Canon PowerShot D10

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      A rugged underwater camera with a striking design, good image quality and fast response times.Designed for photographers who participate in water-based activities, Canon’s PowerShot D10 can dive down to 10 metres and withstand being dropped from the height of one metre. Its sealed body also makes it dustproof and able to tolerate temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. The D10 has the same 12.1-megapixel (effective) sensor as the PowerShot SX200 IS (and several new Ixus models) and sports a 3x optical zoom lens. It also includes Canon’s TruCapture technology. . . [more]

      Full review


      Designed for photographers who participate in water-based activities, Canon’s PowerShot D10 can dive down to 10 metres and withstand being dropped from the height of one metre. Its sealed body also makes it dustproof and able to tolerate temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. The D10 has the same 12.1-megapixel (effective) sensor as the PowerShot SX200 IS (and several new Ixus models) and sports a 3x optical zoom lens. It also includes Canon’s TruCapture technology.


      The waterproof PowerShot D10 can be used at depths up to 10 metres. (Source: Canon.)
      Competition is hot in the ‘tough/waterproof’ camera market. Olympus has dominated sales for several years and just announced its 11th ‘tough’ model. Panasonic produced a hot competitor in February with its Lumix DCM-FT1 model and now Canon enters the fray with the D10. All cameras in this category are designed for snapshooters and all offer an effective resolution of 12.1 megapixels. But similarities end there, as shown in the comparison table we’ve prepared below.


      Canon D10

      Panasonic FT1

      Olympus Tough 8000

      Waterproof to:

      10 metres

      3 metres

      10 metres

      Shockproof to:

      1 metre

      1.5 metres

      2 metres

      Sensor size

      6.16 x 4.62 mm

      6.13 x 4.6 mm

      6.13 x 4.6 mm

      Focal lengths (35mm equivalent)




      Optical zoom




      Digital zoom




      Video format

      MOV (Image Data: H.264; Audio Data: Linear PCM monaural)

      AVCHD Lite plus Motion JPEG

      AVI Motion JPEG

      HD video recording


      Yes; 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 fps


      Shutter speed range

      15 to 1/1500 seconds

      8 to 1/1300 sec. (15, 30, 60 sec. in Starry Sky mode)

      1/4 to 1/2000 sec. (4 sec. in Night Scene mode)


      Optical (Lens Shift Type)

      MEGA O.I.S. with 3 modes

      Dual Shift CCD-based

      Focus system

      TTL Autofocus with Face Detect and Centre AF plus Manual Focus

      TTL AF with 11 or 1 area focusing

      Contrast-detect TTL iESP auto with Spot and Face Detection AF

      AF range

      30 cm to infinity; macro and manual to 3 cm

      30 cm to infinity; macro to 3 cm

      50 cm to infinity; macro to 10 cm


      Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, Spot metering

      Intelligent multiple metering

      Digital EPS (multi-pattern), spot metering

      Shooting modes (stills)

      Intelligent Auto (with Scene Detection), Program AE

      Intelligent Auto, Program AE

      Intelligent Auto, Program AE

      Scene modes

      Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Sunset, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Beach, Underwater, Aquarium, Foliage, Snow, ISO 3200, Colour Accent, Colour Swap, Stitch Assist

      Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self portrait, Scenery, Low light, Food, Party, Candle light, Sunset, Beach & Surf, Snow, Aerial, Pin hole, Film grain, Underwater and High Sensitivity

      Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach & Snow, Snow, Pre-capture movie, Underwater Snapshot, Underwater Wide (x2), Underwater Macro

