Canon PowerShot D20 Review

Canon PowerShot D20

Canon PowerShot D20

The Canon PowerShot D20 is Canon’s newest entry into the rugged compact camera market. Improving over the last camera in the series, the D10, the new D20 makes for an interesting entry into the category. But how does it compare to other rugged compacts available now? Read on to find out.

Key Specs For The Canon PowerShot D20

RRP: $349
Release Year: 2012
Reslution (megapixels): 12.1
Dimensions (inches): 4.42 x 1.10 x 2.79
Weight (oz.): 7.23
Zoom: 4x
Waterproof Depth: 33 feet
Memory: Up to 32GB memory card

Canon PowerShot D20: The Pros

Rugged: Cameras of this type are designed to be rugged and withstand hard use. The D20 is no different. It has all the standard features expected of a camera in this category, including waterproofing, shock-proofing (see the cons section), freeze-proofing and dust-proofing.

The waterproofing on this camera allows it to be used at up to 33 feet under water, making it above average in this respect, but not reaching the heights (or depths) of the Panasonic and SeaLife cameras. Still, it’s adequate for casual and even low-level diving use, but it’ll hold back more serious divers.

This camera also has the standard freeze-proofing for temperatures down to 14 Fahrenheit. That makes it suitable for use in many wintery environments: taking pictures of kids playing in the snow, skiing holidays and mountain treks. However, some skiing environments, and especially some mountain treks will be colder than this, meaning that the camera is good only for a limited range of cold environments.

Finally, the dust-proofing offers the ability to take the camera into dusty locations and also sandy places like the beach. If you’re hoping to have a camera that covers family beach holidays then this is perfect.

5x Optical Zoom: The D20 has a powerful 5x optical zoom lens that can provide great shots of distant objects as well as good close-ups. Some compacts have no optical zoom at all, so this is a plus.

Built-in GPS: We’ve come to expect rugged cameras to include GPS, and the D20 fulfills this expectation. With GPS it’s now possible to have every photo that you take automatically tagged with precise geo-location information. This means that once you’re home from a long trip you won’t have any difficulty remembering where certain photos were taken.

12 Megapixel CMOS Sensor: While 12 megapixel resolutions are standard for this category of camera, the D20 uses the special HS CMOS sensor to capture images, resulting in higher quality. This makes it a marked improvement over the previous entry in Canon’s D series, the D10, and makes it a real competitor with other current rugged compact cameras.

Perhaps the most significant feature of the HS CMOS sensor is that it provides better performance in low light conditions. This would be a good thing period, but for a camera that’s meant for underwater use it’s especially useful.

Image Stabilization: The D20 has advanced image stabilization systems to ensure you get the best possible shots every time. It’s designed to counter hand-shake, panning movements, and a variety of other possible motions that generally interfere with image capture. This is a great feature for any camera meant to be used in action settings.

Full HD Recording: As well as taking decent photos, the D20 is capable of capturing full HD video footage, meaning that you can play it back on any HD-ready television in full 1080p resolution.

The PowerShot D20 offers a drastic improvement over its predecessor in the appearance department, more closely resembling a compact point-and-shoot than a subaqueous vessel. We can't speak to the cam's image quality just yet, but assuming its on-par with the D10, we'd say the latest D model is worth some serious consideration as an upgrade, even for a reduction in footprint alone. The D20 includes a 12.1-megapixel HS (high-sensitivity) CMOS sensor, a bright 3-inch LCD and a 5x 28mm optically stabilized zoom lens. It's waterproof to depths of 10 meters (33 feet), can survive drops from a height of 1.5 meters (5 feet) and can operate in temperatures ranging from 14 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. There's also a top sensitivity of ISO 3200, and a built-in GPS.

Canon PowerShot D20: The Cons

Design: Although the D20 isn’t ugly, it certainly isn’t able to rival competing cameras in its price range for design. Both the Panasonic DMC-TS3 and the Sony DSC-TX10 have far better designs at a similar price. If you’re especially design conscious then this might sway your decision somewhat.

Button Placement: While the D20’s control system isn’t generally bad, there has been at least one mistake in its design. The playback button is positioned on top of the camera, right beside the shutter button. It’s not an intuitive place for a playback button (better to have it near the screen where the images are actually viewed), and it can also lead to some accidental button pressing.

Shock-Proofing: Shock-proofing on this camera is standard for the category at 4.9 feet. That’s not bad, but doesn’t really offer the kind of protection you’d want if you're an average or above height for an adult. Not many cameras offer more than this however, so it’s not really something that can be judged as a serious criticism. Shock-proofing of 4.9 feet is certainly better than no shock-proofing at all, and does make the camera more robust.

Menu System: Although the menu system isn’t, in itself, badly designed, it isn’t exactly appropriate for compact cameras. The Canon menu system is great for more heavy-duty equipment where users are likely to need more advanced settings, for consumer products like this it would be better to keep things simple.

Is The Canon PowerShot D20 Worth Buying?

Although there are no user reviews available for this camera yet, meaning it’s impossible to tell how likely there are to be issues with leaking etc., the D20 has many great features that make it a worthy rival to Panasonic’s DMC-TS3. Whilst the Panasonic slightly outdoes the Canon for sheer ruggedness, the image quality offered by Canon’s D20 makes an appealing alternative, and at a lower price point than the Panasonic it’s certainly worth considering. Over all, a very good product.


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