The Pentax on the right is the most compact they managed to make a 35mm SLR camera. (Virtually the same size as the Olympus OM-1.)
The Panasonic Lumix G1 is almost the smallest exchangeable-lens digital camera we have yet (beaten by the Pen). It has eliminated the space for the mirror and the pentaprism, the imaging area is only 25% the size
of the Pentax's, and yet it it's still
slightly bigger than the ME-Super!
Miniaturization of electronics has been amazing, but I don't think we are done yet.
Of course I'm leaving aside here the consideration that feature-wise the G1 has my beloved ME-Super beaten in so many ways it'd be a chore to count them, and that even with the smaller imaging area the picture quality is still better, but I still think it's an interesting comparison.
By the way, this is about the size I think it's fun to use a camera. Much bigger/heavier, and it starts to feel like work. At this size, just playing and photographing with them is a joy in itself, and that's even before we get any good pictures out of it.
Dave Etchells (of Imaging-Resource fame) sez:
Actually, when I was briefed on the original G1 by Panasonic Japan, prior to its release, they said that they actually could have made it a good bit smaller, but they were concerned that people would find it *too* small if they did. As it is, I think they did an excellent job with the grip design on it, as it fits my hand comfortably, while some other larger cameras (notably the old Canon Rebel XT) do not. That said, if it was much smaller, I suspect I'd have felt differently; would have been irritated by the too-small size. Of course, this is very much a personal preference thing, so there are likely to be people who'd be entirely happy having something even smaller.
Yes, I admit I am ambivalent. And the G1 is a very good size for working with, as opposed to carrying about in your breast pocket like a tourist. It might be about perfect as a compact serious camera. It does feel good in your hand.
I also love breast-pocket sized cameras
. But I admit they do necessitate a lot of compromised in terms of security of your grip, how many buttons they can have, etc.
Basically I want the blonde and the redhead and the black girl... but while early middle age have beefed up my bank account to afford them all, it has also weakened my strength for handling them all at once. :-)