The photonic properties of two classes of wavelength-sized cavities are reported for deeply etched InP/InGaAsP/InP planar photonic crystals. The high aspect, deeply etched structures are studied as potential building blocks for nonmembrane type photonic devices in standard InP photonic integrated circuits. The first class consists of cavities of one unit cell in one direction and varying size in the other planar direction. The studied class includes a Fabry-Perot type cavity with one row of missing holes, a simple single missing hole defect cavity, and a cavity consisting of two holes which have been slightly shifted and reduced in hole radius. The best observed quality factor of 65 in this class is obtained for a single hole defect cavity. The second class is comprised of cavities which are derived from a three missing row defect in one direction and varying size in the other direction. This includes a Fabry-Perot type cavity with three rows of missing holes, a point defect cavity consisting of seven unetched holes and a six hole ring cavity. The best observed quality factor of 300 is obtained for the ring cavity in this second class of structures, which is adequate for applications. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.