Over the years I've made my way through various Ultra-Compact digital cameras, the latest being the Canon Powershot SD550. I don't especially like the SD500 for a number of reasons which I don't feel like listing here. What I am going to list, is what I do want in an Ultra-Compact Digital Camera:
- Somewhere Between 5 and 10 Megapixels
- RAW Mode
- Full Manual Mode
- Tripod Mount
- Excellent Low-light Performance
- Quick or Instant Startup Time
- ≥ 3" LCD
- ≥ 2x Optical Zoom
- At Least 24-50mm Equivalent Zoom
- Fits Easily in Pocket
- Macro Mode
- Video Mode
- Doesn't Use Obscure Memory Format
- USB 2.0
- Water-Resistent of Water-Proof
- Image Stabilization
- Bluetooth / 802.11x
- Face Recognition
- Standard Sized Batteries
Obviously there is currently no camera that meets my required specs, but I'm hoping there will be some time soon. I was considering the Leica D-Lux 3, but because of its poor low-light performance and protruding lens won't work for me. If my SD550 dies before a camera with my required specs comes along, I'll probably go with the Nikon Coolpix S51, although it doesn't have a RAW nor manual modes.... ok so maybe that won't work. For now I'll just make it a point to lug around my 5D as much as possible.
Btw, this post was inspired by Scott Beale's post about his new Fuji Finepix F50.
UPDATE I have created a handy little size guide so you can get a real life idea of the size of the various Ultra-Compact cameras out there. So far I have only done Canon and Nikon, but I plan on adding other manufacturers. You can download the Ultra-Compact Camera Size Comparison Chart [66k PDF].
UPDATE 2 Hmm, I think this might be the perfect camera for me: Canon SD870 IS.