Canon's digital cameras have enjoyed a well-warranted reputation for affordability, practicality, usability, durability, dependability, and remarkable ease of use since the dawn of the digital era. The new Canon PowerShot D10 is Canon's first underwater point and shoot, and a worthy choice for a wide variety of outdoor activities that would require leaving most other cameras at home.
Ergonomics and Design
The D10 isn't particularly compact, luxurious, elegant, or stylish looking – rather it features a bloated shiny metallic "industro-chic" look with lots of exposed screw heads.
The nifty included wrist strap features a locking male bayonet lug and the camera body has a female bayonet lug at each corner allowing the wrist strap to be placed precisely where the photographer wants it. Handling is a bit awkward because of the D10's unconventional shape, but the control layout is standard Canon – meaning everything is familiar (to anyone who has ever used a Canon point and shoot), easily accessed, and logical.
The D10 is waterproof to 10 meters/33 feet so it can be taken out in inclement weather, to the beach, to a pool, on a boat, or directly into the water – without damage. In addition, the D10's tough (mostly) polycarbonate outer body shell can withstand a sharp impact (a drop of up to 9 feet) without transmitting the injury to the fragile electronic circuitry and delicate optics.
If all that isn't enough, the D10 is also freeze-proof (down to 14 degrees) for those who like to ski, snowboard, bobsled, or commune with penguins. Water and dust seals appear to be very good, but the colors (matte silver and electric blue) of my test unit seemed almost garish.
The D10 provides 12.1 megapixel resolution, a very good 3x zoom lens with optical image stabilization, Canon's fourth generation DIGIC IV processor, and for shooting underwater a new Smart Auto system – an automatic scene recognition function that instantly matches the scene in front of the lens with an onboard database of known scene types and then compares that information with the specific scene's subject distance, white balance, contrast, dynamic range, lighting, and color (just before the image is recorded) to determine the best exposure.
One of the most interesting things about the recent wave of underwater cameras is that unlike underwater cameras of the past (like Nikon's venerable Nikonos models) today's digital underwater cameras are really submergible standard point and shoots with all the bells and whistles of their above water siblings. The D10 is no exception and like most Canon compacts, this camera is capable of capturing very good to excellent images (either above or beneath the water's surface) with little effort on the part of the photographer.
Watch for our full review of the D10 coming soon.