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It was a touch too cold to dunk this camera — and its operator! — in the surf, so I resorted to a dip in the pool. And, to my surprise, I found that not only did the camera perform successfully but I fell upon a magic way to create stunning new pictures.
But back to the aquatic Canon. Via Olympus.
The latter company has made much of its success with the Tough digicams, successfully operable down to 10 metres underwater. I recently had great fun with the Olympus Tough 8000 and felt it was ideally suited to the Australian lifestyle: outdoors, wet and wild.
Belatedly, Canon has picked up the scent of this success and launched its own go-anywhere digicam: PowerShot D10.
It’s all there: waterproof down to 10 meters, dust proof, shockproof to one meter and able to withstand temps down to minus 10 degrees Centigrade.
In picture terms it can shoot 12.1 megapixel images, sized up to a maximum 4000×3000 pixels, or 34x25cm in print terms. In movies, the camera disappoints: only 640×480 or 320×240 pixels at 30 fps. Surely, for a camera selling close to $600 you could expect near-High Def capture.
The zoom is an optically stabilized 3x job, with a 35 SLR equivalent of 35-105mm in range. Straight away I smell trouble: the wide end of 35mm is already very narrow; dunk the digicam and, thanks to water refraction, the zoom range runs from a narrower 50mm at the wide end to 150mm at the tele end. The Olympus was wider: 28mm (underwater 40mm). The message in underwater photography is to use as wide a lens as possible and move as close to the subject as possible: water clarity is rarely perfect.
The body design is unusual: rounded at every edge, it has four corner mounting points so you can attach a sturdy lanyard, according to your needs: you can now shoot left hand, right hand, camera over or under your head.
Viewing is with a 6.4cm LCD screen — no optical finder. The camera, unusually these days, accepts a wide range of memory cards: SD, SSDHC, MMC etc. Also unusually, there is no internal memory.
For metering, you have to rely on either auto or Program AE. Fair enough: if you’re shooting underwater, the fewer options the better. To help you along there are a few aids: like scene detection, face detection and blink detection. Besides these, you can choose any of the 17 scene modes accessed through the viewfinder menu.
You can add fun to the D10 by picking up some accessories: like additional shoulder or neck straps and even screw-on face plates to ‘militarise’ your camera — in camouflage, orange or grey.
There’s even a clip on external flash.
As I said earlier, the D10 helped me discover a totally new way of making pictures, freeform, abstract, full of motion, swirls and colour. All you need to indulge in this is the Canon, clear water, bright sunlight, some people and/or colourful objects around you and the opportunities are magic!
Love the camera. But I think the zoom’s wide end should have been more like 20mm or less for improved underwater shooting.
Image Sensor: 12.1 million effective pixels.
Metering: Evaluative, centre-weighted; spot.
Sensor Size: 11mm.
Shutter Speed: 15 to 1/1500 second.
Continuous Shooting: 1.1fps.
Memory: SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4000×3000, 4000×2248, 3264×2488, 2592×1944, 640×480. Movies: 640×480, 320×240 at 30 fps.
File Formats: JPEG, AVI Motion JPEG.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 80 to 1600.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
Dimensions: 103.6×66.9×48.8 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 190 g (body only).
Price: The Canon Powershot D10 is available at Amazon for $284.87 (14% off)