What small point-and-shoot cameras are available that support RAW images? I'm looking for something to use when I don't want to lug my SLR around, so I want something that is small and convenient. In other words - it has to fit in my wife's purse :)
Look at the Canon S95. I have the s90 and it creates great RAW images, I also love the UI of the camera ring around the lens which you can rotate to change aperture/shutter speed depending on the mode you're in. Has a more positive feel for people used to SLRs.
There are also chunkier Canon offerings like the G series (G12) but they're bulky, though you do get a hot shoe. Nikon offers a similar (chunky) P&S that supports RAW, the P7000.
Another thing to consider while comparing the P&S's is the maximum aperture (S95 goes to f2.0!) and the widest angle it offers in 35mm format (S95 goes to 28mm but I've seen other P&Ss go to 24).
Depending on your comfort level with this sort of thing, you can get one of the cameras that CHDK supports. It adds a whole lot of fancy features to less expensive Canon cameras.
If size and bulk is a concern, the S95 is one to consider, along with the Panasonic LX-5; the former is definitely sleeker and sexier. If not, the Canon G12 is worth considering.
I have the Panasonic LX3 - I bought it for exactly the same reason as yourself.
I did debate the Canon S90 as well, there is not much between the 2. The canon has a lens that is covered, the LX3 lens sticks out (so a pain if in a pocket)
My personal preference was for the menu on the LX3 - its great to have in my bag for everyday use.
There are presently 7 compact cameras that support RAW. You can see then all here.
Now, if you were primarily concerned with size you can refine your results to get the lightest ones and that leaves 3 models: Canon S95, Canon S90 and Casio FH100. Personally, I really liked the S90 and its controls are really superb. They let you work efficiently for a camera this small.
You wont get the same direct controls for the Casio but if you don't use manual controls so often you may be swayed by its ultra-wide 24-240mm lens. It is also much faster than the Canons, as it shoots at up to 40 FPS and has near-instant shutter-lag.
Just took the LX-5 on a 3-week road trip across America. I love it! I found myself reaching for it even before my D3 or D2Xs on many occasions. It's a really fun camera! It's got lots of manual controls, a great screen, a nice zoom range, and a fast lens. It also shoots RAW, but produces beautiful JPEG output as well.
To see samples from my trip taken with the LX-5, check out this gallery on my website. These are all untouched, straight-out-of-the-camera JPEGs:
I recently read a bunch of reviews for various compact P&S cameras that support RAW output. I came across the Samsung TL500/EX1 on dpreview.com. It ranked pretty high, and it has some nice features. It definitely does RAW, and one of the features I liked most about it was the 24-72mm f/1.8-2.4 lens. Nice zoom range with a great max aperture. The sensor size is small for 10mp, but overall, the image quality seems to be pretty good. This camera supports a variety of image factors as well, including 16:9, 4:3, 3:2 and even 1:1.
Almost every electronics device outside of my camera and my computer that I own is Samsung. I can attest to their quality, its stellar. This camera is pretty intriguing, and on my list as a P&S next to the Panasonic LX3. It has some detractors, but for my needs, they didn't seem too worrying.
Here are some links to DPReviews of the Samsung TL500 and Panasonic LX3: