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Canon ventures back in the water with the rugged D20

By dpreview staff on Feb 7, 2012 at 05:00 GMT
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Canon has launched its second waterproof rugged camera, the 12MP D20. It has a 5x, image stabilized 28-140mm equivalent zoom lens, featuring the company's latest 7-mode IS system. It also includes GPS and a 460,000 dot 3.0" LCD. The camera's back-lit CMOS sensor allows the D20 to shoot 1080p24 movies accessible with a dedicated movie record button. Unlike the company's D10, the D20 is a relatively small, periscope-lens card camera. It is waterproof to a depth of 10m and shockproof from a height of 1.5m.

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Press Release:

Built for adventure – introducing the Canon PowerShot D20

London, UK, 7th February 2012 – Canon today launches the rugged and powerful PowerShot D20 – engineered to be a part of the adventure and capture exceptional images and Full HD (1080p) video when living life to the extreme. Housing advanced Canon imaging technology in a robust and sporty body, the PowerShot D20 is waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and dustproof – ideal for hurtling down the rapids or conquering a mountain and bringing back the photos to prove it.

The PowerShot D20 is packed full of versatile technology including the advanced HS System, designed to produce fantastic picture quality, even in challenging low-light conditions. Sliding easily into a rucksack or attached to a carabiner, the PowerShot D20 is compact, lightweight and built to withstand the rigours of any adventure – freeing users to push themselves to the limits without worrying about their camera coping with the ride.

Canon-quality with every shot

The heart of the PowerShot D20 is powered by Canon's HS System, combining a 12.1 Megapixel, high-sensitivity CMOS sensor with the DIGIC 4 image processor for highquality performance in every situation – particularly in low-light situations.

Whether exploring the underwater beauty of an exotic cove or standing on top of the world after a mountain trek, glorious scenic vistas can be captured in their entirety thanks to the high-quality 28mm wide-angle Canon lens, with 5x zoom to bring users closer to the action. For rock-steady videos and crisp stills even in challenging shooting conditions, Intelligent IS automatically analyses the scene and selects the optimum settings for the optical Image Stabilizer from seven different modes1. For example, when filming movies off the beaten trail, Dynamic IS mode compensates for both hand shake and movement. Panning IS mode is perfect when shooting a flock of birds crossing the scene, ensuring the IS system stabilises in only one direction, while Macro IS mode is perfect for shooting the stunning detail of a starfish on a coral reef.

Breathe new life into shooting beneath the waves and capture the rare sights and closeup detail with the special Underwater Macro mode, combined with Quick AF mode to ensure rapid and accurate focus. The accuracy of Underwater White Balance is enhanced and also offers quick adjustment so that users can shoot the depths with beautiful natural colours. Allowing intrepid travellers to push the limits even further and dive into a new world, the optional WP-DC45 waterproof case with external flash support enables the PowerShot D20 to capture rare sights at depths down to 40m.

Handheld Night Scene mode means users can shoot dark scenes with confidence. It captures a series of high-speed shots and combines them into one crisp, well-exposed image. Giving more freedom for users to be creative, Super Slow Motion Movie mode can add tension and draw out the suspense in fast-paced events.

Ready to go whenever and wherever you may be

Rugged enough to brave the elements, the PowerShot D20 is waterproof to depths down to 10m, and can withstand freezing temperatures down to -10°C. Active Display technology also allows users to control some camera functions by tapping the camera body, making it easier to use when wearing gloves. Built to last, the PowerShot D20 is also shockproof from drops up to 1.5m and environmentally sealed against sand and dust to protect the advanced imaging technology inside.

Those who wish to blaze a trail and map out the adventure for others to follow can use GPS2 tagging and the low energy consumption3 GPS Logger feature. These can be used to tag images with location data or track routes and share discoveries easily using the supplied Map Utility software and through Google Earth4. Retelling the story behind a stunning shot is now even easier with Movie Digest mode creating a 'making-of' film reel for a day's images. When engaged, this mode films the last 4 seconds before each photo is taken in 720p HD resolution and combines all the clips from that day to create a movie that allows users to document their experiences in a new and exciting way.

