1n from a friend. Later I bought several OMs while working at a camera store in Nebraska. The camera probably doesn't seem small now, and it didn't really seem small back in high school but it was pretty small for its time. And tiny compared to all the K1000's everyone else had. I still have a thing for a split prism rangefinder with a microprism surround and don't get me started about match needle meters. Oh and the shutter speed dial is around the lens mount--totally awesome.

I love the Olympus XA2. It's a nice focal length (35mm), it has no shutter lag, and it need not be focused - open it up, and everything 5 feet or more away is in focus. Th clamshell design protects the lens and instantly turns the camera on and off. The light meter is extremely accurate. Plus, it's full frame!

Canon S90, for shots closer than infinity, in RAW, colors significantly corrected or even in b&w.

Also: my Droid X, the colors are better than the Canon, but rife with sharpening artifacts. Would love to get RAW out of the Droid (I guess same for iPhone).

Olympus OM Series OM1 through OM 4Ti.
And the Zuiko OM lenses that went with them.
Still kicking myself for selling off all the ones I had....

Leica M6. With 35mm Summicron it's rather small. Not dinky, but still compact. Weighs a ton, however...

Canon 980IS. Yes, this is just a run of the mill consumer camera. But it takes decent photographs and has survived two long fishing trips and one dunking and still works fine.

For me the key thing is that it fits very well in the pocket so it is the camera I have with me, which is much better than any camera that I _don't_ have with me.

I took about 800 photos on my last vacation and only about 20 or 30 were unusable because of the camera (lack of focus.)

(I sort of wish it would fail so I can get a S95)

Olympus XA. I love it for its size, for its simplicity of use and operation, and for its reliability, particularly its surprisingly reliable meter. (Which is good, since it's aperture-priority only.) It also strikes an excellent balance between feeling lightweight and not feeling like ultra-breakable. Plus, it always impresses the hipsters.

I recently bought a used Ricoh GRD II (for those situations when I don't feel like using film), and there are a lot of things I can applaud about the GRD (especially its utility as a scale focus camera), I would be hard-pressed to say I love it -- because every time I use it, I feel like I'm playing a friendly game of chess with its UI.

Not that the UI doesn't make sense (it's very clever), and not that it doesn't work, but I always feel that when I'm doing well at using the camera, it's because I've succeeded in thinking several moves ahead.

I love my iPhone camera - its the camera I have with me 99% of the time and has the added bonus of being able to make phone calls as well

One of my favorite 'small' cameras is my Fuji GS-645 folding camera. Not much bigger than a 35mm rangefinder and fits in a (largish) pocket.

First loves are hard to forget. I wore out two Olympus XA film cameras made in the '80's. The optics were merely satisfactory, but the very small size meant that I could take a 35mm film camera everywhere without calling attention to myself.

I made a Velcro attachment for my belt so that I'd have the little rangefinder camera immediately available at my fingertips. It changed my approach to photography and was just plain fun to use.

I have a few - and for me it does depending on format:

35mm - Olympus XA, Ricoh R1 and GR1, Canon Demi

120 - Zeiss Ikonta 520 - sharp 645 negs in a camera smaller than most 35mm compact cameras

Digital - Sony DCS-U20 - yes its only 2MP, but it is so small and sharp I still find it hard to beat.

Pentax MX and SMC 50mm 1.7, Olympus Stylus Epic

To me, two sister cameras: Yashica FX7 with Zeiss 45/2,8 and Yashica FX3 with Zeiss 85/2,8
Recomended by Cora Kennedy, many years ago, and I'm still thanking her.

Pentax ME Super: It's small, simple, durable, unflashy (I just made that up) and, I can't believe I'm saying this, full frame.

Olympus XA: true rangefinder double image focussing, huge bright viewfinder, aperture priority automatic exposure, compensation via the ISO setting, analog shutter speed needle in the viewfinder and an F2.8 lens. It's a design classic and a joy to play with and use. The most features per gram for any film camera, I'm guessing.

My new E5? :)

Seriously, for small cameras, I really really liked my Olympus 420, and many of my favorite photos were taken with that camera. After I upgraded to the 620, my daughter started using the 420 until someone stole it at her school. Still miss it.

