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Canon PowerShot D10 review: Canon PowerShot D10

Canon PowerShot D10

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Joshua Goldman
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Joshua Goldman

Managing Editor / Advice

Josh Goldman helps people find the best laptop at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks to high-end gaming laptops. He's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software for more than two decades.

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5 min read

The PowerShot D10 comes across as one of the company's Digital Elphs in a fat suit--albeit a very protective one. Unfortunately, it's a suit you can't take off at the end of the day as you would with one of Canon's waterproof housings. But again, the extra layer keeps it safe from cold as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, from drops of up to 4 feet, and from water down to depths of 33 feet. With the waterproofing comes dust protection, too. So, while the D10 is not the best design for an everyday pocket camera, it's the best for use in the sand, surf, and snow. Plus, the photo quality is pretty great.

OVR
7.2

Canon PowerShot D10

The Good

Excellent photo quality; comfortable to use in water or with gloves.

The Bad

Poor design for an everyday camera, expensive for an occasional camera; kind of ugly; mixed performance.

The Bottom Line

It might not look quite right, but the PowerShot D10 is a solid entry into rugged cameras for Canon.

Key specifications Canon PowerShot D10
Price (MSRP) $329.99
Dimensions (WHD) 4.1x2.6x1.9 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 7.4 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 12 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 2.5-inch LCD, 230K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 3x, f2.8-4.9, 35-105mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/H.264 (.MOV)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,000x3,000 pixels/ 640x480 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Mechanical and digital
Battery type, rated life Lithium ion rechargeable, 220 shots

The D10 out of water or off the slopes looks a bit clumsy. The rounded body is difficult to grip comfortably and certainly too big to fit in a pants pocket. With strap mounts on all corners and a tripod mount in the bottom, a finger was never far from falling in a hole. Fortunately, the design works well in water. Also, if you're willing to fork over $110, you can get an accessory kit with a neoprene case, a shoulder/neck strap, carabiner strap, and three faceplates to change the color from blue to orange, camouflage, or gray.

The buttons, though a bit rearranged from typical Canon layouts, are big and slightly more raised than usual. This lets you press them easily even while wearing thick gloves. Above the LCD--which looks small on the bulging chassis--are oval buttons for playback, changing shooting modes, and selecting photos to print. That last one can be reassigned to quickly change settings like ISO or switch to Movie mode. To the top right of the screen are two zoom buttons, but instead of the typical Wide-on-the-left, Telephoto-on-the-right arrangement, they are reversed. The rest of the controls are relatively normal.

Speaking of normal, the camera has Canon's standard menu system. Pressing the Func Set button brings up shooting mode-specific settings, while hitting the Menu button brings up two tabs of settings: one for general shooting options, the other for system settings. The D10 is also a very basic 12-megapixel point-and-shoot camera at its core.

General shooting options Canon PowerShot D10
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater, Custom
Recording modes Smart Auto, Program, Scene, Movie
Focus Center AF, Face AF, Servo AF, Manual
Metering Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot
Color effects Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

There's not much in the way of shooting options on the D10. If you don't want to think about settings at all, put it into Auto and leave it there. This is Canon's Smart Auto mode, which produces reliable results by choosing one of 18 scene modes depending on what you're shooting. Want a bit more control? The Program mode lets you set ISO, white balance, focus, light metering, and color effects. There is also a list of scene modes with standards like Portrait and Landscape and specialty ones, such as Fireworks, Long Shutter, and of course, Underwater. Lastly, there's a Movie mode that records 640x480-pixel resolution video at 30 frames per second. However, the optical zoom does not function while recording.

You might buy a rugged camera expecting fast performance, but sadly, that's generally not the case. The D10, though not blisteringly fast, is quicker than most in this category. Start-up to first shot takes only 1.2 seconds. Shot-to-shot times are 2 seconds without the flash and 3.9 seconds when using the flash. Most important, however, is shutter lag, which was at the tail end of our acceptable at 0.5 second in bright conditions, but good at 0.7 in dim lighting. Lastly, there is no burst mode, but the D10 has a continuous shooting speed of 1 frame per second.

If you're buying a camera with hopes of making big prints (larger than 8x10 inches) of what you shoot, the D10 is your best bet. The low ISO performance from it is very good. Image noise is in short supply below ISO 200, and fine detail and sharpness were noticeably better than other cameras in its class. Subjects get visibly grainier between ISO 200 and 400, and at ISO 400 details start to get a little softer. There's a big drop-off in quality at ISO 800 where it looks as if something's smeared on the lens. You can pretty much write off using ISO 1,600. Colors from the D10 are generally very good, as is white balance and exposure, though occasionally challenging lighting would cause subjects to underexpose--which is easily correctable.

The Canon PowerShot D10 is probably the best option for a rugged point-and-shoot camera if you spend a lot of time snorkeling, skiing, or poolside. Its design doesn't lend itself very well to other situations, though. If you're only going to have one snapshot camera for everyday shooting and adventuring, you'll probably want to go with the Pentax Optio W80, Olympus Stylus Tough 8000, or the Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP despite their shortcomings.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Smaller bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Canon PowerShot D10
1.2 
3.9 
2 
0.7 
0.5 
Olympus Stylus Tough 8000
1.8 
5 
2.5 
0.8 
0.7 
Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP
1.8 
3.8 
3.5 
1.4 
0.6 
Olympus Stylus 1050 SW
2.4 
6.1 
5.1 
1.8 
1.3 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test digital cameras.

OVR
7.2

Canon PowerShot D10

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7Image quality 8
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