When things happen fast, the PowerShot D20 is always ready to go. The dedicated Movie Record button means users can switch instantly to Full HD 1080p movie quality and zero in on the action with the 5x optical zoom without missing a moment. Users can then relive the experience on a big screen thanks to the HDMI connection with CEC, allowing them to pause, rewind and replay any clip using the remote control of a compatible HDTV.

Easy to use, easy to explore

Even when the action is fast and furious, frame the scene perfectly with just a glance at the bright, vibrant 7.5 cm (3.0") 460,000 dot PureColor II LCD screen with 4:3 aspect ratio. It's also easier than ever to capture great images without needing extensive photography experience thanks to Canon's enhanced Smart Auto feature which detects 32 different scenes, applying the best combination of camera settings to ensure every shot is well-exposed.

The PowerShot D20 features seven5 creative effects that can be applied to give every shot new impact, allowing photographers to explore the world and change how people view it. Landscapes offer the impression of a scale model with Miniature Effect or similar effects to those of a fish-eye lens can be applied to present a completely unique view of the world.

Accessories for adventure

The optional Accessory Kit includes Carabiner and Shoulder Straps to keep the camera handy when hiking or climbing, a special Neoprene Pouch and a Silicon Jacket for even more protection, as well as a Float to keep the camera at the surface when swimming, making the PowerShot D20 ready for many adventures.

Join the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY community

Owners of this new model can also join the newly updated CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, an online facility for sharing photos and video now providing up to 10 GB of personal storage capacity, perfect for storing many photos, even in full resolution. An easy interface allows users to search for images, create combined photo and movie Albums that can receive comments from friends, and to share Albums directly via email and Social Networking Sites.

1 Intelligent IS modes include: Normal IS, Panning IS, Macro IS, Dynamic IS, Powered IS, Dynamic & Macro IS,
and Tripod Mode
2 GPS use may be restricted in certain countries or regions. Use of GPS should comply with the laws and
regulations of the country and area in which it is being operated, including any restriction on the use of
3 The low energy consumption GPS Logger can log for more than 48 hours
4 Google and Google Earth are trademarks of Google Inc.
5 Creative filters include: Fish-eye effect, Miniature effect, Miniature effect in Movie, Super Vivid, Poster effect,
Toy Camera effect, Monochrome

{product} specifications

Body type
Body typeCompact
Body materialMetal top/front plate, Polycarbonate
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions4000 x 3000, 4000 x 2248, 4000 x 2664, 2992 x 2992, 2816 x 2112, 2816 x 1880, 2816 x 1584, 2112 x 2112, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 1600 x 1064, 1200 x 1200, 640 x 480, 640 x 424, 640 x 360, 480 x 480
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors13 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDigic 4
Color spacesRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
File format
  • JPEG (Exif 2.3)
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)28–140 mm
Optical zoom5×
Maximum apertureF3.9 - F4.8
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (5x)
Manual focusYes
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39)
Number of focus points9
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3
Screen dots461,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typePureColor II TFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/1600 sec
Exposure modes
  • Smart Auto
  • Program
  • Movie Digest
Scene modes
  • Portrait
  • Smooth Skin
  • Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer)
  • Handheld Night Scene
  • Low Light (4.0MP)
  • Fish-eye Effect
  • Miniature Effect
  • Toy Camera Effect
  • Soft Focus
  • Monochrome
  • Super Vivid
  • Poster Effect
  • Color Accent
  • Color Swap
  • Underwater
  • Underwater Macro
  • Fireworks
  • Snow
  • Long Shutter
  • Stitch Assist
Built-in flashYes
Flash range3.50 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, Fill-in, Red-Eye reduction, Slow Sync, Off
Self-timerYes (2, 10, Custom)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30, 120 fps), 320 x 240 (240 fps)
Videography notesMiniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps iFrame Movie (HD)
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini)
WirelessEye-Fi Connected
Remote controlNo
Environmentally sealedYes (Waterproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof, Dustproof)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-6L battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries)228 g (0.50 lb / 8.04 oz)
Dimensions112 x 71 x 28 mm (4.41 x 2.8 x 1.1)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPS notesGPS Tagging and Logger functions

