It's looking like 2009 might just turn out to be the year of the waterproof point-and-shoot, and not to be left behind, Canon is getting in on the act today with the announcement of the bulbous, visually unique Canon PowerShot D10.
The PowerShot D10 may look like something from science fiction, but its rugged design and moderate price are a recognition of the fact that many casual shooters are seeking cameras that are able to withstand the kinds of bumps, bangs, and accidental (or, for that matter, intentional) water contact that potentially come with a summer vacation.
Waterproof, freezeproof, and ruggedized
To this end, the D10 is capable of withstanding cold, wet, and rough conditions: it's freezeproof down to a chilly 14 degrees, rated to hold up to drops of at least nine feet, and water resistant to a full ten meters (or some over 30 feet).
This list of "-proof" specs puts the D10 in good company, making it competitive with other recent offerings from Fujifilm and Panasonic, and long-time rugged camera builders like Pentax and Olympus.
Back to basics
The primary issue with many rugged/outdoor cameras, though, has nothing to do with their ruggedness. Unfortunately, while many of these cameras are perfectly capable of trekking into the great outdoors, most don't do such a great job at actually taking pictures when they get there.
Design constraints for ruggedizing a camera often force compromises, and it's hard to know at this point whether the D10 will fare better. What is known, however, is that the D10 certainly has the basic components of a solid camera in the tradition of the PowerShot A models.
Basic specs in this case include a 3x zoom lens with optical image stabilization, a 12.1 megapixel CCD imager, and Canon's latest-generation DIGIC IV processing. For shooting in action-intensive environments, the D10 also features Canon's Servo AF continuous auto focus mode.
Being able to simply point and shoot when working in less than ideal environments is crucial, and to this end, the D10 also features Canon's new Smart Auto system – an automatic scene recognition tool capable of analyzing what's in front of the camera's lens and making appropriate adjustments based on built-in presets.
Pricing and availability
The PowerShot D10 is slated for retail release in May – just in time for whatever outdoor adventures this summer may have in store – priced at $329.