      ISO range

      Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600

      Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600

      Auto, ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600

      Flash modes

      Auto, on, off, Auto Red Eye Correction, Red Eye Reduction, Slow Synchro, FE Lock

      Auto, forced on, forced off, slow synch; red-eye reduction available

      Auto, Red-Eye reduction, Fill-in, Off

      Flash range

      0.3 to 3.2 metres

      0.6 to 6.0 metres

      0.1 to 4.0 metres

      Max burst speed

      Approx. 1.1 frames/second

      2 fps for up to 3 frames

      1 fps for 21 frames at 12MP; 5fps at 3MP

      Storage Media

      SD/SDHC cards

      SD/SDHC cards

      xD-Picture Cards

      LCD monitor/resolution

      2.5-inch PureColour LCD II / approx 230,000 dots

      2.7-inch TFT LCD / 230,000 dots

      2.7-inch TFT LCD / 230,000 dots

      Power supply

      NB-6L rechargeable lithium-ion battery

      ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack

      Li-50B Li-Ion Battery


      Approx. 220

      Approx. 340

      Approx. 250


      103.6 x 66.9 x 48.8 mm

      98.3 x 63.1 x 23.0 mm

      95.0 x 61.7 x 21.5 mm

      Shooting weight

      Approx. 210 grams

      Approx. 183.8 grams

      Approx. 202 grams





      Build and Ergonomics
      You need a reasonably capacious pocket to accommodate the D10 because, although small in size, its body is almost 5 cm deep. Corners are rounded-off, creating a bulbous appearance, reminiscent of the Yellow Submarine in the 1968 animated movie by the Beatles. Each corner has a bayonet socket for attaching one of several optional lanyards.
      The camera comes with a wrist strap plus a ‘button’ that plugs into one of the corner sockets. It’s a rather clumsy solution but provides some flexibility as you can tether the camera by any corner. The ‘button’ connects with a plug-in-and-twist motion. (We wouldn’t recommend this tether for snorkelling or diving – or any adventurous activity.)
      The front of the D10 is dominated by the lens housing and built-in flash, both of which are larger than average. Unlike the Olympus and Panasonic waterproof cameras, Canon doesn’t use folded optics in the D10. Instead, the lens protrudes a little more than a centimetre from the main body, causing it to bulge forward.
      It’s reasonably fast at the wide-angle position, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 but closes to f/4.9 at the tele position. The focal length range is equivalent to 35-105mm in 35mm format, which was standard for digicams a couple of years ago. Optical image stabilisation is included to minimise blurring in underwater shots and low-light conditions.
      A small AF-Assist lamp, which doubles as a red-eye resist beam and self-timer indicator, is located near the lower corner of the flash moulding. Just below it is a microphone outlet, in the form of a tiny pin-prick.


      Front view of the PowerShot D10 showing the lens and built-in flash plus coloured cover panel. (Source: Canon.)

      Recessed screws join the body shell together and attach the cover plate over the lens. They also attach the electric blue front panel, which can be replaced easily if you purchase the FC-DC1 Interchangeable Cover set. The three alternative colours in this set are Camouflage, Orange and Grey.
      The rear panel carries a 2.5-inch PureColour LCD screen with a standard resolution of 230,000 dots plus the arrow pad and four additional buttons. All buttons are slightly larger than on most digicams and raised above the body to make them easy to locate by feel. However, we feel they may not be as easy to use if you wear gloves when diving or skiing.
      Above the LCD lie three buttons with smooth moulded covers that rise about a millimetre from the body panel and cover direct printing, shooting modes and image playback. The arrow pad is standard Canon issue with a central Func/Set button and buttons accessing the exposure compensation, flash, drive and focusing modes. Above the arrow pad are two buttons for the zoom control.


      Rear view of the PowerShot D10 in playback mode. (Source: Canon.)

      The ‘proper’ top panel (as distinct from the ledge above the LCD monitor, which is visible from the rear) has only two buttons: the power switch and the shutter release. Both lie almost flush with the body panel and both have shiny chrome covers.


      Top view showing the control layout and wrist strap button plugged into the right hand corner. (Source: Canon.)
      Recessed into the base of the camera is a large battery/card compartment with a locking cover. Beside it lies the tripod socket, which is metal-lined. Further along is an array of nine holes that represent the speaker grille. They’re located right in the spot where you put your left thumb when holding the camera for shooting.
      Interestingly, the camera won’t switch on if the door to the battery/card compartment is not properly locked; although it will if the cover protecting the DC-In and USB/AV-Out ports is open (presumably water can’t enter the camera via these ports). Both covers have rubber-like linings that appear to fit snugly and should prevent water getting in.
      Purchasing one of the optional lanyards is advisable to secure the camera when you’re diving or snorkelling. Two are available: the STP-DC1 Neck Strap and the STP-DC2 Cabin Hook Strap. In addition to the FC-DC1 Interchangeable Cover set, you can also buy the ACKDC40 AC Adaptor Kit (Contains CADC10 and DR-40), the HF-DC1 High-Power Flash and the SC-DC70 Soft Case.