Additional images

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Canon PowerShot D20


Total comments: 48
Russel Tan
By Russel Tan (Dec 13, 2012)

I dont believe Canon anymore.... the earlier version of this camera D10...its primary selling point is that you can use it under my 4th experience using it under water for snorkling only 5 feet under gets flooded in....this is a known defect...find similar experiences posted over the net... I have tried sending it to Canon Philippines for repair.... the cost of repair is almost the same as buying a new D20...such a big if you are buying this model think twice before using it under water....such a false claim.

By Greedradio (Jun 12, 2012)

Bought one - hand holding design is superior to all others.
Video works great.

High and slow speeds are great. Ditto stills in every light.

Owned d10 before - this is better in every way.

If didn't need zoom for sports would be my only camera.

By Tribalplague (May 28, 2012)

Between the Pentax WG-2 GPS and the Canon Powershot D20 which would you choose for P/S Underwater camera? I'm not a pro photographer, my main concern is the waterproofing. i had a Fujifilm XP 150 that drowne at 5 inches of depth.

I just want a good rugged camera that can withstand rain and the occational dip on a pool and beach, but that takes good quality pictures.

camera digital store
By camera digital store (Apr 27, 2012)

The Canon HS SYSTEM lets you take bright, clear photos in an even wider range of shooting situations. Beautiful low-light shots are possible with minimal noise and maximum detail in highlight and shadow areas. The system is the result of two technologies brought together in PowerShot cameras: a high-sensitivity imaging sensor, which is able to capture more light; and the DIGIC Image Processor, which actively reduces noise with high-speed image processing. The 12.1 megapixel

By S67 (Mar 15, 2012)

For those interested in RAW I would like to share my experience with the D10.
I bought it in 2009. It works well but it lacks RAW.
Luckily between 2010 and 2011 the guys at CHDK ( released a hack. It can be installed on an SD card without touching the camera and it allows the saving of DNG RAW files.
I found it very good, it works well and is stable. Of course saving a RAW file is slower than saving a JPG so forget the fast FPS you used to have (but you can still have using a different SD card).
I expect the guys at CHDK to release a hack for the D20 a few months after the lunch.

Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Feb 13, 2012)

Canon surely tries to sell their thing in small doses. They could have also improved the operating depth to at least 50 meters and do proper watertighting of one single access hatch (by using an o-ring) instead of playing around with flimsy rubber thingies and two hatches as in D10.
One well-designed housing is more worth of GPS here. In short, the content has improved to some point, but I'll stay with D10 until the casing becomes reasonably usable to normal diving depths.

By vincedpr (Feb 11, 2012)

One thing that struck me is motion jpeg for the movie format, 1080p recordings in that format will be pretty enormous!

By cornel4web (Feb 9, 2012)

I started the underwater camera line back in time with U60, an 2.1Mp from Sony...been through 3 generations of Pentax, 2 of Olympus...and stopped 3 years ago with the U'boat D10...using Canon DSLR it was a family join to me, and quite happy with the results of D10...missing wide a little, and in camera panorama mode...those days I was reading a lot about the Panasonic TS3 as all the names has produced a new camera in line so it will be a tough decision..but for me I know only 3 camera will be in tests: D20, TS4 and AW100.
The design, glad that Canon keep only the attachment joint right in place where I use the D10 stripe, it's a quick hand fit when I pull out in speed from my pocket.
The metal case it's not slippery at all, and now even a metal bend is added (sorry for my english).
The buttons, I never read the sign on them, after 3 uses - already know the functions.
The results could be better than D10 because of the sensor type and processor, even if the lens is slow.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
By ronniemac (Feb 9, 2012)

Two yellow cameras in as many weeks.

