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Tuesday, 21 October 2014


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Hapti-cameras we love?

Go for "pleasing cameras we love"! Because then you can run the corollary post later on: "Cameras we love that are not pleasing"!

Minimal? Although, "Minimal Cameras We Love" doesn't immediately conjure up images of small-ish cameras. Indeed, to me it would initially suggest cameras requiring minimal fuss in their operation, in which case the Leica S could more easily be considered. Then there's the argument of having minimal size relative to IQ. But this now brings the whole idea of a short list into an altogether different exercise involving disclaimers and asterisks.

Perhaps personal cameras? Has a familiar ring to it.

I like this much better than other choices.
The iPhone is small but not Ergonomic
The Leica S is not small but Ergonomic

Frankly there are a lot of small cameras now that are too small to be Ergonomic.
If the camera is not Ergonomic it really isn't fun to use for long.

What's wrong with "comfortable"? Or even "ergonomic?"

"Small" is a terrible way to judge ergonomics, and it's "small" is not a quality I've ever found to be good in real world camera use.

As much as I might like to have a smaller, lighter camera, it seems like small cameras shrink all the wrong things down: grips and viewfinders waste away or vanish while exposure and focus controls conglomerify into unusable modal morasses of identical, uncomfortably-placed buttons and dials. Small cameras may be easier on the back, but they're much worse in the hand.

My 5D2 is heavy and sometimes it's downright painful to lug it around for hours on end, but it's comfortable in the hand and practically disappears when I'm shooting.

How about Goldocks cameras, not to big not to small, just right. That's how I feel about my 5D II. I can carry it all day on its wrist strap, even with a good sized lens and get the images I want if my imagination is big enough, don't downsize that.

Yes, either handy cameras or pleasing cameras works.

Why not simply "Favourite cameras " (or even "favorite cameras!)

Sorry to hear you suffered the criticism yesterday. Chin up. It's surprising how some people feel personally attacked when discussing (your!) ideas. Particularly given your overarching comment about your comment just being your opinion and that you're not necessarily claiming that you're right and the commenter wrong.

Cuddly cameras we love to cuddle. Done.


The "fondle factor" seems to exist (in all seriousness) though I don't think it drives purchases so much these days. Still, it gives pleasure if encountered. Certain cameras just demand to be touched more often. They don't always take the best photos, or even look the best, but they feel good. My OM4 looks like it should feel good, but compared to my E5 (departed) or EM1, it's a slippery brick (which is fine since you need your hand under the lens to focus). The EM1 for me has a high "fondle factor" that makes my hands happy, and if I want, one-handed shooting is a breeze.

Not "small" but "smaller."

When, in a few years, they'll be able to "print" a 4x5 or 8x10 sensor for a few hundred dollars, we can return to 24x36 cameras being referred to as " miniature" and the typical m4/3 will be "sub-miniature"...or maybe a really archaic term such as "bantam".

How about "mean"?

mean (adj) - excellent; skillful; size-wise, the statistical average.

Usage example: "I own a mean camera."

I also nominate "midi". Not "mini". Absolutely not "midden".

Do I win a prize?

Goldie locks camera?

Why not simply, "Cameras We Love".


My dictionary says "adj.; of less than the usual size."

Seems to fit. E.g. The Leica S is less than the usual size of medium format cameras.

Cameras we are fond of.

That way, I can say I am fond of my ALPA Max and Sigma DP Merrills regardless of their size. :)

My partner, who is not a photographer, calls my purchase of or interest in this type of camera a penchant for "instamatics", though there is a note of derision in it as he prefers, and would prefer I use, my 5DMkII. I admit I do like the word "instamatic" and have let it apply to the Olympus E-P2 now that it has the 15/8 "lens cap" on it. I am tending to think of the genre as a "What-can-you-do-with-a-simple-camera?" camera - injecting the tool's specifications with intent perhaps. And I'd lump my iPhone 5S in with them too (if that aids perspective).

But I don't imagine the relevant trademark lawyers would be pleased with that terminology becoming generic. Nor, I imagine, would others here. Mind you, I also give my cameras their own names, so any displeasure is probably justified.

Addictive cameras we love

Satisfying. Satisfying Cameras.

Stick with "small". People who want to be in the spirit of the thing will understand the provisional, relative use of the term. People who don't will find something to complain about regardless.

Why not just Cameras We Love Enough To Carry......
not the most elegant title, but...

That's a lot to put on a single word. My guess is that if there is such a word, it's likely to be Japanese or German. (The camera equivalent of "Fahrvergnügen"?)

"Lapidary" might suit, but perhaps it's too precious.

If you'll entertain phrases, how about: "just right"? Or perhaps this is about "personal" cameras (as opposed to the utilitarian beast you own or rent for paying work).

The word small works for me. When I hear small camera, I think 35mm camera, dslr camera, mirrorless camera, point-and-shoot camera--in other words, a handholdable camera. Medium and large format cameras do not come to mind. Lately, in addition to medium and large format cameras, I have been using two--well, three--small cameras: an f100, a d200 (about the same physical size as the f100), and an s95, all small cameras, all of which I enjoy using, and all of which I am proud to own.


It sounds like you are trying to describe the Leica T in the words of Andreas Kaufmann. The essentials of a camera. Symbiosis of the best.

Tangentially related: I started with an Olympus OM-4T and then a Leica M7 because "I want the highest quality in the smallest package." I was a bit stumped that I started with a 617 view camera in 2012, and now I have 3 4x5 (in addition to a Leica M9), but then I realize that 4x5 is the highest quality in the smallest package for the large format quality!

Oh come on! “Small” is just fine. No pejorative connotations to the average person.

But if you must have a word, how about: The-camera-you-don’t-know-you’re carrying-’til-you take-it-out-and-are-reminded-it’s-a-fine-camera?



