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Canon Powershot D10 Ken McMahon, October 2009

Canon PowerShot D10 verdict

The Canon PowerShot D10 is a 12.1 megapixel compact with a 3x optical zoom and 2.5in LCD panel designed for use in and around water and other environments that would be considered hazardous for ordinary compacts. It's waterproof to a depth of 10 metres, and dustproof and shockproof to a height of 1.22m.

The most distinctive thing about the D10 and one of it's strengths, is its design and apearance. Slightly bigger than most compacts, with rounded edges, matt-metallic-style surfaces and an enclosed lens housing it not only looks the part but is easy to use in the water.

The quality of the images produced by the D10 is up to Canon's usual standards, and there's no quality premium to pay for choosing an underwater camera in preference to a general purpose compact. The zoom range, however, is something that fails to match up, not only to what's generally available in this price range, but by comparison with other waterproof cameras like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 / TS1 and the Olympus TOUGH 8000. The other disappointment is that the D10 doesn't offer an HD video recording mode

If you can live with those two shortcomings in every other respect you won't be disapointed. The D10 is a joy to use both in and out of the water. It's fast ( ready to take pictures less than a second after the on/off button is pressed), responsive, and easy to use thanks to the clear design and layout of the physical controls and menus.



Compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 / TS1


Though there's little to chose between the Canon PowerShot D10 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 / TS1 in terms of the quality of their images, these two cameras not only look very different, there's clear blue water between them in terms of features.

The Panasonic beats the PowerShot hands down when it comes to video with 720p HD video recording in addition to standard definition modes. The best the PowerShot can manage is 640x480 VGA resolution video. Ranging from 4.9mm to 22.8mm (28mm - 130mm equivalent) the FT1 / TS1's zoom range also extends significantly beyond what the D10 has to offer with better wide angle and telephoto performance.

While on paper the FT1 looks to be the better camera, we much preferred the D10 in the water. The FT1 / TS1 doesn't look tough, rugged and fun like the D10 - indeed it looks and feels like a land camera that's been sealed up so you can use it in the water. But water tightness on its own isn't enough. The FT1's controls and menus are small, difficult to see and fiddly to operate underwater and it's therefore a camera that's best-suited to normal use with only occassional forays into the water. This in itself is fine and will suit many people simply wanting a normal camera that can survive a trip to the beach or pool, but if you intend to use the camera more under the water than out of it, then you'll be happier with the Canon D10. Look out for our upcoming review of this camera.

Compared to Olympus TOUGH 8000


A well-designed and stylish camera, in terms of features, the Olympus TOUGH 8000 compares favourably with the Canon PowerShot D10. Both have 12.1 Megapixel sensors, but the Olympus has a slightly larger 2.7in LCD panel and a marginally wider zoom range extending from 5mm to 18.2mm (28mm - 102mm equivalent).

But what little advantage it has, the Olympus TOUGH 8000 relinquishes when it comes to possibly the two most important criteria for judging a digital compact - image quality and usability. The quality of the TOUGH 8000 images in both our general outdoor and indoor high ISO tests was, frankly, disappointing.

And, like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 / TS1, the controls on the TOUGH 8000 are small, difficult to operate tiny steel buttons. This is not a camera you'd easily be able to operate with gloves on, so the fact that it has a claimed lower operating temperature of -10C is largely academic.

Having said all that, the one thing the TOUGH 8000 does have over the D10 is compactness. Like the Panasonic, it's a much slimmer camera, so if size matters, this is where it wins out.


Canon PowerShot D10 final verdict

The Canon PowerShot D10 is an excellent all-round digital compact that is designed specifically for use in the water and other 'challenging' environments. With a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 3x digital zoom and 2.5in LCD it's specifications may not set your heart racing, but within these boundaries it does what it does very well and produces excellent quality photos.

Its appearance has been described by some as toy-like - we'd call it fun and functional - but whether you love or hate the way it looks, there's no denying that it's extremely easy to use. This both looks and feels like a camera you could happily use in the sea, up a mountain or jumping out of an aeroplane. That makes it all the more easy when you're at a wedding or birthday party.

The D10 is a great little camera that would be even better with an extended zoom that's closer to 5x and the addition of an HD video mode. Despite those omissions it's still an excellent choice whether your looking for a compact specifically for in and underwater use, or just want a general purpose compact that you can occassionally take sailing or to the beach in confidence.


Good points
Great styling and survives depths of 10m.
Good image quality.
Fast and responsive.
Bright LCD.

Bad points
Limited zoom range.
No HD video.
Poor AF underwater.
A tad bulky.


(relative to 2009 compacts)

Build quality:
Image quality:


17 / 20
17 / 20
18 / 20
15 / 20
17 / 20


All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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