Domo P1000
By Domo P1000 (Feb 8, 2012)

I think some clarification is appropriate:
• Canon D20 12.1MP 28-140mm F3.9 - F4.8
• Olympus TG-820 12.0MP 28-140mm F3.9 - F5.9
• Pentax Optio WG-2 16.0MP 28-140mm F3.5 - F5.5
• Panasonic DMC-TS4 12.1MP 28-128mm F3.3 - F5.9
• (Canon D10 12.1MP 35-105mm F2.8 - F4.9)

Those are the current new consumer waterproof cameras (and the D10 for comparison). The Canon D20 is on par with all of the others – and with a faster full zoom end that all of the others.

On a personal note, I am a high-end canon user, with the 1D X on order. My utility point-and-shoot is the Panasonic DMC-TS2, because at the time this was the best of the bunch (for my purpose, I wanted a more powerful zoom lens than the Canon D10). If I were to replace the Panasonic now, I would struggle to choose (having only the specs to go on) between the Panasonic TS4or the Canon D20 – I would, of course want to hold and test both first, before lambasting either.

1 upvote
All hearing North Mountain
By All hearing North Mountain (Feb 10, 2012)

Don`t exclude Ricoh PX 28 – 140 mm F3.9 - F5.4 ;)

1 upvote
Domo P1000
By Domo P1000 (Feb 11, 2012)

Good point - thank yoU!

By GodSpeaks (Feb 8, 2012)

An, once again... NO RAW

By canonaholic (Feb 8, 2012)

It's so cute! It looks like a FISHIE! I'm excited to play with the D10 successor. I wish it had the new Digic 5 processor but I'm happy to see the 1080 hd. Hopefully the lack of a faster aperture won't affect awesome canon image quality!

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
By Photographist (Feb 7, 2012)

All my friends who are photographers an myself
are considering that Canon has made this D20
with a design that is non-ergonomic and... ridiculous.

Please see my new subject on the Forum,
called "Canon Powershot D20 - Ridiculous Design",
where I placed two pictures
showing the result of our quick "redesign".

What do you think of that ?

Best regards.

By joelfoto (Feb 7, 2012)

Have you held it in you hand?

Didn't think so.

By dsm6 (Feb 7, 2012)

Can someone help me rationalize the design decisions here. It seems that the metal grip location where you would place your right hand would be quite slippery while wet, and less grippy than the material used for the rest of the body. The shape of the lens side seems completely counter-ergonomic to being held by a human hand even for carrying purposes. Also, blue buttons with blue print on some of them for an underwater camera?

The D10 wasn't pretty, but this seems like a big step backwards ergonomically. It seems to me much more likely that one would accidentally cover the flash on the D20 versus the D10.
Or maybe I'm just missing it....

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By DPNick (Feb 7, 2012)

When it slips out of your hand and disappears into the water or some ravine, you'll have to buy another one.

Brilliant design, eh?

1 upvote
By exp1orer (Feb 7, 2012)

...and scare the sharks maybe? :)

1 upvote
By joelfoto (Feb 7, 2012)

I would love to give this camera a test drive. So what if it's only an f3.9? You can have your ISO at 400 and produce amazingly quality images all day long: the Digic processor is that good. As well, the ability to take HD qualitiy videos entices me. I have a slightly dated 30D and it rocks. but I do need a compact for watery situations.

I had a good old Oympus clamshell film camera that bit the green wiener when we got soaked while kayaking off Vancouver Island a few yeats back. But having a handy and compact camera to take for the rough stuff is very attractive to me.

