Canon Powershot D10 - Review

Canon Powershot D10 – Review


Canon PowerShot D10.jpgIt 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.

Darrell Lea Chocolates no flash.jpg

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.

ISO 100 f4.9 1:40.JPG
Test shot: ISO 100 f4.9 1/40

ISO 800 f4.9 1:400.JPG
Test shot: ISO 800 f4.9 1/400

ISO 3200 f14 1:250.JPG
Test shot: ISO 3200 f14 1/250


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.


Underwater 16.jpg

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.
Lens: f2.8-4.9/6.2-18.6mm.
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)

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

Some Older Comments

  • Jacqueline April 29, 2010 02:18 am

    I got the Power Shot D10 for Christmas. I'm real excited for Summer and can't wait to take some under water pictures...
    So good news, thanks for the report! : )

  • Nancy Theriault March 3, 2010 06:43 am

    is it possible to get a still image from video on the D10? anyone know?

  • Adamcha November 14, 2009 11:21 am

    I have purchased my D10 at the beginning of the summer. I work at a couple of camps during the summer, and the kids love the waterproof camera's I have used in the past. This is my favorite so far of the ones I have owned (Pentax's Optio WP, W10, W30, and the canon). I purchased a Panasonic TS1 with the D10 to test out, and promptly returned it. The HD video was nice, but the image quality was terrible, my four year old Optio WP had better image quality.

    *And to the reviewer, the camera only cost $330, and can likely be had for less now. It was never $600 (at least not in the U.S..

    Here are a few examples I have taken with the D10 this summer:

  • photokunstler November 9, 2009 06:26 am

    I thanked goodness I have the Canon D10 just yesterday!
    I just moved to live in the Bahamas, and it has been VERY windy for the past few days.

    My husband and I were walking along one of the gorgeous beaches at high tide, and the waves were crashing! One sloshed up to me, pretty deeply, and I just held onto the D10 and worried more about the cell phone, and held it high. I was wet to my waist, and the camera and cell phone were fine! Plus, I got some nice shots. I can't wait to take it INTO the water soon. (We just moved here six days ago.)

  • Alejandro November 7, 2009 06:29 am

    Both memory-related issues seem quite common, actually: SD and SDHC are essentially the same thing. MMC fits in SD slots, so why not support it? And internal memory, besides being absent in other Canon P&S cameras, is pointless, since it'll never be as large as a memory card and you can only transfer it to your computer via USB cable (instead of a card reader, which I find far more convenient). I actually prefer not to have it, since I know ALL my pictures will be stored in the memory card.

  • regina eliason November 4, 2009 01:49 pm


    I don't know why my computer linked everything together in my previous post, but just click on my name to take you to the flickr page....stupid computer :)

  • regina eliason November 4, 2009 01:44 pm

    I bought this camera for my recent trip to Hawaii, and LOVE it! I like the ease of use, and how clear the photos are. Things that I didn't like were that underwater the screen is a bit hard to see, and thus the shot is a little hard to frame, but the great part is that since it is digital you can fire away until you get it right. Yes, this camera was expensive, but the photo of 65 yr old Grandma snorkeling for the first time, priceless!
    Check some pics here. All of the underwater shots were taken with the D10.[img][/img]

  • Eric Mesa November 3, 2009 11:49 pm

    I def have one on my wish list. I used the underwater housing on my wife's A 345 (or something like that - it's a Canon P/S that looks like a very mini-slr) and I got addicted to underwater photography.

    check out

  • Finner321 November 3, 2009 07:54 am

    I've owned this camera since summer. Took it to Florida, in the pool, at the water parks, on rides, etc. I took some stunning shots and only a few that were "off." Looks is not why you want this camera. Drops, temps down to 14 degrees and waterproff stills and video down to 33 ft, along with classic Canon image queality is why you want this camera. There are several reports of leaks with Olympus cameras of this type. Function vs. form I say. Who cares if it looks more stylish, leaks and your pics are ruined? Just my 2 cents as I have taken 300+ pics with the Canon D10 and they look great. Here's two examples:


  • Rich November 3, 2009 07:27 am

    I really wish the PowerShot D10 didn't look so much like a child's toy. Maybe in the next version, Canon will opt for a more stylish and compact design, like the ones from Olympus and Panasonic.