I also really like her pink Canon Elph, only 8 mp, but it works well, has some good features, and is really small. I'd love to get an S95 for myself.

Back in the nineties many of our best photos were taken with a wonderful Olympus Stylus (the little 35 f2.8 prime one). Still have it, works fine. The 420 was a gem though, my favorite small camera, and I'm tempted to find one used somewhere.

olympus trip 35.... love the design and plan to buy one as soon as I buy some stuff for my d90....

iPhone 4.

Panasonic LX-3.

Stylus Epic.

Konica Hexar (medium sized).

The Contax T3, and the Fuji Natura S.

The Panasonic DMC-G1 with the 20mm lens. There are smaller cameras in this line, but I'm addicted to the articulated screen, which is especially great for shooting pets and kids.

The Olympus Stylus Epic (Mju II): Cheap, reliable, and small. It is so diminutive that no one's ever intimidated when I take it out and start snapping away. Its battery lasts forever, it's weather-resistant and it takes film. I also get decent snapshots or very good photos if I take the time to compose. My camera has been with me for over eight years and a couple of hundred rolls of film, and hasn't let me down once. It's also easily the cheapest camera that I've ever purchased new (60€).

Kodak Signet 35. Don't use it anymore, but it was my first camera, and you never forget your first. And, it was a good one.

Olympus XA.

Ricoh GR Digital III. A responsive and well thought out small sensor camera.

Panasonic LX5. Relatively compact, excellent lens (24-90mm f/2.0-3.3), very good video capabilities, decent autofocus performance, many features for the advanced users, such as flash level adjustment.

Alternate nominees for best covers of "Who Do You Love"
1)Jim Morrison and the Doors recorded live, though not the version available on Elektra. Absolutely vicious and spellbinding, Morison makes other versions seem like lullabies.
2) A classic of San Francisco psychedelia, Quicksilver Messenger Service's almost interminable but uniquely their own rendition recorded on "Happy Trails" from 1969.

I 'loved' my black Pentax MX with 40mm f2.8 pancake lens, but it broke and then digital came along. I really did enjoy using that camera :-(

My Canon S90. It goes everywhere with me, unless I have my big camera with me. I usually have my iPhone with me too but I never use it to take photos because the S90 does such a better job.

You probably already have the original Olympus XA on your list, but if not, you might consider it. Overall, it was a great take-anywhere camera with a coupled rangefinder and usable image quality. Some reviewers at the time overstated the lens quality which was good for its size but certainly not the equal of any SLRs I knew about.
I think the original XA won some major design award in its day (late 1970's) but I can't remember any details on that. This camera deserves special mention in any list of small cameras simply because the design was so ingenious and it actually was a great camera to have in your pocket.

For the modern day, I have to say that I love the Canon G11 although I'm not sure if it fits in the small category


I have just purchsed an S95 and it is really nice; very capable.

PS- I forgot to put the old song reference in my post-- "Not Fade Away" original by Buddy Holly, best cover- Grateful Dead.

Leica M4
Contax G2
Olympus E620
Panasonic G1

My M9 without a doubt. Smallish anyway.

Obviously, I don't know what the definition of a small camera is, but I love my Canon EOS 450D with the EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens attached. This is very small for an SLR combo and is perfect for taking candid, shallow dof, portraits, without intimidating the subject.

I have just begun working on loving my new D7000 with my Voigtlander 40mm f2 pancake lens. It seems to have much of the good of the D3x without the weight and bulk. I hope Nikon makes a FF camera with the same form factor soon.

I still don't know how to beat a DSLR with AF, optical MF, Live View and very high responsiveness. The GF1 was a disappointment.

"Love" is a strong word. I'm not sure I have such strong feelings for any gadgets.

That aside, in the spirit of your request my current favorite small cameras are as follows.

- Ricoh GR Digital III: Terrific image quality for such a tiny sensor. Dumbass simple to use, although filled with options. It also feature some unique smart options, such as "Snap" focus mode, that immediately told me that I'm not in Canon Designland any more. The 28mm f/2.8 lens is very sharp and renders with nice contrast and color.