1 upvote
By keeponkeepingon (Feb 7, 2012)


What the heck canon?

The D10 may have looked strange but at least it was F2.7 (I think?)


For an underwater camera????

Gosh I can't believe I waited for this. I think I'll be better off just getting a case for my S95.

By BeanyPic (Feb 7, 2012)

Why are you so bothered by F3.9??? This is a consumer camera. If you want low Aperture buy a DSLR with a F1.2 lens and get a underwater housing. This is for rough and tumble, wet point and shoot stuff........

By hesbehindyou (Feb 7, 2012)

@ BeanyPic
It's dark underwater. f2.something would have been in line with most other point and shoots.

All I can think is that Canon either nerfed it to promote sales of high end point and shoots with housings, or they're going to release a higher spec camera to sell along side this one.

By exp1orer (Feb 7, 2012)

@ hesbehindyou, please tell me which waterproof P&S that has the f2 something glass. afaik, all waterproof P&S starts at f3 something.

By TheYetiCom (Feb 7, 2012)

Canon S100 and the canon housing.

By keeponkeepingon (Feb 8, 2012)

"Why are you so bothered by F3.9??? This is a consumer camera."

So wasn't the D10. This is a downgrade from the D10. Of course I'm bothered. Instead of building something unique such as the D10 canon basicaly just copied the Nikon AW100 or just about any Olympus "tough" adding nothing to the market except the same thing everyone else is selling with the canon brand on it.

THey should be ashamed. We came to expect better with the D10. We waited and waited 3 years for an update and then they deliver this? Sigh of course we are bothered. Look at the thread on the canon forum. The only people happy with it are the folks that think all of these P&S cameras are trash so why bother making something decent....

By hesbehindyou (Feb 8, 2012)

The Canon D10 at f2.8 do ya?

By BeanyPic (Feb 8, 2012)

This is designed to shoot up to 10 Mtr deep. You can custom meter or use the under water feature to capture a image. This is not a specialist underwater camera. As has been stated if your more serious, get a S100 with a housing or go the whole hog and get a new G1X with a housing.....

By jaydubbs15 (Feb 7, 2012)

It would have been nice if the waterproof feature of the camera could reach lower depths, say to at least 100 feet, to become attractive to scuba divers like me. I have a Powershot A series camera with a Canon housing that was a very good buy and negated the need for a large investment in 3rd party housing and strobe equipment albeit with a sacrifice in quality, but that model is now quite outdated. Of course, there are many serious underwater photographers that now use Canon equipment with 3rd party housings and strobes, but I would like to see a reasonably priced Canon all-in-one camera designed especially for scuba divers. I am sure Canon could design such a camera that would not cost an arm and a leg. I hope they dedicate themselves to that end of the market soon!

By BeanyPic (Feb 7, 2012)

Canon would be foolish to make such a Camera as the man on the street would never but as it would cost a bloody fortune. This is a Point and Shoot Family Tough Camera for capturing those holiday snaps in sun or snow......

By cleverinstigator (Feb 7, 2012)

This is old technology Olympus has been making the tough cameras since 2006.

1 upvote
By HowaboutRAW (Feb 7, 2012)

Now RAW!

The older compact tough Canons had a bigger bodies, which would make faster lenses easier to build into the cameras.

Ironic that Canon claims this is good in lowlight.

1 upvote
By BeanyPic (Feb 7, 2012)

Why the hell would the man on the street want RAW. They don't even know what RAW is. This a consumer camera for Families to take away, get wet and bump around a bit. Catch up........

By HowaboutRAW (Feb 7, 2012)

Well, gee because putting a $400 Panasonic LX5 in a $500 case is expensive and a pain.

So yeah there's a market.

You sound like someone with a selfenforced blinkered vision of what the world wants.

These cameras need to do RAW, they need to float, and they need F/2.0 lenses when wide open.