As in the 16th century sense of precise or properly fitting.

It's a shame that word has been so twisted and diluted; we're missing its contemporary analog.



Recreative cameras, as they tend not to be a burden ;-)

Photography is about passion.
Thus: "cameras enabling passion".

Ivan Illich's book "Tools for Conviviality" expresses many valuable ideas. My tools are ideally sharp & specific, a pleasure to use.
So I have "friendly cameras".

Focusing to much on one aspect, can miss the point. The important thing is the holistic view.

"Cameras that fit and we love them for it".

I guess I'm late to the party as usual on this post, but I agree with those who say stick with "small."

You can define the upper limit of "small" if you want: For purposes of this survey, anything smaller than a "..." would be considered small. After all, it's your blog so you should be able to set the rules.

Or if you don't want to do that, just see what you get and once you get a range of responses, perhaps that will tell you and us what the universe of TOP readers consider "small", which might be interesting result as well.

The word "small" is controversial? Geez. It's a perfect word to describe cameras that are easy to carry and use. I say, stick with "small".

Cargo Camera. A camera that fits in a cargo pants pocket.

I had a Pentax Optio S4 that was my Altoids Camera.


Cameras we love to hold.

Petite, anyone?



I do like "smaller". At least as I have understood the discussion, being not as large as many other cameras in their rough class is a key point to how they're being selected. I don't believe this is supposed to be a list of our most favorite cameras without constraint. And that explains how a medium-format digital and a view camera can get on the list :-) .

How about calling them "cameras that we carry around just in case we might want to use them"
In my youth that meant a 4 x 5 Graflex , not one of those folding press camera Graflexs , but a big honking RB Graflex 4 x 5 SLR

I used to really want one of those Minox cameras, not the big made in Germany Minox , but the original made in Liechtenstein tiny cameras. They seemed to be the nice to carry around but not too useful for taking pictures end of the spectrum.

Sarge ;
I think that these days the mean camera size is a little larger than an iPhone, I was thinking of median, but I guess that would be a camera slightly larger than half the size of the Hubble space telescope.

Right size +1

"Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful. If you hesitate and cogitate, you will come up with another word – of course you will, there’s always another word – but it probably won’t be as good as your first one, or as close to what you really mean." -Stephen King

Stick with small. It is what you meant, and the fact that people have varying definitions and qualifications of "small" doesn't make the word incorrect. The only suggestion I could possibly make would be to demonstrate your own definition of "small" by drawing a line in the sand: smaller than a traditional small professional camera, a la D800-5D3, etc. That's probably more in the spirit of what you were thinking, I assume.

Dear Mike,

I believe the bitter disputes can be attributed to the fact that the stakes are so, ummm...

...hmm, word's on the tip of my tongue... can't quite recall it...

pax / Ctein

Why not two surveys? First: Small cameras we love to use. Second: Large cameras we love. Then lets see what people think "small" and "large" mean to them. This would be far more entertaining. :-)

It may be too simple, but i think what we are after is "relatively small" in a literal sense. Small, relative to its peer group. The Sony full frame A7, while huge compared to an Iphone, is relatively small compared to other full frame bodies. The Leica is relatively very small relative to other medium format camera bodies. It is even relatively small compared to the pro-level 35mm full frame offerings, making it relatively minute.


You are talking about "optimally-sized cameras."


IMHO the smaller DSLRs fell out of this bucket around the EOS 5D/D200/D300 time frame, and especially with the D700.

The "full sized" DSLRs which all took their design cues from the F5 were never small.

Bijou camera.
adjective: small and elegant
noun: a jewel or trinket

Travel cameras we love.

Simpatico, which is Italian for pleasing, nice, likable.

'Small' is simple and understandable and the right word. I just returned from a trip to Yunnan, China on which my average elevation was about 2800m (about 9000 feet), and when hiking up steep stairs at monasteries (always steep and seemingly endless)or just exploring the areas, I was very happy that I had exchanged my 5DMK2 for my Sony A6000. Tons of Chinese tourists were laden down with one or two Canons (all with L lenses) and one even with a Hassie MF digital and I breathed much easier.

Good News! The Instamatic trademark appears to have lapsed:


Bijou :)


I'm reminded of a quote from the late, great, John Pinette:

"How small is a small? It's SMALL! The mediums are mediums and the larges are large. If you have to ask ... you're not hungry enough!"

'Small' has not proved 'bitterly controversial'. Just inappropriate to what you were thinking - 'something that conveys the idea of good design and effective operation along with good object quality and desirability, with a modicum of pride of ownership thrown in' is a rather massively different concept to 'small'... And why 'conveys the idea of'? Surely that means it may look like it should contain quality 'x', but it in actuality it may not? I am going to be brave, by the way - and suggest 'compact'. Thinking about it, that is what the industry decided to fit the bill before, and it has a distinctly size-related leaning now - 'point and shoot' has well and truly denominated such, leaving the name to only refer to dimensions. But then I suppose you can get compact - well, relatively- artillery pieces. Damn... :-)

If in talking of 'horses' you mean 'dogs', mentioning that a Collie is not a horse could not be controversial. Just say that you want to talk about dogs in the first place. The shame is that I was actually rather interested in that conversation. I know that relative to something bigger it is smaller, but I am thinking of replacing my D700 in a dimensionally-downward direction (hence 'pertinent'). I've got a Rolleiflex, which answers your specification for me. Sometimes 'small' [as opposed to small-ER] is the direction you're after.

Just right, as in this camera feels just right.

Svelte (adj. - slender and elegant)

"Cameras we love and why." How about asking for a JPEG of an image shot with the camera too.

Cameras that 'fit' '

Left-sized Cameras

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