      Accessories for the PowerShot D10. (Source: Canon.)
      Although a fair amount of sophisticated adjustments take place ‘behind the scenes’ in the D10, actual user-adjustable controls are typical of those on most point-and-shoot digicams and rather limited. Four shooting modes are supported: full-auto, Program AE, Scene selection and Movie.
      The full auto mode applies all Canon’s TruCapture processing technologies, combining an optical image stabiliser and DiG!C 4 processing with Scene Detection, Face Detection, Motion Detection and Noise Reduction to produce high-quality pictures. In this mode you can only adjust image size and quality, turn the flash and self-timer on and off and select from four self-timer modes (2- or 10-second delay, face self-timer and custom self-timer).


      The main menu.
      Most settings in the main menu (accessed by pressing the Menu button) remain available for full auto, including the digital zoom, AF-Point zoom AF-assist beam, blink detection and red-eye reduction flash. Swapping to the P mode opens access to the four arrow pad-based controls plus all the items in the Function menu (ISO, white balance, metering patterns, My Colours palette and continuous shooting).
      The Scene sub-menu contains 18 presets, including two underwater modes (one for shooting into aquariums) plus a long shutter mode that lets you set exposures up to 15 seconds long by toggling with the exposure compensation (+/-) button. The only adjustments supported in the movie mode are resolution, white balance, My Colours, the self-timer, exposure compensation and the focusing modes (normal, macro, infinity and manual). In Movie mode, the main menu lets you access the digital zoom function, switch the AF-Assist beam on and off and superimpose grid lines on the display.
      Stabilisation is applied by default in the full auto mode – and you can’t switch it off when you mount the camera on a tripod. You can select continuous image stabilisation or switch it off for recording video clips. In contrast, four stabilisation settings are provided for still shooting in both the P and Scene modes: continuous, shoot only, panning and off. Continuous operates all the time and provides a steady image for image composition. Shooting only engages stabilisation when you press the shutter button, and panning provides correction for vertical tremors when you track a moving subject.
      The face detection system in the D10 is similar to other recent Canon digicams. It only works for still shooting, where it will adjust the focus, exposure, flash settings and white balance automatically. It is applied by default in any scene mode associated with taking pictures of people.
      When Face AiAF is selected in the main menu, the main subject (identified automatically) is outlined by a rectangular green frame, with light grey frames picking out other faces in the shot. Users can program the camera to select and track a specific person’s face with the Face Select mode. The chosen face must first be ‘registered’ by pointing the camera at it and pressing the Direct Print button.
      Another function using face detection technology is the Face Self-timer, which delays the exposure until a new face is detected. The photographer simply presses the shutter, walks into the scene and two seconds later the shot is taken. Blink detection is available in the P mode as well as the scene modes that involve portraiture. This causes the camera to prompt the photographer to take another shot if closed eyes are detected in any of the human subjects.
      Photographers shooting with the full auto mode are restricted to exposures less than one second. Choosing the Long Shutter scene mode lets you set exposures up to 15 seconds. The only way to access these shutter speeds is via the Custom setting in the My Colours sub-menu – and reaching it requires 14 button presses. Thirteen settings are provided, covering exposures from one to 15 seconds. (The camera must be tripod-mounted to utilise them effectively.)
      Unfortunately, like many digicams, this camera appears to have only two aperture settings, which means getting the correct exposure level for long exposures can be tricky. Canon also warns users that the brightness of the on-screen display when you set up the shot may not equate to the actual brightness in the captured image. We found it necessary to be constantly vigilant against over- or under-exposure and had to bracket shots by a stop in either direction to obtain usable images at low and high ISO settings.
      Noise-reduction processing kicks in for all exposures longer than 1.3 seconds. Dark-frame subtraction appears to be the method used as processing times were double the exposure time in our tests. In high ISO images it produced additional softening (see Performance section below).
      Sensor and Image Processing
      The 12.1-megapixel CCD sensor in the D10 appears to be the same 1/2.3-inch (6.16 x 4.62 mm) chip as in the PowerShot SX200 IS, 990 IS, Ixus 110 IS and Ixus 100 IS and all these models have the same DiG!C 4 image processor. Like the other models, the D10 only captures JPEG images, providing six image size settings plus two compression levels. Typical file sizes are shown in the table below.