Fewer mega pixels would help sales too.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By BeanyPic (Feb 8, 2012)

As stated catch up. Speak to the consumers and ask them what they want and need and how affordable it is.... If you want RAW, f2.0 for underwater. Get an S100 with a underwater housing that will let you go down to 40mtr. There's your perfect camera...

By HowaboutRAW (Feb 12, 2012)


It's annoying that you clearly didn't read my point about the Panasonic LX5 above, so I'll explain you can substitute the LX5 for the Canon S100 in you're proposed "solution".

The problem with small cameras in cases is that one can't then stuff the whole contraption into one's pocket for use on the street--when say it's raining.

Your claims about what markets exist for small cameras with RAW are simply wrong.

By your way of thinking Canon would not have bothered with the S90 and S95, nor would Olympus bothered with the XZ-1, then there's the Samsung TL500. There are also numerous small Ricohs with RAW.

Get real, RAW costs nothing, and a faster lens could be done in a tiny bit bigger body, which could then float. Fewer mega pixels should also be easier, at least Olympus hasn't joined this stupid pixel race with its tough cameras.

By cgarrard (Feb 7, 2012)

The Pentax is so much better :)

By BeanyPic (Feb 7, 2012)

How do you know??? Have you somehow got a D20??? Think before you type.....

Tapani Tarvainen
By Tapani Tarvainen (Feb 7, 2012)

Freezing temperatures down to -10C? It's just about that cold here now and it feels like a heat wave... the warmest temperature my EOS 7 saw last week was -18.6C, coldest -30C (I didn't bring it in all week) and it kept working just fine.
Let's hope that's just Canon being conservative in what they promise.

By BeanyPic (Feb 7, 2012)

Tough cameras will work in lower temps than brands state. They are conservative as they know that 1 consumer will use it at that temp and it might go down... Things happen and no brand wants to leave it's self open......

By Azrifel (Feb 7, 2012)

Article says with GPS, specs say no GPS.

Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Feb 7, 2012)

The D20 has GPS, the specs have been corrected accordingly

By MisoL (Feb 7, 2012)

When people asked me what affordable underwater camera they should buy, I used to recommend them Canon D10, because of larger sensor and brighter lens than competition. Now, when D10 is old model, I recommend better compact (like S95/S100) with underwater housing. I can't recommend D20 as cheaper alternative:-(

By marcomariano (Feb 7, 2012)

been waiting for the D10 replacement. im expecting 28mm or wider, they did. but the aperture was 2.8, now only 3.9. oh come on canon!

By BeanyPic (Feb 7, 2012)

No you come on! What the hell will a low Aperture give you with this type of camera....

By hesbehindyou (Feb 7, 2012)

Lower ISO - important in a small-sensored point & shoot that'll be used underwater where it tends to be darker. Use of high ISO means less detail and more ugly noise.

And why be so aggressive ("No you come on", "What the hell...")?

Robert Anderson
By Robert Anderson (Feb 7, 2012)

f/2.8 on the Canon D10 gets me faster shutter speeds for sharper images when shooting from the kayak in whitewater. My friends with their Panasonic, Pentax and Olympus models always have blurry images or gobs of noise from higher ISO. It's sad that Canon has followed the poor design of the other manufacturers with the D20. I got tired of waiting for Canon to release an update and bought an underwater housing for my S95. It is big but at least the image quality is not compromised.

By EWfromDK (Feb 7, 2012)

I currently own the D10, and while I'm generally happy with its performance for snorkeling, I have been looking forward to an updated version with an optical viewfinder - the LCD display is pretty useless when the sun is bright, both when used just below the surface with the screen pointing upwards toward the sun and when standing on the beach. I usually have to point the camera towards the subject, press the shutter and hope the picture is framed and focussed correctly.

Unfortunately, Canon has not adressed this shortcoming with the new D20.
Also, a DIGIC 5 processor would have been nice for better high ISO performance in low light under water.

Total comments: 48