- Canon S90: For all the reasons many folks cited for the S95 recently. With its zoom lens it's more versatile then the Ricoh, and also a bit smaller.

Film: (none of which are made any longer)
- Contax G2: Perhaps the best damn 35mm rangefinder ever made. Yes, yes, my Leicas are very chic and the lenses are terrific. But my G2 has already grabbed the shot (with its excellent Zeiss glass, easily on par with Leica) and moved on by the time I've focused my M7. My G2's viewfinder also kicks Leica's ass, with its ability to automatically adjust for lens focal length and parallax. And how about its auto-focus system! No, it's not lightning precision, but it's there and it generally works. (If only someone would build a digital G2 I'd gladly sell most of my M gear.)

- Ricoh GR1 / GR1s / GR1v: Tiny pocket size film p&s with remarkable stamina and quality. (The Ricoh GR D digital cameras are actually modeled after these designs.) These models all feature basically the same design with a 28mm f/2.8 lens (same as the GRD). In either full-automation or aperture-priority snapping with this camera is just a blast. Very good little rangefinder viewfinder.

- Contax T2: This is a runner-up behind the Ricoh. A bit chunkier -- jacket pocket size -- but a good performer.


This topic is timely for me. For the past few months I've self-admitted my enjoyment of using high-quality small cameras for many purposes.

Panasonic LX3 with its two-piece-leather-always-on case. The poor man's Leica (I call mine my Leica). Love the feel, the look, the performance, the image quality, just everything about it. It's small enough to carry around, its auto modes are fast and pretty good with its choices for those instant moments when you don't have time to ready the shot, but it also has plenty of manual controls for when you have time. I don't even bother with changing lenses on my DSLR anymore, I keep the 105/2.8 macro on the nikon and have the LX3 handy for the wide angle shots.

It's been mentioned above, but I'll mention it again: Contax G1.

Rollei 35S. Tiny and rugged, it's always in my bag or in my coat pocket, usually with iso400 negative film or pushed BW film. It's certainly not without its faults; the handling is quite unique and my frustration at the long minimum focus distance is tempered by the realization that I wouldn't be able to focus worth a damn close up anyhow.

I have other cameras that may be objectively more practical. None of them are loved the way I love the Rollei, though.

"Love" is a tad strong, but "Really, really like" is how I'd describe the newish Canon S95 that I'm now carrying constantly.

Raw is great, and the great macro-focus makes it a photocopier as well as a camera.

Polaroid SX70; it folds to the size of a thin paperback and will fit in a coat pocket.
Olympus XA4; the zone focus makes her fast to use.
Pentax 110; though film made it a bit of a let down it was a lot of fun
With digital as many have mentioned the Ricoh GX100, a great little cam at base iso, but flawed in write times.
Olympus C5050, though there was a bit too much shutter lag I really enjoyed using mine.
Olympus EP-1 with the 17mm lens, good sensor nice grip, looks super cool.

In 35 mm, Ricoh GR-1, GR-1v
In 645, Fuji GA645i, GA645Wi
In 6x6, Rolleiflex 3.5F
In 6x7, Mamiya 7II

Pentax ME Super. Has to be Pentax doesn't it?

Another vote for the Canon S90. I am currently travelling in Bhutan and more than half the shots have been with this camera.
My iPhone had also been valuable in sharing pictures with friends while travelling as well as typing this comment!

Not sure about love but very fond of Canon s90....easy to carry and capable of really good quality shots on auto with lens fixed to 28mm. Still love my Olympus OM1n with 21mm lens for film.

Still long for my Minolta CLE - a Leica/Minolta collaboration and the cutest little thing with the superbest lenses - tragically stolen from me in its prime.

My first digial compact: canon A80 with manual controls optionally, a good swivel screen and more than decent IQ.

Now for answers that may not fit your definition for small:

My first DSLR which more or less qualifies as small in my book, esp with the 40mm pancake lens: K20. (Mike-centric but true)

Before these two my second film camera: canon A1: really loved that one too. Small enough in my book. And prior to that my first camera, first love, only camera for more than 20 years: canon FTb... pretty small.

None of these - safe for the compact - are the lightest but I liked their heft.

Oly 35RC.