      Image Size

      Recorded pixels

      File size

      Recordable images on a 2GB card





      Large (12M)

      4000 x 3000





      Medium 1 (8M)

      3264 x 2448





      Medium 2 (5M)

      2592 x 1944





      Medium 3 (2M)

      1600 x 1200





      Small (0.3M)

      640 x 480






      4000 x 2248





      Unlike the PowerShot SX200 IS (and its rival the Panasonic FT1), the D10 can only record standard-definition video and users can choose between VGA and QVGA resolution, both at 30 frames/second. Audio Data is recorded monaurally using Linear PCM compression. Typical clip lengths for a 2GB memory card are shown in the table below.


      Aspect ratio

      Recording time on 2GB card

      640 x 480


      23 minutes, 49 seconds

      320 x 240


      73 minutes, 10 seconds

      The optical zoom is locked for movie capture, leaving you stuck with the 4x digital zoom – and, consequently, reduced picture quality.

      Playback and Software
      Pressing the Playback button on the rear panel displays the last image taken. Playback options are essentially the same as other Canon digicams. The camera supports single, 9-frame index and video playback, playback zoom of up to 10x, focus check playback (with magnification), slideshows with seven selectable transition effects and the standard range of Jump options.
      In playback mode you can ‘filter’ images for play or deletion, erase or protect single shots or a selection of images, allocate images to categories, resize, rotate and trim images or apply red-eye corrections.
      Both i-Contrast and My Colours adjustments can be applied to images in playback mode. Images can be tagged for automatic printing via a dedicated Print menu and the camera is fully PictBridge compatible.
      The software bundle, Canon Digital Camera solution Disk Ver. 46.0, includes ZoomBrowser EX 6.2 (Windows) and ImageBrowser 6.2 (Macintosh) for organising and editing images, movies and slideshows, or creating and printing digital photo albums. The PhotoStitch panorama stitching application is also provided. The D10 also supports driverless transfer to Windows XP and Macintosh OS X, along with MTP for image and movie transfers to Windows Vista.

      Pictures taken with the test camera looked natural under most types of lighting but they appeared a little soft when enlarged. Boosting the sharpness with the adjustment provided in the Custom mode in the My Colours sub-menu corrected this deficiency. Examples are reproduced below.


      The image on the left shows the sharpness level in out-of-the camera images, while the image on the right was taken with a plus one step sharpness adjustment in the Custom mode in the My Colours sub-menu.
      Contrast and saturation levels were modest and no compression artefacts were visible in test shots. We found the same dynamic range problems for outdoor shots as we encountered with the PowerShot SX200 IS. Highlights tended to blow out in both bright and overcast conditions – and, in the D10, slight haloing could be seen around white areas.
      Imatest showed the review camera to be capable of the resolution levels expected from a 12-megapixel camera but revealed slight edge softening through the focal length range. Best performance was at the 6.2mm focal length, although edge softening was greatest here. (Note: aperture settings are not adjustable and were slightly different at each focal length we tested.) The graph below shows the results of Photo Review’s Imatest tests.


      Low light performance was well above average with no noise visible up to ISO 400. Noise began to appear at ISO 800 and at 1600 and, due to automatic noise-reduction processing, images looked noticeably softer than shots taken at low ISO settings. Our Imatest tests confirmed the loss of resolution at ISO 800 and above, as shown in the graph below.


      Lateral chromatic aberration was lowest at mid-range focal lengths and highest with the widest angle of view provided by the lens. At 9.7mm it was effectively negligible; rising to low at the other focal lengths we tested. In the graph below, the red line marks the border between ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ CA, while the green line separates ‘low’ from ‘moderate’.


