Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, director of engineering: crowdrise, photojournalist, hacker, nerd, geek, human

ISO: Ultimate Ultra-Compact Camera

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
Would be Nice:
  • 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.