Went through 3, including my Dad's. (Sorry about that, Dad.)

That dates me, eh?

Dropped one at the beginning of a trip, lost the metering, and still brought home the bacon.

Contax T. The ideal balance between control and portability for me.

I will add my votes to the many others for the Canon S90/S95, Olympus Stylus Epic, and the iPhone.

Add to that the Olympus RC and the Rollei B35. I loved my B35, but the second time the film advance broke that was the end of it. The beauty of it was by the time you put the camera to your eye the creative process, (exposure, focus, composition), was done.


What, no love for the little Rollei 35 or the fold-up Minox 35? My heart went out to those little cuties every time I saw one in the window of a camera store in New York, but I never had the gumption to reach for my wallet.

I assume you refer to digital for today, otherwise I would respond differently. Since I spent all my discretionary funds on an M9 I'm a few generations behind but I still use my Panasonic LX2. It's noisy but I love the native 9x16 format. I. Also sent my first digital, a Sony R1 off to have the AA filter replaced with clear glass and am using it more again.

Bill Pearce

iPhone 4
Panasonic TZ5
Nikon Pronea S, yes an Aps camera, it's small uses both FX, DX, AI, IX. Film and processing costs as much as the camera. So haven't actually used it. But I can still love it right?

I also love my Canon Elph S100. I also loved my Canonet when it was working.

I also wish to put in a good word for The Doors.

Contax T.
Contax Aria.
Gowland Pocket View.


My second "real" camera bought when I was 14 or 15, an Olympus OM-1 (bought to replace an also loved, but swiped Oly 35ED rangefinder). Imagine, a truly small, light SLR with a viewfinder I could actually see well enough to focus through. Still have it. Still wish I could get something like it in a DSLR.

The best cover of Who Do You Love is Ronnie Hawkins, backed up by the Band, in the Last Waltz concert.:-)

As a LF shooter, my favorite small camera is a Technika IV. An M9 would probably be my favorite if I had one, but for real small right now, the Canon S90.

Only small camera I have is the G9 and I like it plenty.

The camera you use is the one you have with you. My Olympus XA and Canon S90 both fill this role very well. The Canon rides around in a cargo pocket pretty much all the time.

i really like the olympus pen s, and there's also the super rare pen w.

Lumix LX5.

Bought for my work in the northern bush where we are now expected to submit photos along with our written reports. The DSLR just too cumbersome and easy to "forget".

One heck of a lens and easy to control now that I've played with it. Carry it in a tiny Lowepro bag slung across my chest. Barely notice it's there as I step over logs and crash the underbrush.

Some gorgeous images so far when I've taken personal time with it. A keeper, I think.

So how does one embed images like Mr. Rosengart above?

another vote for olympus xa. just pulled it out of the drawer and the batt was still good - it must be a few years since it was checked, let alone ran a roll of film thru it.

I've been shooting with a Yashica Electro 35 GSN for the past couple months and I love it.

From tiny to smaller than most:

Ricoh GR Digital III
Contax T2
Olympus PEN E-P2 with Lumix G 20mm
Konica Hexar AF
Leica M8 with 28/2.8
Olympus OM-4T with 40/2

Old school: the broken XA in my closet and the working Olympus 35RD next to it.

Digital: the Panasonic LX3 and its big brother, the GF1. This image is from the latter.
Eve at the fire

Pentax ME Super: It's small, simple, durable, unflashy...


Not as tiny as some, but a full featured SLR that you can run out of a jacket pocket. It's amazing how bulky it makes a DSLR feel.

Werramat with 35mm, 50mm and 90mm lenses. Beautiful to look at, well constructed, compact, and intelligently designed. Cameras, like wine, get better with age?

Leica M6. Meters are nice.

Leica III. Meters are nice, but dude, with the collapsable 50, this critter is tiny! My wife is wonderful and got me this for xmass one year, and I seriously doubted I would actually use it - and while I may not reload it in the field often, it's always a travel camera due to the size.

Canon S90/S95 - Best of the pocket digicams, really, really nice cameras.

Contax G2 - my favorite film vacation camera ever. AF and AE, razor sharp glass, and small!

