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Tuesday, 08 March 2011


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I'm not sure what other people's criteria are, but personally I think flatness, or front-to-back dimensions are most important. That's what gives a slippery form factor and affects pocketability. For that reason, I find my Bessa 667 (when folded) much more "compact" than apparently smaller digital cameras with their protruberances. I can slip the Bessa in a (biggish) pocket but I don't feel as comfortable doing so even with say the K7 and 40mm pancake. (Of course there are other inconveniences with the Bessa - it's not exactly point and shoot once you have slipped it seamlessly out of your pocket)

So EVIL cameras don't appeal to me much from the compactness point of view if that's the main consideration. The Fuji x100 looks a nice compromise though

Looks like my desk some days. %-(

Actually, the "lineup" scale appears to be normalized against the upcoming Fuji X100 at the right end.

One thing that seems glossed over in a lot of size comparisons is where the size differs. Pocketability to me, seems most reliant on the thickness, not the height/width. the x100 is one of the tallest cameras, but it's actually quite slim from front to back. This image shows that the only other camera as thin (with lens attached and retracted) is the leica X1, the GF2, and the pocket cameras LX5 and S90. Also interesting that none of them are less tall with a viewfinder, though the Nikon P&S gets close (even though it's viewfinder is miniscule)

Technically I know the removable lens models make it possible to store the lens in a 2nd pocket, but then your ability to take a shot is severely lengthened in time to get ready.

The X1 is stunningly large. Unpleasantly.

FWIW, the outer hairline guides appear to match the exact height and depth of the Fuji X100: 5 inches (126mm) high and 2 inches (54mm) deep. This might help viewers get a better feel for the absolute as well as relative sizes.

Makes my NEX-5 look very pocket-capable.

Maybe we need a functionality vs. size metric? I have a GF2, but I really hate the EVF, using the LCD to compose, and the lag/buffer limiations. Even the dear G9 has parallax...so I keep coming back to my DSLR or maybe Sony's pellicle-based options. My ideal would be a DSLR with a FF sensor in the same form factor as the small SLRs of the 70s like the OM2.

The best small pocket phone in the very near future may be your Cell Phone.

Funny that none of the Canon G-series are shown.

BTW, I got a call today telling me that my "upcoming" Fuji X100 will be arriving by courier *tomorrow*!!! So I can make the comparison against the G10 myself.

That's if I can be at home when it arrives, of course...

What amazes me is how small the GF2 is!

I mainly shoot film, and after trying a number of really small film cameras and various ways of carrying them, I ended up concluding that there are diminishing returns in going too small and that cameras don't really belong in pockets anyway. So now I carry a modest-sized Vivitar 35ES in an "ever-ready" case that hangs off my shoulder with an Upstrap. (The case is actually a leather Canonet case.) For years I resisted the ever-ready case--too much like Dad's, I guess--but it's a workable four-season solution that works with just about any type of clothing. The camera is well protected and yet available in seconds.

I've seen quite a few of these sort of things, but that's one of the biggest. I'd like to see some film cameras added on.

There's often mention in these discussions of certain benchmark principles of discretion and mobility, such as whether the camera can slip into a jacket pocket or disappear into a pants pocket. One of my preferred portability principles, for example, is the question of how dangerous the camera becomes to small children when I bend down and it starts swinging from my neck. The DSLR I used to have was as heavy as a brick and very aerodynamic -- a dangerous combination.

Other useful benchmarks involve riding a bike with the camera on a neckstrap, shooting on tip-toe with arms extended upward at 45 degrees, and shooting while leaning out over a cliff. (Not usually at the same time.)

Dear folks,

cb's observation is an important one. It goes to why designers add 'grips' curves, and other bumps and protuberances to otherwise bricklike forms, rather than packing everything into a more compact rectangular solid. Because bricks LOOK big. And if you want your product to look small, well...

I get the same reaction.I can look at the guide lines and see that the X100 body+lens is thinner than 70% of the other cameras and shorter than 80% of them (when including their popup finders). That's the facts. But the illusion of bulk is compelling.

As a further check, I pulled out my Olympus Pen EP1 + Pany 20mm lens. The EP1's the same width, half a cm thicker and only 2 mm shorter. But it has some slightly rounded curves that keep convincing me it's more petite.

Wonder if the same illusion will show up when I have one in the flesh to test?

pax / Ctein

Seeing all those "add-on" protruding viewfinders makes me wish all other manufacturers follow the example set by Fuji and offer the on-board choice - it doesn't seem to make the camera that much bigger and produces a far more pleasant design too. Good old Oskar Barnack, eh?

Please include the much-loved Ricoh GRD3 in your report!

Indeed, the iPhone 4 is at least as good as 90% of the small sensor P&S cameras I've used in the last 10 years.

I recently bought a GF1 because I needed to downsize and lighten, and I noticed that its not very much smaller than an old Konica TC film (whats that?) SLR I have laying around.

It seems cameras became obese in the digital era, and now are thinning back down to healthy sizes again.

It probably doesn't get much smaller than the NEX-5 with the MS Optical Perar 35/3.5 (excluding P&S.) Uber compact with great IQ.

Where is the lovely darling called Ricoh GXR with its 2,5/28mm ?


I agree about the thinness being a valued quality. About 15 years ago, I used to carry an Olympus XA precisely because it was sleek and had no notable protuberances when shut. I could haul it out of my pocket with two fingers. I had no idea if it was a good camera when I bought it: I bought it because of its pocketability. In hindsight, the lens was more than good enough for my purposes: informal candid snapshots.

My perfect DMD will be a camera that emulates the XA in sleek pocketability (in addition to having world beating image quality, endless ISO, fixed 30mm-e lens, etc etc etc). And I don't want it to have a rear screen either. I think I'm a demographic of one, though.

I don't care how cute/pocketable, how fantastic the image quality is, if it doesn't have a decent viewfinder (preferably optical) I'd rather use my iPhone. Bolt-on OVFs need not apply.

Sorry James, demographic of two... rangefinder would be nice too..

I used to carry around an Olympus XA but eventually fell out of the habit.
Last November I got an S95 and it is in my pocket most of the time. I love the raw+jpeg option and slow 2nd curtain sync.
The video is just so so but good enough to make a ten second shot I plugged into a weather story earlier this year. It was a clip of some cars in the ditch I encountered on the way into work.
I imagine all the cameras in the picture can do all these things. I like the Canon because it was not too pricey and it is very small.
Now if it could just make a phone call and surf the net...

I saw a sony nex 3 with its accompanying tele zoom lens attached (18-200mm?) and extended. I thought it looked ridiculous......

Making camera bodies smaller and smaller is all well and good until you go and stick some weighty glass on the front. The K-7 is a fantastic size for an SLR; small but with an excellent grip that still gives good support with a fast/long zoom. Grips are there for a reason, inconvenient though they may be for pockets.

Even with the smaller optics of Micro Four Thirds, I wonder how well a GF-2 would handle with anything bigger than a standard lightweight kit zoom. I suspect not as well as the GF-1, but would be interested to try them out. Certainly the Sony NEX was too small for me when I tried it out.

Canon G series?

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