Digital camera comparison and buying guide – getting the size right

digital camera comparison - size quote

When making your digital camera comparison seriously consider the size of camera before parting with your cash.

Digital cameras come in all shapes and sizes. Some people will be happy to carry a larger camera with them if it produces the results they are after.

For others, if it doesn’t slip into a shirt pocket, then it’s staying on the shelf at home!

The important things to consider concerning size are:

  • Can it be easily carried? (pocket slippability!)
  • Can I use the buttons properly? (it might be too small)
  • Is it robust enough to take a few knocks?
Size is more important than you'd think, for one very obvious reason - if you can't (or won't) carry the camera with you, then you can't take any photographs!

The broad picture

Digital cameras come in a range of sizes, but fall into one of three broad groups: NB: SLR stands for “Single Lens Reflex. They’re the type of camera you see journalists with.

How small, exactly?

Digital camera comparison - size: Compact cameras

These are the style kings of the digital camera world. If you know you'd like some panache when making your digital camera comparison, then compacts are for you!

I am amazed at how the boffins manage to get so much technology into such a small space! And they manage to style them into a thing of beauty too.

Below are some examples of compact cameras.

digital camera comparison - compact camera

They are all quite small, but the first (it’s a Canon IXUS) is really small. My friend has one of these and it really is great to hold.

These cameras are certainly easy enough to carry with you. The buttons on them can be small though and might be awkward to use. The same goes for the battery compartments and memory card slots – they may be a little fiddly for some people.

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Thinking creatively?

Digital camera comparison - size: SLR like cameras
These cameras fill the gap between compacts and the SLRs. They’re a halfway house – bigger than a compact, smaller than a SLR.

When making your digital camera comparison, if you decide you'd like more than just basic features, then these are the size to consider.

See below for some examples:

digital camera comparison - SLR like camera

These cameras aren’t really pocket-able. They are not too heavy, but they are an awkward shape. You will need a bag or holder for these.

Good things about them are that the controls are usually easier to use and they have a lot more features than compacts. They have larger and better lenses than compacts.

All other things being equal you will get better photos from one of these than from a compact.

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For the keen amateur

Digital camera comparison - size: SLRs
If you take your photography seriously, or you are finding that your current digital camera can't do what you want it to do, then there's no alternative to an SLR.

The downside – size. They are easily the biggest cameras available, and the heaviest.

Seriously consider the weight in your digital camera comparison if an SLR is what you're after. Some of the real professional models weigh over two pounds!

Some examples are shown below:

digital camera comparison - size SLR camera

SLRs deliver unrivalled flexibility. You can change everything from shutter speed to the type of flashgun – you can even change the lens!

They are not very portable though. They are also heavy and if you hang it around your neck all day you may end up with a bad back!

If you go the whole hog and buy separate lenses too, then you’ll need a dedicated camera bag to store it all in.

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Final thoughts

So, before making your digital camera comparison, do consider size before spending any money.

If you can, go to a digital camera shop and actually hold the cameras you are interested in. It's the only real way to tell if the size is right for you - either too small or too big.

There are other things to consider before you spend your money, so have a look at the rest of the digital camera comparison page before rushing out to the shops!

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All images on this page used with kind permission of

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