Hassy Superwide - Okay, small is somewhat debatable, but for 120, it's wee. Delta 3200 makes for an amazing scale-focusig street camera, even at twilight/evening.

"I also wish to put in a good word for The Doors."

Help me out here guys--iTunes has what appears to be five different live versions of "Who Do You Love" by the Doors. Which one(s) are we talking about?


Om1-n. Just put new seals in mine today. Maybe the finest looking slr ever made. Maybe a tie with the Contax G2.

Speaking of George Thorogood remind me to tell you about the time I saw him in a club playing back up for a guy named Johnny Barnes on a stormy night in front of maybe 50-75 people. 1974-75? No one new who he was back then. Three piece band and he sat on a stool all night playing slide guitar.

Cosina-Voigtlander Bessa R2 with CV 35/f2.5 lens. Oh and it's painted green...

Nikon 28ti

The Rollei 35 SE. The optics are superb for it's size and it easily fits in a pocket.

Another me-too on the Olympus Stylus Epic. I haven't shot film in years, but every once in a while I take the Epic out of a drawer and admire it.

Not new, but I find my "take everywhere" Fuji F20 is a terrific little tool, the combination of a rather special 6mp sensor and a very sharp lens in a small body has produced many many great images for me. So good that despite the passing of time and all the other DSLRs etc I have bought since I have not felt the need for anything else to replace it.

It is also the cheapest digital I have ever bought at just $125.00!

Leica Minilux. 40mm F/2.4, controls configured so you can basically do everything you need, very little shutter lag, excellent sharpness and contrast and built like a wonderful little brick. 'nuf said.

Olympus seems to be getting a lot of love here, and I too am continuing that with my Olympus 35SP.

Also my blackberry is always with me so that is a camera, that while not great, does the job for a simple snap every now and then. 5MP is quite suitable for a cell phone.

This is a difficult question to answer because darned cameras change in size so much, subjectively speaking.

For example, up until recently I considered my M6 and M8 to be my "small" cameras, because they were the only ones that delivered what I considered to be satisfactory quality in a size that could, with a bit of a stretch, be considered small.

Then I bought a Canon S95, ostensibly as a "toy," and have been amazed by the images it delivers. My M6 and M8 suddenly got considerably bigger and heavier than they were.

Everything is relative.

So for now: the S95.

There is not a single small digital camera that could claim love from me, I've owned several and tried a bunch more. I quite like my LX3 but nowhere near love. They are no sufficient tactile or responsive for me to feel any love for them.
If the Zeiss Ikon (current RF) is considered small, it hits the spot. Tactile, responsive, a joy to hold and use. If only it were digital

Leica m6/28mm f/1.9 ultron, I have not been more than 6 foot away from it in the last three years, carry it everywhere, I fully intend to flog it till it drops.

Not only do I love it but I'm 6ft 3in and 220pound so it looks like a toy in my hand.


likes in film:
rollei 35 LED
olympus OM-1
leica IIIa
leica M4-P

likes in digital:
olympus E-P1

liked version of "who do you love":
UFO (i find it refreshingly rough)

Retina IIa. I don't use it any more but used to carry it all the time in a Ziploc in my back pocket, with a wrist strap screwed into the tripod socket. Very discreet and quick to use with good optical quality.

Olympus XA. Saw a few M6 suggestions, but that doesn't fit in with my definition of small. Your mileage may vary.

I absolutely loved my Leica Minilux, although I'm not sure it would see much use if it still worked.

Olympus Pen FT
iPhone 4

My daughter says add her new Ricoh GRDIII

Pentax Auto 110 with 25mm, 50mm and 70mm lenses - the sole kit on a couple of vacation trips with wife and two young sons in a Jeep CJ-7 (severe space limitations).

Ricoh R-1 (until the LCD frame/mode electronics gave out) Incredibly small full frame 35mm film with dual focal length lens.

Olympus Stylus Epic - fun, rugged, great performance at a reasonable price.

Easy for me… the Fuji F31.

Pentax MX with my newest weakness, a Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 Color Skopar (also a great walkabout lens on my K-7 - you listening, Mike?) Also have to agree re: the Olympus XA2 - my very first camera of any description.

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