      We found little evidence of coloured fringing in test shots taken in contrasty outdoor lighting. Interestingly, the lens in the test camera was slightly more flare-prone than the lens in the SX200 IS, which we reviewed recently, but flare should seldom present problems in most backlit shots.
      Close-up performance was similar to other digicams we’ve reviewed, given the focusing limit of 3 cm. Digital zoom shots were slightly flat and soft and processing artefacts were visible. Moderate barrel distortion was evident in test shots at the 6.2mm focal length but no longer visible at 9.7mm.
      Flash shots were as sharp and noise-free as long exposures, although the softness at high ISO settings remained constant and blotchiness was evident in shadowed areas. The review camera required an ISO setting of 200 before it could illuminate an average-sized room. Exposures were well-balanced from that point on.
      The underwater scene modes produced quite pleasing results, but only the Aquarium mode was able to produce full colour correction. The auto white balance failed to eliminate the orange cast of incandescent lighting and left a slight residual green cast under fluorescent lights. Slight over-correction was seen in the tungsten pre-set and slight under-correction in the fluorescent settings. Custom measurement produced neutral colours with both lighting types.
      Movie quality was typical of cameras that record VGA clips with monaural sound and not particularly impressive, particularly with respect to the audio. The built-in image stabiliser, which can be set to continuous mode, appeared to provide some stability with hand-held clips and enabled still shots to be taken with shutter speeds as slow as 1/15 second. (In full auto mode it’s backed by a motion detection system that boosts sensitivity when there’s potential for blurred shots due to camera shake.)
      In our response time tests, we measured an average start-up time of 0.5 seconds and shot-to-shot times of 1.8 seconds without flash and 6.4 seconds with. Processing took approximately two seconds. Average capture lag was 0.4 seconds, reducing to 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. The continuous shooting mode recorded 10 frames in 7.4 seconds. Processing appears to be on-the-fly as it took only two seconds after completing the burst to finish processing.
      Buy this camera if:
      – You’re looking for a well-built underwater camera for snorkelling and boating – or even shallow SCUBA diving.
      – You want a camera that can take a few hard knocks.
      – You’re happy to use the monitor for shot composition.
      – You’d like a camera with large, clearly-labelled button controls.
      Don’t buy this camera if:
      – You want to shoot raw files (the D10 is restricted to JPEG capture).
      – You want to shoot widescreen high-definition video clips (it’s VGA at best with monaural audio for the D10).




      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      Close-up. 5mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/60 second at f/3.5.


      6.2mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/125 second at f/8.


      18.6mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/251 second at f/4.9.


      Digital zoom. 18.6mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/251 second at f/4.9.


      Flare: 6.2mm focal length, ISO 80, 1/250 second at f/8.


      Long exposure at ISO 80: 15 seconds at f/4; 9.6mm focal length.


      Long exposure at ISO 1600: 2 seconds at f/5; 9.6mm focal length.


      Flash exposure; 18.6mm focal length. ISO 100, 1/60 second at f/4.9.


      Flash exposure; 18.6mm focal length. ISO 1600, 1/60 second at f/4.9.


      Underwater shot in normal shooting mode. 6.2mm focal length. ISO 100, 1/159 second at f/2.8.


      Underwater shot using the Underwater scene mode. 6.2mm focal length. ISO 100, 1/125 second at f/2.8.


      Aquarium shot using the Aquarium scene mode. 6.2mm focal length. ISO 800, 1/60 second at f/2.8.




      Image sensor: 6.16 x 4.62 mm CCD with 12.7 million photosites (12.1 megapixels effective)
      Lens: 6.2-18.6mm f/2.8-4.9 zoom lens (35-105mm equivalent in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 3x optical, up to 4x digital
      Image formats: Stills – JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies – MOV (Image Data: H.264; Audio Data: Linear PCM monaural)
      Image Sizes: Stills – 4000 x 3000, 3264 x 2448, 2592 x 1944, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480, 4000 x 2248 (widescreen); Movies – VGA and QVGA at 30 fps
      Shutter speed range: 15 to 1/1500 seconds
      Self-timer: Approx. 10 sec or 2 sec delay, custom, Face Self-Timer
      Image Stabilisation: Optical (Lens Shift Type), approx 3 steps
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3EV increments
      Focus system/range: TTL Autofocus with Face Detect and Centre AF plus Manual Focus; range: 30 cm to infinity; macro and manual to 3 cm
      Exposure metering/control: Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, Spot metering; Program AE, AE Lock, Intelligent Contrast Correction
      Shooting modes: Intelligent Auto (with Scene Detection), P, Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Sunset, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Beach, Underwater, Aquarium, Foliage, Snow, ISO 3200, Colour Accent, Colour Swap, Stitch Assist, Movie (Standard, Colour Accent, Colour Swap)
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater, Custom
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, on, off, Auto Red Eye Correction, Red Eye Reduction, Slow Synchro, FE Lock; range: 30 cm to 3.2 m
      Sequence shooting: Approx. 1.1 frames/second
      Storage Media: SD/SDHC memory cards
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 2.5-inch PureColour LCD II (approx 230,000 dots)
      Power supply: NB-6L rechargeable lithium-ion battery (CIPA rated for approx. 220 shots/charge)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 103.6 x 66.9 x 48.8 mm
      Weight: Approx. 190 grams (without battery and card)





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